Sunday, December 31, 2006

Exeunt 2006

Well, I'd have to say it's been a heck of a year. Though my blogging has suffered mightily this year, in most other aspects of my life, things are going pretty damn well. Highlighted, of course, by the arrival and first 8 months of Evie! It's been a wild time, and things won't be settling down any time soon.

Aside from that most awesome of awesomeness, some other stuff of note from the Year In Max:
  • Got what I believe to be the best birthday present ever, from my wife, who is awesome beyond words.
  • Played my first "real" full game of golf. ("Real" is in quotes mainly because of a) how poorly I did and b) I don't believe anyone was bothering to keep score - except perhaps my uncle).
  • Guitar Hero I & II
  • Got introduced to another great series of books by Randy: George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Fire and Ice. Of course, this marks the second series he's introduced me to which I've gotten REALLY into, and then been faced with waiting many years for the conclusion of the series.
  • Finally visted my uncle & his family at their new (swank) home in North Carolina.
  • An AWESOME undefeated regular season for the OSU Buckeyes - and holding out hope to bring home the National Championship in another week or so.
  • Attended a Daily Show taping.
  • Saw a great rock show in Cleveland: Kamelot & Epica
  • Took my Dad to a Browns game (we won!) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We also hit up the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Good times.
  • I'm sure there's a lot more stuff in there my brain is leaving out - especially closer to the beginning of the year...
Anyway, good times.

Tonight we're hitting up the Shadowbox Shindig for the 5th (or 6th??) year in a row. Promises to be a great time - we've got the group back up to NINE this year (from a low of just Amy & I the past two years).

Hope everyone has a great one! See you in 2007!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Day Break: Robbed!

Like most folks, when I first heard about the mid-season "gap filler" Day Break, I thought - they made an action/mystery show out of Groundhog Day? I hope Bill Murray gets a cut.

I stuck it on the DVR list mainly because I like Taye Diggs and thought the concept was interesting, but honestly didn't hold high hopes. Since it was an afterthought, and there were so many other shows we were trying madly to squeeze in, the episodes started piling up, and neither Amy nor I were all that rushed to watch them. Lots of other more important or interesting things to fit in our limited free-time.

So eventually, a few weeks ago we got around to watching the pilot ep. I think I queued it up mainly because it was a 2-hour premiere and I wanted to get it off there to clear up some space. And what did we find? It's a good show - no, it's a great show. We got quickly hooked in, and burned through the rest of the saved eps in no time. I knew the premise sounded really interesting, but this was VERY well executed. They got a lot of the obvious stuff out of the way early: he CAN be hurt and have it carry-over from day-to-day... therefore, he CAN die. He CAN change the day, resolving a major issue which somehow influences other folks, his day restarts at 6:17am no matter what's going on or where he is -- and rather than hanging the show on the gimmick of the repeating day, it's just a part of what played out to be a great mystery show, with a pace infinitely faster than The Nine, a good deal faster than LOST, and even moving things faster than Heroes. The best comparison of pacing is probably 24. It's a GREAT show. MUCH better than LOST has been so far this season, IMO.

So... after watching last week's episode, including a really intriguing twist at the end... imagine our frustration to find it not on the DVR queue to record this week - replaced with something else. A quick trip around the Intarwubs and I find that it's gotten the big yank.

Why did the show fail? It's (IMO) easier to follow than LOST, 24, or Heroes - with the now commonplace recap-intro at the beginning of each episode - so I can't imagine that's why people didn't watch.

The thing is - every time I mentioned it to someone they had the same response I did - "Isn't that the Groundhog Day TV show?" Unfortunately, I think the "gimmick" being a familiar one is what doomed it. People just weren't interested. Combine that with expecting it to keep LOST's audience when they really aren't similar shows, and I believe most people didn't give it a chance out of the gate. Which is a serious bummer, because I think the show could've caught on. And the best part? According to the FAQ at ABC's site they ARE planning on having him solve the mystery and make it to the next day this season. Solving the mystery during the season? *gasp* I know - UNHEARD of. Sure, I don't know what they would've done to eek out another season, but still... all for naught, the show was stillborn. If it had been on it's own to start the fall season it might've had a chance, but as a midseason filler, not so much.

So it's gone, and the 2nd season question won't be an issue. But this season IS all in the can. So -- the saving grace -- ABC IS planning on showing the remaining episodes on their web site (see "Watch Day Break Online Now" on the left-side of the page). Not only that, but all the episodes they've already aired are there as well. So go watch, give it a chance - I really think you'll dig it. It's NOT just Groundhog Day with guns.

Watch my show before they shut the lid!

UPDATE 12/29: Well, it looks like they've given DayBreak the total hucklebuck now - it appears to have completely vanished from the ABC site. Despite initial reports that it would be running online for the rest of it's season, that's a no-go. A few different pages seemed to indicate this was due to "music license issues", whatever the crap that means. I guess now we hope for a DVD release to find out how Hopper's day is resolved... bastiches.

Friday, December 15, 2006


So not like I didn't already have PLENTY of reasons to be jealous of the metal fans in Scandanavia - now along comes the ROCKTAURANT. Seriously!

Basically, the lead singer of the Finnish band Lordi (they're kind of like GWAR, only not quite as intentionally disgusting, and with more of a hard rock feel) opened a horror-rock themed restaurant! Sounds AWESOME. Too bad the "distant" plans only mention the UK - I doubt something this cool will ever make it to the US.

I guess for now I'll just have to hope to make it back to the VERY COOL Jekyll & Hyde Club in NYC sometime soon. Haven't been since going to NYC with Gary, Irene & Jeremy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get Your Vote On!

Make sure to get out there and vote today! This is our first time using the electronic voting machines in our district today, so for all I know I'm voting for whoever Ken Blackwell wants me to, but hey, I'll at least be giving it the old college try! If you need some info on the different candidates/issues, check out OhioElects.

The new machines supposedly print out a receipt of who you voted for -- does that mean that if things don't go my way I can take it back tomorrow for a refund?

Evie gets to vote TWICE today! Er, well go with two people who are voting at any rate...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Answer Is Obvious!


Ok, so predictably the link on YouTube to Hugh Laurie's "Protest Song" from SNL didn't last long... but - he DOES have it on his web page. While it probably won't be there forever, it's definitely way more stable (and presumably, way more legal) than the YouTube version, so check it out, on his videos page. Under "Saturday Night Live" clips, click "All We Gotta Do Is". And wait for it to load...

You need Quicktime, and it's pretty high quality, which means it's a longer download, but IMO, worth the wait for a laugh.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Midwest Daily Taptacular

So this afternoon I headed over to the Drake to attend a taping of the Daily Show, visiting Columbus (and OSU campus specifically) for their Indecision 2006 "Midwest Midterm Midtacular" coverage. They're here all week (which means shows Monday - Thursday).

I sent an e-mail back in August when I first heard about it, requesting tickets. Hadn't heard anything back since, so I assumed that it was a no-go. BUT... last week I got the e-mail saying I had two tickets for tonight! WOOT! Well, complicated WOOT, as Amy wasn't able to go (staying home with Evie for the neighborhood Trick-or-Treat action). Gary's sick (ubersick, I'm afraid). Jeff originally showed interest last Friday, but it's his anniversary. Randy had his own tickets (same day even!), so I went with Tyler from work. We waited in the rain outside Drake for around 1.5 hours, only to get inside and wait INSIDE (past the metal detectors!) for another hour or so before finally getting in. We were afraid Randy & Heather weren't going to make it in, and it looked like they were indeed the LAST folks in the door - but they actually got to be up behind the producer/sound table, so that was cool. (Or seemed to be anyway, I wasn't able to catch up with them after the show to see if they felt the same).

