May 30, 2008

We're Going to DISNEY WORLD!!!!

Yeap, you read that right!! We are going to Disney World for our summer vacation this year!! I think I am more excited than the kids are - LOL!! The main thing I want to see is the new Toy Story Mania ride and midway!! Well, and I want to see Lightning McQueen and Mater, of course... And, what would a trip to Disney world be without Mickey!? Yeah, okay, so, basically, I want to see everything I can! LOL!!

May 26, 2008

Remembering those that serve and have served...

Without those who have sacrificed their lives, we would not have the lives we have. Men and women die every day, and have died throughout the past, in the name of God and country. No matter if you agree with war or abhor it, the fact that so many have laid down their lives as their duty to their country is what we remember today. Some served in the Armed forces and lost their lives as a result. Others were serving their country through civilian ties to military functions. Anyone that serves or has served their country, our country, deserves respect, admiration, and remembrance on this day, Memorial Day.

Disney disaster and (GASP!) fattening ice cream

One site I like to visit is called They highlight bad (some are VERY bad) photos from ads or web sites that really take photo editing to new, often disastrous levels.

While searching through the Disney web site, looking for ideas for this year's summer vacation, I came across the following photo. Can you spot at least six problems:

Here are a few hints:
1. No feet!
2. Bottom of picture ends before bottom of image-size.
3. Flag on left forefront is exact flip (same folding!) of flag on right side bldgs
4. I have no idea what is under left side of bunting at front
5. Check bus 'reflection' vs 'shadow'
6. shopped-in lights on trees (check 'reflections' in water on street) is running a story called "The Most Fattening Ice Cream Flavors." You can read it here...

Okay, let's start with the title: "Most Fattening Ice Cream.." whoa! Stop right there, buddy. It's ICE CREAM! It's fattening! DUH! Who in their right mind eats ice cream to be HEALTHY!?!? Again - DUH! My favorite 'culprit' on the list is Ben and Jerry's "Chubby Hubby." What moron came up with this story and this list, anyway?? If the NAME of the food contains the word "CHUBBY" then only an idiot would think it might have a low-fat content... It's telling you on the label: This is FATTENING, hence we chose to represent its lack of low-fattedness by using the word CHUBBY! Are people really this stupid? Do we need a list of fattening ice cream flavors?? Oh, the article does go on to say, "low-fat alternatives are..." Well, DUH! We know there are low-fat alternatives to ICE CREAM, but when we want ICE CREAM, we aren't looking for low-fat alternatives, are we!? NO!! WE WANT ICE CREAM! - DUH!! Yeesh.

May 24, 2008

Penguins get spanked, we get a new mattress

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals come to a very, very bitter end for Penguins fans. How many of the 13,000 fans at Mellon arena stuck around after the first goal? I would say all of them. And, how many stayed after the 2nd goal? Most, I'm sure. And, the 3rd? By then, I would venture that many left the building. And by the time the 4th goal was scored with less than 20 seconds to go in the game, my guess is that Mellon arena was all but empty. Red Wings kick Pittsburgh's butt: 4-0 Hopefully, we will regroup!

We bought a new mattress today (well, yesterday but picked it up today). It is an ultra-firm Blue Granite Sealy. It feels great and we are no longer being sucked into the center of the bed like some weird nocturnal black hole! In fact, after we put it in this afternoon, I laid down to 'test' it and ended up taking a two-hour nap! LOL!

May 23, 2008

What the FRUIT is going here!?

Thanks to a video clip that I had downloaded to my iPod some time ago, the title of this blog has become one of my favorite things to say. It originally appeared in a routine by Frank Caliendo (you know the impressionist who does Madden and Bush). The player may say "No Longer Available" but just click the triangle and it will play:

While Shan and I shopped tonight, I randomly called out, "What the FRUIT is going on here!?" We laughed. Everyone else just steered clear of me... :-)

May 22, 2008

Thank you, ABC (Boston Legal season finale)

Finally, the writers of Boston Legal got something right. Denny Crane was as sharp and deft as his character should be, given it is Crane's last name that appears first on the list of senior partners of the firm. Yes, we know he is battling Alzheimer's. But, finally, the writers of the show gave us back the Denny Crane that made Boston Legal the funny, compelling show that it is!

The writers could have made this an all-out knock-down, friendship-ending episode, and instead left us with what we want (or at least what I want): Alan and Denny, keeping the friendship they have worked so hard to build, walking side-by-side with the "Gone Fishin'" sign hanging on the doorknob.

