Monday, August 18, 2008

It's too bad I can't make that Velociraptor noise anymore

That is my favorite quote I heard this weekend.

So this weekend, we headed down to San Diego to take part in the 35th annual Midnight Madness bike ride. An 18 mile loop of downtown and the airport that starts at midnight. It's supports the Youth Hostels in the area. It was a totally fun experience. There were at least 2500 people there and unfortunately we did not get any pictures. I seem to be getting worse about remembering the camera for things like this. It took about 2 hours to do the ride, but the weather was warm and the once the riders thinned a bit, you could peddle comfortably. The start was a little rough as there were just so many people and you moved really slow.

To continue our support of the hostels, we also stayed there. Let's just say it was unique and reminded me of our travels in Australia those many years ago. As I said when we checked into the room. You know a place is classy when you have a paper towel dispenser in your bathroom. The mattress was more of a large foam pad, but we did have a private room. I'm not sure we could have handled one of the dormitory rooms, especially if there were any european "techno twins".

Besides the ride, we hung out in the Gaslamp Quarter and went to Coronado for a day. The Gaslamp is a huge party district at night. I mean really, much more than I would have expected. Basically several blocks of hardcore revelry. People seemed to dig it, but there was not a quiet place anywhere. Loud music, loud music, cars, everything.

Well, that was the weekend. I was sick most of last week, but I did see Pineapple Express. It was hilarious and I highly recommend it. Next up is Tropic Thunder hopefully next weekend.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well, my first experience as a lecturer is over and I have to say I think it well. I enjoyed teaching and had fun sharing what I find interesting about history with a captive audience for six weeks. I'll see how they felt about it when student evaluations are released to me next week.

Now, what to do? Actually its all lined up already. Reading, conference attending, and lots of research. Hopefully I will be getting down to San Diego quickly to do some stuff. I also need to brush up on spanish to get my pesky language requirement out of the way.

But in the limited free time, I am thinking of catching up on some "fun reading." In particular, David Sedaris's new book, a new mystery by Christopher Reich, and Palahnuik's new one. I also want to watch Deadwood. There are only three seasons of it, so I think I should be able to finish it.

I got to watch the cubbies beat up on Milwaukee yesterday, only making me hope even more that this is the year. The first time in 100 years? We just have to wait and see, but I think our chances are good. As for my Melbourne Demons, this season is even worse than last year. They are definitely going to get the "wooden spoon" which is the "wow, you were the worst" award. Another really bad season and they may be on the chopping block for relocation. Too bad, given they are the official melbourne team.

Musically, I have on repeat loop, The Wombats first full US release. They are from England and extremely good, can't believe it took so long for the US album to come out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Press Eject

I don't know if its age or taste, but I have recently noticed that I have a very short attention span when it comes to movies. Either I like it or I hate it and take it out of the DVD player. I only find this odd b/c I used to watch anything. Even if I wasn't really interested in the movie I would still let it play. Not now though, 10-20 minutes and if I don't like it, its done. The two most recent to suffer this fate were "Meet the Spartans" and something called "Smiley Face". I like spoof movies, but the Spartans movie was just bad. Not funny, just gross and stupid. As for Smiley Face, it was supposed to be a "female version of Harold and Kumar." Sounds good, till your 20 mins. in and you realize it has no plot and makes absolutely no sense at all. Oh well, in the end it just makes room in my schedule for good movies. We saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" at the dollar cinema, a great funny movie. I really liked how it used flashbacks to provide the context for how the relationship had fallen apart. We also watched "Zero Effect". Didn't know what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed it. Good story, quirky characters. I liked the interaction Arlo and Zero the most.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So July is almost over...

Well almost a month since the last post. That's how busy teaching keeps you. Sitting in Peet's right now writing up the last lecture for the class. It's actually been a lot of fun. I have enjoyed it and look forward to doing this permanently someday. After all that dissertation stuff. August has no teaching in it, but I'll be plenty busy with attending a conference, doing research, and brushing up on/relearning Spanish. Then its off to Peru in September.

I have gotten to see most of the big summer flicks. The Dark Knight was simply amazing. It deserved all the hype. I've always enjoyed Ledger's acting and while its sad that he is gone, I'm glad that his last performance was so perfect. He is the Joker, hands down. That said, I have no idea how this film got rated PG-13! And there were so many kids in the theatre. Oh well, the parents will get their just deserts when all the kids have nightmares for the next few weeks. I also saw Hellboy II yesterday and really liked it. A fun summer action/comedy that allows you to escape for a few hours.

