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Showing posts from February, 2008

A Little Scare

I went to my AIH doctor while M was here and we spoke with him about my illness and my recent issues with being sick. It was nice having my wife along, so she could meet the doctor in whom I have so much built up trust and respect. For his part, he described in 5 minutes everything we've been doing about my AIH for the last 12 years and I think she got a lot of value out of that.

However, I wasn't able to get my blood work done prior to that visit. I got it done the following Friday (two days later) and then had to wait until yesterday to hear the results.

My ALT and AST, both prime liver-function indicators, were astronomically high. ALT has a typical range of 0-45 and AST is 0-40. My results were 182 and 145. I managed to get in contact with my doctor today and he is dumbfounded by these results. Especially since I have been doing so well for so long with my meds and my blood test results... I have occasionally come out high on one or both of my liver-function results, but jus…

Oscars, 2008

My general, quick-hit thoughts:

- Where was Brad Renfro in the In Memoriam list? He died within the Feb 1, 2007 to Jan 31, 2008 time frame (Jan 15, 2008). Did I just not see him on the list?

- Katherine Heigl looked awesome in her red dress. Stunning, really. The woman in green from Enchanted was also stunning.

- Why don't they ask the audience to wait to clap until the end of any/all of the presentations? It just sounds bad when the audience claps for some nominees or some of the In Memoriam people and not others. Wait until the end.

- John Stewart did a very nice job. Kept things going, had a few killer jokes, and had one of the better moments giving the woman from Once the chance to give her speech (which was one of the best speeches of the night, by the way).

- Tilda Swinton deserved the win for Supporting Actress. She was incredible. And she had one of the better speeches for the evening, referencing George Clooney's turn in Batman.

- I think that any one movie should be limite…

CoH, Not Just for Entertainment!

A father posted the following on one of the boards for my favorite game, City of Heroes.

As I sit here to wait for the servers to come back up, it struck me that I could write a little post about Sister Flame.

Sister Flame is the online handle of my middle daughter, currently six years old. She's been playing City of Heroes since she was 4 and 1/2. It was only over the last year we began to team together with my two accounts and have a lot of fun. I thought I let you know what Sister Flame has learned from CoX.

(1) Flame Learned To Read

At the tender age of five, I let Flame play on my second account on my laptop beside me. For a while, I had to tell her what the train destiantions were, what the NPCs were saying and what the villains name were.

It was only mere months before Flame didn't need my help anymore. We were playing one summer evening and I noticed that she wasn't asking me to read things. I looked over at her screen and watched her for a bit. I was intrigued she kne…

Broiler

So, frankly, for the longest time I thought the drawer under the stove was simply for pan storage. That was all my mother ever used it for-- I can't remember her doing anything with that drawer except place pots and pans.

I recently had cause to eat some dishes that were broiled. Each of them were quite tasty and surprisingly moist. So it caused me to wonder about this strange, alien cooking technique called "broiling." I spent some time today, in between doing actual work for my company, looking up broiling, and determining what might be the best course of action. It was during this time that I discovered that broiling, in addition to be something you can do in the main stove region of a conventional oven, can be accomplished in that little "storage drawer" at the bottom of a gas (and some electric) stove. You can imagine my surprise. I further learned that the drawer's front actually can rotate down to ease access for cooking using the broiler. And that fu…

Tivo Woes

I don't realize how much I rely on my Tivo until something isn't working correctly. Yesterday I watched a downloaded Amazon Unbox movie and today-- some of my network-related features are not available at all. One of my Unbox items is just gone. Some of my home network features are simply not there.

I did the usual tests, restarted the Tivo, double-checked all the network controls, and then called Tivo Support. Within minutes I was on the phone with Shawna. She pinged my Tivo, did not see anything wrong with my services from her end, and then had to put me on hold while she spoke with her manager. Turns out that they have experienced a server outage with certain servers that only run the network functions, like the Swivel Search, Amazon Unbox, and certain transfer and related services. Their techs are working on it and hope to have those network services up and running in 24 hours. It was great to discover these services are not available on their end and that the fault is not …

Movie Night Follow Up

The theater is older, with a screen set high up enough that you have tilt your head back and no stadium seating. But for $3.00 total cost to get in and watch Michael Clayton, well worth it. Our theater probably held about 200 people and it was pretty full. All but the first three rows were mostly full.

