Monday, January 31, 2005

What's Wrong With This Picture #2

Click to enlarge
If you think you know, comment below.
(There really is something wrong with this picture, though, I'll admit that this one is harder than the last one! I'll give clues, if needed.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Don't Think You Have A Head For Business??

Think again.

This guy sold his forehead as a billboard on eBay. . .

Click Here to read article

. . . for more than $37,000.

What would you advertise on your forehead?

One month for, say, an even $50-grand.

Nothing? Anything? Would you have your whole face covered in ads like a stock car and laugh all the way to the bank?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Switched At Birth?

This picture was taken a couple of years ago, but is still one of my favorites of Hannah. She had been dragging the toy-lightsaber around by the green end for a while, but eventually found the handle and lifted the other end, striking a perfect "battle stance" for just a moment. Fortunately, I had the camera ready!

Is this better, Prink?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Phantom of the Opera

Films Recently Watched:

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera (2004) dir. by Joel Schumacher

Though my High School friends and I were obsessed with the music and story of ALW's Phantom, I've still never seen a stage production of this musical. I wore out my "Highlights" cassette tape, borrowed books from the library dealing with the production, I once even started to read the original (1911) novel by Gaston Leroux, though I didn't make it very far before giving it up.

I liked this as a movie. There is definitely something exhilarating about seeing a live performance, but I would hope that those who have seen this live would give the film a chance.

It's unfortunate that this has been critically dismissed for the most part. Why is it that often, the most creative criticism that can be mustered with regard to musicals is that the characters sing? Give me a break, it's a freaking MUSICAL! Sorry to be so apologetic about it. Is that a paradox?

I loved getting reacquainted with this show. It had been a long time since I'd thought much about Phantom and I did nothing in preparation for seeing it. Several songs brought a grin of recognition when they began. I had even forgotten entirely about the songs, Prima Donna, and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.

The music was great, the sets and costumes were lavish, the colors were vivid, the performances were right on; what's not to love?

I think that the source of any legitimate criticism would either have to be with the original musical or the adaptation to film.

If you don't like the stage show of Phantom, you're unlikely to enjoy the film. According to those that have seen both, it is extremely faithful to the stage production, possibly to a fault. I can see that an effect designed for the stage might shock and amaze during a live show, but on screen, that same effect may fizzle simply due to the fact that the movie-going-audience has been spoiled by bigger and better Hollywood special effects.

Give it a chance.

Currently playing in select cities. Opening Nationwide this Friday, January 21, 2005.

Locations and Showtimes

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Holi-daze

[Click on any picture for a bigger version.]

Sorry I've taken so long to get together an update about the recent holidays. I've had this post saved as a draft for a couple of weeks, at least, but never got around to finishing it. It's probably just as well that I can look back now on the last few weeks while being removed from the immediate stress of it all.

The craziness began when we got 10+ inches of snow on the morning of 12/23.
A White Christmas, to be sureThe infamous 'No-Plow'
I had the 23rd and 24th off from work as my Christmas holiday. Christy, on the other hand, had medicine to deliver to people (that's her job) regardless of the weather, even though her employer called to tell her the offices would be closed that day. So, on my first "day off," I was up at 6:30am shoveling snow so that Christy could get to work. My neighbor, who had attached a blade to his pickup truck, had promised that he'd have all the snow taken care of. Well, as you can see, that didn't quite work out. To be fair, he did come out later and helped get the rest of the alley cleared. Knowing that we'd be leaving the next day and not back until late Christmas day, I spent much of the day (off and on) shoveling our entire driveway so that it would be clear when Christy's family began arriving shortly after Christmas.

Christmas Eve was with Mom's family at my Mom & Dad's house. Since we were already going to be there for Christmas Eve and again on Christmas morning, we stayed overnight at their house and didn't have to travel on Christmas morning.
Christmas EveChristmas Morning
On Christmas morning, my sister's family came from Illinois and we had our gift exchange, etc. with our parents, and our immediate families.

Christmas evening we went to my Aunt and Uncle's house and celebrated with Dad's extended family. After spending the evening there, we drove home, I dropped off Christy and Hannah at our house and then drove to the Indianapolis Airport to pick up Christy's brother and his family who were flying in from California. Their flight was scheduled to arrive at 11:58pm on the 25th, but was about an hour late. Luckily, I had remembered to bring my book with me, so I didn't mind waiting. They arrived safely and I took them back to our house for the night. We didn't make it to church on the 26th. Sunday afternoon, Christy's sister and family arrived from Ohio. Later Sunday afternoon, Andrew and I went to their old house in Indy (which they're still trying to sell) in order to check on it, shovel some snow, and turn on the furnace to begin heating it so people would be comfortable sleeping there. You see, our house is about 900 sq. ft. The kitchen, dining room and living room are all open to one another which makes it great for entertaining, but with only two bedrooms, it isn't ideal for sleeping 10 adults and 3 small children. So for the most part, our guests spend their days at our house and their nights at the house in Indy. Not ideal, but it worked. Christy's parents and oldest brother arrived on Monday. Since everybody who was coming was there, we decided that it would be best to have our Christmas dinner and gift exchange that evening.

