Wednesday, December 9, 2009

getting into the holiday spirit

Taking Back Sunday, one of my favorite bands is helping me get into the holiday spirit:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

if this show was crack, I'd be a crackhead

Stargate Universe
I came across Stargate Universe this past weekend on Hulu when I was looking for something to watch. And so far I'm hooked. I watched the first 4 episodes on Sunday. Then I watched 2 more last night. It reminds me of Lost, mainly because it is really good and I can't wait to watch the next episode. Also, not since Lost first came on has there been a show that have been hooked on. I was hooked on Heroes for the first 2 seasons or so, but then it started sucking, but oh well.

SG-U (as its abbreviated) is a SyFy original series based on the Stargate franchise. So far I'm not having any problems following it even though I've never watch any of the other Stargate shows before. There are only a couple of actors that I know on the show (Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Carlyle), which makes it more enjoyable to watch since I'm not always imagining actors in their former roles. ABC's new show "V" has Elizabeth Mitchell, who plays Juliet on Lost, as one of the stars. I'm always thinking of her as Juliet. And I keep expecting Sawyer to show up. Whatever...

Visit the official site or watch it on Hulu!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

file under M for 'miscellaneous'

First a music video (I love Taking Back Sunday)
Set Phasers to Stun

Recommended viewing
V - the new TV series on ABC. I watched the original series as a kid and loved it, so of course I was interested in this show. The pilot was great. I haven't seen the latest episode yet but think this is one show I will follow.
Primer - a shoestring budget film, but budgets don't mean anything as far as quality is concerned. This one is good. I mean real good. Time travel is the premise. Worth watching over and over.

Recommended Reading
Dune -
This is one of those books that I've seen for years on library shelves, but have never read. I finally decided to read it because it's listed by many as the best sci-fi novel ever written. Others who rate sci-fi books will have in in the top 10 best. I've heard it called a masterpiece, and I agree. Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001 and its sequels) said that Dune is “Unique...I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.” I can't believe it took me all these years to get around to reading it.
Robert Frost - I'm reading a book of his poems and am blown away. I feel like I am there with the characters in his poems. I've never been much into poetry but was curious about Frost after one of his poems, The Road Not Taken was quoted in another book I'm reading. Frost is a master of words, verse, rhyme, and rhythm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Adelle's greatest hits

Adelle was singing yesterday morning so I asked her to sing some more. This is what I got:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

a year later...

If you had asked us last November how we thought the following year would go, whatever we said would have been dead wrong.

One year ago we were still in Philly waiting for our house to sell so we could move to Chapel Hill. Until it sold, we had to keep our house as clean as possible, not an easy task with 2 little ones, because at any moment a realtor could have wanted to show it. To the everyone's amazement, it sold in early mid-November after only 6 weeks on the market. We moved out on December 2. Then we moved in with Jo's parents, for what we thought would be a month or 2. Little did we know what all would happen in the months after that move.

In the last year we sold our house in a plunging housing market, spent months looking for jobs, spent months living with Jo's parents (because we couldn't find jobs), made many trips between Roanoke and Chapel Hill, got a job (me), lost a job (me again), had lots of good days as well as bad days, got discouraged and depressed, got encouraged and happy again, moved to Chapel Hill, and finally started settling in.

I think we've had almost all the major stressors except death and safety concerns. Thankfully none of us died (and we also didn't kill each other). And thankfully throughout this past year we were all safe. And most of the time we were together. But Jo and I have both said that we are here in Chapel Hill to stay. We want to put down roots here. We want to see our kids finish school here. We want to make Chapel Hill home.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

David After Dentist

Poor little David.

There's even a website. And there are even remixes (like David at the Dentist: A Metal Tribute) and spoofs (Dallas Cowboys Spoof). But no spoof could ever beat the original.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Carolina was telling us about this. Adelle and Evie think it is wildly hysterical.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zombies and Introverts (but not in that order)

Jo shared this great little article with me. It seems I am a member of a misunderstood minority. Read Caring for Your Introvert by Johnathan Rauch if you want to understand the introverts in your life a little better.