The taping itself was a BLAST. Beforehand they had a comedian come out and warm-up the crowd, getting everyone to scream & yell & shout & generally make noise, then cracking jokes with folks, calling out random people and poking fun here & there. A pretty good time. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name :( He played the Funny Bone last weekend... but that doesn't help. Anyway, he was decent, and got folks going pretty well, then Jon Stewart came out and chatted with folks for awhile, taking questions from the audience which ranged from what comedians made him laugh to what he would want to be reincarnated as (an otter, BTW). Pretty awesome to just take whatever questions from folks, and he handled them all well. The only one that was kind of stiff was someone asking him about running for president - he just said he wasn't and moved on immediately.

As for the actual SHOW portion, there weren't any retakes (or none needed that happened at the time I guess), so it went amazingly fast. It seemed kind of odd that there were pauses about the same length as commercial breaks in between segments. It's kind of funny how little actual CONTENT goes into a 30-minute show after commercials and such. The guest was an OSU professor (apparently they invited plenty of politicians, but no one was available/interested) - he was OK I guess, but it would've been nice to see LeBron yesterday or Borat on Thursday. No clue who's scheduled for tomorrow.

So yeah, watch the Daily Show tonight (or the replay tomorrow at 8)! There's an almost infantismal chance you'll see me in one of the crowd-panning shots! And if not, we'll it's still cool that they're IN TOWN. Despite the long wait in the rain, and inside, and the short actual TAPING, the overall experience was a blast, and I'd definitely do it again!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beware The Ubersick

Holy wow... yesterday was HORRIBLE. Starting late Saturday night (or very early Sunday morning, depending on how you look at it), Amy & I both got really horrible awful sick. Needless to say it was VERY unentertaining, and lasted all night and the majority of the day Sunday. Thankfully my parents were able to come over and take care of Evie, because we were pretty much useless. Such an odd thing, as we were both fine as of typical bedtime Saturday night, then WHAM...

From the sound of things, most of the staff and older kids at Evie's daycare have had this recently. Evie has NOT gotten it, thankfully... though I think Allison might have. :( For everyone else, hopefully if you haven't already gotten it, you won't - it's the SUCK.

Meanwhile, today at work was decent (though hellabusy), and tomorrow should be a good day at work, followed by free tickets to the Daily Show taping at the Drake! Woot!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


So apparently the US Goverment has banned Vegemite!

No, not due to it being nasty stuff (which, you know, is a pretty fair complaint) - but due to some wacky ingredient restrictions. So for all those expatriate Aussies in the US looking for their salty-black-tar fix.... NO SOUP FOR YOU! (more)

Oddly enough, I picked up a small jar at Jungle Jims awhile back, which still resides in my cabinet at home -- so I've got contraband now baby! Black market here I come!

(and yes, I know I'm still slacking.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slacker Ahoy

Wow, been awhile since I hit up the 'ol bloggage... at least by my standards.

Anyway, yeah I'm still here. Been up to many things:
  • First two weeks of Autumn Quarter -- AKA, the busiest time of the year at work. LOTS of work to do.
  • Not one, but TWO edition's of Max's Home Alone Adventure (guest starring Evie!). It's fall, which also means Amy starts traveling for work frequently. She's home all this week though - YAY!
  • Got and have been playing The Warriors for PS2. Very fun game - makes me seriously want to see the movie again, since it's been so long I remember pretty much NOTHING about it.
  • New TV! So far Heroes and Jericho both get the big thumbs-up, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip gets a fair-to-middling, Six Degrees gets a middling-to-enh.
  • Graphic novels from the library -- great way for someone who doesn't want to spend $$ on comics like me to keep up on quality funnybooks! Most recently I've VERY much enjoyed reading Alan Moore's runs on Supreme.
  • FOOTBALL! OSU football and NFL both in full-swing at this point. The Browns only have one win so far, but OSU's undefeated! WOOT!
  • Mike & I also hit up Cleveland last week for a concert by Kamelot & Epica. GREAT show. Very fun.
So yeah, staying very busy. So busy I'm missing out on quite a bit too --
I know, I know, being a parent and all means not having time to do everything you want. I'm cool with that- not saying my life sucks or anything (far from it!!!) but there is just a LOT going on right now that I want to do... gotta make choices choices choices!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rock Star: 0-2

So there he is. Two years in a row now Rock Star has chosen one of the LAST people I would've wanted to win. At least last year my major complaint with JD Fortune was that he was just a major asshole... in this case, I dislike (and in some cases loathe) pretty much everything about Lukas Rossi -- or, as Rick at OnlineOnslaught called him, Lord Revlon Q. Faggenstein.

See, I think the LAST thing the music scene needs at this point is another gothed-up, whiny-voiced emoboy... BUT... I think they telegraphed the pick pretty early in this case. There was the Hollywood Gossip Blog that said Lukas had already been picked as the winner at least a month ago... there was his endless praise from Tommy Lee & the boys... and in the finale it couldn't have been clearer -- the other three remaining folks got pretty soundly panned by the band (and Tommy Lee especially)... well, until AFTER they'd been eliminated, then at that point it seems like every one of the eliminated folks is going to have Dave Navarro and the entire band-formerly-known-as-Supernova backing them. So did they really lose? Is it better to be fronting a band with pretty much no solid future?

So, anyway... I don't anticipate them gettting any of my business. But if you care, here's an interview with Rossi after the win, and they've got two songs up on their MySpace page.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Supernova Goes POP

Who's that you ask? Why, that would be the band Supernova. No, no not THAT Supernova - the original one, a pop-punk band originally from the 80s. Apparently these guys weren't too happy about their name being co-opted by Tommy Lee's projet du jour, and applied a little of the 'ol lawsuitification a couple months back. Well the (current) verdict is in, and for now, a judge says ixnay on the upernova-Say for Mssrs Lee, Clarke and Newstead.

I stress current in the verdict, as it's entirely possible something will still shake-out here to change the result -- either an appeal and overturned ruling, or some kind of buy-out or heavy licensing fees. Given the high profile of the show, and insta-money to be made or lost on the deal, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the name remain unchanged.

Nevertheless, this only further adds to my opinion on the flash-in-the-pan side proect / shaky future of the band. There are still some performers left on the show that I'm really interested in -- Toby and Magni primarily. If Lukas wins, my interest in Supernova drops to about negative 4.3 trillion.

Of course, if the rumor mill is correct, I'm SOL. But that's just a rumor. We'll know the REAL outcome tomorrow night! Oh, t3h DRAMA~!!

Go Print Me Some Dinner!

Yes, print! So there's this restaurant in Chicago called Moto (Hello Moto), and the chef there has a specially modified inkjet printer which uses food-based "inks" (carrot juice, purple potatoes, tomato juice) to print images onto sheets of soybean & potato starch to make printed edible food! And... wait for it... he calls it a FOOD REPLICATOR!

And Star Trek geeks everywhere were rejoicing.

Seriously though, this sounds freaking awesome. You know I love to try new and different restaurants, and this is just crazy. I'm sure the place is insanely expensive with a year-long waiting list, but I'll at least have to look in to eating there next time I'm in Chitown.

Printed sushi (pictured) -- even the MENU is edible. But the printed food isn't the only cool thing about Moto. The chef (Homaro Cantu) has all kinds of CRAZY stuff going on there. Fish baking in a crazy little box right at your table, cheese literature which tells its own history, flavored packing materials... plus lots of very tasty looking and very snazzily presented other options. Check out this photo essay of a multiple course meal at Moto (about 3 posts in).