Michael Clayton was interesting-- I am not sure I think it qualifies as a Best Picture movie, although it is quite well acted, directed, and photographed. No Country for Old Men was far superior in comparison, for example. And Juno was this movie's equal in most aspects. However, I thought Tom Wilkerson and Tilda Swinton were incredible in their roles. I am scratching my head over George Clooney being nominated for an Academy Award. He was good, don't get me wrong, but one of the of the five best of the year? Hmm. I use some possibly faulty reasoning when I am thinking about who should be nominated for a Best Actor award: did the person do a good job in and of itself? Yes. Cloone…

Movie Night

It has been a long time since I have had to wait in any sort of significant line at a movie theater. We have so many theaters around, and so many of them have multiple screens (I have two with over 20 screens within 7 miles of here, and two more with 10 or more within 5), that it usually isn't necessary to wait in a line. You want to see the latest blockbuster? Go anywhere and you can find it playing without a line. Simple.

Tonight M and I were planning an impromptu date night. After church we were going to head over to the nearby, recently discovered dollar movie theater and watch Michael Clayton. The theater is in an older section of Irvine, behind a car wash, and is an older theater that was fairly recently repurposed as a dollar movie theater. Well, to be honest, a "dollar fifty" movie theater (nearly all shows are $1.50).

She joked that it might just be the thing to do in Irvine on a Saturday night. We laughed... and then found out she was right. As we drove into the …

Heath Ledger

While I am still sad that Heath Ledger is dead, I am happy that it has been ruled an accidental overdose by the coroner. I hated the thought that another bright young star may have killed himself for reasons unknown. It also points out the ease with which a person can get and use prescribed drugs exactly as ordered but with unexpected and deadly consequences.

By all accounts, Ledger was suffering from insomnia and anxiety or depression. Some of it brought on by the roles he took, some by his personality, and some by the life he was leading at the time. His breakup from Michelle Williams, I'm sure, played some role. You can't have a long-term relationship and a child and break up without some effect on your life. Published reports said that he was having a hard time "letting go" of the Joker persona, who is, in this version, much darker, scarier, and amoral than in other portrayals on film and TV. And, frankly, a certain type of personality tends toward acting and tho…

Paper or Plastic?

Many stores are moving toward asking you to purchase your own cloth bags and use them whenever you go to the store for groceries (or, frankly, other stores). While doing this, over the last few years, many stores have been producing smaller, thinner, lighter plastic bags.

The main reasons that I have gleaned for this change is that the plastic bags are environmentally unfriendly. They don't biodegrade  worth a damn and are filling up our trash and landfills with needless plastic. In addition, all plastics are made from petroleum, so the costs of producing the bags has increased since the oil barrel costs have skyrocketed.

For many years the only choice a person had when going to the grocery store was to get paper bags. Paper bags are tough, hold more than the new sizes of the plastic, and are generally easier to place in your car due to the regular rectangle shaped bottom. In addition to all of these advantages, paper biodegrades fairly easily in landfills, as many insects and some …

No Country

This contains spoilers. Matter of fact, I ONLY discuss the very end of the movie No Country for Old Men, so if you haven't seen it, stop reading now.

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I didn't like the very end of No Country and have said so. Specifically, I didn't understand the writer/director choice of having the villain get hit by a car and the subsequent interaction with the two boys.

Four different people to whom I said "I didn't like the ending. I didn't understand the choice they made ..." have all given me some variation of their explanation for it and why I should like it (luckily, a fifth person who knows I didn't care for the ending, Lisa, did not say this-- I guess she understands that not everyone has the same perception of a movie).

Let me set the record straight (or, at least, straighter).

First, throughout the entire movie we are shown that the villain is "Lawful Evil" -- i.e., while he couldn't give a damn about people in general and has no proble…

The Sneaky Little Details

I decided to start my taxes this weekend. I like to get them done early, e-file, and get the money back (if any) deposited directly into my accounts. Fast, easy, efficient.

Ran into a stumbling block this year-- I got married and to someone who isn't American and does not have a Social Security Number (SSN). Turns out that either a) we need to get her one, if possible, or b) we need to get her an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). From the looks of things, the ITIN will be the easier thing to get and I can turn in my taxes with the form that asks the IRS to procure her the number.

Now I require my wife to bend over backward to get me the necessary supporting documentation, get it back to me with the signed form, so I can do my taxes. And, of course, it is not like she's the least bit busy at work and at home these days. *sarcasm

I'm just glad I do my taxes early, otherwise we would be finding this information out at the last minute, I would have to file for an …