Wednesday, May 31

Ho-hum, Katie's leaving

Is it un-American that I don't care a fig about Katie Couric leaving Today? Is it wrong that I couldn't give a damn that she's not going to be on morning television anymore?
I appreciate that, for a whole lot of people, television in the morning is a necessity, and that they tend to become loyal zealots to the people they see on their favorite show everyday. (I know that Mom has an unnatural love for Hal Fishman on her 10 o'clock news.) But really, devoting the entire show to a celebration of her as a morning host is a bit much, especially considering all the special segments/montages they put together. (Read about it all here, on Entertainment Weekly's live blog of her goodbye show.) It's my understanding that they even showed a segment on all the tragedies that Katie has covered in her 15-year tenure. Really, I think it's tacky to bring out all the Sept. 11 footage, not to mention JFK, Jr., the O.J. trial, and the Iraq wars, all to show how compassionate Katie can be. Bleck. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just on principle.
So, good-bye Katie, I don't really care what you're doing now (though I do know that she's moving into evening news and, I think, 60 Minutes).

Tuesday, May 30

The Lake House

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that, for no real reason and just from the previews, I know I will love -- fall madly in love with, actually. That movie, for this summer, is The Lake House (opening June 16). The premise seems supremely cheesy: girl and boy exchange letters through their shared mailbox at a lake house they both own, two years separating them. How does this work? What awful, heart-rending process will I have to go through to see this resolved? Will their love triumph over time and sci-fi fantasy?
That the movie stars one of my favorite former crushes is certainly in its favor (Keanu Reeves), as is the bonus of the female lead being played by the adorable Sandra Bullock. I've already told Brian that he will have to suffer through this one with me, and though he seems relatively reconciled to that, I'm almost sure that I'll have to hoof it to this flick solo. It's all good though.

The long and short of it

It was supposed to be a long weekend, but really, it felt all too much like a short one. I'm glad to have not had work yesterday, don't get me wrong, it's just that I would have loved another day or two off. I have no idea what I would have done with those days, but they would have been mine to screw away in any case. So, what did you do this weekend?
You'd be surprised at how little I got accomplished. Saturday: some laundry; cleaned the balcony; unwrapped the air conditioner; lunch with Brian; saw X-Men: The Last Stand (A valid third act, I think. It was time better spent than Da Vinci. Though the ending leaves it ripe for a fourth outing, everything I've read says that is not going to happen. Damn.); quick trip through Best Buy; installed air conditioner; plugged into television. Sunday: more laundry; futzing around my house; lunch with Brian; finished my book while B was out playing golf; fell asleep in front of television. Monday: more futzing around my house; caught up on our finances; lunch with Brian; some shopping at Lord & Taylor; resting in air conditioning; played on iTunes; leftovers for dinner; went to bed early.
Actually, in looking at it, I did more than I thought. Some of you may criticize my lack of outdoor time. I think I got plenty, as I did not itemize all the walks that Ollie and I went on. And, seeing all the people at my work today with bright red sunburns, I say that I was smarter than the average bear by not laying out for some color. (I did my part by slathering on some self-tanning lotion. I'm back in the habit of that, for sure.)

Saturday, May 27

Da Vinci disappointment

We saw The Da Vinci Code yesterday afternoon. We'd both heard good and bad things about it, but figured that since I had read the book, and Brian had not, we would be a good barometer as to the movie itself. Um, neither one of us liked it much.
The pace of the movie made the religious connotations and revelations seem hokey. Really, this was not the spiritual bombshell that the book became. It just made the whole thing even more fictitious. Tom Hanks, while usually such a good actor, made Langdon look kinda bored and confused throughout the whole thing. Ian McKellen was great as Teabing, but I don't remember his character in the book having such a role in the end game. (I'll need to re-read this one some time soon.) The only real bright spot, I thought, was Audrey Tatou as Sophie Neveu.
Alas, Da Vinci has landed among the list of, "Why, oh why, ruin a good book by turning it into a movie?"

