Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July's Reading and Movie Watching on time!!!

Well, the Tour is over and it was immensely satisfying in the end. Levi Leipheimer (You'd think Lance Armstrong would know how to pronounce Leipheimer since they rode together years ago. In German, you pronounce the second vowel, so like Einstein, you'd pronounce Levi's last name as Lipehimer, but for some reason Lance calls him Leaphimer.) won the individual time trial on Saturday with the fourth fastest time trial in Tour history and ended up on the podium in 3rd place behind his Spanish teammate Alberto Contador who won the Tour in his very first attempt at the very tender age of 24. I cried like an idiot, although I wouldn't have minded if Cadell Evans had lost 2nd to Levi.

My co-worker who also follows the Tour had said something to me last week about not liking Cadell due to his arrogance, but I was ambivalent about him until he whined about losing time in the mountains to the then Yellow Jersey (Michael Rasmussen – sent home in disgrace) and Contador, because they didn't wait for or work with him or some such bullshit. Um, they're your competitors. They're not going to help you beat them. If he hadn't wanted to lose those 55 seconds, he probably should have gone with them when they attacked. Freaking whiner. I was expecting him to attack on the last day (unwritten rule is no attacking the yellow jersey on the last day of the Tour, that is essentially the day for the sprinters going for the Green Jersey, and if he had attacked the entire peloton would have tracked him down. There are just some things you don't do.), but Team Discovery Channel made sure he knew he didn't have a chance in hell of getting the time bonuses that were out there by riding together at the front of the field.

And for the first time, Team Discovery Channel (previously Team US Postal) won the team race by 19 minutes. It was very cool.

Last week I went to two very different concerts (with another next week – going to see Iggy & the Stooges for the second time in 4 months). On Wednesday, I went with Martha and two other friends to see The Stray Cats and The Pretenders. Sadly, ZZ Top was also on the bill, but thankfully, nobody else cared about seeing them, so after two songs we were ready to go (I was actually ready to go the second The Pretenders left the stage, but I was being patient). The Stray Cats were great and I have to say that Brian Setzer still looks fine. I'm thinking of revamping my List of Five as I have one gay man and one major right-wing Republican on it – but that'll be another post. The Pretenders were good, even though I couldn't understand Chrissie Hynde half the time when she was talking between songs. She needed to be louder. She was wearing these utterly fabulous reach the top of the knees cowbow boots that all the women in my row wanted. Martha declared Chrissie a potty-mouth at the end of the show. I simply said, "She's a punk, what do you expect?" I suffered through the two ZZ Top songs until Jack declared himself ready to leave and I was all over the leaving bit, not only because I wasn't enjoying the ZZ Top, but because I had a long drive home and we all know I get up a tad early for work.

Actually, tomorrow I have to get up extra early because I have to take Ursamajor to the airport and I have to pick her up at 5:00 a.m.

Back to the concerts, forgot my outline for a second. The second concert was Saturday night and it was held nice and close to home (yay!). It was a Doo Wop Concert with old bands performing. My neighbor had gotten the tickets from her sister and she invited another lady and me to go with her. It started with The Reflections, a Detroit band (what was with the 60s and all the bands have names starting with The – The Platters, The Tokens, The Originals, The Temptations, etc.?) which had their big hit, (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet, the year I was born. They came out all dressed in white double breasted suits with different colored t-shirts underneath. They were enjoyable, although that night it seemed they mostly covered other people's hits, except for the Romeo & Juliet song.

Next up were The Coasters who performed their big hits – Yackety-Yak (Don't talk back) & Charlie Brown. They also came out in white double-breasted suits, but they were all wearing red buttoned-down shirts under theirs. They were a lot of fun and we decided they were our favorite act of the night.

After the Intermission, it was time for The Shirelles, or rather Shirley Alton Reeves as the only real Shirrelle on stage. She had just had a birthday and announced that she was 67 years old (and didn't look it). They did "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" which had everybody on their feet afterwards and her in tears. She was so cute. They also performed Soldier Boy which was a song I didn't know, but it brought people to their feet again and that was their last song, although the Oldies radio station DJ brought her back for a little encore of Soldier Boy with her still crying.

The concert ended with Frankie Ford who looked to be about 95 years old with dentures and bad toupee (however he's only 68, or will be this coming Saturday) and a penchant for really bad (horrible, actually) old jokes. You can google him and get to his very own website, but I couldn't in good conscious send unsuspecting people there. The sad thing was that he spent most of his time telling these horrible jokes (which the man behind us thought were the height of hilarity) instead of singing and that man can sing. His big song was Sea Cruise which I knew but wouldn't have known I knew off the top of my head.

Not my usual type of music, but it was enjoyable for the most part. My one neighbor and I agreed that the concert was good up until Frankie Ford came on stage and then we spent most of the time looking at each aghast at the jokes.