Zombie Weekend
I'm not talking about a side project of the band Vampire Weekend. I'm talking about the 2 zombie movies I watched this past weekend. The fact that I was able to watch 2 entire movies is an amazingfeat in itself. Note to future parents who are also movie lovers - your movie watching capacity is inversely proportional to the number of small children in your house. The more small children, the fewer movies you get to watch. But I digress. I enjoy zombie films. I love Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. But like I said, I watched 2 zombies films that past weekend.

Zombieland stars Woody Harrelson. That is enough to make me want to watch it right there. He's been in some of the best films ever - Natural Born Killers and No Country For Old Men to name just two. There are also some vaguely recognizable young actors which are not yet famous enough for me to know their names.

This movie is a comedy. A zombie comedy. Which could be called a zomedy maybe? But don't get it twisted, Like Shaun of the Dead, this is not a spoof movie, but a comedy set in a world overrun by zombies. But the comparison with SOTD pretty much ends there. While SOTD shows the zombie infestation in one neighborhood, Zombieland is more of a zombie road trip that smashes zombies all over America.

Overall Zombieland was good. How good? Good enough for me to watch again online, but maybe not good enough to buy. Good jokes, some good (and also funny) action sequences, and just a good story make for a good time. Well, as good of a time as people can have while being chased by the living dead.

Dawn of the Dead, is Zack Snyder's remake of George Romero's film of the same name. This one is certainly not comedy, although there are some humorous scenes. The premise is the same as any zombie movie - world overrun by the living dead, those left alive rally together to fight off the living dead. A hodgepodge band of non-zombies end up in a mall while just outside is a horde of hungry zombies waiting to eat them.

The thing I like most about this film is that the action starts early and doesn't slow much until the end. I think lots of action movie makers spend too much time trying to develop the characters. Enough of that crap; just get to the action! And getting to the action is something Zack Snyder (director of 300 and Watchmen) seems to do well. This movie has it all - guns, car chases (actually zombies chasing cars), and lots of zombies. I'd give it the same rating as Zombieland - would watch it again, but wouldn't buy it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


First he was Sharlock Poems, then just Poems, now he's calling himself Sareem Poems. Whatever he calls himself, the dude is talented. So here's to one of my favorite L.A. Symphony dudes...

Will Not Be Sold


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

I thought this was interesting. I found it on I Am Bored:

Did You Know 4.0
"An information-packed video of acts & stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence & technology."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ice Skating

Tonight Jo was waiting for a football game to end because she wanted to watch the following show. Adelle was in the room and wanted to know what it was. Jo was trying to explain a little to Adelle about what was going on. I was in the kitchen eating and this is what I overheard.

Jo: Those men are trying to get the ball into that blue area so they can score. And then there are other men who are trying to knock him down.
Adelle: (thinks for a minute then says) When I grow up I was to do ice skating. Then no one will knock me down.

Adelle cracks me up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Re-Vamped blog

I change my blog layout. Its called 'Re-Vamping'. That's 'Re' as in to do again. And 'Vamp' as in, well, I'm not sure what that means. But for what its worth (not much) here's my new, Vamped once again blog.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

watching, reading, listening, etc

Big Man Japan - 'Hysterical', 'sad', 'sweet', and 'just plain out all bizarro' are all accurate descriptions of Big Man Japan. This mockumentary introduces us to Japan's answer to its monster problem (think Godzilla type monsters). I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Its one of Magnet Films' Six Shooter series. I also recommend Let the Right One In and Timescrimes from that series. I DO NOT recommend Eden Log, at all, under any circumstance. Avoid it at all costs!

Painkiller Jane - I read about this
show recently, which I'd never seen, and was intrigued by it. I watched the first episode today and it looks very promising. I think it is a show I will get into. I'm a sucker for anything with comic books as its source material. Apparently it was a one season run that played on Sci-Fi (or Syfy or whatever).

Lastly, I watched
Wolverine last night. It was awesome, even though it only got 36% on Rotten Tomatos. I love seeing Wolvie in action!

Reading (actually just finished)
I finished Confessor, the 11th book in Terry Goodkind's 11 volume Sword of Truth epic. As with the end of other book series' that I've read, the end was good, but not super duper spectacular. But I'm not disappointed at all. I learned that the reading of the books, the journey as it were, is actually what's important. Getting to know the characters, seeing them develop, and see the situations they get into (and get out of) is what kept me turning the pages.

