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Showing posts from March, 2008

I Am Legend

Note: Lots and Lots of Spoilers are involved with this post. Matter of fact, the entire post involves the end of the story and the end of the recent movie-- don't read if you don't want to know.
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Richard Matheson's brilliant novel I Am Legend is considered the first "modern" vampire story. However, the story also is credited as the first modern pandemic apocalypse story as well as strongly influencing the zombie genre (George Romero is credited as saying that Night of the Living Dead was heavily influenced by I Am Legend).

This ground-breaking novel is about the last survivor of a disease, Robert Neville, that wipes out humanity and replaces it with vampires. Those changed cannot survive in sunlight, sleep during the day, are allergic to garlic, and can be killed by fire, a stake through the heart, or decapitation. Neville spends his days hunting down those afflicted, getting resources for his survival, and repairing his fortress-like home for the night. A…

Taxing

My wife already detailed out her issues with the Canadian government and taxes. I also detailed some of my initial issues/concerns with American taxes. After returning from Canada, I have had some high-priority projects to work on, including getting some final answers on our tax needs. Luckily, we planned ahead and M got the required documentation together and notarized just in case I needed it.

Today I have been reviewing the documentation for the 1040. The instructions are very seemingly contradictory. In some places they say I cannot file Married filing Jointly because she is a nonresident alien. In another place it says we can file that way, if we both show in writing that we agree to. In another place it says that I have to claim her "world income" and will be taxed on it regardless of whether she was taxed on it in another country. In yet another area the rules state that we get a huge exception for her as long as we can prove she is a nonresident alien (how do you prov…

In the Valley of Elah

My wife and I managed to watch quite a few of the best picture, actor, etc. nominees this year, both before and after the Oscars. Overall, we felt that No Country... was superior to most of what we watched, even if the others were pretty good. Last night I watched my Unbox rental of Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Elah. While I wanted to see this film anyway, a post on this blog prompted me to step up my timetable for when I would watch it.

Wow.

Elah was a complex, realistic, engaging story about a father (Tommy Lee Jones) finding out his youngest son has gone AWOL from the Army after returning from a tour in Iraq. He determines to discover where his son has gone and soon learns of the son's death. He then rattles the cages of the local (Charlize Theron) and the military (Jason Patric) police to do more and to be more aggressive (and, frankly, betterat their jobs) in finding out what happened to his son. Susan Sarandan has a small but powerful role as Jones' wife.

From beginnin…

Safe Trip, but Exciting

While my overall trip was primarily on time and without incident, there was some excitement coming into Chicago and then again close to Orange County. In both instances, we hit really strong cross and head on winds, which cause some pretty extreme turbulence.

We actually landed with the plane not in line with the runway in Chicago. Only after all of the wheels were down did the pilot straighten the plane out and slow us down.

The flight to Orange County was also fun because the plane had a huge number of children under 10 on board. Some were screaming, some were playing games, some were excited by their first time or just being on a plane in general.

I got home pretty fast too. I got right on a Super Shuttle van and was the first person dropped off, for once. However, that still meant that I wasn't home until about a quarter to 9 PST-- and I was still running on AST, so it really felt like 1 am to me!

Immediately upon entering the apartment I had to start the clean up from my cat bein…

Ratings and TV

The following is from IMDB.com today:

New episodes of CBS's sitcom lineup returned to the air Monday following months of reruns due to the writers' strike, and ABC aired the season debut of its reality hit Dancing With the Stars, and although all of those shows received decent-to-good ratings, they were well off their comparable figures from a year ago. CBS declined 17 percent against last year's numbers for the comparable night. ABC was off 21 percent. For NBC and Fox, the plunge was far deeper, with NBC down 28 percent from last year and Fox, 32 percent. Reporting on the numbers, MediaWeek columnist Marc Berman asked, "Did the recent writers' strike cause permanent damage?" Berman pointed out that while ABC's Dancing With the Starspremiere averaged a solid 13.4 rating and a 21 share, a year ago it opened with a 15.1/22.

I have been arguing this for a while now. Television is not the end-all, be-all medium anymore. And the television executives…

The Waiting Game

While it is great that the Immigration paperwork is in the hands of the Canadian government, it is also frustrating just... waiting.

I have a letter dated February 13, 2008, saying that the Buffalo, NY, Canadian Consulate has my paperwork and that mine is in a "priority queue." When I go to its online site, I see that 30% of the applications have a response in 3 months, 50% in 5 months, 70% within 7 months, and 80% in 9 months (all of those months numbers are the same or better than nearly all out-of-Canada response times).

However, knowing that I am very likely to have a response within 5 months from February still means that I am waiting for a response until July sometime, most likely. And that seems like forever to wait, especially with what is going on in my immediate SoCal area (with work, the housing crisis, etc.) and the nation in general (recession, etc.).

From my mother I get a need to do for myself and not give up a project or task unless absolutely necessary. While t…

The Week That Was

On the Thursday prior to leaving for Saint John, I commented to both my wife and my boss that I wasn't feeling particularly well and that I was afraid that flying was going to cause me increased difficulties because of that. On top of that, as you have likely already ready in a previous post, the flight took much longer and was a poor day, which didn't help my beleaguered immune system. Lastly, Saint John is suffering from some pretty bad cold/flu problems at the moment (they have been ranked "High" or "Very High" since I got here).

Sure enough, I got sick. Very sick. Happily, it was a slightly uncommon illness for me in that my face really showed it, I was coughing a ton (and powerfully), and even sneezing and blowing my nose. My throat was raw both from the coughing and from the illness, some intestinal/stomach issues, and I had a severe headache. I say "luckily" because, oftentimes, I get very sick but it doesn't show up on my face and peopl…

Journey Here

For the most part, the trip here this time was okay and mostly uneventful. However, I have learned that having 3 or more hours of waiting to do at any one stop is like Hell. I will have to avoid flights with overly long layovers next time.

The last flight came after what was scheduled as a 4 hour layover. However, my flight from Chicago to Toronto was early and then a weather front in SJ caused my flight to be delayed from a takeoff of 9:55pm to 10:40pm. With the time change going to AST, I was already supposed to land at 12:45am, so this delay was pushing me back to nearly a 2 am arrival time. And then, when  they finally announced what was going on (I had gone up and spoken with someone at the desk, which is why I knew about the delay and what was going on and found out the chances were "poor" they could get us to SJ), they said that they were thinking about taking off, seeing if the weather cleared as they traveled to SJ, and then landing at Quebec City if it was not clear…