I'm so there.

Read More:
-Story at First Science
-Story at New York Times

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fall TV Comin' Atcha

So the season premiere of House was this week. It was most excellent. I'm a little torn on the ending, but it was a great episode and the series has definitely picked up right where it dropped off. Still in my top 5 shows.

Other than House and the almighty football, not much else has started back up yet, but here's a rundown on what I'm waiting on, including the announced/projected premiere dates:
  • 24 (FOX): 2-hour 6th season premiere (projected) 1/14/2007 8pm
  • Big Love (HBO): 2nd season premiere (projected) 6/3/2007 9pm
  • C.S.I. (CBS): 7th season premiere 9/21/2006 9pm
  • Cold Case (CBS): 4th season premiere 9/24/2006 9pm
  • Doctor Who (SciFi): 150-minute 2nd season premiere 9/29/2006 8pm
  • Everybody Hates Chris (CW): 2nd season premiere 10/1/2006 7pm
  • The Ghost Whisperer (CBS): 2nd season premiere 9/22/2006 8pm
  • LOST (ABC): "special presentation" (recap show?) 9/27/2006 9pm
  • My Name Is Earl (NBC): 2nd season premiere 9/21/2006 8pm
  • N.C.I.S. (CBS): 4th season premiere 9/19/2006 8pm
  • Numb3rs (CBS): 3rd season premiere 9/22/2006 10pm
  • Rome (HBO): 2nd season premiere 1/7/2007 9pm
  • The Sopranos (HBO): 6th season "winter" premiere (projected) 3/11/2007 9pm
  • South Park (Comedy Central): 10th season "fall" premiere 10/4/2006 10pm
  • Top Chef (Bravo): 2nd season premiere 10/18/2006 11pm
  • Veronica Mars (CW): 3rd season premiere 10/3/2006 9pm
Ok, so looking at that list -- Holy hell that's a lot of TV. Admittedly some of them don't start until 2007, so the specific runs will overlap a LITTLE less... but still. Clearly something's gotta give, as I don't forsee having that much free time. To make matters worse, there are quite a few NEW shows debuting this fall that I'd LIKE to check out:
  • Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (NBC): series premiere 9/18/2006 10pm
  • Jericho (CBS): series premiere 9/20/2006 8pm
  • Six Degrees (ABC): series premiere 9/21/2006 10:01pm
  • Heroes (NBC): series premiere 9/25/2006 9pm
  • The Nine (ABC): series premiere 10/4/2006 10pm
  • Daybreak (ABC): series premiere 11/15/2006 9pm
Yeah... so as you can see, who knows what will make the cut and what will get dropped for sheer sanity/braincell-preservation. Inevitably at least one, likely several of the new shows will tank, so that will help... we'll see how things go.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Big 3-0

So yeah, today's my b-day. I decided to have a fireworks show to celebrate. Well, that or re-use one of my 4th of July pics instead of trying to find something more appropriate. One of the two.

It must be said loudly and in clear print that I HAVE THE BEST WIFE EVER. PERIOD. Seriously, Amy has outdone herself this year - I haven't even been awake three hours yet and I think this is likely to be my best birthday ever - she's been giving me the royal treatment all morning. On top of that, she really outdid herself with her gift - she's been conspiring over the past month and, knowing my obsession better than anyone else, got me 30 CDs! She's crazy! How did I manage to be so lucky as to get a wife this awesome?

Still not sure what all we're going to do today - we both have the day off work, so it's great just to hang with Evie (and the pups), but I'm sure we'll get out at some point. At the very least we'll be out for dinner at Mortons.

In non-birthday news, we had our Fantasy Football draft (with the OIT-related gang) @ BW3 last night, & it was awesome. Even feeding 9 hungry guys, $100 of food goes a LONG way (it was part of the fantasy football package Hutch set up through Sportsline). Had an awesome time with the gang last night, hanging out, joking, eating, drafting. It's going to be a fun league - much thanks to Hutch for setting it all up.

Ok, so one last piece of b-day news: It's also Laurie's 30th b-day today. From her post, it looks like she's got an awesome day lined up ahead of her as well. Make sure to stop by and wish her a good one!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Already? Really?

Hmmm... only one day left on the lifeclock. Anyone know the way to Sanctuary?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Everything You Learned In School Was Wrong #2: The Brontosaurus

If you were poll the random "person on the street" about their knowledge of dinosaur names, or their favorite dinosaur, chances are that most folks would name the Tyrannosaurus Rex. But after the mighty T.Rex there would be quite a lot of folks who would name the Brontosaurus (thunder lizard). The massive swamp-dwelling herbivores have been one of the staple dinosaurs for appearance in schools and popular culture for years, starting from when it was first discovered and named in the late 1800s. The gentle giants that all the kids love. So popular the Post Office chose it as one of the four dinosaur stamps they released in the 70s.

The problem is... there's no such thing as a Brontosaurus. It's been removed from books and museums because, despite everything we've heard about the mighty Thunder Lizard, it actually never existed. In fact, the guy who discovered it mis-identified the fossil skeleton he found when a mostly complete skeleton was found with the wrong skull in 1879. In actuality, the skeleton he found was of a species he'd already discovered and named two years earlier - the much lamer-sounding (though perhaps appropriately named) Apatosaurus (deceptive lizard).

The goof was actually discovered and published in 1903. So why are we still calling it a Brontosaurus more than 100 years later? Well, the correction was first published in Geological Series of the Field Columbian Museum , which from the name you can probably determine is a pretty obscure journal, even if you're NOT familiar with geological study. The catchier name also was used as the mascot for the Sinclair Oil Company for many years, and was, as previously mentioned, even listed on a US Postage Stamp. So people know Brontosaurus.

In practice, most folks recognize Brontosaurus as a synonym of the scientifically correct Apatosaurus, and geologists generally have more important things to worry about than this little misnomer.

But that still doesn't change the fact that your teacher was wrong.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Everything You Learned In School Was Wrong #1: The Solar System

Quick - what's wrong with the above picture? It's a diagram of the Solar System - the kind of thing we've seen in our textbooks and used for...oh, about the past 75 YEARS. Nine planets in the Solar System - just one of those givens we all know and love. But yeah, as you've probably heard, it's now out of date.

So what changed? Was a new planet discovered? Confirmation of a tenth planet, newly discovered? No, not so much. Instead, "they" (the IAU) voted today to change the definition of a planet. Yes, you read that right, change the definition of a planet. APPARENTLY scientists have been pretty unhappy about Pluto being included in with the rest of the planets for quite some time now. It's too small, too barren, it's got a funny orbit... it doesn't fit in with the cool kids. And what do we do with things which don't fit in? Why, ostracize them, of course! We give it the astronomical equivalent of making it ride on the short bus, out of sight and out of mind for all the normal kids. So, thanks to the eggheads, Pluto is now no longer a planet. Instead, it's newly demoted to a new "dwarf planet" status, which it'll have to share with at least two other things, with quite a few other likely candidates soon to join it, pending "approval". They resolved the following:
The IAU...resolves that planets and other bodies in our Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A "planet" [1] is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape [2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects [3] except satellites orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".

This whole process the IAU has been going through for changing the definition of a planet actually went through several stages... at one point it was even seeing more likely that we'd have TWELVE planets instead of 9. Or even more than 50! Obviously that'd never work... so instead we LOSE a planet.