Related to watching, there is a TV series in syndication based on this book series called Legend of the Seeker. I've tried to watch the first episode twice and have not been able to get all the way through it. Its thoroughly inferior to the books. In other words, it sucks and compared to the books is a waste of time.

L.A. Symphony - Pretty much that's it. I've just been on a Symph kick and will just have to keep listening to them until I can't take it anymore.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

from hill to shining hill

If you're a Matisyahu fan , you may have thought of him when you read this post's title. What I mean by 'from hill to hill' is that in Philly we lived in an area called Drexel Hill but now we live in Chapel Hill. Since we've lived here I've been able to compare the 2 hills and have found some differences.

Garbage Men
The garbage men, or 'sanitation engineers' (the PC term) are thoughtful in Chapel Hill. They always put our trash can back where it was and they always put it right side up. This might seem like a no brainer, unless you had lived in Drexel Hill. There we were lucky if our trash can made it back to the curb once it was emptied. They usually just threw the empty can in the direction of where they picked it up. Half the time I had to either get it out of the street or out of the driveway.

Also, the first week we put our recycling out, I broke down all of our cardboard and put it into one cardboard box. The guys took all the cardboard out of the box and left the box behind. At first I was puzzled, and a little upset that they left it. But then I realized they probably thought that was my 'special box' that I used for putting cardboard out and that I might want to keep this box for this purpose. This went on for several weeks until I finally took that box somewhere else because I actually wanted it to go away.

Waving (Southern Friendliness)
I grew up in the South (Georgia to be exact, the buckle of the Bible belt) but haven't lived in the South for a number of years. So I am not used to the friendliness of people. I am used to the 'cooler' more distant East Coast way of treating people, otherwise know as acting like they don't exist if you don't know them. In our lovely Chapel Hill neighborhood however, people wave at us (and we wave back) whenever we go down the street. Not only that, people actually talk to us. In Drexel Hill, that never happened; People pretty much leave each other alone unless they actually know each other. I kind of like the Chapel Hill way a little better. It makes me feel welcome.

First of all, thank God for Right on Red!! In Drexel Hill, and the Philly area in general, almost every traffic light had a "No Right Turn on Red" sign. This always frustrated me, especially when no one was coming. I often still made right turns on red just because I thought I should be able to. But in Chapel Hill (and most normal places in the world) you can turn right on red!

Also, in Philly, there is a phenomenon called "The Jersey Left" by some and "The Pittsburgh Left" by others. I guess it depends on where you are from. Basically this particular maneuver happens if you are the first car at a red light with no left turn signal. If the first car wants to turn left, it just turns left as soon as the light turns green, even though they don't have the right of way. I hate this and tried hard not to pick up this driving habit. Since it was something I tried not to do in Philly, if I was ever at the front and wanted to turn left, I would just wait. But then the person across the intersection would wait for me to turn because they expected me to do the quick left. If I didn't, some people would actually honk their horn and wave me through. Even though I didn't want to.

Finally, in Drexel Hill and the surrounding areas, people didn't know what to do with turn lanes. I have seen way too many cars halfway in the turn lane as they were trying to turn across traffic. I would actually look for these people blocking my lane, get right up behind them, stop and lay on the horn. Thankfully, in Chapel Hill, people understand what they are for. Except for the Philly and Jersey transplants!

Anyways, we love this Hill much better then the last Hill. We are glad to call Chapel Hill home.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More L.A. Symphony

This is a vintage Symph clip that I only recently came across. Its Authentic, probably one of my top 3 favorite Symph songs ever:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spotlight on: Jurassic 5

If you've never listened to Jurassic 5, you should!

The Influence

Quality Control (Live)

Monday, August 24, 2009


Chainfire, book 9 of the Sword of Truth series and the most recent book I've read was just awesome. Author Terry Goodkind continues to rock my world. His writing is beyond good; His characterization is par none and interesting does not begin to describe the yarns he spins. When I am reading his books, all I want to do is read them.

If you like fantasy at all, you have got to read these books. Even if you don't like fantasy, these are still amazing books. You might not want to commit to all 11 books, but at the very least, read Wizard's First Rule. I bet you a root beer float that you'll be hooked on Goodkind!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Symph!!

