Showing posts from February, 2006

The Constant Gardener

I just watched The Constant Gardener on DVD via my Netflix subscription.


After having seen it, I do not understand why the film is not up for Best Picture. It is well directed, very well acted, and has an incredible, dense, provocative story. I've seen Good Night And Good Luck and Crash, both nominated for Best Picture, and feel that this movie is a more complete work than either of them (even though I enjoyed both of those films).

The movie has many layers and what you think is going to be one story (a sad, end-of-love story) turns out to be another story all together (a great political thriller and murder-mystery).

Ralph Fiennes does his usual superb job. As one of the best actors currently working, it still surprises me the variation in roles and context in which he dabbles. Is this really the same guy who was so deliciously over the top in Harry Potter (as Valdemort)? Is this the same guy who portraying the murderer with power, ruthlessness, and vulnerability in Red Dragon? I…

The Streak Is Dead

All good things come to an end, and so too has the Streak. Since wearing The Shirt, this was also the first week we didn't have all four original members of the team, and I think that played into it. This makes week 5 of wearing the shirt and in the first four we went 14-2 and no worse than 3-1 in any one week. Tonight we went 1-3.

Everyone was tired. Jean and Lilia (Tai's GF and substitute bowler) just didn't have the oomph in them tonight, and each game seemed to get a little worse. Arvin started strong, with two decent games, but then had a drop off in the third game.

I plugged along, doing my best to match their best bowler (who actually has a better book average than I do by about 20 pins). I scored 225 (with two opens-- should have been better), 184, and 193. So I kept my personal streak of 200 games going and got another 600 series. But their best bowler had a 620 series and managed to beat me by, go figure, about 20 pins per game. Even though I'm happy I got anot…

Dungeons & Dragons

I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) in about 1978 by my good friend Dennis and his older brother Ronnie. I played off and on for a few years (until about 1985), collecting books (which I still have) and enjoying the Basic, Expert, and Advanced sets.

In High School, a few of the crew got back together and picked it up again, playing at lunch time and sometimes after school. This lasted from 1987-88 until shortly after High School, maybe 1991.

In 1995, my buddy, Chris, and I picked it back up with a new friend we made at a company we both worked for. We have played steadily since then, going from AD&D, to 3.0 to 3.5, with some diversions into EarthDawn and other games along the way.

Over the last 11 years of playing, a lot has changed. The group has grown and shrunk and grown again. Everyone else in the group has gained a girlfriend, and then a wife (well, Chris is working on the wife part). The gfs/wives played for awhile, but then children started to be born, and they pu…

An Occurrence at ... The Candy Machine

I stand there, saliva nearly dripping from the corners of my mouth as I survey the selections before me. Chocolaty goodness beckons, crunchy cookie calls, soft angel food cake appeals. I slide my dollar into the machine’s open, gaping maw and it hungrily feasts on my bill.

With nearly quivering hand and tense fingers, I make my selection: E3, Baby Ruth! Chocolate, nougat, peanuts—everything a growing boy needs to make it through those last hours of a long day.

My stomach grumbles.
My mouth quivers.

The familiar, all too comforting sounds of the engine whirring to life elicits a sigh from me. The spiral candy holder begins to turn like a slow, steady screw as it pushes my sweet treat forward to the lip of the shelf. I watch, mesmerized by the spinning mechanism. I wait, leaning forward onto my toes so I can watch the candy’s fall to the floor of the machine and into reach of my grasping fingers.

One spin.
Two spins.
Whir, click.

What? No!

There, held in a cold, plastic embrace still sits my mou…

The Streak Goes On

The Shirt was washed this weekend. For some, this will come as heresy. However, the magic was not washed out (but the Pepsi stain was!).

The team bowled well again. I can only guess at the overall, since we were bowling a team with a new Substitute bowler who did not have an established average/handicap. However, it appears that we went 3-1. We won the second and third games by around 100 pins, and the new guy was a better bowler than to have a 100 pin handicap. So we should win both of those plus total pins on the night. We won the first game by 11, but his handicap should eclipse that and give them 1 win on the night.

Coming into tonight, our recent successful run moved us all the way up to 4th place in the second half and 4th overall on the season. We were bowling against the 3rd place team (second half). So it was a good time for a 3-1.

Jean had two 150 games. Tai had a 160 in him. Arvin stunned us with two 170s. I managed to maintain my streak by going 169, 188, and 207 (188 average…


The following are sample U.S. History and Government Questions that may be asked during the Naturalization Exam.

Typical Questions
1. What are the colors of our flag?
2. What do the stars on the flag mean?
3. How many stars are there on our flag?
4. What color are the stars on our flag?
5. How many stripes are there on our flag?
6. What do the stripes on the flag represent?
7. What colors are the stripes on the flag?
8. How many states are there in the Union (the United States)?
9. What do we celebrate on the 4th of July?
10. Independence Day celebrates independence from whom?
11. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?
12. Who was the first president of the United States?
13. Who is the President of the United States today?
14. Who is the Vice President of the United States today?
15. Who elects the President of the United States?
16. Who becomes President if the President dies?
17. What is the Constitution?
18. What do we call changes to the Constitution?
19. How many changes, or amendm…

Sci-Fi Crew Quiz

An interesting quiz from Quiz Farm.