I won't have time to tell you about The Stooges concert next week because I'm leaving the next day for Wisconsin and Road America and won't get back to Detroit until sometime on Monday, August 13. Last year HRH drove straight through on Sunday from Road America to Toronto (stopping to drop me off in Detroit, on the way), but I was falling asleep before we even reached Michigan, so I doubt I'll be driving all the home Sunday night.

Now time to list the books and movies read and watched for the month of July.


Longshot by Dick Francis - 257 pages - I adore Dick Francis and have read everything he's written multiple times. I was in the mood to read something early in the month but wasn't in the mood for something new, so I picked a Dick Francis off the shelf and loved it all over again. And I just saw that he has a book coming out in September. You have no idea how exciting that is to me. I thought that once his wife had died that he would write no more as she was an integral part of the writing process. I believe the stories were all his, but she helped him to get them on to paper. I can't wait for September!!!

For One More Day by Mitch Albom - 197 pages - I had had this one for a few months but hadn't felt like reading it. After I finished the Dick Francis I still wanted something easy, so I picked this up. I hadn't expected much, even though I had enjoyed his first two books, I thought maybe it was a fluke and he'd write a stinker. He didn't. I can't describe it, so go to the website and linked above and see what it's about. I liked the premise, though, and it was a quick, easy read.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - 870 pages - I had to re-read this before seeing the movie so that I would know to get ticked off when it didn't follow the book. Order of the Phoenix is not my favorite book as she killed off a beloved character, but it was worth the re-read.

Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince - 652 pages - I needed to re-read the sixth book before the 7th book came out, because I didn't do that before the 4th book and there were a few things that I had forgotten. When I re-read them all before the 5th book came out I realised my mistake. I didn't re-read all the book this time (obviously), but I can see myself re-reading them all in the not-too-distant future. Even now I won't give away what happens in this book, but I can tell you that when I first read it I wasn't happy with the ending (not that I think any fan of the books was). I had an argument with my friend and former boss at work about whether or not Snape was a good guy or bad guy after the initial reading. I was convinced he was a bad guy, she took the other stance, so within a week or so or reading it the first time I read it a second time with an eye toward Snape being a good guy. I could see her point, but I wasn't ready to concede.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows - 759 pages - I read this book in one day. I was too scared about spoilers leaking out that I was bound and determined not to get caught out. One guy at work told me that his wife bought the book the day it came out (can't remember if she picked it up at midnight or not) and then promptly read the last chapter out loud with her mother. If they hadn't liked the ending they weren't going to read the book. That concept is so intensely foreign to me. I have never ever read the end of a book first and can't even imagine doing so. I don't want to give anything away in case there are people out there who haven't read it yet and are avoiding spoilers, but I will say that I liked it a lot. And if they fuck this movie up, I'm going to be pissed.

The Myth of Quetzalcoatl by Enrique Florescano, translated by Lysa Hochroth - 242 pages - I have had this book for years and I finally decided to read it. I have to tell you that I find myself reading more of the books on my shelves that I haven't read since I know I'll be listing them. Not sure why but it's a good thing. This was a bit more academic than I had expected, although it shouldn't have been since it was published by Johns Hopkin University Press. I found it very interesting, not only from the Mesoamerican aspect, but because it also included a discussion of Mediterranean myths and it's remarkable how many ancient cultures had very similar creation myths, particularly within agricultural peoples. This book talked about the Popol Vuh a lot which I have sitting on my bookshelf, so I think I'll be breaking that one out soon, as well.

And then I must admit that I re-read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows for another 759 pages. I think that has to be the most reading I've done in a while.

Book of the Month is a no-brainer, kids! It has to be Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, although I'm such a geek, I'm completely bummed that it's over even though I had been waiting for that book to come out ever since I finished The Half Blood Prince.


Well, as you can imagine, with all the reading and the daily stages of the Tour de France, I did not get a lot of movies watched. I'm on the last disc of Stargate SG-1, Season 9, so one more season and I'm done with that (until I get my DVDs back from my friend in Maryland).

Spellbound (Hitchcock) - 1945 - 86% - I must confess that I bought a Chinese bootleg (I'm assuming it's a bootleg) because it's impossible to find. The quality isn't fabulous, but it's good enough. It was too important of a Hitchcock film not to have in my library. It's not his best work, but it has Leo Carroll, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck with the dream sequence done by Salvador Dali. I'm too much of a Spanish surrealist lover not to have this movie.

The Petrified Forest - (K) - 1936 - 100% - I watched this last year, I believe, and it was so good I had to get it for myself. After being a Bogart detractor for so many years, I became a convert practically overnight. He's brilliant as the bad guy in this movie while Leslie Howard plays the good guy. From all accounts, Bogey got this part because of Leslie Howard. They were both in the stage play and when it came to making the movie, Leslie refused to do it unless they brought Bogey in as well. This movie essentially launched his career.