How much do I love L.A. Symphony? Enough to put up a DOUBLE SHOT!!!!

"Ten" (from the Baloney EP)

"Broken Tape Decks (Live)" (from Call it What you Want)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

why do the Black Eyed Peas suck so bad?

I used to love the Black Eyed Peas. Their first album Behind the Front is one of the great debut albums ever. And their second, Bridging the Gap was amazing. The BEPs came out of the LA hip hop scene that birthed other great hip hop acts like LA Symphony and Jurassic 5. The BEPs set themselves apart from the hip hop scene of that era with their very non-gangster, quirky style. They had a real funky flow and were original.

But now they suck. And I don't mean that they're just not as good as before, they truly suck. Jo and I saw them on some TV show a few weeks ago and I couldn't watch or listen at all. I mean seriously, I used to be a die hard BEP fan, but now I cannot stand them. And its not just Fergie either; their music is just terrible. Its unoriginal and formulaic, something their first two albums managed to not be.

I think they sold out. Like some other bands I used to like (Smashmouth for example) they got some fame, got some of their songs on some TV ads, and then all of a sudden their music turned to crap. They are hypocricital too because on their first 2 albums they had several lines against what they soom to have become - money loving rap stars. "Money is a drug and emcees are on it", is just one line
from the song BEP Empire on Bridging the Gap.

This is what they used to be:

This is what they turned into. Painful!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the haps

So what's happening these days? Lots and lots and then some more. I've been at my new job for about 1 month (maybe its time to stop calling it "my new job" and just call it "my job") and it's going pretty well. Apart from work, a lot has been going on - a move into our own place in Chapel Hill (finally), settling in, life in general, etc. I haven't blogged in a few weeks because I've not had much free time, but since we're a bit more settled now so we can breathe for a bit and I can do things like blog.

Other than all that, life goes on. Its nice for things to be 'normal' again. For the first time in about 8 months, Jo and the girls and I are all in the same house without anyone one else. We get to all see each other every day and the girls are so happy. Life was always good even when we didn't know what was going to happen, but things are easier to deal with when life has a bit of predictability.

Random things:
What I'm listening to - Sufjan Stevens, Blonde Redhead, The Raconteurs, and a bunch of old CDs that had been packed away.

What I've been reading - ever since I finished VLI in June, I've been cranking through this fantasy series called The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. Its an 11 book series. I'm on book 8 now. This has to be the best book series I have ever read. It rivals The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter! I've also read a number of graphic novels/ comic book collections in the past couple of months. Worth mentioning are Nexus and Elfquest.

Friday, July 17, 2009

online social networks

When is online social networking no longer cool? When your 50 and 60 something year old relatives want to be your friends that's when.

Seriously, I quit myspace about 2 years ago because it got lame(r). So facebook came along at the perfect time (right when I decided myspace sucked). I switched and liked it way better than myspace from day 1. Fast forward 2 years to now when I have relatives in their 50's and 60's that want to be my f'book friends. What!

I'm not giving up f'book yet, but it has definitely lost much of its appeal.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I got a new job. I got a call from a sign shop that I'd applied to a few weeks ago. The guy called me this afternoon wondering if I was still available and if I could come in tomorrow morning for some preliminary stuff. To that I responded, "Heck Yeah!" Anyways, I will start with only 25 - 30 hours per week but he says that within a month or two I should be at 40 hours per week.

This is great for several reasons. First, I now have a job. Second, I having a regular day job means I can still pursue being a personal trainer, but I'll just have to do it part time - evenings, Saturdays, that kind of thing. Third, I have worked in a sign shop before, so its not like I'm starting something completely new. It will take me a little to re-familiarize myself with the sign making trade, but I think I can be up to speed within a week or two.

Anyways, our Father continues to lead us and we continue to take steps with Him. Its frustrating and also scary sometimes to walk with Him because we don't always know where He's taking us. But at the same time its comforting to know that He knows where He's leading us and that it's always the best path.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

win some, lose some ( a small setback)

As the saying goes, you win some, you lose some. This instance is a 'lose some' scenario. And this lose pertains to my job. I lost it. But I saw it coming. The job had a large sales component, something I knew that I would never excel at. When I was looking for other jobs between Dec 2008 and April 2009, I always shied away from sales jobs because I know me - I'm not much of a salesman. But since this was the only place that wanted to hire me, of course I took the position.