Thursday, May 25

B&N, here I come

Well, that was that! A satisfying television season, for the most part. Last night's Lost finale was chock full of answers and more questions, and makes me yearn for next fall already.
But alas, good television, as we know it, is now gone for the summer. It's really quite liberating: there's no feeling of "must be in front of glowing box at 9 p.m.," to run my life for several months. I like it. Now I can finally dig into the big books that are waiting for me, since really, the Netflix selection isn't floating my boat lately either.
As of now, the book list includes: finishing the Elizabeth Peters that I've been carrying around for a month or so; two Agatha Christie mysteries; and The Historian, which Andy got me for my birthday. I'd make the promise that I won't go in a book store until I've finished those, but I know that there's no keeping me out of a Barnes & Noble on a long weekend. It's like heaven really, surrounded by all the fresh pages and plots and uncracked spines. And since I've got one or two gift cards for one of my happiest places on Earth, shopping there's going to be more akin to opening presents at a birthday party.

Also, I thought you might like this picture of a newborn Egyptian tortoise. It was hatched at the Chester Zoo in northwest England. The zoo has hatched six of the tortoises, also known as Testudo Kleinmanni, which are currently on the critically endangered list. (That's a fingertip it's perched on.)

Wednesday, May 24

Random bits of news

Tell me that we haven't been getting some traffic and feisty posts up here recently! How fun!!

Some random bits of news:
  • So the word is pretty much out that we are heading back west this summer. Brian's done with school, our apartment lease is up the end of July, and well, we don't want to do another New England winter. We have no idea where we'll be settling yet, but it looks like either Arizona or California.
  • The wonderful Tara has broken the news that she's engaged to her now-fiancĂ©, Jeff! Excitement and joy all around! Yay!
  • Mom has told my bougainvillea, Sam, that I'm coming back that way soon, and he has blossomed in joy. Check him out.
  • Having watched the last of Alias the other night, I've decided that I must possess the DVDs of the show. They'll gather, with pride, next to Buffy and Scrubs.

I guess that's it for now. I am eager for the two-hour season finale of Lost tonight. Brian asked me what was on TV last night and I had to break it to him that the seasons are over; Summer's began; and only crappy shows are available for our entertainment until September or October. Sure, we'll get more movies watched and I'll get more books read, but I really love watching good television.

Tuesday, May 23

"American" irritating

I don't get American Idol. Oh, it's available on my television, but I just don't get it. What's the big deal, really? (And I will get on my television/reality show soapbox here.) Reality television is a farce that should be taken off the air. Now, before you guys get all, "That's censorship! Just don't watch it;" I don't watch it. I banned reality shows from my television agenda a few years ago, and feel like my life is better for it. The idea that this show should be removed entirely is a blissful fantasy, not a campaign platform.
So what's the issue? It's more along the lines of how this one show has completely and utterly taken over the consciousness of America, and how it seems as though the country stops working when it's on. If every person who voted for an Idol contestant took that money and donated it to a worthy cause instead, we'd be able to shoe, clothe and shelter every citizen. If people took the same zeal they feel for who their "favorite" is and focused it on something else, say math or science, we may not be lagging behind so many countries in those subjects. If every one of them watched Alias, that brilliant show would still be on the air.
But nnnnoooooo. These "singers" are on the cover of every magazine. They're featured in nightly newscasts. They're loved, revered and treated like the end-all, be-all of American entertainment. It's wrong that a Gong Show rip-off should so consume the American psyche!

Monday, May 22

Hoff's the judge

It's been a while, dear readers, since I've posted anything on one of our favorite pop-culture icons, the former Baywatch god and German singing sensation, David Hasselhoff. Truth be told, that is mainly because I've read that he's going through a nasty divorce right now, with allegations of spousal abuse and the like being bantered around by his people, her people, and attorneys that are, no doubt, digging in to those Knight Rider royalties something fierce. Since I seem to be favoring The Hoff on the blog, I'd rather not write anything bad about him, unless it's proven -- so until then, this is a safe place for Hoff, where we discuss only random bits of news. (And post disturbing photos of him. What!?! Is he in a gang? But seriously, I was thisclose to uploading the beefcake shots.)
Thanks to Melissa, I have received new news on the state of The Hoff. Have you heard about Simon Cowell (of American Idol hysteria) and his new TV show, America's Got Talent? I'll admit to a vague recollection of a preview before switching stations one night this weekend. At any rate, Hasselhoff has been picked as one of the judges for the show. Along with "singer" Brandy and United Kingdom journalist Piers Morgan (cool name!), and the show's host, Regis Philbin, Hasselhoff will judge singers, dancers, comedians and the like for their talent (or lack thereof) on national television.
No word yet on whether winners receive a walk-on appearance in Hasselhoff's next video.

