December 2002 Archives

Weblogs for Lutherans.

When I was a kid, my parents bought life insurance for me from Lutheran Brotherhood, which is now (the lamely named) Thrivent. Today's mail brought their monthly "magazine". The very first page had a small paragraph entitled "Blogs Anyone?" explaining what a weblog is, and directing readers to Lutherans Online to create their own.

Ugh. Feeling wrung out. Too much overtime, not enough sunshine.

On the up side, I had my review today. It was all good, and I received a $1 raise. I'll try not to let that big money go to my head. At this rate, in three years I'll be making a really decent wage for 2000.


Seriously, I need to remind myself that while I am still not making very much, the extra dollar will add up to $160 a month, pre-tax.

Your trash is not safe.

Way. Too. Scary.

Finally saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this weekend. It took quite a while for me to see it, as life has been rather busy of late, but it was worth the wait.

Following the movie, I got into an interesting conversation with my companion on the game of quidditch. On the surface, it does seem that since the game ends when the snitch is caught, and the snitch is worth 150 points, the whole point of the game is to catch the snitch. After all, getting the quaffle throught the hoops only earns 10 points. However, given that there is no time limit for the game, points can certainly rack up. Catching the snitch may not mean much to a team that has been leading, but it can make the difference for a team that is trailing badly. Also, if I recall from the books, the overall point spread makes a difference for long term standing. Still I suppose, the snitch might have been a little more reasonable at, say, 50 points or so......

Good lord, am I really discussing the scoring of quidditch? At this hour?

Off to bed now.



Found on Neil Gaiman's blog:

"Lots of people asking if it's true that Miyazaki's next film is going to be Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. And it is."

Woo hoo!

<busily writing out thank you cards for all my gifts>

Ooooo. The sun has moved so that it is not yet on my computer screen, but it is lighting up my reflection on the screen. For the first time ever, I saw my mom looking out at me.

Ok kids, keep those cards an letters rolling in. Let's make sure Firefly stays on the air...somewhere.

I have a very strong urge to go see Spirited Away again.

Well, driving stick shift has gotten progressively easier. I still stall out from time to time, but for the most part it has been good. I've driven in heavy traffic and parallel parked. Go me. So, I was very amused to read this article on stick shift as a dinosaur. Harrumph! Fortunately, also had an article with the opposing view, so it kept me from getting depressed or indignant.

Currently eating: homemade chocolate truffle with cayenne pepper. Kerri, you rock!

(Note: I often wish that more of my friends had blogs, so that I could link to them during my shout-outs. No luck, though.)

From the "They cannot Be Serious Dept":

Happily Married, Pregnant Doll Pulled from Store Shelves for Promoting Teen Motherhood

What? The doll (yes, plastic Barbie toy) represents a mature, married woman who happens to be pregnant. Has anyone taken note of the fact that many of the dolls sold for small girls are, in fact, baby dolls? Wouldn't that promote teen motherhood more than a "wait till you are older and married" role model? Sheesh!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

While driving,I saw a car with the licence plate "CYMKRGB". It made me laugh. Definately a graphics geek.

Still great the second time around. I did miss the first couple minutes, because I decided to stop for sushi before heading to the theater. I would have made it, but getting and paying my bill took forever. Some observations:

* The dragon is so amazingly beautiful. Everything a dragon should be.
*Chihiro/Sen's English voice is done by the actress who played Samantha Darko.
*I love the train.
*Yubaba/Zeniba is fabulously amusing.
*Very convincing body postures/movements for the young girl.
*Still wigged out by the stair way scene.

I think I am going to need to see this one again and again. After the movie, I stopped at Four Star to rent Princess Mononoke, but it was out, so I got Watership Down and The Wings of Honneamise, two old favorites, instead.

Spirited Away was amazing. I am considering going back to see it again tonight. I was everything I look for in an animated movie (for children) and so much of what Disney has been failing to provide in recent years: true magic, complexity, and beauty. It made me laugh, it made me wonder, and it made me sit up and take notice of everythig that was happening onscreen. It was an exciting film; one hair-raising moment on a stairway had me clinging to my chair in sympathy. At the same time, I left the movie feeling relaxed, as if I had been meditating.