Anyways, after about 2 1/2 months at Lifestyle Family Fitness, I find myself unemployed again. Like I said though, I actually saw this coming. My sales performance had never been up to snuff - I had only gotten 3 clients in the time I was there. On Monday I saw that my manager had set up a meeting with me for yesterday afternoon before my shift was to start. I didn't take that as a good omen. I actually said to Jo the day before that I might be unemployed soon. As I drove down to Apex to work yesterday, I told God, "I'll accept whatever happens today." They were going to fire me, but gave me the option to resign just so it wouldn't reflect bad on me.

The great thing is that I learned a lot while I was there. I had zero personal training experience before, but now I have some. I got to work out for free in a really nice gym. I met some great people. Also, after having looked for jobs for so many months without success, it was nice to get a job and see that I Was somewhat worthy of employment. In general, I'm thankful for having had the chance to work there.

I'm really disappointed that this job didn't work, but at the same time, Jo and I are really hopeful. She had a great interview yesterday; the interviewer said she thinks Jo is perfect for the position. She actually went back this morning to do some testing and hopefully we'll know more about that job soon. And I've got another interview tomorrow that I'd already set up last week before I lost this job.

As cliche as it could sound, I'll say this anyway - I do trust in God. After all, at this point, what other option do we have?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

funny things Adelle has said recently

Adelle is way too funny. She always says the funniest things and keeps Jo and I very entertained. Here are a couple of unintentionally funny things she's said recently.

Adelle: Daddy, can you jungle?
Me: What?!
Adelle: Can you jungle - throw balls up in the air and catch them?
Me: Oh, you mean juggle.
Adelle: Yes. Can you?

(when Honza's dog Shtutzy got tired of playing and went to lay on the porch)
Adelle: Where's Shtutzy going?
Me: She's going to lay on the porch. She gets tired because she's an old lady.
Adelle: Well, I'm a new lady.
Me: Actually we would say, 'young lady', not new lady.
Adelle: Oh.

She truly cracks me up!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spaced - what we're watching

I'm a big fan of Shaun of the Dead. A while back I was talking with a friend about it and he told me about a British sitcom called Spaced that Simon Pegg (who plays Shaun in SotD as well as Scotty in the new Star Trek movie) and Nick Frost (Nick in SotD and also Simon's best friend in real life) were in. It's also directed by Edgar Wright who directed SotD. I have been wanting to see it ever since he told me about it and I finally got around to watching it. Both Jo and I are watching it on DVD and it is hysterical! Here's a link to a clip of Tim Bisley's Happy Dance from Spaced. This show is so ridiculously funny and quirky and Jo and I both give it a thumbs up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

oh my goodness!

Found this site, by way of Neatorama. This picture literally causes me pain when I look at. Jo could never talk me into something like this, not in a million years!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Los Cronocrímenes

Timecrimes is a Spanish film (Los Cronocrimenes is the Spanish title) which shows us how bad things can get when you mess with time travel. Its a very simple story, moves quite rapidly (its only 90 minutes long), and doesn't waste a minute. Whoever created this film is quite clever. It got also got 86% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Its one of Magnolia/ Magnet Film's Six Shooter Series. Not long ago, I blogged about Let the Right One In which is also in that series. I would bet that based on seeing these 2 films, that the others in that series are probably phenomenal as well.

Friday, May 1, 2009

the truth about swine flu

This is from the L.A. Times via Neatorama (make sure you read the last bit in bold):
"...scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics....In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare...[During] a typical flu season in the U.S., between 5% and 20% of the population becomes ill and 36,000 people die -- a mortality rate of between 0.24% and 0.96%."

So its bad enough to be all over the news, but won't even be as bad as the regular flu.  Hmm, sounds suspiciously like other disease scares from the past decade.  Remember SARS?  In 2002/ 2003 SARS was all over the news.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the total number of deaths WORLDWIDE was 774.

And then whatever happened to the bird flu?  Again according to the WHO the number of people who died from it between January 2004 and April 2007 is a whopping 257 WORLDWIDE.