Slapshot - (K) - 1977 - 86% - I had not seen this movie since the 70s and I had had it in my head that it was Paul Newman that stripped down to his jockstrap, but it wasn't. I wouldn't say that it's aged especially well, but it'll always be a cult classic, I feel. And worth watching, if you can handle foul language and gratuitous hockey violence in a comedy.

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix - (Theatre) - 2007 - 77% - I was severely disappointed in this movie. It was the longest book and the shortest movie. The book sells in the millions, I think they could actually follow the book and not change shit around. I also think Harry Potter fans would sit through a three hour movie. Hell, they did it for The Lord of the Rings which I saw enough of back in 1977 (turned me off LoTR forEVER), they can do it for HP. I was talking to a 16 or 17 year old and she said, Include an intermission. We want to see the entire story on film. I read one reviewer that said Harry Potter fans will love it, non Harry Potter fans will be confused. Sorry, but I did not love it. Of course, that won't stop me from buying it when it comes out on DVD because I have to have the whole collection.

So, there ya go. It is now time for bed because I have to pick Ursamajor up at 5:00 a.m. to take her to the airport. I've had enough trouble getting up by 5:00 the last couple of days, so I'm not taking any chances. Off to bed with me.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why would someone cheat???

Not to be overly dramatic, but I am utterly devastated by the state of the Tour de France. I was loving the drama of the stages. "Vino" winning the time trial this past Saturday, then winning a stage in the Pyrenees on Monday after being dropped off the back of the peloton on Sunday. It's hard for me to comprehend why he would cheat. If you win a stage in the Tour, you're immediately pegged for a doping test. Even if you don't win, if you have a good run, you're chosen. And then they choose others randomly. Why, oh why, would he risk his reputation for that? I honestly don't understand the thought process. If you dope in this day and age in cycling, you're going to get caught. It just makes no sense to me.

Then my Michael Rasmussen gets kicked out by his team for lying about his whereabouts in June when he missed two random drug tests. He said he was in Mexico, but he was really in Italy. Sadly, the first thought is that he was doping in Italy, while practicing in the mountains to help build his blood for the Tour's mountains. Supposedly after ten days, anything he would have taken in Italy would be undetectable, but he would still have the advantage. Of course, nobody could tell you what he could have taken to do that, but it's France, so you're guilty until proven innocent.

Quite honestly, my heart is broken. I have loved the Tour for the past ten years or so and really love watching it and getting into it. I guess I can understand how it happens. One person starts to cheat, other people find out about it and think that if the powers that be aren't going to do anything about it that they need to do the same to compete on the same level. And then it just spirals out of control. It doesn't excuse anything, however, because at some point you need to do what is right, and might does not make right.

Al Trautwig mentioned at the beginning of today's stage (I had forgotten to put in a new tape this morning, so I'm watching now), how there are so many problems in sports today from Barry Bonds and his presumed steroid use (yeah right, if he didn't take steroids why did he refuse to provide a sample for a year?), Michael Vicks' indictments today of dog-fighting, the NBA ref's gambling, possibly on games he himself ref'ed and apparently, steroid usage in the PGA in order to keep up with Tiger Woods (first I had heard of it, but I don't follow golf, really), this is just one more sport under investigation. The difference, that I can tell, is that cycling is serious about cleaning up their sport and making it so that the clean person wins.

I think baseball gives the players union too much power. Why on earth would the union refuse to allow testing unless they know there's an issue? If you're doing nothing wrong, you shouldn't be scared of random urine testing. Right?

This morning I was ready to give up the Tour, but I had to find out what Phil & Paul had to say. They believe the tests - that Vino doesn't deserve our respect and admiration because he doped and that Michael must have been up to something to lie - and since they are my cycling gurus, I decided that the remaining riders in the Tour deserve the attention just as much now as they did before. I feel completely betrayed by Vino & Michael, as I'm sure all their fans do. I've always been a Levi Leipheimer fan, though, so there's no reason to abandon him or the rest of Team Discovery or my favorite sprinter, Thor Hushovd (although Tom Boonen is probably going to win the Green Jersey), so although I feel like crying (yes, I'm pathetic and I know it), I'm going to continue to watch the Tour and hope and pray and light candles that nobody else does something stupid, because I don't think the Tour (or me) can take much more of this.

ESPN is pathetic. They give zero attention to the Tour, generally, but you know they're going to be all over this pretending that they know something and I'm going to want to slap them. Or write a letter.

Oh! Letter writing! Update on the annoying as fucking hell remote control boats. I ran into the Corporation Land guy who was helping me over the forced vacation in the shitty cafeteria the other day (I bought popcorn from his co-worker for the United Way fundraiser for lunch). I'm an idiot and didn't recognise him as he was in a white shirt and tie and when I met him he had been a bit more casual in a polo shirt. And I'm low enough on the totem pole at work that I generally don't get the bigwigs in white shirts and ties saying Hi to me, so I assumed this guy was saying Hi to someone behind me. But he was looking straight at me. He figured out that I'm a complete dumbass and finally said his name. DUH! I felt like an idiot.