A series of events

We had a weird kind of weekend. It really was just a lot of random events converging on a single two-day span.
Event #1: Brian's Saturday morning appointment took him longer than anticipated, so we ended up having to make do with a movie-theater lunch, which was SO MUCH better than it had a right to be. Here's the food tally: a hot dog each; popcorn for me; nacho pretzels for Brian; large soda to share; and about 45 minutes later into the movie's duration, a large box of Junior Mints and a second large soda. It was very wrong to eat that much, but it felt so right.
Event #2: The movie we saw, by the way, was Poseidon. I've never seen the original, nor any of the sequels (oh, yes, there were three), so other than knowing that the boat flips over and that a group of passengers needs to fight for survival, I had little to no idea how this would play out. It was NOT the best movie I will see this year, by far, but it did manage to keep my attention and elicit the proper amount of suspense at the right times. Brian did not like it at all.
Event #3: The large frosted glass light fixture covering in the kitchen fell from the ceiling, crashing to the tile floor 10 feet below, giving Brian and I something fun to clean up Sunday morning. We are thinking that the upstairs tenants, banging away on the floor or whatever, subtly ended up unscrewing the piece, and it crashed on its own. I refuse to think too much about what may have happened had Brian, Oliver or I been in the kitchen when it occurred (about 8:30 a.m. Sunday; B was in his office; Ollie and I were just getting out of bed for our walk), so we won't, but holy crap, there was no shortage of glass all over the floor. Forty-five minutes later, having vacuumed up any bit of anything that reflected light, I was finally comfortable in my kitchen again.
Event #4: We finally sat down and watched King Kong last night. (It was the weekend for remakes, apparently.) It is a long movie, by the way, clocking in at three hours and a few minutes. As I said last year when the flick came out, I could take it or leave it, but Brian was wanting to catch it. So here it is, about two and a half hours in, and Brian looks at me and says, "Why don't they just capture him and send him back to the island? He's jumping around on the Empire State Building; he'll fall and die! When do they just return him to the island?" Brown eyes of innocence looked to me for an explanation. "Don't you know how this movie ends?" I ask. "They don't take him back to the island?" he replies. "Oh, no, honey. He dies in New York. He falls." Seriously, it was what I think watching Old Yeller with my kids would be like ("What do you mean the dog dies?"). The movie ended shortly thereafter, and Brian announced that this movie had troubled him deeply, and that he never wanted to discuss it again.
Event #5: Oliver threw up all over my bed linens. The blanket and mattress pad were no big deal; they were easily washed. My pillow, however, was not so easily taken care of, though I did try. Bed decor pillows, just so you know, are not as comfortable as sleeping pillows, even when used in a pinch. I slept on one Saturday night, and woke up with a tremendous headache and neck pain. Brian, love that he is, volunteered to sleep on it last night so I could have his pillow, but he was no more comfy than I. So the idea of sharing was brought up. It's not an easy thing to do with a standard-sized pillow, but we made a valiant effort. Neither one of us got any sleep last night. Tonight, after work, we head to Bed, Bath & Beyond for my new pillow.

Friday, May 19

Rehashed clothing fad, #2

I don't know how many of you hang out on Go Fug Yourself, one of the best, brightest, bitterest Web sites to ever skewer celebrity fashion, but I'll tell you that the girls on the site have lately taken up the fight against the re-emergence of leggings. Having worn them once in my life, I am forbidden (by myself) from wearing them again. The trend, I had thought, was currently being popularized only by Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and other red-carpet, celebutante, personality wastes.
Today, I fear that I must tell you that I spotted the dreaded leggings in my workplace. They have, once again and to my horror, gone mainstream. There is an employee here who takes ... um, let's call them "fashion risks." Risks that have been known to come in the form of a leopard-print miniskirt, bright blue tights and other outfits that she's just a bit too old to wear to work. I applaud her moxie, for it takes some real confidence to pull off a couple of her ensembles. I shudder to think about what she may deem inappropriate for work. But this day, she steps over the line: she wears black leggings. But not just black leggings, my friends, black leggings under a knee-length, bell-shaped black skirt. A cropped white cotton biker jacket tops the collection. Bad, bad, bad.