In today's rush-around gotta-get-it-done world, we all too often lose touch with the folks that we once held so dear as friends. I do not have many friends. That is not a complaint, it is simply a fact of the life I have chosen, and how I have chosen to live it. I have many, many people in my life that I consider casual friends but we do not share any true depth of friendship. As it is in life, some people come and go in our lives, and we have folks that are friends for a while, but then life leads us apart. There are a couple of friendships that I would not trade for anything, and still others that I hope to be able make deeper than their current "surface-level" status.

As Denny and Alan discovered in tonight's fantastic finale, sometimes we just need to go fishing (or some equivalent) with the people we hold so dear to us. I pray my friends forgive me for not tending to the garden of our friendships, and I want them to know that I am already beginning to water the seeds that will make us stronger.

Just another day at work...

My boss bought a 32-inch LCD TV and mounting bracket for the office. The purpose of this gadget is to replace the dry-erase board we had been using to convey the names and locations of events held at our facilities. Move into the digital age, as it were. Hanging the bad boy in the mason brick-lined hallway fell under my jurisdiction. How? I'm a guy and I own a hammer drill.

I arrive at work in jeans and my tie-dyed "work" shirt and begin the process. Naturally, the mounting holes on the back of the TV do not math the "default" holes on the bracket, so I have to use the supplied 'expanders.' Not a problem, and foolishly my confidence rises.

I open the drill to discover that I left the BIT for the drill at the house! Great. No biggie, I just headed down to the local hardware store and bought a 1/2" masonry bit. Back at work, I lay out the template on the wall and mark my spots. Again, no biggie, I did the same thing when I hung shan's shelves. Once that was done, the hard part came into play. You see, we are hooking up a computer to the TV and the TV's power plug is built-in to the unit. So, this means I have to take the nice, small hole that already had a network wire running through it and expand it by a few inches to accommodate the width and height of these connectors.

I have not heard anything so loud in quite some time! Holy cow! Of course, the bit is not long enough to actually go THROUGH to the other side! So, I spend time moving from one side of the wall to the other in order to get a wide/tall enough hole for the video connector. At one point, my boss decides to take a look through the other side of the wall. Did she TELL me she was going to do that? No. So, when I fire up the drill, she evidently rocked back and stood in shock much like the way cats do when you throw something at them from behind and it lands right next to them! My boss did not do that again.

Holes get drilled and I enlist some help to hang the TV and it looks great! i run a cable-tv wire to it and soon we are watching...well, Telemundo... Okaaay... A few presses of the "Channel -" button and we begin watching some daily talk show on a local network! Excellent. I get the computer set up and soon, there is a Windows desktop on the screen (well, after I changed the input source, of course).

Oh, I'm sorry, did I leave out the part where I went to use the men's restroom and after I finished, the thing overflowed from the fill-up tank!? Oh yeah, a good inch or more of water all over the place! Sharon, our maintenance woman, was NOT too happy with me!! I was told that my next "duty as assigned" would be plumbing the men's room so that this doesn't happen again....

I have a Master's degree. I am the Distance Learning Coordinator, soon-to-be Technology Coordinator. To my resume' I now add LCD TV hanger and plumber (though working at the city pool last week actually started my training in that line of work). I guess when it is all said and done, I am one of those people who does what it takes to get things done. For the most part... There is no way they will ever get me up on the roof of our crumbling office building - no matter what the consequences!

By now, you know that David Cook is the American Idol. I think he was as shocked as a whole lot of people. I think it was the right choice by far, but Archuleta had such a strong following, I thought for sure he was going to be 'the chosen one.' Thankfully, enough people with quick-dial fingers (including my Aunt, several times) voted for Cook. Congratulations!

Speaking of the finale... I have to say, that was probably the best Idol show I have seen yet. Overall, it was a great show! Superstar performers, surprise guests, excellent singing and dancing! Now, THAT'S entertainment, folks!!

May 20, 2008

These are the Dave's I know, I know....

Okay, let's start with the intro... The boxing thing was pretty stupid except for the "100 lbs soaking wet" line. Let's see what the guys have to sing tonight, and of course how well they sing it... Or I guess I should say "how well they sing THEM" since they'll be singing multiple songs tonight, I'm sure...