Summary: the Swine Flu ain't all its being hyped up to be.  Its just one more thing to be scared of and one more thing to make people watch the news and read newspapers.  My advice about swine flu comes from Public Enemy - Don't Believe the Hype!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

its almost official

I now have 3 things in North Carolina:
  1. a job
  2. an NC driver's license
  3. a car that is registered in NC
Soon we'll have a 4th - a place to live. I'm living here in Chapel Hill because I'm already working, but in 2 weeks, we'll all be living here as a family. Crazy stuff! The reason I say its crazy is because this has been a long time coming and there were times when we never thought we'd see the end. We've been planning this move for almost 9 months and 5 of those months have been spent living in Jo's parents basement.

If anybody's interested, here's a really brief sketch of the past 3/4 year:
In early-August of last year we visited Chapel Hill as a family then a couple of weeks later made the decision to move here. I also started looking for jobs then. In October we put our house in Drexel Hill, PA on the market and in early December it sold. Since I had no job, we moved to Roanoke, VA, not our destination, but a nice enough place to bide our time. I got really serious about the job hunt in early January. With some great encouragement from my wonderful wife, I decided in late January to pursue certification as a personal trainer. After much preparation, I was certified in early March. Then a week and a half ago, a friend offered to let us stay in his house for most of the summer AND I was hired as a personal trainer, all within like 2 days. And now, after having lived in my in-laws basement for almost 5 months, we are seeing our plans come to fruition.

In retrospect, things certainly didn't happen like we thought they would. They didn't happen according to our timetable either. But they happened just the same. What I mean is that regardless of what has happened since August of last year, we have almost achieved our goal of moving to Chapel Hill. And seeing the way things have happened, the scenario is definitely better than what I could have come up with. As cliche as it may sound, God is good and He is in control. I've learned over the last 9 months how true these things are and that I really believe them. Now its time to settle in and start yet another new phase of life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

words of the day

Sample sentence: "I now have a job."


Sample sentence: "In a couple of weeks we will move to Chapel Hill."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Imperial Stormtroopers

Some people are really into Stormtroopers. Here are a couple of Stormtrooper photos I've come across lately:

But for my money, nothing could be more fun than a dancing Stormtrooper:

Click here for Stormtroopers in everyday life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Låt den rätte komma in

My love affair with Scandanavia continues with my watching last night of Let The Right One In, a Swedish film. Its a vampire film, but it exceeds most vampire films by leaps and bounds. It will forever be one of those movies against which I judge all others. The two young actors who play the leads are phenomenal. Their relationship is the focus, not just vampires and killing and gore, which is often the case in vampire films. It is beautifully shot with the snowy Swedish winter as its backdrop. It is a beautiful story with great visuals. It is simple and touching. I would use two words to describe it: amazingly enjoyable. Oh yeah, and it got a 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Your Water Footprint

If you're at all concerned with the impact your life makes on the environment, this will interest you. Click through to get the full version of Walk This Way: Making the right choices to reduce your water footprint. I got this from Good Magazine's site by way of Neatorama.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

rap songs and rock songs

I found this list a while back, but it came up recently in a converstation with my wife and some friends so I here it is: The Top 10 Rap Songs White People Love. This is one of the funniest, and most true, things I've ever seen.

And as an added bonus, there's also a related list called The Top 10 Rock Songs Black People Love, A Post Written By A Black Person.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

book & movie

I just finished a book and just watched a movie. By 'just' I actually mean yesterday. The book is called Stone of Tears and is the 2nd in a 12 book fantasy series by Terry Goodkind. All I've got to say is this: Awesome! This guy is such an amazing writer. I judge the worth of a book by how much I want to keep reading it. In other words, is the book a page turner that I would stay up to 2 AM reading? For Goodkind's books, the answer is yes. I can easily get engrossed in his books and read for hours. This one, as well as the first book in the series, Wizard's First Rule, are both page turners.

Them (Ils is the French title) is a French thriller/ horror film. Its not horror in the same vein as Saw or Hostel, but more in the vein of Blair Witch Project. Its very well shot and very well acted and is very tense and thrilling. I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, April 3, 2009

PETA kills

Apparently PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) feels that killing animals is a good way to treat them ethically. This smells a little bit like hypocrisy.