Well, that's all til I'm done with the class next week.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Cat Eat Catgrass world

A real post tomorrow, but here is Madeline trying to eat her catgrass while oddly balanced in the cat tree. She's so cute when she's quiet. Its the meowing thats a little too much at times.
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Micro Waves Good-Bye

Our microwave died a few weeks ago and we are now looking for a replacement. I thought it would be a simple process, but apparently the Microwave market has moved to the extremes since we last bought one. They are either tiny, not sure a bag of popcorn would fit. Or they are huge, some advertise they can cook a whole turkey. That's what an oven is for! Why are there no normal sized microwaves out there?? Something you can use to reheat, pop corn, cook frozen instant things, and probably most important a timer for when I'm cooking. The search will continue...

I didn't see the Hulk yet, but will! "Pan's Labyrinth", however was a good substitute. It's spanish, so there are subtitles, but the story and visuals are so great that you don't notice or care. It's fantasy, morality tale, and war story all set in a rural part of Spain during the Franco regime. Del Toro did a great job of mixing all the elements into a single story and the girl who plays Ofelia was amazing. "Semi-Pro" on the other hand was not. Now it does have some really funny moments, but it doesn't hold your interest who whole time. I was wondering at points, "why is this scene in the movie, it makes no sense". Good for a few chuckles and that all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Movies

More on what I've been up to. Movies! I have gotten to see two of the summer's blockbusters and have mixed thoughts on them. First, Ironman. It was awesome. The acting was good, special effects looked realistic, and most importantly Downey Jr. looks like Tony Stark. It is sometimes hard to imagine actors as comic book characters b/c of how they look, but in this instance it was dead on. I am really looking forward to the sequel when it comes out.

The other was Indiana Jones. I saw it the day before my orals as a way to relax and brush up on my Cold War history. haha. The nostalgia of seeing Indy with fedora and whip on the big screen was great. I felt like a kid again, but overall the film felt a little weak. I wanted more story and less action. Some of the characters were used to briefly too, like Marion.

I am also catching up on some of the stuff I missed in theaters and some oldies too. "For your Consideration" was a subpar effort on the part of Christopher Guest, but then nothing will ever match the magic of Spinal Tap. "North By Northwest" was great. I definitely need to watch more Hitchcock films. I'm watching "The Battle for Algiers" now, a great film detailing the efforts of Algerians in their fight against French rule. It's old, but used local people in the production and is great for illustrating the horrors of war. I am hoping to catch "The Incredible Hulk" on friday and will post what I think.

One last thing. Here is another short video of Madeline, this time chilling in the fortress. The reason she kept turning away was the Cubs game. Turns out she is a fan too! And what a great start they are off to this season!
video

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Return to the Land of the Living

Well, I never left the living, but it sure felt like it for a few months. However, the Oral Exams were passed successfully and I now move on to doing all the fun stuff. Stuff like research, writing a dissertation, teaching and grant proposal writing. While I was silent, life did continue though and I will be making several posts over the next few days to fill in the void.

The biggest change for us has been in the realm of pets. Olivia passed away this spring and she is missed. She lived a long life for a guinea pig and can include cancer survivor among her many titles. Lucinda is still squealing and running around. I think she likes having all the food to herself. We have also added a member to the family. We adopted Madeline in February from the Irvine Animal Shelter. We have never had a cat before, and it is been a long transition period. She is very cute and loves to play. However, she is also very loud and demanding. I have included some pics below.


Here is a pic at the shelter before she came home.


In her bed sleeping.


Displaying her odd sense of balance in her Kitty Tree.


In her "Fortress of Solitude" She will sit in there for an hour just watching you. I think its her special place.

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And one short video of her wandering around meowing aimlessly.

You can also see that she as grown a lot since we got her. Something else we were not expecting since the shelter and the vet said she was full grown. She is a good cat though and definitely has the run of the house. Unfortunately, when she runs through the house, it echoes like a pony running on the staircase.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's been awhile.

Okay, 4 months later I reappear. I know, I know. Well you only have to wait a little longer for real posts again. The Oral Exams are on June 6th and that dominates everything for now. Just be prepared for some good stuff in the near future.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eagle vs. Shark vs. Me!

Yeah, its been a few weeks. But the quarter has started out nicely and I'm doing Orals Prep work, so I'm good on two counts. Otherwise not much as been going on, hence the whole no writing thing.

I do have to gripe about the movie "Eagle vs. Shark". For all the awards and praise this I got, I was highly disappointed. Aside from a few good one-liners, it was boring and unfunny. I'm not sure how people make the comparison to "Napoleon Dynamite" which was an amazingly funny movie. The worst part of it is that I was really anticipating the movie, especially since it has 1/2 of "Flight of the Conchords" in it. FOTC = really funny. This movie = no funny.

As for FOTC everyone should check out their HBO series and all the live performance videos on youtube. They are hysterical, especially in the ways they try to glamorize the most mundane parts of everyday life.