You scored as Millennium Falcon (Star Wars). The world around you is at war. Fortunately you know how to handle that with the greatest of ease. You are one of the best at what you do and no one needs to tell you that. Now if only the droids could be quiet for five seconds.

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)81%Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)75%Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)69%Enterprise D (Star Trek)63%SG-1 (Stargate)63%Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)63%Serenity (Firefly)63%Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)63%Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)56%Moya (Farscape)56%Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)50%FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)50%
Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

Please Leave a Message...

I am Simulation John today. Here to move through John’s day as though John himself was here. John is, unfortunately, unavailable at the moment. He is experiencing a severe emotional upheaval in the wake of his girlfriend going home. It was more than he realized or expected, and he needed to upload me into his life for a day or two in order to gain perspective. I will be going through the motions for the real John until such time as his mind can process what is going on.

In my historical databanks, I see that John has been attempting to become more overt in his emoting since November 2004. As he has opened those gates, even a little, he has been surprised by the sheer volume of emotions available and willing to accost him at any time. I further note that his girlfriend is on record as saying she likes and prefers the “new” John – matter of fact, he is the only John she has known and this changed allowed him to be open to her in the first place- – and it is this positive reinforcement th…

In the Air

M should be in the air as I'm typing this. Just heading off on her many-hour trip back to the east coast of Canada, winter, and well-below freezing temperatures.

We're smart people and we knew if this kept going it would get tough. We have hashed it out every which way, we have plans and we have problems, we have solutions and more questions... but that doesn't help to make leaving her at the airport (or her leaving me) any easier.

And, on top of it, M has to arrive home (weather permiting), to a cold, dark, lonely house tonight around midnight. I at least have my cat to hold and cuddle with and talk to. She has Hugs and Choco, but they can only provide so much.

And now it looks like we have to survive another about 2 months until we can see each other again. And then another 2 months between that visit and the next one.

I love this woman and I want to be with her. It is time to actively work toward that goal.

Three Times is a Streak

I wore The Shirt. Our team went 3-1. I bowled another 200 game (223). Jean, Tai, and Arvin all had good games. All this and M was there to watch.

I think we officially have a streak on our hands!

The team moved itself into 7th place in the second half of the season and held 5th overall for the entire season coming in to Wednesday’s games. Those wins should move us up another place or two both for the second half and overall.

The key, of course, is my team. When Jean, Tai, and Arvin bowl even a little above their average for the week, they make a huge difference to our overall score due to handicap. My handicap is low enough (24) that even bowling significantly above my average doesn’t help the team that much if they aren’t doing well.

Arvin’s got it down and Tai’s coming around—all they need to do to score well is make their spares. That’s it. You make your spares, and you are going to be hovering in the high 100s (170-190s) at the least. Scatter a few strikes in there and you are in the …

Idle Thoughts

In no particular order
It is remarkable just how much I enjoy spending time with M. We do not even need to be doing anything—just hanging out while I watch TV and she reads a book (or whatever).My buddy Marcus and his wife are very much on my mind. If you need anything Marcus, let me know.M is really, really good at laundry. Even with my screwy setup. First time in awhile that everything I own is clean all at the same time!M seems to put up with me even when my best laid plans go a little awry. The Chuck Jones Gallery to which I attempted to take her said on their answering machine that they were open Tuesday through Saturday. When we arrived, the sign on the door said Open Wednesday through Sunday. *sighTMJ sucks. It is like spraining your ankle, only it is in your jaw. Ow! Soft foods, Ibuprofen, and some simple stretching exercises for the next week should, hopefully, take care of it. *fingers crossedOur time together is half over already. It is always way too little time.While M lov…

The First Full Day

Well, the day I was most "dreading" -- due to stress and relative importance -- seems to have gone pretty well. We met the parents and she liked them and they seem to like her. Yay!

The day didn't start so well; M had a hard time sleeping her first night here. Lots of new noises and things to get used to, plus the time difference was skewing her internal clock. She hardly slept at all. Also, after phlegmy guy and whatnot, she woke up not feeling completely well.

However, she persevered. I think the Krispy Kreme helped a bit, and then finally making it to the desert and the heat, being able to walk around, and getting a good sandwich at Ruby's all perked her up and she was running smoothly.

Meanwhile, mom navigated us all around Palm Springs and nearby cities. We saw many star's homes, a lot of swanky places, and some neat shops.

One bad note-- after we left Ruby's M realized that she had left her camera at the table. We happened to be driving by the restaurant on…

GF is in the House



(happy dance (have to do it here, as she won't let me do it in front of her))

Twice is a Trend

Have you ever heard the phrase "Once is a fluke (or lucky), twice is a trend, and three times is a streak?"

Well, last week I wore The Shirt and our team broke our funk and went 3-1. Both Tai and Arvin bowled well and I had a nice night. Tonight, we went 4-0. Arvin bowled well in two games, and on average in the other; Jean had a very nice night, above average in two games with one nearly 150; and Lilia, Tai's girlfriend who was filling in for him, bowled her two highest games ever (113 and 107).

Your humble narrator (a-hem! It's my story, and I say I'm humble, dammit) bowled a very nice 179, 225, 225 for a 629 series and a 209 average.

So, obviously, I have to wear The Shirt next week to see if it becomes a streak.

Of course, next week has a secondary challenge, as the person who got me The Shirt will actually be there to meet the bowling team and watch me bowl. No pressure, eh?