Thursday, May 18

Can't buy him love

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are separating and divorcing. Who's really surprised by this? (Read the article here.) What surprised me is that the couple went so far as to blame the media for the reason behind the split. The media? Seriously? What a cop out. How about, if you must say anything at all, you say that you weren't able to spend enough time together; that after four years, Heather admitted that her taste in music ran more towards the Rolling Stones; that Paul still loves Linda and that Heather couldn't take her place, so he'd rather be alone with his memories; or that Stella was right all along and Heather's a gold-digger?
To actively and pointedly blame the media is stupid. Is the media there when they close their bedroom door at night? Is the media there when they sit down to breakfast or dinner? Is the media there when he finds out she bought a $60,000 purse? Is the media there when Christmas dinner turns into a drag-out fight? No. And those times and places, my friends, are where marriage happens. That's where a relationship is either deemed solid or broken. It's at those times when a couple realizes that they're either in it for the long haul, or that it simply won't work.
Breaking news as of this morning, though. Paul and Heather had no pre-nuptial agreement. Because of this, Heather could stand to gain up to a quarter of Paul's $1.56-billion financial fortune. That, should it happen, could equate to $1.9 million for every week of the four-year marriage. (Legal experts do not believe that the settlement would be that much.) Paul has gone on the defensive, saying that Heather was never in the relationship for the money. She offered to sign the agreement, but Paul considered in un-romantic. Un-romantic, perhaps; fiscally responsible, not at all.
As for the state of this divorce: Blame no one but yourselves, Paul and Heather. You're the only two who could have made or broken it.

Wednesday, May 17

Nicole + Keith = Engagement

The news is out, and it's well known across the Internet that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban (country singer) are engaged to be married. Kidman spilled the secret on her own to People magazine, and the publication was quick to toss it out onto the wire to be picked up by every news agency in the world, from the Associated Press and CNN to Entertainment Weekly and Scientologists Anonymous (just kidding about that last one; I totally made it up.)
In an opinion violently opposed by my mom, I kinda dig Nicole Kidman. I like that she's a good actress and seemingly, a good mom. I like that she's taken the classy route by not giving up the real goods as to her split with Tom Cruise, and has not commented on T.C.'s relationship with (er, character possession of) Katie Holmes. I say, "Good on her." (Though I was quite disappointed by her quotes about still loving Cruise in a recent magazine. I mean, I know that on some level, we all still love the ones we've loved, but seriously, why throw that out there?)
So congratulations, Nicole! Here's hoping that your life with a not-too-well-known country singer leads you to bigger and better places than the life you had with that actor that no one seems to like anymore.

Tuesday, May 16

Is there a dentist in the house?

Well, let's just say that there was no shortage of water going on this weekend. As many of you have read and heard, the Northeast was (and still is) mired in some of the worst rain storms and flooding since the 30s, if ever. Of course, such record-setting rain would come on the weekend that we were to show people around Boston, and on which timing for most things was critical, but that's neither here nor there.
I'll answer a couple of the most-asked questions for the day up front: 1.) On the news, you all saw the undergraduate commencement ceremony at Boston University. It was held outside on the field Sunday morning, rain or shine. Brian's ceremony was held in the Fitness and Recreation Center, a cheesy, BUT DRY, venue for the commencement. So fear not my friends, we did not suffer through a two-hour drenching outdoors. 2.) Yes, we did still do the Fenway Tour, Cheers bar, and our own special walking tour of Boston, even in the rainfall that equaled four inches or so in one day. It was wet: the water line on everyone's pants was up somewhere around the crotchal and zipper region. Most everyone soldiered through it until the end though. Dearest family from Arizona and Michigan: Welcome to Boston, I'm almost sure you'll never want to come back again. 3.) I was able to get the last two ceremony tickets, but not until the day of graduation, and as I was at the door to enter the hall. On the verge of stressed-out tears, I lied to the lady about the two family members from Arizona who forgot their tickets, and how ... HOW ... was I to get them in if they were taking tickets at the door? She gave me two that she'd already collected, and I was able to give those to the last two of our party for entrance.
Other than the rain though, all went along just fine. I think my lunch and dinner suggestions were looked on favorably, and the checks and figuring out who would pay for what all worked itself out. The Fenway Tour was a great idea, and everyone seemed to enjoy that. Our catered (er, bought at Whole Foods) lunch on Sunday managed to fill everyone, I think, except for Brian and I, as we were too stressed out to eat much. Taxis on Sunday gave me fits and may have prompted a near cab-icide by Brian, but everyone made it to the ceremony on time.
As for the newly graduated dentist, he told me last night that he had a great weekend, and that, really, is all that matters to me. I'd go through all that insanity again in a heartbeat just knowing that he'd have as good a time again. As much as he disliked the attention, I'm glad that the whole weekend was about him, and his accomplishment, since I think he deserved that and so much more for his efforts over the last four years. While some would, and did, say that I deserve as much praise, I gladly hand all the glory to him, as he's my rock star. No one's more proud of him for achieving what he has than I.
Such a great weekend; and holy cow, I could use a good night's sleep tonight.