David C - "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" - Very good song choice for Cook. Let's see how he does. Very, very well done! Shan wanted to give him a "double yay!" Emily says she gives him 100 yays... LOL!

David A - "Don't let the sun go down on me" - Why do they pick old songs for David A? UGH. I hope he knocks it out, but it'll be tough. I don't think this was anywhere near as strong as Cook's 1st song. Like last week, though, it's not his fault these idiots pick such bad songs for him. Shan wanted to give him a "NAG" - Not As Good.

David C - "Dream Big" - A new song no one had heard. Let's see if he makes it his own. I like it a lot. It has a kind of "Survivor" feel to it and his voice goes well with the song.

David A - "In This Moment" - Let's see if he can make this song his own. This sounds like a Broadway song or something. I am not impressed and think he may have picked the wrong song. I think Cook would have done a better job, though it is seems very reminiscent of the song Jordin Sparks sang last year.

David C - "The World I Know" - I don't think I know this song, or I have forgotten it, whichever. I think I fell asleep during the song and woke up after it was over.. Oh wait, no it only FELT like it... UGH... Okay, what is he crying about?? I missed something, I guess...

David A - "Imagine" - Geez, only the most covered song in the history of music. Okay, let's review here people: this is to be named AMERICAN IDOL, folks... Why pick a slow, overdone song if you are hoping to blow us away!? UGH. Talk about ending the show with a fizzle... Tyler says David A looks like a monkey. I agree.

Okay, America, get out there and vote for COOK!! Let's set the show on it's butt!

Name ----- Shan --- Dave --- Emily
David C --- Y ------ Y ------- Y -
David A --- Y* ----- N ------- ? -
David C --- Y ------ Y ------- Y -
David A --- ? ------ N ------- Y -
David C --- N ------ N ------- Y -
David A --- Y ------ N ------- X -

* - Not as good as Cook's 1st performance.

Birthdays and Anniveraries

Yesterday (May 19) was our niece's (Kensley) birthday. She celebrated her 1st-year birthday and she had a big day! She got lots of clothes and all kinds of noise-making toys. LOL!

Yesterday was also my brother and his wife's (Brian and Carla) anniversary. Happy anniversary, bro!

Today (May 20) is my Dad's birthday. I spent the day at the house since Tyler was home sick. He spent most of the day napping it off.

I forgot to mention that Shan and I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning the other night because we were playing SingStar! Man, we love that game! :-)

May 18, 2008

Anniversary Celebration, Pens Win!

Today (Sunday, the 18th) is Shan's and my anniversary! We actually celebrated yesterday (saturday) by going out to eat and then to see "What Happens in Vegas." Oh, wait, I forgot... We ACTUALLY started out yesterday by working four hours up at the city pool before we came home and cleaned up. I spent most of the time fixing some of the plumbing problems and Greg and I managed to get one toilet working in each restroom. The other two are "industrial" type toilets, so fixing them is not as easy. What a pain...

Shan and I ate out at Texas Roadhouse, but took it easy because we knew we would be going to grab some popcorn and Milk Duds at the movies afterward. "What Happens..." is a very good chick-flick/date movie, and was actually better than I thought it was going to be - after all, it has Ashton Kutcher for crying out loud. But, despite his general 'dorkiness,' it was a very cute, sweet movie. Of course, I'm looking forward to next week when "Indy" returns to the big screen!! WOOHOO!!


'nuff said! (pictures edited from various sites into collage)

May 17, 2008

When the lights go down...

While eating supper at our favorite Mexican restaurant (Amigo Juan's), the power went out. Luckily, our food had already arrived. We finished eating, and when we tried pulling out of the parking lot, there was traffic everywhere. Power was out for as far as we could see. But, since Wal-Mart is on the other side of the Interstate, we figured they still had power. Wrong! In fact, they were turning people away at the doors! Cops were at every intersection, directing traffic. As we pulled out of the Wally World parking lot, an officer was pulling in (presumably to keep looting to a minimum). Once we got to the other end of Hope, though, those folks had power. All that matters in that regard is that good ol' DQ was up and running!

Yeah, so I kinda messed up my "assaulted" joke, which is why I will never make it as a comedian... It was SUPPOSED to go... "Okay, so these two NUTS walk into a bar... One of them was assaulted!" Oh well...