Newsweek Article
Center for Consumer Freedom article
Another article

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

for a friend who needs cheering up

sometimes you need cheering up. hope this helps. i guess i also hope you actually see this. If not, I had fun watching the best Hospital show ever:
JD - always a dork


And because I can't resist my all time favorite...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

rotten tomatoes

Have you ever started watching a movie then realized about 5 minutes into it that it sucked and that you'd be wasting time by continuing to watch it? At that point you have 2 choices - if you're at the movies, you can either walk out or suck it up. When my father-in-law and I went to see Predator vs Alien 2 a couple of years ago, I realized about 5 minutes into it that the next hour and a half was going to be extremely painful. I hated the movie and almost fell asleep several times. But that's if you're at the movies. If on the other hand you rented a film from Blockbuster and didn't want your $4.23 to be wasted, you may have forced yourself to sit through it. Of course you also could have decided that no amount of money that you'd be losing would make you watch it and that you would actually pay to not have to watch the movie. For me its aggravating to see a preview or read about a movie, be interested in it, go to the theater to see it, rent it, get it from Netflix, whatever, and realize its crap. Thankfully with Netflix (or if you don't watch it, you're not out any money.

So after wasting money at the theater on crappy movies or wasting my time waiting for movies to come in the mail, starting the movies, then stopping them, I thought that reading film critic reviews of movies might help me make a better use of my time. But as I read reviews, I realized that critics have different tastes - 5 film critics might give 5 different reviews - and I realized that I couldn't really trust a critic. Its not that critics are completely unreliable, but I wanted to hear from more than one critic.

A couple of years age I found a site called Rotten Tomatoes which is all about movies. My favorite feature of it is the ratings - RT compiles reviews from loads of film critics then gives an overall rating. So if you go to the site and search for Twilight (a movie I would like to see), you'll find it has a 49% approval rating. So the critics are split down the middle on that one. I'll probably still watch it anyway since its a Vampire flick. Watchmen got a 64% rating, so I'm debating on whether or not to see it in the cinema or wait until it hits DVD.

Anyways, I prefer not to waste my time (and money) if I can help it. Visiting Rotten Tomatoes for a few minutes helps me decide if I want to invest money as well as 2 hours of my life that I can never get back in a movie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

green roofs, 'heroes'

Lacking anything of substance to write here, I humbly submit my recent gleanings from the world wide interweb:

Pictures of some buildings around the world with green roofs: 17 Living Roofs

, a funny, quirky 9 minute film. It was made in Norway so its in Norwegian but has English subtitles. I love Scandinavia!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

musings on unemployment

Since I've been out of work for the past 3 months and a few days, I've had a lot of time to think about being unemployed. There have been lots of frustrations during this time. One of the worst parts is being in this 'limbo' stage (not limbo like the dance thing) this place of uncertainty - we're here in VA, but also kind of in NC. Some days I say to myself and to Jo, "This is what we're supposed to be doing!" But then there are other days I ask myself and her, "What the heck are we doing?!" It also feels really lame to be 34, married with 2 kids, unemployed and living in my in-laws' basement. And sometimes I feel unemployable, like no one will ever want me to work for them.

Those are some of the more negative things that I've experienced and felt. But just as there have been frustrations, there have been many joys as well. Below are a few of the positive things that I've gained from this time so far.

I'm viewing this as a furlough or sabbatical, almost like a vacation. Its a temporary liberation from employment. And I'm thankful for this liberation because I may never again have an 'extended vacation'. I mean come on, what employers would ever give me a 3+ month vacation? This time has been so valuable for me because I've got to spend so much of it with my family. I've seen Adelle and Evie grow and develop in ways I would have otherwise missed. Jo and I have been able to spend every day together and go out on dates without worrying about getting a babysitter. In general, these past few months has been good for my relationships with my family.

I also have learned what it means to struggle through unemployment. Because of this experience In doing so I can now sympathize and empathize with the unemployed. If I had never been without a job and never had to try so hard to get one, I would never understand the plight of many who lose jobs. When I was at a job fair last week, there many people there who are my parents' age. Its crazy for me to think that they were let go only a few years from retirement and are starting over. But there were also people younger than me. There were white people, black people, and Asian people. So there was a variety of people there and there was among us a shared experience - unemployment. But not only can I identify with those people, but I have also gained solidarity with the unemployed of the world. The unemployment rate in the US might be close to 10% in some states, but there are some countries in the world where there is more than 40% unemployment. So I have bonded with the unemployed of the world.