Needless to say, the backlash started pretty quickly. There's bumper stickers, shirts, and some good stuff in a Worth 1000 photoshop contest. I'm sure more is already on it's way.

Still... this isn't the FIRST time that Pluto's gotten the short end of the stick anyway - so this shouldn't come as THAT big of a surprise. After all, among the whole group, he was the only one who couldn't walk upright, wear clothes, or speak English....

Good Advice

So in between calls, I spent the better portion of the morning so far typing up a post, only to have Firefox crash and lose it all. Bastards. The funny thing is that several times I thought about pressing the little "Save as Draft" button and skipped it, figuring I was almost done. Save and backup your work kiddies!!

For what I lost, it's something I really want to write about, but for now it'll have to wait - phone shift is over and there's more work to be done.

So for now, I'll just share this good bit of advice:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stupid RoadRunner

So I was actually in the midst of crafting up a new blog last night when RoadRunner decided to go down. It had been working fine all evening (well, as far as I know - I was only using it sporadically), but then as I'm pulling up another page as reference - poof there goes teh Intarwub.

So instead I'll cut my fair recap really short. We went twice, enjoyed both trips, weather cooperated for the most part. First trip with Jeremy, Irene & Alaina, second trip with Amy's Mom & Shari. Good times. Highlights:
  • FOOD: Ohio Food Pavilion gyros, corn nuggets, sweet potato fries, roast corn-on-the-cob, deep-fried oreos, lemon shake-ups
  • Art show (with an AWESOME huge painted "Periodic Table of Phobias", complete with key.
  • Cool custom name-sign to hang on Evie's wall
  • Butter cow, butter Browns & Bengals mascots
  • Amy toting Evie around in the Baby Bjorn for the first "real" time.
So yeah, fun stuff. Outside of the fair, I DID have more to talk about, but you know - stupid Internet. So instead, some links:
  • Courtesy of Laurie, a blinged-out cat. That's just weird man. He needs a litterbox with spinners and he's all set.
  • From BoingBoing, NASA Can't Find Moon Landing Tapes. (full article here) REALLY? I would think that's the kind of thing you'd consider pretty damn important. Maybe they should've opted for somewhere more secure than under Neil Armstrong's bed when going for the proverbial "safe place". Why weren't they in the Library of Congress? What this actually made me think of was the whole "Apollo Moon landing never happened" conspiracy theory. I'm DEFINITELY not an ascriber to that theory, but I'm sure this story will lend them some more arguing power - after all, the original high quality film is "lost", so you can't see the bad set pieces. Right? Anyway, it also reminded me of the really cool movie Capricorn One (though it was Mars in question there).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mitchell's Ocean Club

So back in May I used the comments form on the Cameron Mitchell web site to pass along my concerns about the planned overhaul to my favorite CM restaurant, The Ocean Club. I actually DID hear back from someone, and she offered to invite me to one of their practice nights before the reopening... of course I accepted and Amy & I took them up on it! I believe last night was their first "large" practice night, with two more coming during this week before the official reopening this Wednesday (8/9).

Very noticable change right away -- they put a small waiting area/lounge over the Easton ground-floor exit right there, with a huge wood-paneled sign for the place. Here's their new logo (from the CM web site):

Inside, the layout is almost exactly the same as before - host/hostess stand in the same place, bar in the same place (and shape), slightly raised seating area to the left, and main dining area beyond the bar. The DID add a really nice outdoor patio running along the outside of the place (above the entrances to the various Gaps on the outside there) - which is supposedly going
to be heated in the winter for use year-round. There's also a piano just beyond the host stand (with mic), to suit the new "piano club" feel. Though the lay-out and shape are the same, the DECOR is completely different. Gone are the bright blues and ocean-style theming, all replaced with wood paneling (a medium shade, not TOO dark), a rock-wall, a white curtain illuminated with color changing lights around the bar (think "M"). Overall, the look is very "high class steakhouse", not "fusion seafood".

Which makes sense, because (as you might've noticed in the logo), steaks are now featured in the menu just as prominently as seafood, possibly even moreso, and the entire menu has been expanded and restructured around that. The PRICES have increased accordingly as well. It's now in the M - Mitchell's Steakhouse pricerange, going from "moderate" to "expensive". Steaks (and the "Chef Creations") fish items are now served a la carte, and there are separate potato and "accompaniments" sections for side dishes. Thanks to that, where before two could eat a 3 course meal and get out for maybe $60, now you're looking at upwards of $100 instead.

For appetizers, we opted for one of the new choices, a Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Fondue. It was served in a white crock with a tealight burning under it to keep it warm, and french bread, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and chunk salami for dipping (using provided fondue forks naturally). From watching the servers coming out of the kitchen, it seemed like this was a pretty popular appetizer last night - pretty unique (even though The Melting Pot is also at Easton, but outside of that setting...) and very tasty.

They have a pretty good selection of salads - Amy had the "signature"; salad, which is includes apples & walnuts like the signature salads at many other CM restaurants, with a slightly different dressing than elsewhere. I had the french onion soup w/ brandy aged swiss. Both were just "ok" - good, but nothing to write home about. On the soup-side, stick with the she-crab bisque (making it's return).

For entrees, they have about 8 or so "chef's creations", then a featured fish (7 or 8 different types of fish) and steaks (7 or 8 different cuts, including prime rib). The steaks seem pretty similar in price, cut and preparation as Mitchell's Steak House. It's been awhile since i've been there, but I wouldn't be surprised if the fish options were similar to the Fish Market - in a lot of ways the new Ocean Club feels like a mix of the two. Gone are almost all of the Asian fusion menu items featured fairly prominently at the old Ocean Club - the sole returning entree is a slightly fdifferent take on the Ginger Crusted Salmon (which happened to be possibly my favorite dish at any restaurant anywhere). The salmon (and crust) is exactly the same (though a larger cut of salmon), and the sauce is exactly the same (thankfully - it's incredible) - though with the larger cut of salmon there's not quite enough on the plate now... our server was kind enough to bring me a bit extra when I asked. It's not served on sticky rice any longer (presumably to get you to pony-up for one of the potatoes or other sides), though it does come with stir-fried snap peas instead of the broccoli. I'd be OK with the peas, but I REALLY miss the rice - the sauce is so good and the rice was able to further highlight it. Amy had the petit filet, which was quite good - as I said, pretty much like Mitchell's.

The dessert options are pretty typical for a CM place - creme brulee, a cake or two, etc. They DO have Baked Alaska which is one of those classic desserts that you really don't see offered much these days, so that's cool. We split the "Georgia Peaches & Cream" - like a warm peach crisp served a la mode.

In all a very good experience, and I'd recommend the place. I do miss the funky ocean-themed decor, but the new look suits the new price point very well. I'm not sure the mall will be able to support ANOTHER restaurant in that price range (on top of Smith & Wollenski's and Melting Pot is only one notch down), but we'll see. As for the menu, it's larger than before, and very high
quality, though I really do miss the Asian fusion focus.

Final Score.... I'd say 4/5.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I [heart] Perpetual War

Fear is your new god. In a post-Cold War age when the threat of Global Thermal Nuclear War is no longer hanging over everyone's heads, how do you keep the masses in check? Peak Oil. Global Warming. Pandemic Flu. Terrorism. Perpetual War.

There are real problems and imagined problems. Plenty of real things to worry about... but the sensationalism and fear-mongering used to keep things in people's faces (not to mention get ratings for the media outlets) is just ridiculous.