Do you watch Desperate Housewives? The whole line with Lynette and the psycho girl that has called the doctor and said that her mother beats her is what scares the crap out of a lot people these days: The cops will come and arrest you just because someone (ANYONE) called the cops and said you hit your kid. That is ridiculous! I love how people like to pretend America is the land of the free, when really, we are ruled by fear and intimidation more than 'freedom.' Don't get me wrong, I love America and respect and honor all those who live and die for the ideals for which this country is based upon. But, since I have the freedom to express myself (assuming that freedom is not jeopardized by the government electronic monitoring system (whose name escapes me right now)...), I must say that parents can no longer freely discipline their children because we know that at any given moment, our kids can dial 9-1-1 and have our butts hauled to jail. Though, I can tell you right now, if that ever happened to me, there WOULD be a reason for me to be in jail... :-) (just kidding)... All I can say is that I hope the little girl on DespHouse gets her due when the time comes... Also, if they are going to write Nicolette Sheridan out of the show, why didn't they just let her character hang herself? Oh well...

I found this a while ago, and thought I had posted about it... I looked through my blog and didn't see it, so here ya go:

What Teachers Make
By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful, de-finite-ly bea-u-ti-ful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart)
and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make,
you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

(Here is one version posted to YouTube)

May 15, 2008

So long, Syesha...

Well, we had to say goodbye to Syesha Mercado yesterday on Idol. The kicker is that everyone knew it was going to happen. I think the fact that she KNEW she was being given the boot actually made it easier for her to take the news. No worries though, I think she will outsell both Davids combined by the time it is all said and done.

Speaking of which, David Cook has the best chance of being a semi-star, and Archuleta will be a flash in the pan, boy-band kind of singer. I think Cook will enjoy moderate success but come no where near Clarkson or Underwood (like ANYONE will ever come close to what she has done). Syesha, on the other hand, has the makings of a pop star with staying power, if she makes the right choices and watches her career. Could she enjoy the same level of success as Clarkson? Probably so. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

I am so glad Boston Legal has been downplaying the whole "mad cow" thing with Denny Crane. Yeah, it's still the punchline to many jokes, but at least he is not a wussy crybaby full of delirium as they had him before the strike. Now, if they could just kill the whole 'mad cow' story line and let Denny be the cocky SOB he once was, life would be grand.

I heard this at lunch today: Two peanuts walk into a bar... One was assaulted... (It'll come to you...)

My all-time favorite 'bar' joke is one told by Howie Mandel many moons ago: Two guys walk into a bar, which is silly because you think the second guy would have seen it! Classic.

So, how about this! Michelle has her own blog now, too! You can catch it at:

Oh, also at lunch, a bunch of people sang "Happy Birthday" to someone, but at the end, they added "...and many more, kick you out the door" which most people know, but then continued with, "...on channel four, watching scooby-doo on channel two, or naked ladies on channel eighty..." Now, THAT is something I hadn't heard before....

May 13, 2008

Idol Stooges

Ironically, many of the titles used tonight can be used to describe much of the evening's performances... And so it goes... Longer...I dare you to move (directed at the David's since they pretty much seemed glued to the floor). Unfortunately, "I don't wanna miss a thing" did NOT describe tonight at all. Fever? Maybe, because that's the only excuse some of the performances could have used to rationalize such awful "Final Three" renditions. UGH... All was not bad, however...

Round 1 - Judges smoke something not quite legal and pick the songs:
David A - And so it goes - Very good a Capella work. Not a bad rendition.
Syesha - If I aint got you - Okay, with some better moments in there.
David C - First time ever I saw your face - Uh, no. He tried the rock ballad thing and missed.

Round 2 - Singers suffer effects of second-hand smoke from judges and choose the song:
David A - With You - Stumbled over the lyrics. Shan said "Yes." I said, "Uh, no."
Syesha - Fever - Was this a Vegas strip act? I think there was supposed to be a pole not a chair. It was okay, not great.
David C - Dare you to move - It was okay. I do not like his low-end vocal work. This sucked compared to the original version.

Round 3 - Producers smoke the rest of the something not quite legal and pick songs:
David A - Longer - Oh, puh-leaze... No, no, no. This is a bad choice no matter who got stuck with this old song. A bit karaoke, but not his fault. Awful song choice, but okay performance.
Syesha - Hit me up - Fun, energetic, well done. She is radio-bound for sure!
David C - I dont wanna miss a thing - Well, he missed alright. Predictable choice for him. Weird string arrangement in there. Forgettable and awful. Really. It sucked.