Weekend recap, to come

I can only imagine how excited you all are to hear about the graduation weekend ... as you should be. It was great and eventful, and you'll have to wait until this afternoon because I've got some work/software training this morning that will take me away from my desk until then. But, of course, until then, here's my favorite graduate, in his "doctor's robes" and kicky beret.
Catch you later!!

[Editor's comment: It's been noted, by me, that when the text to the right of a picture doesn't reach down farther on the page than the photo itself, the text doesn't show up on the page until a viewer scrolls down and then back up to the post. Is this the case for all of you, or is it just a special annoyance for me? At any rate, I suppose I'll have to finesse my word count higher on the posts that are accompanied by a photo (as I'm cleverly doing right now), so all the brilliant text can be witnessed by my adoring masses (or just my mom and dad) as soon as they open the page.]

Thursday, May 11

A wizard, I tell you!

Here's an interesting little article about how parents are aware of, and even approve, their children's choice in video games. Imagine that: parents actually can take responsibility for the games that they let their kids play with when it comes to content. Hear, hear. (No more articles on how the companies that produce the games should be responsible for the effect of games on the kids, please.)
I know that my kid's going to be a video game wizard. Why wouldn't it be? It's dad is. I am well aware that there are games that no child of mine will get near until they're in the latter years of high school. I'm going to have a separate cabinet each for "Daddy's games," and "Kid's games." Daddy's, of course, will probably be locked. If no cabinet presents itself, the games will be well hidden. I don't want my baby playing Hitman, the Tom Clancy games, or Grand Theft Auto.
But the part in the article about gamer-parents is what intrigued me the most, because that is what Brian and I are. We were both raised in the world of video games. He loves the games, and while I'm not proficient at playing them, I am perfectly happy sitting back, watching him figure them out, and giving advice on how best to escape when the guards are descending on all sides and there's nothing to do but just, "throw the grenades at them!"
I plan on being very involved in what my kids play in regards to video games. Their disappointment will probably lie mostly in the fact that they won't be able to snowball Brian and I into thinking that a game is about one thing, when it's really about another. We won't fall for, "But, it's called Bloodsport 6: Gushing Everywhere because they're doctors trying to save the world from an epidemic!"

Countdown to graduation weekend

So this morning, I was able to make a list of all the things that I have not yet done in preparation for this weekend. In fact, it dawned on me that I haven't even figured out lunch for Sunday yet. The one meal that I'm really responsible for, and I haven't gotten anywhere with it. Actually, I do have an idea ... but I'll have to float it past Brian and see if he agrees first. But if he does, lunch will have gotten a ton easier.
We went to the school's graduation dinner last night. Had it been about 90 minutes shorter, it would have been perfect. But after two hours, we'd only gotten so far as the salad, which was listed as number two on the agenda. The dinner itself was decent, or as decent as banquet food can be, and the company was entertaining, as usual. The speeches got to be a bit much, and the award presentation lasted about an hour, during which almost every faculty member got up to present an award or two. Fifty awards later, I was sick of hearing a couple of the over-achievers' names, and ready to be done. Then followed the photo retrospective, where all the students sent in pictures of themselves and their classmates throughout their time at school, which were organized via PowerPoint and put to music for the ceremony. It was great actually, during the first couple songs. Um, five or six songs later, it had gotten ridiculous. I think they were afraid to leave any of the images out, and held on to everything. Seriously, I think it was 45 minutes long.
But don't let my attitude toward last night make you think I'm not excited about this. I know, for a fact, that I will be a crying mess on Sunday, simply because I'm so proud of Brian, and his friends, and I know how much they have accomplished throughout the four years, and how hard they have all worked. I know that they're all so excited and ready to move on into the next phase of their lives, and I know that they all will be successful at whatever they choose to do. I know that, and it makes me happy.