Meanwhile, our government uses these to tighten the reins:
- US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the US government could "indefinitely" hold foreign 'enemy combatants' at sites like the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We can detain any combatants for the duration of the hostilities," said Gonzales, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"If we choose to try them, that's great. If we don't choose to try them, we can continue to hold them," he said.
(emphasis is mine. Rest of article is here.)

Yeah. It's that italicized bit which really gets to me. Cause see, how DO we know when the "Global War on Terror" is over? What exactly are the victory conditions? Because I'm pretty sure there's been terrorism in some aspect or another for, oh I don't know, ALL THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. Or at least acts which could easily be portrayed as terrorism. Patriotism or Terrorism - depends on which side wins, right? That's what's so 1984 about all this... it's Perpetual War. Keep the hostilities going forever and that way you don't HAVE to worry about silly things like personal freedoms, civil rights, etc... because National Security comes first... and the people are scared enough to agree that it SHOULD come first.

It makes me so crazy...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More TV: Superheroes, Psychics and Rock Stars OH MY!

So yes, I did watch the first episode of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? on Sci-Fi. I have to say I wound up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I might. I was primarily watching for the train-wreck effect, and there was definitely some of that ("Cell-Phone Girl?!?! That's the best you could come up with? Even Fat Momma is more creative!) -- but the "test" they put them through I thought worked out really well. It definitely fit with the whole idea of being a superhero, so that was cool. The contestants (characters) are pretty widely varied -- some good ones there, like Major Victory (campy goodness), Nitro G (great costume), Lumeria (cool name), as well as the lame (the aforementioned two, plus Iron Enforcer, AKA "big buff guy who takes his shirt off). The elimination ceremony thing was pretty cool too. I have a feeling this show will walk the line between interesting and lame, but I'll stay with it as long as it doesn't stray TOO deep into the lame. If you missed it and you're interested, they've got the entire first ep free (without commercials) up at Sci-Fi's site (see the link under "What's New" currently mentioning it on Sci-Fi Pulse).

Awhile back Kevin at work talked about a new show he'd seen on USA and recommended - Psych. The premise is that the guy's dad was a cop and while he was growing up drilled him with memory tests and forcing him to notice and recall the most minute details, basically instilling him with an insanely overpowered eye (and memory) for detail. He solves several cases for the police through details he notices on news reports, and they bring him in for questioning/possible arrest because they figure only someone "inside" could've known these things -- not believing that he could possibly just notice. To get out of being arrested he tells them he's a psychic, and he winds up working with the cops as a psychic, bringing in his friend. The two of them are HUGELY funny, and the premise works out really well. I can't recommend this show highly enough.

Yes, despite my doubts I AM still watching Rock Star: Supernova. Now that I'm finally getting more performance episodes under my belt I'm firming up my thoughts on the performers. I still think Dilana is near the front of the pack, though I think her vocal range may be a bit limited, and that combined with her lower, gruff voice may hurt her in the long run.
Lukas has the look, and seems strong but he just comes off as a wierd little troll, and his limitations are starting to show through too. Most of the performers are really off-and-on, but the ones I'm keeping an eye on are: Dilana, Storm, Toby and Magni. Several of the others have had some GREAT performances, but have tanked heavily at other times. Zayra, Jill and Patrice all need to GO. They're not doing anything other than making my TV cry every week.

Still looking forward to a NUMBER of shows coming this fall. I have NO idea how we're going to be able to fit them all into the schedule (the answer is: we probably won't), but still - I really hope to catch some of them. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, the first eps. of two of them are already available: Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and Heroes. Watch them QUICK if you're interested, they probably won't be there for long. Read more about leaked Fall TV (and other online TV resources) at the most recent Livin' In Cowtown blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why Rock Star: Supernova Fails

I know I promised a rant about Rock Star: Supernova awhile back... but as it turns out I just happened to read an article today which hints at a lot I planned on incorporating into this. See Ousted contestant bats back. Alternately, see the article in the Calgary Sun, or the Blabbermouth summary. Key quote (at least with regards to what I'm interested in):
She says many contestants feel its members — Tommy Lee (MÖTLEY CRÜE's drummer), Jason Newsted (former METALLICA bassist) and Gilby Clarke (former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist) — are not exactly hellbent on making the new band a success.

"Because Tommy Lee's got MÖTLEY CRÜE and Jason Newsted's very passionate about (Canadian metal band) VOIVOD, there are a lot of questions as to whether this band is going to really take off. That's up in the air," she says.
This is probably my biggest complaint about the show. From the first I heard about who would make up the new band for the show, Supernova, my first reaction was "well it's not really a REAL band then, is it?" Basically I see this as another "supergroup"-style project -- muscians in other bands, better known (and arguably much more committed) to those other bands, getting together to make a larger combined splash than they would individually and capitalize on some name recognition to push an otherwise unguided project. Now Gilby Clarke has been on his own for some time now, and even if he WANTED otherwise, G'n'R is a victim of Axl's demented, hard livin', out-of-control ego. So he's pretty invested in this new project as an attempt to regain mainstream success.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Tommy Lee - who has flittered in and out of MANY various main and side projects over the past 10 years or so, ranging from multiple TV projects to rap-rock, solo projects, guest appearances all over the place, and of course, the Crue. Given the high income potential of the Crue especially, and his supposed recent reuinting with the band, Tommy really doesn't seem likely to hold a vested interest in making sure Supernova is a success.

Similarly, since his departure from Metallica, Jason Newstead has been all over the map, notably producing/mentoring a few new bands, a stint on bass for Ozzy's band, and his heavy interest and involvement with Voivod.

So add these together and what do you get? Well, I think the level of commitment comes across in the band's attitude on the show. Tommy Lee especially, but to a lesser extent Newstead and even Clarke are clearly there to have a good time and hit on the attractive female contestants. I haven't seen them be hard on ANY of the contestants, give anyone a real critique any more biting than "we wish you rocked more" or "that was a bad song choice for you". Come ON - if they were really vested in the success of this new band, then finding the right FACE and VOICE for this new project would be PARAMOUNT. They wouldn't be letting backtalk and an awful performance from Zayra slide because she has "spunk". They wouldn't be letting half the performers phone it in each week and praising them for "rocking" (regardless of how good the performance actually was).

Ultimately this project isn't going to work because the Supernova band members, based on their history and attitude towards the show, aren't vested in making it a success. This is NOT a long term band. The novelty factor of the supergroup-status combined with buzz from the show will likely lead to good sales for Supernova's "debut" album, but don't expect to see a second album from Supernova -- at least not as backed by these three rockers.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Anniversary Recap: The Top, Movies

Amy & I had a great dinner at The Top Steakhouse yesterday evening. The place has been there over 50 years, and per their own admission haven't changed much. It's VERY dark inside (well, in the area we were seated in -- the bar area looked a little more open & lighted). They have a piano which someone was occasionally playing which was really nice - though it would've been cooler if it was a bit more consistent. They have bread & butter (naturally), but ALSO a complimentary relish tray of pickles and (cold) sauerkraut. Very unusual, yet tasty! The steaks were excellent - priced comparably for this tier of place -- BUT also included two sides, which is different from most of the other top-tier steakhouses. As usual for us, Amy had the filet & I had the ribeye. Both were EXCELLENT, done perfectly. Also worth mentioning was my excellent Lobster Bisque. The Creme Brulee Cheesecake for dessert was quite good as well, though we were both filled to bursting. Excellent food, a fun atmosphere, and HISTORY baby. A good time, and recommended. Where does it fit in? Here are my ratings of the Anniversary Tour destinations so far:
  1. Morton's: Hand's-down the best. Phenomenal.
  2. Ruth's Chris: Very very tasty.
  3. Smith & Wollenski: Great desserts, interesting sauces, good steak
  4. The Top Steakhouse: good steaks, good dessert, fun atmosphere & history
  5. Mitchell's Steakhouse: Good, yet disappointing atmosphere (Crosswoods location), and good steaks, but just not quite up to par with the others.
  6. Walker Station: Just not on the same level as the others. A really nice place, but a lot newer, and obviously kind of the "family" restaurant for the area. Steaks were good, but also not quite on the same level.
While we won't decide until next year, the preliminary indications may take us to The Clarmont next year. We'll see!