Our picks and Pans:

Artist --- Shan --- Dave ---
David A ---- Y ------ Y ----
Syesha ----- ? ------ N ----
David C ---- ? ------ N ----
David A ---- Y ------ N ----
Syesha ----- Y ------ Y ----
David C ---- ? ------ N ----
David A ---- Y ------ Y ----
Syesha ----- ? ------ Y ----
David C ---- Y ------ N ----

This picture was sent to me at work... Just about says it all, huh?

May 12, 2008

Two games at once

Tyler and Emily each had a baseball game going on at the same time tonight! Luckily, they were at the same complex, so we could run back and forth between the two games to watch the action:

The pictures were taken with the new digital camera then cropped and compressed. They look pretty dang good! The originals are fantastic! :-)

May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there who happen along to my site! We had a good MD here at "the ranch" for sure. Shan and I watched "27 Dresses" while the kiddos were shopping in Hope with Shan's Mom.

This was cute "chick flick" with a pretty predictable ending, but that's okay, it's what women want (pardon the additional chick-flick reference there). I don't recall any breakdown sad moments, and there a few laugh out loud scenes (the one where she is modeling the dresses is funny). The scene where she and her boss kiss reminds me of a scene from Grey's Anatomy, I think... Then again, I may be suffering a bout of 'senior moment.' It's a cute date-night movie, well worth the popcorn and Milk Duds. :-)

My Mom has entered the world of blogging! Her blog is called "Surviving a loss" and you can get there from here: Feel free to offer tips, advice, suggestions, or your own story to her.

So, how about this? Cliff Lee, Indians pitcher, is from Benton, Arkansas!? At work one day, John said something about an Indians pitcher being from Arkansas. I am an Indians fan, for sure. But, I do not generally follow the players' personal lives. But when John said that Cliff Lee was from Benton, my ears perked up a bit. Benton is not too far from where I live, maybe an hour or so. That is pretty cool! Maybe in the off-season, I'll see if I can do an interview with him for my Indians blog. I'll keep you posted.

For Mother's Day, the kids and I bought Shan a new digital camera - the Sony DSC-H10/B (8.1 Megapixels with a 10x zoom). This camera is SMOKIN! It has some super stabilization technology that manages to grab some seriously sharp images, even when you are moving the camera. The only time I "tricked" the camera was when I put it 'burst mode' (take pictures repeatedly as long as I hold the shutter button) and panned the camera across the room very quickly. Other than that, you can raise the camera, hit the button, and get a great shot even if you haven't exactly steadied yourself yet. The reaction time is great too. I snapped one shot that my Mom walked in front of, but the picture snapped just before she enetered the frame, even though we were sure it would have her blocking the shot! Nope. Great stuff, and we have barely scratched the surface.

Shan and I decided that it would serve as our anniversary present (we had already been looking at digi-cams) as well. If you're looking for a new camera with GREAT zoom (man, 10x is awesome, plus you can buy additional lenses for it!), I say snag the DSC-H10 on sale! (the "/b" on ours means it has a black body instead of silver).

Have you been watching your grocery store aisles like good boys and girls? Remember, look for things that have been put back on the wrong shelf because (presumably) someone wanted something else! We have seen baby clothes next to cookies and other such fun swaps. Though, I have noticed that people do not seem to put things in the coolers or freezers. I mean, I have never seen diapers in the ice cream freezer... I may have to do some more research... :-)

May 10, 2008

Skilcraft and old people cussing

We went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch today, during our shopping trip. When the waitress brought my credit card receipt to sign, she handed me a Skilcraft retractable pen with "U.S. Government" stamped on it. I haven't seen one of those pens in years - not since my Dad worked for the government. I can remember those pens from when I was a kid, and Dad would have dozens of them in his briefcase or in a box. I almost kept her pen, but thought better of it. There are few pens that write as smoothly and neatly as the government issue Skilcraft...

The Wal-Mart in Hope, AR, is undergoing 'renovations and updates.' This means they are moving everything around so that we have to roam around aimlessly trying to find what we are looking for because now it is not where it has been for the last 5 years! While walking down one aisle, an older man was looking in the section marked "cleansers" which now houses the nuts. Go figure. Obviously the employees are leaving the signs where they have always been in an effort to drive customers quite batty. We talked about the fact that you could no longer find what you needed with an older man. He joked about having a cell phone in his pocket so that he could call his wife should either of them end up lost in the confusion.