Anyway, he told me that the boats should be gone for good within 30 days! The building across the street is being shutdown completely, so the gates will be locked for safety reasons and they'll have to find some other poor people to bother. I told him that if the apartments have a party to celebrate that we'd be sure to invite him. And he said he'd be there.

I think the party will be the residents of the apartment sitting outside on a beautiful day just enjoying the peace and quiet. ;-)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


You Are Cereal

Playful and lighthearted, breakfast is likely your favorite meal of the day.
(In fact, you're probably the type who sneaks cereal as a midnight snack.)
Your culinary skills are probably a bit lacking... and you are a sucker for junk food.
Some people accuse you of eating like a kid, but you prefer to think of yourself as low maintenance.

LOL! This is a little too accurate, except for the junk food part. I eat it on occasion, but I don't love it.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mannequin by Wire

I remembered yesterday that the very ultra cool Flumadiddle tagged me God only knows how long ago (ha ha ha) to list 8 facts about myself. I know that I did this not too long ago when Fermi tagged me, but I figured what the heck!

Now to come up with 8 new facts about me.

1) Although I went to 12 years of Catholic school and still go to church (although not every Sunday of late like I have been since returning from SF in 2000), I have great respect for other religions, specifically the religious beliefs of Tibet & Nepal (I have prayer flags hanging at my desk and in my apt.). I've studied many aspects of the beliefs of Aztecs, Mayas, Toltecs, and a number of other ancient Mesoamerican peoples and find them utterly fascinating and as worthy as my own (which is being led by a man who wants to take us back to the Dark Ages). I think the ancient Egyptians had the coolest of all gods and wear my Eye of Horus earrings regularly to ward of evil. When friends of mine are going through a particularly rough time and they ask me to pray for them, I will ask my Buddhist and Hindu friends to pray as well, and my agnostic/atheist friends to think good thoughts. I prefer the religions that are tolerant of others.

2) I'm a big ol' wuss when it comes to feats of accomplishments and cry like a baby. And I'm not talking about my own accomplishments because they are a rarity. I'm talking about the Colombian who went out on his own during Sunday's stage of Le Tour de France and made it! I had never heard of Mauricio Soler before last week and here I was crying because he had kicked serious butt in the Alps. I also cried the day before when My (yes, I’m very possessive of my favorite athletes/authors/etc.) Michael Rasmussen kicked some butt of his own and put himself in to the Yellow Jersey for the first time. I was over at Building A yesterday and ran into a guy I know who is also into the Tour and his first words to me were, "Well, I know you're happy with Michael in the yellow jersey." Just to show I'm not rooting for Michael just because he happens to be in the yellow jersey right now. I've a fan of his since he came into the Tour. The funny thing is that I can't really explain why I like some riders over others because for the longest time the only person they ever flippin' interviewed was Lance Armstrong, and occasionally, George Hincapie. I also cried when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 & 2002. I cried when Katherine Legge walked out of the medical center after her horrifying accident last year at Road America. I cry at movies, even happy ones.

3) Although I can't stand NASCAR, I will confess to loving Mark Martin and it breaks my heart that he never won the Championship. He's NASCAR's version of Stirling Moss, although I don't think Mark will ever crash multi-million dollars worth of cars at historic events when he's not supposed to be racing.

4) I suffer from road rage – really bad road rage. The funny thing is that generally once I've reached my destination, I've forgotten it all and I'm my usual sunny self. People who drive under the speed limit make me see red. I do not understand this phenomenon as I have trouble driving the speed limit itself. Driving during the day (as I had to do this morning) is enough to make me want to shoot people. I despise people who drive slower than the speed limit and then as we approach the intersection and subsequent traffic light, the light turns yellow and the fucker in front of me sails through and I have to stop. Or people who brake at green lights *just in case* it turns yellow. The problem is that when the light does turn yellow, they still ALWAYS sail on through and I’m stuck sitting at a light I shouldn't be. I can see the appeal of a cow catcher on the front of the ol' Focus.

5) The older I get the more homebody-ish I get. I like staying home and I even like it when my phone doesn't ring. But then I'll hear that friends went out to a movie and I didn't get invited and I feel hurt. I'm not good at spontaneous either. If you call me at 7:00 to go out to dinner at 7:30, the answer will probably be no. One reason is that I have already eaten dinner. With getting up at 4:30, eating lunch at 11:00 and going to the gym for an hour, I usually eat by 5:00 unless I know I have plans. The thing is that I don’t think I really want to be a homebody. I want people to call me up and say, Hey, we're doing this. Do you want to go?

6) I have never ever wanted children. I knew when I was 12 that I didn't want kids. A friend of the family was staying in a local motel (they had sold their house, but their new house wasn't ready to move into yet) and they invited us up to the motel to go swimming. I couldn't go for the usual girl reason and I remember the lady saying, "Oh, I never have to worry about that anymore." I boggled at her and asked "Why?" "Oh, because I've had a hysterectomy." Now, I didn't have a clue what that was, but I turned to my mom and said, "Mom, I want a hysterectomy." My mom said, "Kathleen, you can't have a hysterectomy. If you have one, you can't have kids." "I don't want kids. I want a hysterectomy." 30 years later I have yet to change my mind about that one.