We made one mistake with regards to the frozen turkey we bought for Christmas dinner - we didn't start thawing it before we left to go to my parent's house on Christmas Eve. However, once we realized that a frozen turkey wouldn't thaw properly in a day and a half, we quickly realized that we would need a plan B. At Meijer, I found a fresh young thing named "Plan B" so I brought it back home with me and placed in the refrigerator. When the time came, we opened it, rinsed it, stuffed it, put it in the bag and in a roasting pan and in the oven. Following the guidelines that came with the turkey bags, we were expecting our 14 lb, stuffed turkey to be finished in about 2.75 hours. 2.75 hours later, the turkey looked great, smelled great, and the meat thermometer went to 190°, so we began carving it to discover that it was still underdone (Christy kept saying it was still "bloody," which, while true, seemed slightly more disconcerting and graphic than my preferred description, "underdone.") in a couple of places. Unfortunately, by the time we discovered this, the turkey bag was already in the trash, the stuffing was out and most of the other food was ready or nearly ready to eat. "Let's give it another 20 minutes," we said - still underdone. "Let's give it another 20 minutes" - still underdone. "Let's open presents and let the sucker burn!!" So, we opened presents, but the sucker didn't burn. Two hours late, it was finally done but some of the other food was past its prime. Christy makes killer homemade mashed potatoes, but these were glossy, gummy mashed potatoes. They tasted fine, but didn't look too great. All things considered, the meal turned out pretty good.

Tuesday, everybody went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. It was busy there, but I believe that everybody had a good time, even those who were skeptical about going to a "Children's" Museum.
Aaron is diggin' the DinosphereKatherine smiling at the Children's MuseumGetting off the carousel at the Children's MuseumTaking a break at the Children's Museum

I don't think we had any concrete plans for Wednesday. A few people went to a matinee at a local theater. I spent most of my day putting together the nightmare that is American Plastic Toys' 'Doll Care Center.' Warning!: clicking on the image to the right will take you to the ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS for this product. This may serve as permanent birth control for anyone not prepared for the often underrated "Some Assembly Required/Batteries Not Included" demands of parenthood. Please click or do not click based on your desired results. And in case you're wondering, this one wasn't a gift from somebody else. I did this to myself. Nobody to blame but me!

Later Wednesday, Christy's sister's family went home to Ohio, except they (intentionally) left their oldest son, Nate, who wanted to stay and be with the family.

Thursday, Christy's parents and oldest brother left to return to Michigan. Christy and I ditched the remainder of the family at our house (we did leave them the other car so they could get Nate to his friend's house, which, conveniently, is located in Anderson), ditched Hannah at daycare (we were fresh out of cars by then so Hannah didn't get one) and went to Muncie to run some errands, eat lunch and catch a matinee.

Friday (New Year's Eve), Nate got dropped off early at our house by his friends' parents, Andrew and Carol ran errands in Indianapolis before coming back to our house for the evening. Christy's sister's family returned from Ohio to pick up Nate and to celebrate the New Year with family. Everybody, including all three of the children under 5 stayed up until and past midnight on New Year's Eve.

Hannah & KatherineKatherine & Hannah

Saturday, (New Year's Day), Christy's sister's family left again, this time with Nate.

Sunday, Andrew and Carol went to their old church, moved out of their house in Indy and spent their last night back at our house. It was a hectic week, but we were pleased to get to catch up with family, especially Andrew and Carol and Katherine, whom we hadn't seen since they moved to California in March. Mainly with all that's happened, I'm just happy that everyone is healthy and safe.

Monday, we got up early, and went to the airport for Andrew's family to depart from Indy. They arrived safely in California later that day. I had the day off work, did some merchandise returns, some other shopping, and saw the new Phantom of the Opera film (Review coming shortly).

Tuesday, I went back to work.

Wednesday, I went to work, but because of the ice storm coming, they were shutting the servers down at work, so I left a little early. At home, we lost power sometime during the night.
See post entitled, Homeless

Power came back on 5 days later.

We were able to be home for 3 nights, then...

...we got evacuated from home due to nearby Magnesium Fire - See post entitled, Homeless...Again!

Oh, and I was in a minor car accident last Thursday. Nobody seriously hurt, but it easily could have been a lot worse.

Needless to say, it's been an exciting year so far, and it's only January 17th!

Films Recently Watched:

Shrek 2 (2004) dir. by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
Better than the first one, but will still fade over time with so many recent pop culture references......

Meet The Fockers (2004) dir. by Jay Roach
I wanted to see Phantom, Christy wanted to see The Polar Express and each of us was willing to go to see the other if the timing worked out better. Neither worked out, so we saw this instead. Bottom line...O.K., but not as good as the first one. I felt like there were too many main-ish characters in this film. The first one was mostly about the relationship between Stiller's and DeNiro's characters. While there were important supporting characters, the source of the conflict in the first film was clearly between Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes. The sequel throws in Greg's parents (played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand) as new main characters and a handful of new supporting characters. There was still conflict between Greg and Jack, but also between the Focker family and the Byrnes family and more pointedly between Greg's father, Bernie (played by Hoffman) and Jack Byrnes. Add to the mix a cussing baby, a surprise illegitimate child, a potty-trained cat and a horny dog and you've got the mess of a movie called, Meet The Fockers. "Keep It Simple, Stupid" is often good advice and certainly would have been in this case.