Lastly, I recently became certified as an ACSM Personal Trainer. If I had not experienced this temporary liberation from employment, I might never have even wanted to pursue this certification. And I might not have had the time, or at least not the amount of quality time, that I had to prepare for this certification exam. I feel a sense of accomplishment at having obtained what is considered the 'gold standard' in personal training certifications.

So while on one hand, unemployment stinks, there are lessons to be learned from this. And for me, there is definitely much to give thanks for - We have a place to live, we have food, and we are together as a family.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My wife the photographer

My wife Jo takes really great photos. Here's one of the most recent photos she's taken. To me its beyond gorgeous:

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm on TV!!!

I went to a job fair today in Raleigh/ Durham and there were a couple of TV crews there. I got interviewed by one of them. The interview didn't make it into this clip, but if you watch it, I'm there in the first few seconds. Find it on here ABC 11's website. Crazy!!

If for some reason the link won't work for you, go to ABC 11's site and look for a story called "People look for work at job fair."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

downloading and some kids

Buying music
I recently bought my first music online. That's not to say that this is my first music download; I'm an avid downloader and have been for years. It was however my first paid download. So you could infer that for years I have borrowed a lot of free music from friends on the web. Oh, and my purchase was Two Tongues, which I blogged about last time.

Blast from the past
My childhood next-door neighbor, who I hadn't heard from or thought of in at least 15 years (but probably longer than that) found me on facebook. Then he posted this photo and I'm in it. I find it really hard for me to believe that I was the kid in this photo. I also have a hard time believing that I am 34 years old, a good 25 years older than I was in this photo. Dang! 25 years is a long time!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

new music!!!

Two Tongues is a side project of Saves the Day, one of my favorite bands ever, and a band called Say Anything. You can listen to their whole album on their myspace site. I highly recommend them. If you like rock/indie rock/ good music, you'll most likely enjoy them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the switch to digital

Jo and I saw this video this morning. It is too funny, like laugh out loud funny (at least to us anyway). Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2 movies and a band

Movie 1 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Last week, Jo and I got to go to the movies again for the second time in two weeks thanks to free babysitting from my
parents. And amazingly, this was another movie that we both wanted to see that Jo and I both loved. It really is a fantastic story. The film was gorgeous in every way. The effects were great, the visuals were great, everything was great. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett star in this film based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story. I am a Brad Pitt fan and have been for years. He's been in some of my favorite films - 12 Monkeys, Snatch, Oceans 11 and others. And Cate Blanchett is a great actress as well. I highly recommend this one.

Movie 2 - 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Set in late 1980s communist Romania, this Romanian film tells a very gritty, unflinching story about a young girl who wants and abortion, something which was illegal under Romania's communist regime. In general I love foreign films and this one makes me realize why. I love American films, but they are a different kind of animal than films made by the rest of the world. Foreign directors have a different sensibility than American directors have.

In this film, the director lets the story takes center stage. He is not afraid to let the actors act and let the dialogue, emotions and the gravity of the circumstances sink in. Some of the takes are 8 or 10 minutes long where the camera rolls without an edit. It takes great actors to pull off scenes like that. The New York Times calls it a "a ferocious, unsentimental, often brilliantly directed film." Its a great film which stands in contrast to Hollywood movies. This one won't be for everyone.

A band - Blonde Redhead
When we did our move from PA to VA, I was driving the moving truck loaded with all our stuff. I'd blogged about our move about a month ago telling how slow the truck was. One thing I don't think I mentioned was that the truck didn't have a CD player. So I was left with two options silence or the radio.
I'm not a radio person and can't tell you the last time I listened to the radio. But faced wtih total silence for my entire trip, I turned on the radio. My choice was generally either country or classic rock. But for one stretch I found a college stationg which played a song by a band called Blonde Redhead. I made a mental note to look them up later. I did look them up and have been listening to them ever since. Check them out!