It would do the movie a great disservice if I tried to sum up the plot. Comparisons to Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass are a little over used these days, but it would work. Really it fits in with a whole spectrum of movies with a "girl goes on quest to rescue lost/enchanted loved one(s), makes friends, influences people" motif. And I must say, I love a tale with a strong heroine at the center. Who says adventure and rescuing are for the boys?



Have yourself a merry little Solstice.

Time to make a sacrifice, so that the sun will rise again.

I think tonight would be a good night to re-read Hogfather.

Needless to say, expect a review sometime soon.

I find something inherently depressing about sitting home on a Friday night. Always have. So, snowing or not, I'm going to see Spirited Away.

Wanna boogie? So, not having a television, I hadn't even heard of the boxer boogie till last night. It made me giggle. I'm not a tremendous fan of advertising, but if it has to be there, it can at least be painless. This one of downright entertaining. (God that music is makes me want a martini!)

In case you are wondering, Vaughn Lowery is his name.

Ok, TV execs, listen up. Firefly is a damn fine show. Fox is run by fools. (But then we knew that, didn't we.) I'll take Firefly over that anemic Star Trek thing with the godawful theme song.

Was sent this URL today. I like the "technical difficulties" concept.

So now then, Star Trek.

I never saw Insurrection, and I can't compare Generations because of the William Shatner handicap, but I didn't enjoy Nemesis quite as much as I did First Contact. It reminded me of the fact that despite liking the show, the only regular character I really ever liked was Picard. I guess he makes up for a lot. Still, it was a fun little movie.

The make-up design was brilliant, and despite some very contrived moments in the plot, there were plenty of sweet spots to make up for them. One of the problems inherent in making a series of movies off of a tv series is that there is so much back story and subtext that the majority of the audience already knows, but still must somehow be conveyed to the first-timers in the crowd. As someone familiar with the backstory it is hard to say, but I think there were some important elements that were left unexplained to the uninitiated.

I'm really trying to leave out spoilers here. I am not a big fan of reviews that give away major sections of the plot. I was tempted to do two reviews, and give a spoiler warning on the second, but I don't see much point at the moment. In short, Star Trek: Nemesis is a good film for Trek afficianados, a good film to see on the big screen, and a good film to see as a matinee.

Things I plan to take to Ebay:

*gold ring (size 6.5)
*30 Lb compound youth bow
*art/art history books
*photo enlarger
*some clothes and shoes

(If anyone wants to try and beat the Ebay crowd, feel free to e-mail me. It'll be at least a week before I have any auctions up, anyway.)

One thing I like to do is take a number of (presumably) unrelated pop songs and put them together to form a coherent story.

For example:

*Jesse's Girl by Rick Springfield
*The Weakness in Me by Joan Armatrading
*My Best Friend's Girl by The Cars

Guy has best friend, and girlfriend. Guy's friend goes after girlfriend. Girlfriend falls for friend, leaves guy for friend. Guy laments.


*Breaking the Girl by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
*Under My Thumb by The Rolling Stones
*Free Girl Now by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Emotionally stunted man breaks down his formerly vibrant girlfriend. Guy rejoices at her newly submissive attitude. Girl comes to her senses, leaves stupid jerk, and her friends rejoice.

Does anyone else do this? Try it, it's kinda fun. (Makes for cool mix tapes, too.)

Sad little story, all around.

I certainly would never even think to tell a classroom full of five-year-olds that there was no Santa. That seems too, cruel, and a job left to the parents or (most likely) other kids. I hung onto my belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny as long as possible. I hung on, sometimes, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Why? After all, it did open me up to (extra) ridicule from my classmates. Well, I hung on to those beliefs because they were magic, and I wanted to have magic in my world. I wanted (and still want) faeries and ghosts and kindly saints that bring gifts. I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting magic.

On the other hand, I don't think that having Santa visit the class to convince the kids of his realness is a good idea either. Some people argue against Santa et al because it is lying to children. I don't agree with that view, but I do think that once the jig is up, saying "No, seriously, he does exist. Really, believe us. Look." is a bad choice. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I doubt many kids, after the initial disillusionment felt that they had been wrongly decieved (I know I didn't). However, the second attempt does come across as blatant lying. Disillusionment is sad, but you have to move on. You can't prop up that sort of magic once it has fallen; it is too fragile.