7) I am an inveterate people-watcher and a firm believer that if you leave the house thinking you look good, you are fair game for ridicule. Now, I don't ridicule people to their faces or anything so rude, but I will point you out to my companions. I do have rules. You can't make fun of things people can't change or over which they have no control, like harelips or other such things. Short fat people in horizontal stripes at a fashion show? Oh yeah, which I saw. If I think you looked in the mirror before you left the house and thought to yourself, "I look good." Then I reserve the right to say, "Uh, no you don't." Just, again, not to your face. If you wear this outfit in public, you totally deserve to be made fun of. If you wear white pants, heels and no underwear to the Cleveland Grand Prix, I will point you out to all of my friends and we will all roll our eyes at the sheer ridiculousness and inappropriateness of your outfit. I do draw the line at people who have obviously just run out of the house for a quick trip to the grocery store in their curlers or sweats, because they didn't look in the mirror (theoretically) and admire themselves. They probably made sure that nothing was hanging out that shouldn't and ran.

8) I love summer. I love warmth. I love sitting outside my house in the sun reading my book, knitting or even just napping. I love sitting outside at Cheli's having a beer with Martha whenever we can in the summer, because soon enough it's going to be winter and I'm going to be cranky and miserable and thinking about moving to Arizona where my knees won't hurt. I like driving with my windows down and my stereo cranked.

So, there you are. Eight new facts about me. I don’t feel like tagging anybody, but if you feel the need, go for it!!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reap The Wild Wind

Okay, something silly from my friend Sal. You have to use your first initial for every category, and you can't use your own name for the boy/girl name. Got it? GO!

Your Name: Kathleen (let me say this is probably easier with a real letter – you know a letter that has more than three pages in the dictionary and half the words aren't either place names or currency).

1. Famous Singer/Band: Nik Kershaw (Okay, he's not that famous, but I love him and even saw him in concert years ago.)
2. 4 letter word: kale
3. Color: Khaki (how boring)
4. Street: Kercheval
5. Gifts/Presents: kitchenware
6. Vehicle: Kit car
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: kitsch
8. Boy Name: Kenneth
9. Girl Name: Karen
10. Movie Title: Kiss Me Deadly
11. Drink: kvass
12. Occupation: knacker
13. Flower: Kalmia latiflolia aka Mountain Laurel
14. Celebrity: Kate Moss (literally the only person I could come up with off the top of my head)
15. Magazine: Knitter's
16. U.S. City: Kalamazoo
17. Pro Sports Teams: Nashville Kats
18. Fruit: Kiwi
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: Killed
20. Something You Throw Away: kitty litter
21. Things You Shout: Killjoy! (actually, you're more likely to hear me yell "Oy vey" or "Bloody hell" but since they didn't start with "k"…)
22. Cartoon Character: Olly the Kookaburra

Let's see, what else do I have today? I know I was planning an update before I saw this at Sal's, so I know there was something going on in my head. Right now, however? I've got nothing!

OH!!! I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before (unless I was scared of jinxing it), but supposedly, my department is moving from Building C (for Crappy) back to Building A (for Fabulous and Within Walking Distance to Kathleen's House). I had the original meeting back in June, but there's now a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to go over the first draft which is interesting since I haven't been given any idea of location. I thought they'd say "Here are the blueprints. These are the cubes available. Go for it." Instead there are going to be six or seven people there.

I'm not sure why people outside my department think they need a say in who sits where, but whatever. Last week there was a spate of e-mails going around and some guy claimed to be the move coordinator for my department. I piped up and said that I was the move coordinator for my dept. and he called me asking, "Why do you think you're the move coordinator for your department?" "Because I've been the move coordinator for my department for the past four years, and I had a meeting with Corporation Land two weeks ago and we discussed the move." Now this guy's boss is our Big Big Big Boss, but she generally treats us like red-headed stepchildren, so I'm not sure why, all of a sudden, she wants to acknowledge our existence, but I most definitely let my boss know what was up. The guy doesn't know my dept. or the people in it from Adam. I'll take care of my dept., thank you very much.

I'm hoping it works out better than I'm thinking it will. I want to get it all done and submitted by next week, so that the move can happen in the middle of August instead of the end or beginning of September. I'm feeling bronchial again and I really don't need bronchitis yet again!!