I saw him a little while later and his wife was with him. He was turning down an aisle, saying something about the overhead sign. His wife's reply? "I don't give a sh!t what the sign says! They are not down that aisle!" It was like hearing my grandmother cuss. Not my Mom's Mom, heck she cussed as it was (though, if she caught us 'kids' cussing, we'd catch all kinds of crap for it!). My Dad's Mom, though, never cussed that I know of, so it was a lot like hearing her cuss. The woman's husband, obviously used to such things, simply aimed his cart toward the next aisle, not phased in the least...

May 8, 2008

IE7? Idol, Deal or No Deal, 1408 (possible spoilers)

Maybe it's just me, but I think Microsoft might want to re-think the whole "Internet Ad" thing when it's own sites can't even target ads properly:

"Deal or No Deal" aired an episode on Wednesday (May 7) that featured Elaine Primeaux from Texarkana. Elaine is the woman that Shan and the kids (and a lot of other folks) used for their hair stylist for years! She has/had a shop in Hope, AR and her husband is a chiropractor in Hope. It was really cool to see someone we all know and talked to often star on TV! She walked away with $40,000 for her birthday, plus a free trip to Estonia. Hard to beat that! :-)

Thank goodness the American Idol voters realized what a horrid, horrid job Jason did the other night and booted him off the show. Hopefully he will get his stuff together for the tour!

On Tuesday, I ordered the "Collector's Edition" of the movie "1408" from Amazon. I was surprised when it showed up yesterday (Wednesday) even though I did not pay for 1-day shipping! Excellent response.

So, after everyone else went to bed, I popped the DVD into the player and let it ride. I guess this is my "review" of the movie, for lack of a better word...

First of all, I love the written/audio version of "1408." I know, that means I am biased, and unashamedly so. So, when they invented a new beginning for the movie, I was already setting myself up for a disappointment. And then, they moved lines from the story around, even having the wrong characters say them. This was not going well. On top of that, I had taken what I had come to know about the different characters and my mind's eye differed greatly from what I saw on my television. I don't mind Samuel Jackson playing Olin (even though the story makes it plain that Olin was a round man with pudgy hands, but whatever). But, he didn't CONVINCE me that he was the same person from the story. But, for the sake of watching the movie, I let it go.

Some of the initial conversation was in the movie, but it was mangled. It was like knowing a favorite recipe and watching someone else make it, trying to 'interpret' what you had grown up with. Some of the familiar was there, but it still missed parts that you had held dear ("This isn't my mother's 1408..."). And why did they change how the first guy dies? He was the first to jump out the window (which they DO show later, even though that is not how they told the story in the office!). And, "My brother was eaten by wolves on the Connecticut highway..." That is a classic, wonderful line from the story that is so out of place typed out in the scrapbook of death in the movie. What a waste.

Creative license. There was a lot of it. I would love to see if Stephen King feels about 1408 the way he did about the first "Shining" movie - that is, from various sources - that he hated the Jack Nicholson-starring version. I wonder if he hates this version, too.

Now, putting all of my dislikes aside, this was a GREAT psychological thriller. It had the occasional "boogey-man" jump out at you to scare you a little, but the real stars of the movie are John Cusack and the room itself. The director sets up his audience perfectly with a "nothing's wrong in this room" start and sucks the viewer into a world that is really, really weird. One of my biggest fears was the incorporation of the little girl. She is not in the written story, but that whole 'plot line' was done very well. I even felt heartsick when she died in his arms, and the anguish he felt. The voice on the phone was a nice touch. At first, I wanted it to be the rasping voice from the audiobook, but the wonderfully pleasant voice worked more effectively as she delivered lines that seemed so out of place in a 'normal' hotel room. I admit, I hated the pictures on the wall. Why not use the same ones from the original story? Oh well, they still managed to incorporate parts in there anyway. Why change the titles of his books? Why bother staying in a hotel at all if he had already written the '10 haunted hotels' book?? That made no sense (in the written story, he is currently writing the hotels book).

I loved the use of the mini-corder and how Enslin would stop it and start it again, like in the story but differently. Cusack spends the bulk of the movie being the only "main" character on screen, battling his mind and the room, and he pulls off an excellent job of it.