If I ever have children, I would like for them to Believe as long as they can. I think the Santa Lucia tradition is a good one to help the transition. If the oldest girl has always been Santa Lucia on the 13th, it makes more sense when you discover that mom and dad have been "St. Nick" and Santa Claus on the 5th and the 24th. A little magic for everyone.

By the way, tomorrow is Friday the Thirteenth (don't get all spooked out now. It's not that bad.) Since it is December thirteen, I'm sure all you eldest daughters out there are getting your candle-wreathes and white dresses ready for that door-to-door coffee delivery. Right?....Right?.... Oh.

Well, have a good one anyway.

Hmmmm. Since I doubt I will be coming across an envelope of money anytime soon, and "Christmas miracles" only seem to happen on TV movies, and since the "save whatsherface" thing has already had its 15 minutes and died, I think I am going to gather together all of the possessions that I could probably get by without and put them all on Ebay. I'm just soooooo sick of being in debt. (Especially credit card, though the student loans bite, too.) It's a drag and it is making me sound bitter and crabby way to often. (Like now.)

Aw hell, I'm going to bed. I promise I'll find something entertaining to blog about in the next day or two.

I am going to see Star Trek: Nemesis tomorrow night with the gang from work. I'm rather looking forward to it, sill fun. I should have a report for you this weekend. Meanwhile, Wil Wheaton weighs in. (That's really a shame.)

Most of today was simply to awful to write about. The condensed versions is: medical billing tends to suck the pipe, and I really love my friends and family.

On a bright note, my tree has been trimmed. Pretty. Shiny. Piney.

By the by, I now have a car title and licence plates. Driving is an adventure.

I also have a tree in my living room. Wheeee!

Fashion, part III: Hats.

Oddly enough, I was just in Sacred Feather last week with a friend, trying to find him a warm winter hat. We had fun trying on the hats and being silly. While I was there, I found a hat that was actually quite flattering on me, but being light brown, it didn't match any coat that I own. There was a similar hat, in black with red trim, which (probably) wasn't quite as flattering, color-wise, but very cute and a match for my wool coat. I think that if either hat is still there in January....when the cold "Oh God! I need a hat!" feeling has set in for me, I may just buy one. (If not, then it wasn't meant to be, and I certainly won't cry myself to sleep over it. :)

I have a Jeep. I have insurance. Tomorrow I will be getting registration and all that fun DMV stuff. Wooo.

It's all a wee bit overwhelming. However, learning stick shift is going well. I have no problems driving it, but getting out of a dead stop to 1st or reverse is tricky. I have a tendency to stall out at those times. Fortunately, I have given up being freaked out by that, and calmly restart the vehicle, then buck on out of my stop.

She needs a name, still.

I need sleep.

On more note before I stop running around the house and actually go to bed.

Low-fat eggnog is thin and gross. However, add a little ameretto to the low-fat eggnog, and while it remains thin, it is no long gross. Let's hear it for alcohol.


In other news, I spent the night decorating a friend's Christmas tree and watching Donnie Darko. I really liked the movie, and found it less disturbing than did some of the people with whom I was watching. Very neat ending, which I will not spoil for you, if you have not seen it. Needless to say, when I returned home I headed right to the website, to finish reading the "don't read this if you haven't seen the movie" section. Somehow, the movie helped me to understand the website, and the website helped me understand the movie. They tied together very well, though one might argue that it is best for the movie to stand on its own. That having been said, I think the movie would be a very nice, rich cake, while the site is merely frosting.

Things happen because.

New information. I just realized that this coming semester, the Typography class that I would be able to take after work is offered on Monday and Wednesdays nights, from 5:30-8:30. Choral Union practice is Monday nights from 7:30-9:30. Granted, I don't even know if I would be able to get into that section, but I hardly want to drop out of Choral Union after finally making it in. Typography will have to wait until a semester that it is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Web Design *is* offered Tuesday/Thursday. So, I put it to you web people. Do I take the class, or do I save my money and continue to learn as I go?

Coming to a conclusion. I can afford the car payments with no problem. I am, however, going to have to get another job to cover insurance. Sweet Christ!

I got the loan. I shall be getting the Jeep.

<proceeds to do cabbage patch, whilst singing, "I'm gettin' a Jeep!">

*If all goes well, I may soon be the owner of a Jeep. Cross your fingers that I can get the loan.