High Noon (1952) dir. by Fred Zinnemann
Received DVD as a Christmas gift. Watched with family while several others went to see Darkness at a local theater. I watched this movie for the first time several months ago when I was exploring some of the classic Westerns. A great old story about an ex-sheriff, Will Kane (Gary Cooper) who chooses to stay and defend his town against a group of outlaws and their leader, Frank Miller, whom he put away in prison, but is now returning on the noon train. The townspeople abandon Kane to do the fighting by himself -- and all this on his wedding day!
The editing in this film is amazing (it won the Oscar for editing). Most of the film runs nearly in real time. Watch for the way shots of various clocks are used throughout the film. This film is a perfect example of how editing can be used to create tension. If you've never seen this classic, I highly recommend it. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Duel (1971) dir. by Steven Spielberg
Received DVD as a Christmas gift. Watched with family, including several who had never seen it before. See my earlier review.

A Christmas Story (1983) dir. by Bob Clark
Watched With Family

Christmas Vacation (1989) dir. by Jeremiah S. Chechik
Watched with Family

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Saturday, January 15, 2005


You're not gonna believe this.

Due to a Magnesium fire that has made national news, we've been forced from our home yet again.

We left home for the evening mostly unaware that anything was going on. We saw a few helicopters, but didn't know what they were doing. We went to get a bite to eat and then were going to an open house at our church for some friends. I had forgotten a few things at work, so I drove on up to Alexandria to grab those. As soon as I turned South to come back to Anderson I saw the fire and smoke plume (that's from about 12 miles away, well after dark).

I managed to snap a couple of pictures, but only from a distance; when I can get home to get them off the camera, I'll add them to this post [EDIT: pictures added below 01/18/05].

We were getting some conflicting stories on whether or not were were included in the evacuation area, but I called the Sheriff's office and told them where I lived and they told me that I wouldn't be allowed to go home.

Last night, we stayed with friends from church. We'll wait and see what the rest of the weekend holds. Authorities are indicating that it may be one to three days before they can give the "all-clear" based on air quality.

I'll try to keep you posted.

And in case you're wondering...Yes, I called my mother.

Added these two pictures 01/18/2005 - I took these from Shadyside park (about 5 miles away from the blaze).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Skitten', Skitten', Skitten' kinda hectic

Our power came back on at 10:30pm last night. Hannah was already asleep by then, so we still spent the night at our friends' house, but I did drive over to the house to check on things there. Everything seems to be OK, at least as much as one could expect. We expected that the refrigerator and attached freezer would have to be emptied and restocked, but we were holding out hope that our chest freezer would be OK, but it had thawed to a point that I believe we'll have to throw out everything in there as well. I guess we'll use the opportunity to defrost it which I suppose needs done periodically anyway. The water was still running and the furnace was beginning to warm the house.

This morning, we cleared out our stuff from where we've been staying and we expect we'll be home tonight.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Well, due to the recent ice storm, we've been refugees for the last 4+ days. Our electricity went out sometime Wednesday night and as of right now, it's still not back on (115 hours and counting). The only promise we've gotten is that it should be back on by this coming Wednesday.

HUGE thanks to our friends, John and Kathy, for taking us in on Thursday. I think we all believed that it would just be for one night. Well, tonight will be the fifth night that we've slept under their roof. Hannah's been hit and miss on sleeping in her bed for the full night. She's been up crying at 4 and 5 in the morning a couple of nights and unwilling to go back to sleep. Trust me, that's no fun for anybody in the house. They've been very patient and we appreciate their hospitality very much!

Other than the sleep thing (and perhaps including that), Hannah's been having a grand time at their house. Last night, we went to check on our house, as we've been doing at least once a day, and as we got close, Hannah started yelling, "I want to go to John & Kathy's!" She speaks only for herself, though. We love them and, again, are grateful for their willingness to open their home to us, but Christy and I are both anxious to get back to our home. When we were there last night, I noticed that I could see my breath while standing in our living room! I checked the thermostat - it only registers down to around 55, but the needle had snapped off and was lying on the floor, twitching!

Oh, and a bit of advise for you. If you're ever displaced from your home by a storm, etc., CALL YOUR MOTHER!! My Mom spent at least three days trying to track me down. She called everybody she could think of who might know where I was including local friends, my entire church's pastoral staff and the Anderson Police Department! (I have had WAY too many unwanted encounters with the Anderson Police!) I finally called her on Saturday when Christy noticed a number on her pager that she didn't recognize. As soon as I saw it I was like, "uh oh!" I should have called sooner, but honestly didn't think of it. Sorry Mom.

I hope to get the blog updated with news from our holidays and a bunch of "Films Recently Watched" including a couple of new theatrical releases! Stay tuned.