I actually made it to church on Sunday (I didn't go last week as Mom had called me on Saturday and said she was going that night and since I was out late that night, I was a lame-ass and didn't go), and it was quite nice. It's kind of sad that I don't go to church for the preferred reason, but because I happen to love the majority of people at my church. I used to go for the "right" reason, but I'm not feeling it so much these days, and I have to say that the new Pope is certainly not helping with his "let's turn back the clock to before Vatican II" announcements. I thought the Church was conservative enough. *sigh*

Today one of my friends from church turns 21. I was going to take her out to dinner at My Favorite Restaurant, but when I called her to make definitive plans I found out she doesn't even get off work until 8:00 p.m. Figure 15 minutes to get home, another 15 at least to change clothes, collect her mother and we're looking at 9:00 p.m. before we even get to the restaurant. We all know that I go to bed not long after that as the alarm goes off at 4:15. I tried to pick another day but she works every day until 8:00 p.m. ARGH. However, she's a lifeguard so if it actually rains today and she gets sent home she's going to call me. If not, I'll just take her out in September when lifeguarding is over.

Not much going on otherwise. I was kicking butt on my cousin's afghan, but it was hurting my right hand, so I took a break. Then I was almost through the third ball of Baby Monkey yarn on this scarf I was knitting and I dropped a stitch. BLAST!! The problem here is that it is impossible to find dropped stitches with Baby Monkey, so I had to "frog" the damn thing. Needless to say, it got put away for another day. I have tons of yarn (aka "the stash"), but I don't feel like knitting anything, so instead I just watched Stargate SG-1 and got another disk back in the mail to Netflix. I live such an exciting life, don't I?

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Friday, July 13, 2007

June's Books & Movies

At long last I am listing my June 2007 Books & Movies. Yes, I'm a slacker.


Rip It Up & Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds - 402 pages - I loved this book. If you are the least bit interested in the postpunk movement, then this is the book for you. It gave me all sorts of ideas of new CDs I needed in which I indulged in Austin at Waterloo, the coolest record store since Switched On.

33 1/3: Unknown Pleasures by Chris Ott - 117 pages - I had read bad reviews of this book at amazon.com, but when I saw it at Waterloo, I couldn't resist and I bought it. This book sucked royally. I should have heeded the reviewers at amazon.com, but being the Joy Division freak I am I had to check it for myself. What a load of crap was this book!!!

Alibi by Joseph Kanon - 405 pages - this was a very good book which took place in post WW-II Venice. I was completely sucked in early on, then I didn't want to read it because I didn't like the way it was headed. In the end, I quite liked this book. I've read two other books by Kanon (Los Alamos & The Good German) and now need to get the book before this one. He's not what I would consider a conventional writer as he as interesting twists in his books, but not contrived. I think he's quite a good writer.

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich - 310 pages - I hadn't loved the last book as I was kind of over her blowing up a car every freaking book, but I think Ms. Evanovich figured out that had gotten a little trite, so no car explosions this time around. And for that I was thankful. She got me back with this one. If you've read one, then you know the deal, if you haven't and you like to laugh out loud while reading then check Stephanie Plum out. They're a very quick read, so it's not like it'll take a chunk out of your life. I finished this one in one evening.

A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger - 266 pages - The author of The Perfect Storm this time around tells a story which includes the Boston Strangler. I found it exceptionally intriguing and I knew next to nothing about the Boston Strangler. He theorizes that a man who worked in his home back in the 1960s was the Boston Strangler and could possibly have killed an elderly woman who didn't live more than a few blocks from his childhood home. I haven't read The Perfect Storm, but I might have to think about it.

Book of the month was Rip It Up & Start Again, although I have to say that all the books I read this month (save one) were excellent. I definitely recommend them all.


Stargate SG-1: Season 8 - I was positive that I wasn't going to bother with Season 9 since Richard Dean Anderson isn't in them, but I was wrong, I guess I got sucked in enough that I'm now watching Season 9 from Netflix (when I'm not watching the Tour de France).

Time After Time (N) - 85% - 1979 - I can't remember what made me put this movie on my list, but I did even though movies made in the 70s I find to be a bit suspect. Malcolm McDowell plays H.G. Wells who uses his time machine to follow Jack the Ripper to modern-day (1979) San Francisco. He hooks up with Mary Steenburgen and she tries to help him find Jack. I definitely recommend it.

Volver (N) - 91% - 2006 - A Pedro Almodovar film with Penelope Cruz and that means it was in Spanish and subtitled (the preferred format for foreign films - dubbing is so hideous as to be ridiculous). It reminded of Erendira a movie I saw years ago with that touch of magical realism which Garcia Marquez introduced to the world. And for some reason, I think it only works in Spanish-language films. I had no problem with the mother returning as a ghost. It made perfect sense to me. I think I would have called the police after my daughter killed my pig of a lover, but it wouldn't have made such a good movie, would it? I'm a big fan of Almodovar, although Talk to Her was a tad weird and I don't think I liked that one.

Brick (N) - 77% - 2006 - I do not agree at all with the 77% approval rating at all. I thought this movie was fabulous. It was described as a film noir sent in high school of the present day - which doesn't even begin to describe it well. I loved the lead character. I just thought it was brilliant. If I remember correctly, I got the recommendation from MyUtopia.