*One of my loved ones is being worrisome.

*Millinery needs to make a comeback. Bring back hats!

*Terry Pratchett is amazing.

*I will never again do business with the Car Care Clinic. Bastards.

*Free food is yummy...I highly approve of Christmas treats at work (especially from clients).

*Honesty (combined with tact, of course) really is a good policy.

Yay! I'm getting a tree this weekend, direct from the Northwoods. I love my family.

Bowling for Columbine was, to use a hugely over-used phrase, thought provoking. Some parts were funny, some were sad, some made me angry, and some made me uncomfortable. The mood swung back and forth from minute to minute.

Michael Moore raised more questions that he gave answers , but that is not surprising. The subject of violence in general, and gun violence in particular does not lend itself to pat answers tied up in neat little ribbons. The movie did an excellent job at raising questions, and Moore's earnest concern for those who are hurting propelled his quest for answers.

His deep empathy for the downtrodden, combined with an artful naivete puts him at odds with those in positions of power, be they movie-stars, politicians, or PR managers. I admire the childlike logic about the way the world should work; which sends him into KMarts headquarters to return the bullets lodged in a high school student's body; which send him door to door to see if people in Canada really don't lock their houses; which sends him after celebrities to hold them accountable for their actions. He wants people to play fair, just like we were taught in kindergarten.

Of course, he doesn't play fair, either. Over and over in the movie, we see him putting people on the spot, forcing them into no-win situations where they will either lose outrigth, or win, but look like an asshole. His editing skill with sound bites allows people's own words t play them the fool, leaving them hoist on their own petard. The emotions of the viewer (in this case, me) are made fresh and raw by clip after clip of real life violence. No matter how many times I see the second plane flying into the south tower, the pain of that moment does not lessen. Seeing the actual security and crime scene footage of the Columbine shooting was also unsettling. On the whole, the multiple clips of people shooting themselves and others began to feel like a snuff film. Real death and real pain made larger than life for our viewing pleasure. Even as Moore critiques our culture of violence and voyeurism, he feeds that same beast.

That aside, there were some startlingly good interviews (Marilyn Manson!) and many good points to ponder. I found it as a whole to be brash yet sensitive. I would like to see it again. Perhaps once more on the big screen, and then again as a recording, so that I can stop and jump around, fact check (I'd love to check on some of the stats) and examine some thoughts more thoughroughly.

I recommend this movie for the curious and the open minded, but warn that it is not for the faint of heart.



My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which I finally saw this weekend, was worth the watch. It was genuinely funny, with likable characters and realistic, though certainly exaggerated, situations.

I could say more, but as I type this, I realize that everything I want to say about it has already been said in a dozen or so other reviews.

Short version: Good movie, go see it.


Mmmmm. Just started in on the newest Discworld novel, Night Watch. As one would presume from the title, it is a Commander Vimes story. As one would presume from th author, it is a page turner.

One brief note whilst I work up my movie reviews: Michael Moore looks and moves very much like a bear. Maybe a polar bear. Minus the white furry coat,of course. And I doubt his teeth or nails are that long or sharp. But otherwise....

Had a double feature today. I went to see both My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bowling for Columbine. They were both really excellent, in completely different ways. I will review them both when I am not so tired, and have had time to think.


Greetings and happy first day of Advent to everyone. I've put up my silly construction paper chain, 25 links long, to count off the days. When we were kids, we had a number of Advent traditions. There was the paper chain, of course. We had a paper Advent calendar that we re-used every year. It had little windows that the child whose turn it was could open to reveal a small picture. It was accompanied by a little story book, with a page for each night. The page with the matching little picture would have a small bit of the Christmas story, with pretty illustrations. We had another small paper Advent calendar. This one had no book, and instead of a picture, each window revealed a little poem. When I was about six, my mom made an embroidered angel in a frame, with 25 little pockets. Each pocket held a little present, clue, or IOU for the child whose night it was. Finally, after the reading of the calendar, we would usually be awarded a small piece of candy, such as an After Eight mint.

Here is a silly virtual Advent calendar from the Guardian. If you don't mind midi-songs that play automatically, you'll like this one. Here is one that is a but more flavorful. However, this one is my favorite.

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