Wednesday, May 10

Brit's now-confirmed news

You know, just this weekend, I was defending my love of the Brit. Really, I was. I can't remember how or what brought it up, but there I was, saying, "Of course, I love Britney! Who wouldn't? She's amazing!" I finished this up by pointing out that loving her lately has been difficult, what with the amazing string of bad decisions she's made within the last few years, but then adding that I knew she was working on a new record, and that she'd be back to her old self in no time.
And then, last night (though of course, I'd heard the rumors), she did the unbelievable and confirmed that she's pregnant with her second child. Her second child by the chicken-fried husband who is more leech really than anything else, and who rightfully should fade quickly and quietly away into "Pop-Culture Trivia Land" where he's then relegated to little more than the question, "What awful dancer/rapper fathered Britney Spears' first child?" Alas, on Letterman last night, she confirmed the news during an interview, and then told Dave not to worry, because it wasn't his. (Seriously, Brit, you should do so well as to have David Letterman father your child.)
So this new development will inevitably put to the side the new album, any new videos, and of course, my purchase of a ticket to see her in concert, for a couple more years. I'm upset by this, really. I keep hoping that, one day, she'll be walking through her house, and upon passing a mirror, will stop, look at herself, and say, "What in the hell am I thinking?" That moment, the Brit epiphany, will bring in a new era of delicious pop tart-ness from her, wherein she'll once again amaze us with her lackluster song-writing skills, fair voice, and kicky dance moves.
Oh, Britney, how I miss you.

Tuesday, May 9

What's next, Mr. Blaine?

I can't decide if this would have been a better post had Blaine accomplished his ridiculous feat of holding his breath for nine minutes, but I guess we'll never know. Yep, David Blaine failed in his breath-holding, record-breaking attempt, to be pulled from the water some six minutes or so after starting (still WAY longer than I could ever go without taking a breath; which is kinda cool). I didn't watch the two-hour live special last night ... really, I didn't. Brian and I had dinner plans -- a fun double date actually -- and by the time we got home, I was exhausted, only wanted to go to bed, and had completely forgotten about the whole thing anyway. I remembered only by virtue of this morning's first stop on my Internet stroll, USA
I can only imagine what Blaine's next stunt may be: travel around the world in a passenger jet's baggage compartment, with no air pressure; follow some boring mathematician on a cross-country lecture tour and sit through each presentation, while constantly singing and performing, "I'm a Little Teapot;" copy, by hand, the Bible, the way the old monks used to do; wander aimlessly through the Arizona desert for two weeks, with no shelter, food or water; or, of course, marry Tom Cruise.

Monday, May 8

Hands off

Tonight's the night. David Blaine will finally, after attempting to hold his breath for a full nine minutes, emerge from his sphere-like aquarium. He's reportedly in "bad shape," but still intends to attempt the breath-holding stunt. He was quoted as saying that he'd go through with it, but if the nine minutes go by, and he passes out, the rescuers will pull him from the water and revive him. He said he has faith in them. He also stated that, in referring to the nine minutes without air, he'd "do my best," already seeming to let down ABC, its marketing and promotions departments, and all the fine people who care a whit, should he fail. Here's a picture of Blaine's hands, being treated by doctors outside of the tank. Yuck. Granted, hands tend to prune before everything else when submerged for a length of time, but yikes, I wonder what the rest of him looks like. Bleck.