After dinner we hit-up a movie and saw Lady In The Water. Amy & I have both enjoyed M. Night's previous movies -- not quite as much Signs, but I think we both really enjoyed The Village. This one seems to be getting a lot of bad reviews, but I really enjoyed it, and I think Amy did to. It was billed going in as "a bedtime story", and therefore I wasn't expecting a horror movie or thriller like his previous films, and I think the bedtime story is what we get here -- it's obvious that this is a new mythology he's trying to introduce here, and the mythology is what makes things really interesting. The actual story is kind of straightforward, and doesn't stand-well on it's own, but in introducing the story of the Narfs, the Blue World, etc, things come together pretty well and make for a nice, straightforward entertaining story. As for "depth" to the story, there is a movie critic character which M. Night uses to vivisect typical "predictable" movie structure as well as critics of his past films.. there's a line something like "What kind of pompous egotistical person would presume to know what lied in the thoughts and intentions of another human being"? That said, without spoiling things TOO much, it does feel somewhat egotistical of M. Night to cast himself in the part he plays in this film... So yeah, not a movie without it's faults, but enjoyable, and recommended.

On an unrelated note, I saw a preview for a new animated movie, Renaissance , today. It looks AWESOME. Check out the trailer yourself.

Friday, July 21, 2006

That's Just Wrong

There are a lot of things that are just plain wrong. Since it's wrong that I've been too busy to blog for a whole week! (The HORROR!), I figured I'd finally take the time to write about some other things which are just plain wrong.
  • The President groping the German Prime Minister. While the news reports seem to try and play it off, it sure looks to me like something she wasn't very happy with. I mean I know they do things differently "down south", but isn't unsolicited neck massage covered in Sexual Harassment 101? Maybe Bush is more like Clinton than the Neocons would have you believe...
  • A new Charlotte's Web movie. Because the 1973 animated film was such a integral role in the lives of so many people within shooting distance of my age, of COURSE Hollywood needs to CRAP ALL OVER IT with a live-action Babe-style talking animal movie.
  • In watching the GSN 50 Greatest Game Shows of All-Time, we got to see an episode of Three's A Crowd. This show (from 1979) poses that age-old question: Who knows a man more, his wife or his secretary? They ask the men questions, then ask the secretaries what the men answered, then ask the wives what the men answered (revealing what the men said AND what the secretaries said). Think Newlywed Game, only with secretaries thrown in for some really inappropriateness. The episode shown was pretty much a textbook example of how rife (and apparently "normalized") sexual harassment in the workplace was in 1979 -- lots of questions about "the most revealiing outfit your secretary has worn", "other than kissing, what sign of affection is the man known for?", etc. This show was such a train wreck it couldn't help but be entertaining - especially since one secretary talked about how the man would give her unsolicted neck rubs all the time, and pointed out she DIDN'T like it....(sound familiar?) And the other threesome where the 19 year old secretary was obviously taking some MAJOR barbs at the wife, sparking a Jerry-Springeresque brawl between the two at one point. (Missing the "Jerry" chants though...)

I have a rant about Rock Star: Supernova coming one of these days, but I'll save it for later.

For now, looking forward to enjoying this weekend. Tomorrow Amy & I hit our SIXTH stop on the Anniversary Steakhouse Tour. SIX YEARS. Madness. The plan for tomorrow is The Top Steakhouse, however they don't take reservations so backup reservations have been made elsewhere, just in case.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Brain Rot: What's On The DVR?

So, you'll recall I mentioned awhile back how with LOST's season finale we'd entered that Sahara Desert of boob-tube goodness, the Summer off-season. Yet somehow, despite not having any "real" shows on queue the DVR managed to hit almost 80% full. So what the hell am I rotting my brain with?
  • The 4400: The 4400 is a great show - sci-fi, time travel, super powers, conspiracies, mysteries - etc. Yes, it owes a LOT to Rising Stars, but I think it's still a great show. I also really like all the new questions they've introduced this season -- who are the different factions in the future? What is Isabelle's REAL role? What was Matthew's REAL role? Who sent Matthew? What's the deal with Jordan Collier? Etc, etc.
  • Rock Star: Supernova: Amy & I both really enjoyed last year, even if JD wasn't really our pick to win, it was a really well done show with a great format. The format has been preserved, and yes, while Brooke is still annoying as hell (they didn't hire her for her mic skills, obviously), everything else remains high quality. The "band" Supernova is going to have to work really hard to convince ANYONE they're not yet another of Tommy Lee's 5 minute side-projects, and it doesn't help that Tommy seems to be the person taking things the LEAST seriously, but still - a good show. Sadly, thanks to a DVR malfunction last week and 50 minutes of TORNADO WARNING SPECIAL NEWS REPORT CRAP this week we've only seen like two ACTUAL performances - so I don't know much about the performers yet, but I hope to.
  • The World Series Of Pop Culture: How am I just now finding out about this show? They apparently had online testing to get people into the show, and I can't believe we didn't get in on this. We could've DOMINATED this show. If they do this again, I hope I find out about the casting, because I think we could clean up.
  • Mythbusters: Thank goodness for the automatic series recording on the DVR. I had NO IDEA this was coming back with new episodes this Summer - but the DVR found it and grabbed the new ep -- all about the crazy catburglar stunts from Hollywood - climbing in through ducts, cutting glass, getting through the laser security field, safe cracking, etc. It was a really fun ep, better than most of them from last season actually.
  • America's Got Talent: Enh - I don't know that I'm really all that sold on this one. I'm starting to get the American Idol vibe from it -- that is that now, after all the worthless joke acts are gone and the "real" talent remains, I just don't care anymore. It's just another Idol-style show, only supposedly focused on ANY talent. Yet oddly enough, it's singing which gets the most interest. Yawn. I think this is getting cut.
  • I've Got A Secret: This is the remake running new eps on GSN. It's OK but not great, and was originally added to the DVR when we didn't have anything else going on. Now that there are plenty of other options, it may get cut as well. Bill Dwyer's funny, but the schtick gets old.
  • Next: Speaking of getting old, Amy got me into this silly MTV "dating" show, where one person gets to go through 5 people to find the right match, saying "NEXT" at any time to send the current person packing and bring on fresh meat. It's a lot like an accident on roadside - too horrible not to watch, but the schtick here is about done for me as well. It's OK background noise, and is worth an occasional chuckle at least.
  • ECW / TNA Impact!: So yeah I've REALLY been giving it to my brain lately by getting back into some professional wrestling. The WWF WWE has mostly lost my attention, but their attempt at reviving ECW caught a little bit of interest, and TNA is different enough that I'm not too bored with it either. They're good for a quick bit of entertainment, and can't possibly be any worse for my brain than stuff like Next...
So yeah... that's a suprising load of garbage I'm pouring through the brain these days. On top of that, a number of shows have recently been recommended to me, so I'm considering checking out The Closer, Psych, and Hex, may watch at least the first ep. of Eureka, and am DEFINITELY planning on giving Who Wants To Be A Superhero a chance. Somehow.

