Showing posts from December, 2008

Skip It!

My sister got me the WALL-E DVD, which is one of my favorite movies of the year (and I'm still not sure if it beats, is tied with, or just loses to The Dark Knight as the year's best so far, but it is close).

Being that it is a Disney production, the DVD starts with a whole bunch of snippets and adverts that I cannot skip, fast forward, or otherwise get beyond to get to the menu. Disney is by far and away the worst at this practice, but nearly all of the DVD producers do something similar.

It irritates me to no end that I cannot skip these "features" and just get to the movie, the menu, or the special features. I already bought the product, don't beat me over the head with ... more product. These types of things should always be optional and I should always have the ability to press menu, at any time and from anywhere on the DVD, and get the freaking menu to display!

Happy Christmas

Yes, you read that right... Christmas.

I'm feeling much more in the spirit today than usual. More than a little of that has to do with my Christmas-loving wife, of course. She has brightened the holiday with a tree, lights, and good cheer to help my usually curmudgeonly self out of my typical holiday funk.

So, happy Christmas. Be safe, be happy, be healthy this holiday, and don't take things too seriously. Relax and enjoy the day.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled rants and ravings....

A Small Memory

I recently reread The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, because I thought it had in it a scene that I have had in my memory for some time now. It didn't, but this is a favorite from my teen years, so I enjoyed rereading it anyway. Then I asked my sister, who has a great memory for things she reads. Unfortunately, my description of the scene was just too vague. Basically, I told her, I remembered a scene where a girl is with a guy who likes to dress up in costumes and he was some sort of detective. The scene in particular is him wearing something on his face and standing behind her while she looks at him in a mirror. She realizes that the thing she thinks is on one side of the face is actually on the other, and this leads to solving the mystery. I also explained that I remember it being written in a similar style to Ellen Raskin's book, which is why I thought it was in The Westing Game. My sister couldn't remember that scene, but had some suggestions for ways I could search for i…

The Lion, et al

The story in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is primarily about the four main characters learning lessons and growing as individuals. There are moments in the book where this is really pointed out, like when Lucy tells Aslan to hold on a minute after administering the juice of the flower berry to Edmund and Aslan getting cross with her and asking if more should die for her brother. Each child learns to grow up (to a degree, as well as literally) and becomes a better, more caring, and more understanding person because of the lessons he or she learns during the course of the story.

(I grant that, if you want to look hard enough, there are religious allegories. However, I would argue that a) those are not the point of the first book and b) that most children, the aim of these stories, will not recognize or get those allegories with the exception of the obvious "Aslan allows himself to be killed for the sins of another and rises from the dead because of it" one.)

In the movi…

Narnia... Redux

So, this has been The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe month. First, my wife and I read the book to each other (don't laugh, try reading to your loved one in bed and see how he/she likes it). Next, we watched the recent live-action/CGI movie. Tonight we saw a musical "based" on the book.

I need time to fully process what I'm going to say, so expect a further post on this subject in the near future. But I think I can boil it down to this: you are making a musical and/or movie because of the source material. So why would you stray so far from the source to the point where the basic premise and reason for the source material is no longer there?

More later after I digest tonight's show.

It Hurt My Eye!

Being a desert rat through and through I am not accustomed to the temperatures of my new location. It is -12c with a wind chill making it close to -25c outside. We needed gas on the way home and I did the "manly" thing and offered to pump it. I was okay everywhere except my face, where the wind and the shear cold stung so bad it hurt my eye. I put up the hood on my coat, but to no avail; no matter what I did, the incredible cold continued to feel like a weight on my right eye.

My eye is now tender and I have a "headache" directly behind the outside corner where it stung. That is insane!

Financial Customer Service Takes a Hit

I have been a member of American Express Blue for, well, a long time. At least 8 years. In all of that time, I have always either paid off the card in full, paid off a sum much more than the minimum amount, or paid the minimum. The few times there has been a dispute on the card, the company has admitted it was its fault and the extra charges or whatever were credited off.

In November, I looked online at my balance due, which was around $42. Now, granted, that was just the monthly payment amount as, with the expenses of everything involved in the lead up to, the moving, and certain expenses since moving, I'm carrying a much larger overall balance than usual. I reviewed my statement, then logged into my bank and sent AmEx $100. More than enough to cover the $42 I saw due and take another small bite out of the overall balance until I find work and can start making more serious payments. As a note, I keep the tab with the CC balance up for reference when I log into my bank account to m…

I'm Shocked, Shocked I Say!

This is my result of this particular quiz.

Your results:

You are Superman

You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.
Superman 75%
Supergirl 60%
Hulk 60%
Robin 57%
Spider-Man 55%
Wonder Woman 55%
Green Lantern 55%
Batman 40%
The Flash 40%
Catwoman 30%
Iron Man 30%

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Challah Bread

M and I watch a show called Anna and Kristina's Grocery Bags. In this show, the two hosts, Anna and Kristina, take an existing, popular cook book, try out some recipes from it, and then make some recipes on-camera and serve them to a chef who is expert in that genre of food.

During one of the shows, they tried French Toast made with Challah bread. The expert really enjoyed it and said that he won't make French Toast without that type of bread. I told M that I had eaten challah bread before, and that it was a sweeter bread and quite good. M really likes French Toast, so, when she spotted some challah at a store, picked up a loaf with the express intent of me making her French Toast.

Yesterday (and this morning), I set about doing so. Used my usual mixture of two eggs, a bit of milk for thickening, a splash of vanilla for flavor, and a small pinch of cinnamon. Cut three thick slices of the challah (a good solid inch), soaked liberally in the sauce, and put it on a frying pan set t…