Mysterious Skin (N) 82% - 2005 - I put this on my queue because the lead actor from Brick was in it. It was a good movie, but I'm not sure I could recommend it without some caveats. It was different and a little, um, discomfiting, as it was a story about child abuse - not by parents, but by a little league coach and how it affected the two boys. It was sad and a little hard to watch, but worthwhile.

The Italian Job (FX) - 73% - 2003 - Yes, I know, I've seen it a jillion times, but it was on TV and I needed something light and frivolous since it was the day after the Libertarian dumped me.

Maurice Richard: The Rocket (DFT) - 2005 - Not enough reviews at rottentomatoes.com, probably because it's a Canadian film. Anyway, you know that whoever made this film did a good job when I end up rooting for the Montreal Canadiens (which never ever happens). If you're a hockey fan, this is a must see. I thought it was very well done and quite interesting - I would think even if you're not a hockey fan. Definitely check it out.

The Last King of Scotland (N) - 88% - 2006 - Forest Whitaker did an incredible job of playing Idi Amin's multiple personalities (not saying he was schizophrenic, but he could go from maniacal to charming in fairly short order). It is based on the novel by the same name which was not purely historical, but added in the fictional character of a Scottish doctor. I found the commentary very interesting, especially the people talking about how fabulous Idi Amin was. Um, okay, whatever.

The Boondock Saints (N) 20% - 1999 - I also got the separate disk of extras about which I remember next to nothing two weeks later. Anyway, I disagree completely with the 20% approval rating. I quite liked this movie. Willem Dafoe was good as the gay FBI agent. Sean Patrick Flannery played one of the Irish brothers and Billy Connolly was also in it. It was a tad violent, but I did get the uncut version and it was about two brothers who start killing people they think deserve it, essentially people in the mob. I don't even really like gangster movies and The Sopranos hold no interest for me, but I liked this movie.

Best Movie of the Month has to go to Brick, although Time After Time was very good, as was Volver. It was a good month for movies and books!!!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Canton by Japan

I'm thinking that I didn't warn you all that I was on forced vacation last week, which apparently meant I could not post an entry. I thought about it, but the only day I really had the time was Tuesday and I was depressed, ergo, not really up to entertaining you all with my life, as I wasn't being all that entertained by my life then.

I had a good week off, for the most part, even though I didn't go anywhere. Before the break started I had talked to someone re: the model boats and was told that they had been informed that they were not allowed to use the lake/pond during the entire forced vacation. That's a full ten days of peace and quiet, right? Woohoo! My Contact told me to take his cell phone # home with me and to call if they showed up at all. I honestly, because I'm a dumbass, thought they wouldn't show up since they had been told they couldn't be here.

Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. I heard the familiar high-pitched whine of one of those blasted boats. I ran outside, walked to the curb and made my phone call. Contact didn't answer his phone, so I left a message. While driving to Knitting Club less than an hour later, Contact called me back and said he had made a few phone calls including one to company security and they were going to roust the guy. Contact said, "Let's hope he passes the word along to his buddies that they can't be here." You can hope all you want, but things don't happen by hope, apparently.

Knitting Club was very interesting while also proving to me that I'm worthless unless I'm knitting something mindless. Soyon took a class on entrelac and she tried to teach us how to do it. Julieu and EGC picked it up, but me? Not so much. I have to try it again, but right now I'm really trying to finish up my cousin's afghan. Maybe then I'll try the entrelac again.

Canada Day I spent at the beach with Pamela and Michelle. We had food and lemonade and it was all good. I missed the Champ Car race from St. Jovite, Quebec, and forgot to set the VCR, but I called Ursamajor and asked her to DVR it for me. I've been lame, however, and haven't gotten over to her place to watch it. HRH was appalled to find out that not only had I not watched the race yet but knew nothing about it. I told her it's hideously easy to avoid Champ Car news.

Monday I went to the Zoo with Pamela and Michelle again, along with a woman from work. We had a good time and the weather wasn't too hideously hot at all. I've already posted the pics up at flickr.com. We stopped briefly to look at the hippo (something I normally don't do as I think they're quite ugly) and while looking at the hippo we were discussing the fact that I have had a number of people offer me hippo stuff after I've asked about rhino stuff (i.e., FAO Schwartz worker said, "We don't have any rhinos, but we do have hippos." This IT guy who had been flirting with me via e-mail sent me a message saying, "I saw a TV show about hippos over the weekend. They're kind of like rhinos.") and how rhinos are nothing like hippos. While the four of us were talking some woman butted in and said, "This is a hippo, not a rhino." WTF!?!? Did we look to be three-years-old? Pamela just turned and said, "Yes, we know. We were discussing rhinos." The woman wouldn't let it go, however, and said, "Hippos are so much cooler than rhinos, in my opinion. Did you know that they sleep on the bottom of rivers, but rise automatically to breathe?" You'll all be so proud of me. I didn’t say a word about how wrong she was wrong and how rhinos are infinitely cooler and cuter than hippos. Pamela said she wanted to say, "Do you really think I don't know the difference between a rhino and a hippo?" We were all so proud of ourselves for not taking the bitch down. ;-)