Or maybe I'll give it all up and become a Luddite.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Viva Italia

So I did wind up watching most of the 2006 World Cup final yesterday, and enjoyed seeing the Italians pull-out the win (in a shootout) over the Frech to claim their 4th World Cup. Gotta stay true to the family heritage, especially since the US team didn't make it out of group play.

Watching the star French player get thrown out with a red card due to a pretty vicious headbutt was pretty fun too:

Even if he did still get declared best player of the tournament.

I must say I enjoyed watching the game. So much so that I found myself wondering if I'd be watching more soccer in the future - like Premier League or Serie A games (assuming Insight still has FSC). Crazy eh?

Anyways, had a pretty good weekend other than that. Friday night we did our second run at Dream Dinners. Still really loving it both meal-wise and deal-wise. The "date night" session on Friday turned out to be just us and one other couple, so it was nice having the run of the place. I'm looking forward to trying some of the new meals from this batch.

Saturday the Fishes & Sabs came over for dinner, and that was a blast. So great watching Abby interact with Evie & Allison. Football games this year are going to be quite the kidfest I think -- hopefully it doesn't start to bother the non-kid folks in the group.

My parents came over to hang out on Sunday, which was nice though Amy had a pretty nasty headache and Evie was starting to come down with a little cold, and those were no fun. Sadly, we didn't get to go see Pirates 2 with Laurie, or check out The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) again, but hey - we're only human! And besides, we get along pretty damn well for having a new baby around!

Speaking of getting around, Campus Hop on Thursday sounds like it could be fun. Anyone interested?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Red, White & BOOM!

Amy, Evie & I went down to Red, White & BOOM! last night with my parents at the Pepsi/WNCI party as usual. We all had a great time, and aside from a few early showers, the weather was excellent - not too hot, sunny or even humid. There's a longer write-up on Evie's page. I mainly wanted to share a couple more of my pics here -- I think they turned out pretty good given it's just our little Coolpix camera.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns, Shakespeare Abridged

So Friday night "the gang" (including Brew!) got together for Superman Returns at the Arena Grand. The Arena Grand is always the place to be for taking big groups to opening night/weekend, and it's all because of two beautiful words: Reserved Seating. While it's definitely not always worth the extra $4 (or whatever it is), in these cases it's MORE than worth it -- you show up 10 minutes before the show starts, no waiting in line or stressing, you walk in, there are your seats together and waiting for you. Thanks to Hutch we were smack-dab in the front and center of the balcony.As for the movie, well I think Dave's Long Box summed it up pretty well:

Superman Returns is better than Batman Returns, but not as good as Batman Begins. It's also not as good as X-Men 2, but it is better than The Fantastic Four and is about a third as good as both Superman and Superman II combined. It's not up there with Blade, but it's twice as good as Daredevil and five times as good as Catwoman. It would take all the combined good parts of Elektra, Batman and Robin, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze to equal half of Superman Returns, but Superman Returns would have to be twice as rad to equal The Incredibles or Spider-Man 2. Having said that, I'd say it was a little better than X-Men 3 and four times as good as Superman III and IV (separately.) It's no Swamp Thing, though.

Honestly, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. I thought it ran kind of long, exacerbated by the fact that some parts were played pretty slow, but Routh made a GREAT Superman, looking and sounding almost creepily like Christopher Reeve, and Kevin Spacey was a freaking AWESOME Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth was OK as Lois, but enh, it was passable. Jimmy Olsen was particularly well cast also. The story wasn't quite sure whether it wanted to focus more on Lex's plot or on all the drama associated with Superman being away and returning after so long.

Saturday night Amy & I made it down to Schiller to see Actor's Theater doing The Complete Works Of Shakespeare (Abridged). I'm very excited that this made it into this season's Shakespeare in the park - I've been dying to see it for years, and it was well worth the wait. The three man cast did a great job, especially the guy who played all the female parts - his falsetto was particularly amusing, and the random puking on the crowd was a good touch as well. I'd say my favorite parts were Romeo & Juliet, Titus Andronicus, and of course the whole second act with it's multiple takes on Hamlet. There's a chance we may make it down this weekend to see it again, that's how good it was.

Gotta run, going to see Red, White & Boom! tonight! Should be a great time, as always.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Don't Do Drugs Kids!

Teen Who Cut Off Corpse's Head To Make Bong Sentenced
On April 8, 2005, Buckalew went broke into a tomb, opened the lid of a casket and cut off the head of a corpse. He stole eyeglasses and a bow tie from the dead man. He then wrapped the head in plastic bags and took it home, The Caledonian-Record reported.The teen reportedly told friends that he planned to leave the head outside to dry and would then bleach it, a police affidavit said. The witnesses said his plan was to turn the skull into a bong -- a pipe generally used to smoke marijuana. Buckalew went to an apartment where some of his friends were and told them that he had chopped off the head because he was bored, according to The Caledonian-Record.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Star Wars at COSI, Gaming, LibraryThing!

Evie had a great time hanging out with her cousins from North Carolina this weekend. Check out this awesome pic of Evie, Kate & Rob all reading:

Since the fam was in town, Saturday we hit up COSI to check out the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. I've been interested in checking this one out since I first saw the ad for it while leaving COSI when we saw the Titanic exhibit. I didn't really have a good idea what to expect, but I was pretty happy with the results. It was a nice mix of props, models & costumes from the movies, interactive exhibits regarding applying some of the "science" from Star Wars, and video clips talking about the setting, the science, etc. It was pretty chaotic and we weren't able to all stay together, but for the most part I think we all had a great time. Evie did get pretty frustrated haggling with a jawa over a new NannyDroid though...

Read more about the visit on Evie's page. Lots more pics are on the pics site.

Sunday I hooked up with my friend Mike for some serious strategy gaming goodness. We played two games of Abalone, two games of Stratego, and a game of Age of Mythology. Not a bad afternoon at all - I had a blast, and it was good to see Mike again because we haven't managed to connect-up much lately. Hopefully one of these days we can get a few more folks together for a game of Civ, or even better, the ever-elusive game of face-to-face Diplomacy.

One more thing I have to share before I go -- last night I stumbled upon a site called LibraryThing. Basically, it's a site which allows you to keep track of your book collection. You can import your collection list using various methods, or add it book-by-book by searching on name, author, or even ISBN. On top of this, it lets you add descriptive tags, ratings and reviews for each book. It uses your collection, tags, ratings, and other people's information who used the same tags/liked the same things to recommend other books to you -- or you can just browse tags or other people's collections with the same books to find things you might be interested in. I got sucked in pretty hard and entered most of my collection last night (mostly using ISBN, it was fastest). I went ahead and added a link to my collection in the sidebar, but here's a direct link as well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Becuase I Have A Problem, That's Why

So yeah, we went to Fujiyama last night with quite possibly the biggest group turnout EVAR. Let's see if I can figure out who all was there. If I leave someone out, bear in mind I have a horrible memory:

  • Randy, Heather
  • Jonesy
  • Me, Amy, Evie
  • Chris, Carrie, Allison
  • Beth, Paul, Abby
  • Steve, Holly
  • Gary
  • Jeff, Angel
  • Dan
  • Adam, (mind-blanking...Erin?)
  • Steve J.
  • Todd, Mica
  • Mike, Monica

I think that's everyone... for a grand total of 22 adults and 3 chilluns. It was a great time, but I'm pretty sure the staff were completely overwhelmed. They had us split onto three "sides" of the hibachi pairs there. We were on the "separate" side, and I think the separation made things a little easier, because from our side things went pretty well, but a number of folks mentioned mess-ups and service problems on the other side, which stinks. Still, it was awesome seeing everyone all together like that. I'm pretty sure it's the largest group assembled from the "gang" for anything other than weddings. I got a couple pics of the "just guys" and "just girls" shots (sadly after Chris, Carrie & Allison left though) and will get 'em up soon. Randy's camera had the full-on everyone shots. Lord knows how those turned out.