I watched the extras - deleted scenes, etc. And, I have to say that the deleted scenes really added nothing to the movie. In fact, cutting parts of the scenes (like where Olin shows up at the Post Office) made things actually more suspenseful without giving things away. They should have cut out the "Burn Me Alive" on the brick wall. That was a dead (pardon the pun) give-away. The first time I saw it, I knew what was going to get Mike Enslin out of that room.

I have not watched the 'alternate ending' version yet. I hope it is better than the theatrical ending. The point of the whole thing (or one of the points) was that the recorder did NOT record enough to make things make sense. When he plays it back, and his daughter's voice is on there, I literally groaned out loud. How disappointing.... As an adaptation of a short story, I thought it missed by a country mile. As a movie thriller, though, it hit spot on....

May 6, 2008

The Final Four

No, I am not talking about anything basketball-related, though I could be talking hockey-related, I think... Then again, I haven't been paying attention in that, er-umm, arena much lately...

I'm talkin' Idol...

This week was Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame week, and the song choices were as varied as the music in the Hall itself.

David C - "Hungry Like The Wolf" - Nothing like Duran Duran to start the night off. Not too bad of a job, but he should not be singing the "do-do-do-do-do-do-do's." That may have work for LeBon, but not LaCook...

Syesha - "Proud Mary" - I was not the least surprised that Syesha picked Tina T this week. Cabaret? Vegas? Karaoke? Cut it how you want, I didn't like it and I think she could go home depending on how the rest of the night goes. I actually agree with Simon's take on this...

Jason - "I Shot the Sheriff" - Wow. This is bad. I mean this doesn't even count as bad karaoke. UGH... Well, he may have just saved Syesha's spot on the show.

David A - "Stand By Me" - I hate to say this, but this is actually a very good rendition of the song! Very up-to-date! Best performance of the night so far...

David C - "Baba O'Riley" - Can't say I've heard this one before, or if I have, I sure don't recognize it here. His low-end range just sucks on this, and well, really the whole thing is way, way off for me... No dice, man...

Syesha - "A Change is Gonna Come" - I don't like the song to begin with, but I think she did better on this one than she did on her first song tonight. Not anything close to "superstar" or even "star" but not tooooo bad.

Jason - "Mr. Tambourine Man" - Holy crap, he just forgot an entire lyric, possibly the whole friggin verse! What is with you, man!? Of course, he did actually sing more of the lyrics than Dylan probably has in years. Nevertheless, Awful. He should go home.

David A - "Love Me Tender" - Well, he made the song his own, for sure. Not karaoke at all, but for me, not a real knockout either. Still, he was the best all-round performer tonight for sure.

--- Name -- Shan -- Dave --
David C ----- Y ----- ? ---
Syesha ------ Y ----- N ---
Jason ------- N ----- N ---
David A ----- Y ----- Y ---
David C ----- N ----- N ---
Syesha ------ Y ----- Y ---
Jason ------- N ----- N ---
David A ----- Y ----- Y ---

May 5, 2008

Some "Cheese" with that wine?

Okay, I admit it. I rolled on the floor laughing when a friend of mine showed me (or had me listen to, really) Richard Cheese. Have you heard him? Hilarious! He takes songs you have heard on the radio (or at least have heard of, most likely) and turns them into cheesy lounge-act songs! "Baby Got Back" is one of the funniest! You can do a search for him on iTunes, Rhapsody, or just about any other music distributor. Samples can be heard at Yeah, I'm goofy like that...

I pulled a bonehead move the other day with my laptop (no, not the EeePC and not the MacBook, but the Toshiba - heh-heh, have I mentioned I love working with technology!?)... I was poking around, looking for software to convert DVDs to MGPs to play on my EeePC and/or iPod, and I hit a none-too-friendly site. As soon as I did, my anti-virus popped up and said I had an infected file that was blocked. I figured my AV had it cured. WRONG! I was infected and after HOURS of trying to clean the blasted thing, I finally busted out the "Factory Restore" DVD's and set my Tosh back to "out-of-the-box" fresh. Of course, I backed up all (or hope ALL) my important stuff first. Surfers beware, ya just never know these days... Yeesh.

May 4, 2008

Let's Go Pens!! Heading for the Finals!

I haven't watched much hockey this year, but when I saw the Pens were playing the Rangers on NBC, I knew I just HAD to watch!! I am glad I did! HOLY SMOKES! What a great game, and best of all, of course, the Pens win 3-2 in overtime! Now, we're on to taking down Philly!