Nobody would agree with me that the rhinos are cute, even though they would concede that they are much much much cooler than hippos. I couldn't find the tree kangaroo and I kept telling them that it was really cute and we had to find it (never did), but they questioned my cute judgement, so I had to tell them, "No, not cute like a rhino, but cute like a prairie dog." They were then willing to look a little longer. I did find out that my co-worker's father also loves rhinos, so now she knows two people who appreciate rhinos appropriately. ;-)

Tuesday was HELL. It started with me trying to catch the bratface children to take them to the vet (this is why I put it off for four months). Boris is relatively easy to catch, but Igor? Oh dear heavens, he's so lucky to be alive today. I was ready to kill him. He's so bloody quick and he knows what I'm about to do. And he just takes off. Everybody says, "Why don't you catch him first?" Fucking A!!! I'm not stupid, people. I'm just not quicker than my damn cat. I know to catch him first, it just doesn't work out that way. I caught Boris TWICE in significantly less time than it took me to catch Igor. Twice you ask? I caught him, put him in what is traditionally Igor's carrier (soft-sided, netting, canvas type), closed the side where I put him, thought the top was completely closed – which it wasn't.

I finally scared Igor into the closet from under the bed, follow him, close the door and proceed with yet another fight to get him into the bloody carrier. This is when I discovered that Boris had escaped the fancy-ass carrier. Oh, I was fit to be tied at this point, but found Boris sitting relatively calmly in the living (family?) room and caught him again with next to no problems. Igor screamed all the friggin' way to the vet and I was ready to kill him. Good thing he wasn't a model boat or Crave and that I love him.

Tuesday night I went dancing, but didn't take any ibuprofen so after two hours, my knees and my right hip had me saying good-bye and heading home. Pathetic. It didn't help that I had been thinking about the Libertarian and how I had hoped to spend forced vacation time with him. Yeah, I know, stupid.

I had zero plans for the 4th, as my family as never been big on BBQs or anything like that. I ended up watching Disc 1 from Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 from Netflix. I took a 3 hour nap and then, of course, couldn't sleep that night. Again, I'm a dumbass.

Thursday found me back at the Zoo as my friend Rick from CT (he's commented a few times) was in town and that's where he was going to be with his fiancee Delia. Moron hadn't told me that he had gotten engaged. Delia said something and I questioned "Fiancee?" She showed me the ring and I smacked Rick from CT for not telling me. I lasted a good five hours before my feet cried "Uncle." and I went home. Here Rick and me at the Zoo.

Friday was a nice, semi-relaxing day. I went for sushi with Martha, went shoe shopping at DSW, but I couldn't find anything at the DSW by the sushi restaurant, but Martha found a cute pair for $10!!! Can't beat that with a stick. I went to the DSW by my house and found five pairs of sandals. I hadn't bought any sandals for a few year so it was all good, especially since I found one pair for $7 and another for $9. Woohoo!!! HRH called me from the Toronto race to ask me to check on qualifying and I had to tell her that I was out shoe shopping. This is something that would never ever happen in her world - shoe shopping instead of following qualifying on-line???? Dear heavens!!! It'd be different if I could buy Race Director and get all the cool features, but they don't support the Mac, so why bother?

That night I watched Disc 2 Season 9 of SG-1. How lame am I? There wasn't even Richard Dean Anderson to make it a bit more interesting. *sigh*

Saturday was even more exciting as I did laundry. I did have a party on Saturday night which was fun. We watched the Tigers game which went 13 innings (I was beginning to think it was never going to end) and then just chatted and hung out with friends. Mom had called me and told me she was going to church that afternoon as she had a cough (I think it comes from working in a pediatrician's office), so I didn't set my alarm which means I didn't go to church. Good thing Mom's praying for me, eh?

This meant that when I got up Sunday morning I called Martha and we made plans for the day. We went to Meijer and got veggies for grilling for dinner. Martha likes to work in the kitchen alone (meaning she wouldn't let me help) and made a macaroni salad. We then went for an hour long walk in the 90+F heat and humidity. (Have I mentioned how much I hate Barry Bonds?) Then we hung out and I read the fifth Harry Potter (since the movie comes out this week) while Martha read the paper.

We had lovely grilled veggies for dinner with Paul Newman's balsamic vinaigrette (nothing icky in it), then I read some more while Martha did some sort of gardening crap. She can't sit still. I have no problem sitting still and reading. I left in time to shower (it was so hot and sticky and icky) and then watch the Champ Car race from Toronto. HRH had to be in her glory as there was rain (yuk).

And now it's time for the Home Run Derby! GO MAGGLIO!!!! (Dear heavens, I hate the friggin' Counting Crows! Thank God for the *mute* button.).