Mission: rejected

And even though yesterday was Lisa's birthday, it seems as though I got a present, too.
Did you hear? Did you hear? Mission: Impossible: 3, while still taking the top spot in the weekend's box office race, performed to less-than-expected levels. It brought in only $48 million, compared to the anticipated take of close to $70 million. (Click here to read all about it.) I like to think that it was all by my urging, but having flipped through the hundred and some comments on Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog when it asked about T. Cruise's popularity, one can't help but realize that there are A LOT of people out there who dislike the actor/religious zealot/psychiatry hater for his freakish behavior. Of course, there are those who didn't go see the movie because they didn't like the first two, but let's just call them movie snobs, and leave it at that.
I can't tell you the last time I didn't go out for the first big summer movie of the year before now. It's kinda sad, but I will martyr myself for the good of cutting in to T.C.'s hold on the planet. How long until X-Men 3 comes out? Two weeks? Yay!!
Here's hoping that Tom will now fade away into the sunset, and I can stop having to read about him, thereby meaning that I can stop writing about him...

Graduations aplenty

First of all, I suck because I forgot to call Lisa yesterday and sing her "Happy Birthday." I think it's the first time since high school ended that one of us has not called the other on their big day. Like I said, I suck. At any rate, I called and sang on her voice mail this morning, and hope that that will make up for my lateness.
Well, I made it back from Virginia yesterday afternoon, and had a good time while down there. Jason's graduation was nice, but long, and during the commencement speaker and university president's closing remarks, frightfully dull. But we were all there to celebrate Jason's achievement, and that is all that matters. The graduation itself was in Norfolk, Va., home of the Atlantic Fleet, but because of our commitment to the ceremony and Jason, we, sadly, couldn't ditch the college and go out for some Navy dick instead either. (Don't get all prude on me, everyone; Grandma was TOTALLY up for it, too.) The ceremony itself was pretty normal: no one tripped on the stage, and only a couple names got butchered by the announcers, though one nifty side event was a guy proposing to his girl as she walked off the stage with her diploma. Very sweet. It was a terrific achievement for Jason, and we are all super proud of him.
(Some background on the pictures: Jason's graduating class; Mom holding Cierra, Jason's daughter; and the stylish combover being sported by the guy sitting in front of us.)
My flight was uneventful too, except that having arrived before we were scheduled to, and having no open gates for us, the plane had to chill out on the tarmac for 25 minutes. While irritating, not completely awful, as I was able to plug in to the iPod some more and drown out the noise of the kids around me.
As for life here, it's progressing. Brian's own graduation is this weekend, and we're starting to gear up for that. I've got to go out and get his present this afternoon, and get some laundry done this evening. Tomorrow, I think I'll get the car washed and vacuumed out, and we'll clean the apartment tomorrow night. (Merry Maids' day to clean, of course, is next week. Damn the unpredictability of an "every three weeks" schedule.)

Friday, May 5

South to Virginia

I'm off to Virginia for my cousin Jason's graduation, and will be heading out of the apartment in the next hour, but wanted to throw some stuff up here ... just for fun.
In a bold move, Kansas, the state, and its Congress, has passed a bill that would raise the minimum marrying age from 15 to 18. This progressive action is due in part to the marriage between a pregnant 14-year-old from Nebraska and her 22-year-old pervert who drove across state lines and got married. (The husband is currently in jail serving time for sexual assault on the girl and sentenced for impregnating her.) Of course, there's a catch to the whole thing, after all, this is kinda the South: "Under the legislation, requested by [Kansas] Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a 15-year-old could marry only if a district court judge decided it was in that person's best interest.
Those who are 16 or 17 could marry if they met one of three conditions: permission from a parent or legal guardian and judicial consent; permission from both parents and any legal guardian; or permission from judge if the parents are dead and there is no legal guardian."
Also, I'm glad that the Phoenix Suns have come back to force a Game 7 against the Lakers. In an opinion that I know is not shared by my husband or aunt, I believe that Kobe Bryant losing is a good thing ... you know, since he essentially admitted to being a rapist.
And, oh yeah, have I told you that I'm boycotting the Mission: Impossible movie, for no reason other than to keep my $10 out of Tom Cruise's pocket? He served as a producer on the film as well as the "star," so that means he gets a cut of the whole thing. Not a single dollar from me. Lately, with his crazy antics, uneducated rantings and nausea-inducing publicity stunts (poor Suri), he is, in my mind, just a step or two below Kobe and G.W. Bush.
Whew! Kimmie's SPIKEY today!
As for Virginia, I'm not sure if I'll have any time to post throughout the weekend, but rest assured that, if I do, I'll have some interesting tales to tell.