So after all that, what do we do for dinner tonight? Go back to Fujiyama of course. My Uncle T & his family are in town from North Carolina. They're big Japanese steak house-style fans, so we had to hit it up, and who am I to turn down such a good meal? I could eat there 7 nights a week I think. Well, maybe if they had sushi on the menu, too - that would be the total knockout blow. Anyways, we had a good time, got a good chef, and it was a blast seeing the kids (my cousins, 9 and 6) watch the show. The downside is we had the worst freaking service I've ever gotten there. It really was downright apalling. The waitress was almost never in the room, turned in her papers out of order (therefore getting a chef to a later table before us), took forever with our drinks and our salads. Yeah. Ridiculous. I'm wondering if it was the same person waiting us who caused the problems for the other folks last night -- if so, that explains a LOT, and I'd say that even if she is brand new, she needs to shape-up damn fast or they need to find someone else. Maybe put her with a "trainer" or something, someone who can keep an eye out and make sure she's doing things right, because it was ridamdiculous.

But you know what? I'd still eat there again tomorrow.

AND Sunday.

Yeah, I know.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Insta-Cover! Fujiyama Madness

BoingBoing linked this neat little "tool" - the Fake Name Generator. Each time you reload it presents another fake yet plausible identity, complete with address, phone, a fake credit card number (!), even a disposable e-mail address courtesy of Pookmail. It's a little scary to think what could happen if it hits upon someone's real info in some of the aspects, but still, it's pretty interesting, and perfect for the low- (ok, no-)budget spy on the run.

Frank D. Schulz
158 Elm Street
Sioux City, IA 51101

Email Address:
(More information at

Phone: 712-233-4627
Mother's maiden name: Lisena
Birthday: December 26, 1960

Visa: 4539 0656 4999 1861
Expires: 10/2007

Going to Fujiyama tonight to visit with Jonesy and celebrate Randy's dual-action good events. With TWENTY-TWO people in the party. That's just obscene.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day

I had an awesome Father's Day weekend. My write-up of it is on Evie's page, here. Amy wrote-up a bit herself, here. I won't really bother repeating any of it here, other than this picture, which is incredibly mega-awesome and will be put everywhere:

Seriously. I dare you to TRY and resist that. Isn't she awesome??

Speaking of awesome, if you haven't already, make sure to check out the big news over at the Lair. Most Excellent.

Google released an update to Picasa which offers some web uploading/album-type stuff. It's very similar to Flickr in a number of ways, but has some differences as well. I used the pups to experiment with it, check it out.

Last bit of crazy news: using some Father's Day cashola courtesy Amy's mom, I snagged my 1,000th CD today. It is: Warmachine: The Beginning Of The End. (That says Import, but I got it for a domestic price at Magnolia Thunderpussy. Gotta love that place.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shots, Random Links

Evie had her two month doctor's appointment today, complete with four shots. She tried to be tough, but four big needles poking in such little legs was sure to produce screams and tears... Still, she did great. I'll write-up more at Evie's page (hopefully). Here she is flying (excuse the quality, it's a phone pic):

Some random links from all over the scope of things:

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Bistro, the Baby Show, and the Birthday

Well, as alluded to on Friday, we had one hell of a busy weekend... didn't spend a whole lot of time just lounging around (or even working around) the house, as we were almost on the run from dinner Friday straight through to Sunday night. Here you get one long review and two brief summaries. The Saturday and Sunday events will get their longer write-up on Evie's page.

Friday: Nostalgia & Tropical Bistro Madness
As planned, we hit up Tropical Bistro Friday night. It definitely lived up to the hype -- the menu is almost a clone of the old Kahiki menu (the drink menu is the exact same picture as the old Kahiki drink menu), the atmosphere tries -- it's kind of heavy on the Chinese Buffet-style decorations, with the golden dragons, pagodas and the like, but it's also got some tiki heads, polynesian lamps, and when we were there Friday night they had a ukulele player from Hawaii playing some awesome Aloha-jams.

Drinks-wise, they have a lot of great choices, including all the Kahiki standards, in their distinctive mugs (which you don't get to keep any longer, unfortunately)... I had a Headhunter, which is rum and various tropical juices. Laurie had a Smoking Eruption in all it's dry-ice glory. Amy was tempted by the Vicious Virgin, but asked what was in it, and it was NOT virgin at all... Even for a non-drinker such as myself, the drink selection was a lot of fun.

Food-wise, the menu is split into "From the East", "From the West", and "From the Islands" just like the old Kahiki menu. Standards such as the Royal Pu Pu platter, Beef/Chicken Skewers, the Tahitian Mermaid (crab & cream cheese between two steaks - excellent), and such are still there, augmented with new choices like lettuce wraps and sushi. I had the beef teriyaki skewer, which was filet mignon cooked pefectly, on a skewer with a whole onion, some pineapple and some tomato, served with rice and a teriyaki dipping sauce. The whole thing is on a big metal skewer and finished off with an open flame tableside by the server. Lots of fun, and very tasty. Amy had the Sesame Chicken, which was good, Laurie spoke highly of her Tropical Chicken (served in a pineapple shell), and Gary had the aforementioned and phenomenal Tahitian Mermaid.

For dessert, pictured above, we had to get the Big Fat Mamasan, a Kahiki classic - a huge pile of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, with chocolate sauce and various fruits (including, or so Amy has told us, coochie fruit). How can you not enjoy a flaming, smoking mountain of ice cream?

So yeah, we had lots of fun, and I highly recommend the place to any good food lover, but especially to fans of the old Kahiki food and service. As a bonus they do daily lunch buffets (other than Saturday) and a brunch buffet on Sundays! For another take (and a horrible picture of me), see Laurie's review here.

Saturday: Evie Goes to Cincy
[pictures are here]
Me, Amy & Evie headed down to Cincy to visit with the Voellmecke clan. En route, as always, was a required stop at Sonic for a cherry limeade. Amy made a potty run at the La Rosa's next door and out of guilt bought a lifetime supply of LaRosa's pizza sauce in the industrial size "feed the whole famdamily" bag. We met up with some of Amy's family on her Mom's side briefly, then spent the rest of the day in the Voellmecke jungle. Saw pretty much all of them in the area, as well as the Chicago contingent. On the way home we hit-up Jungle Jim's... WOW. That's a helluva grocery store. Bought lots of fun stuff including:
Sunday: Alaina I.'s First Birthday!!
[pictures are here]
Sunday we hit Dayton with Gary in tow for Alaina's first birthday party. Irene & Jeremy put on one heck of an awesome party. Some awesome grilled kebobs, chocolate-covered strawberries, an awesome strawberry snake cake, cornhole, and a huge inflatable jumping room. Plus the birthday girl herself, who is a heck of a lot of fun (I can't believe Evie will be up and around and doing those things in less than 10 months!) And on top of all the other fun and comraderie, we got to meet their new pug puppy, PIRATE! Check out this mug:

Only 9 weeks old and already in prison! A true pirate indeed!