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


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!

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.

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.