Thursday, May 4

Da Vinci denials

Does anyone find it particularly vexing that the Church is boycotting (some groups anyway), publicizing denials (everyone from the Pope down), and readying their arguments (most regional places of worship) for a fictional movie based on a fictional book? Or is it all fictional? I mean, why spend so much time, energy and money fighting against something that's untrue, to the point of turning the whole thing into a three-ring circus?
Now, me? I loved The Da Vinci Code. I totally bought in to it as a plausible take on religious history. I can think of nothing better than finding out that the premise (based on some historical fact) would be true. (For those of you who don't know: Jesus and Mary got married and started a family whose bloodline still continues today; the Church hid it to downplay Mary's involvement in Jesus's life and decisions; the foundation of religion is based on women and their wombs; and the Church frantically hid it because of its fear of a strong, female presence.) The parallels that author Dan Brown draws between history, legend, evidence and common knowledge are freakishly accurate. Certainly, we know that the Church is famously afraid of admitting women into it's higher offices. We know that demeaning and subjecating women was a fun pastime for men back in the day of the Bible. We absolutely know that the Church is a world-wide, rich and powerful entity that could have such a conspiracy under its robes, and the means to keep it hidden for thousands of years.
Even if such a conspiracy -- disappointingly -- were not true, the Church seems determined to smash even the slightest question as to the basis behind its beliefs. It's spending a lot of time trying to convince its followers that asking such questions is blasphemy, and that being a good parishioner means accepting everything that they're told, and not questioning it. That, to me, seems a lot like a dictatorship, or a fascist sect.

Tuesday, May 2

It's NOT magic

I think David Blaine is a hack.
Brian is a fierce believer in the man's magical abilities.
This makes for interesting, but ridiculous, arguments in my home when Blaine happens to come up in conversation, usually through some commercial or special that is being promoted. The other night, said commercial was about Blaine's attempt to live underwater for seven days and nights, and finally make a climax of the stunt by attempting to hold his breath (during a live two-hour television special, of course), longer than anyone else has before: eight minutes and 58 seconds. The title of the stunt, in an odd twist of fate should it happen, is called, David Blaine: Drowned Alive. Read all about it, and keep up with his blog, by clicking here. (Oh, and you can buy the poster too, for only $25!)
Blaine began living in a specially built 8-ft. acrylic sphere yesterday, wherein he will receive liquid nutrition through a tube, and the water will be kept at a balanced temperature to help keep his core temperature close to 98.6 degrees F. The aquarium is located in front of New York City's Lincoln Center, where passersby can communicate and see Blaine, and NOT TAP on the glass. (Isn't that standard aquarium etiquette?)
Here's what I think: this, along with his other "feats of endurance," is not magic. What's so magical about swimming with the fishes? Anyone could do it ... but really, why? What could this possibly do for the good of mankind? The reality of it is more what the stunt can do for Blaine, and obviously, that could be answered in one simple phrase: it's for the publicity, silly girl.
Still, it's NOT magic....

Monday, May 1

May Day

This is the day they call May Day, isn't it? Huh ... that may be what the rest of the country calls it, but I call it the first day of a busy month.
Here's the low-down on my May, if you can handle the truth: two graduations, one in Virginia this weekend, one in Boston the following weekend; two airplane trips, one to Virginia this weekend, one to San Antonio in two weeks; three straight weekends with my mom, a good thing, because I'll be needing the help holding on to my sanity; 11 people, number of family members I'll be planning for and leading around Boston for four days over Brian's graduation weekend; one weekend that is yet unplanned, but thank the goddess it's Memorial Day weekend, a long one; 17 days, out of the entire month's allotted workdays, during which I'll actually be in my office working; 2 big decisions need to be made, where we'll be moving this summer, and when.
I need a nap just thinking about all this.
Here is the avatar for the month, too. I'm digging the ladybug sweater, truly, and Ollie seems to be enjoying our little flower, backyard-y scene. It's still not really warm enough for capri pants and little shoes, but I'm holding out hope that the better weather is just around the corner.