Monday, July 30, 2007

Oh my gosh... best... movie... ever

Okay, so that's a little exaggerated, but it was still very, very enjoyable. One of my favorite quotes was from President Schwarzenegger, who said, "I was elected to lead, not to read!" And the world finally got to hear Maggie's first word (I won't tell you what it was, though... you'll have to watch the movie if you want to find out.)

Now I don't have any new movies to look forward to for the rest of the summer. (Yes, can you believe I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of Underdog?)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Here at last, here at last, thank God almighty, here at last!

I can still remember the first time I ever saw the Simpsons in those halcyon days of yesteryear. It was a revelation! Having grown up with Knight Rider, Remington Steele, and the A-Team, this was a breath of fresh air... parody, antiestablishment, AND roll-on-the-floor hilarious, all rolled up in a neat animated package. My best friend growing up would record them... and on VIDEOTAPE! It was THAT long ago!... and let me borrow the tape. (We lived out in the country and didn't get FOX. In fact, we only got one channel and it came in blurry on good days and completely snowy or not at all on others. In fact I can remember my dad outside in the pouring rain with a pipe wrench trying to turn the antenna to get better reception just to watch Murder She Wrote. Yes, life WAS hard out in the country.) Anyway, upon watching the very first episode, my family was hooked. In fact my little brother completely related to and absorbed the hellion lessons taught by Bart Simpson (Lessons that evidently soaked in, as he's still just as irreverent and cynical as ever). That videotape got completely worn out from recording and watching and rewatching it week after week after week. It became something precious to be passed back and forth between my friend and me, endlessly discussed and reenacted... usually at church. My friend's mom, though, couldn't stand the show and made no qualms about telling him how it was so evil, contrary to church teachings, downfall of the family, harbinger of the Second Coming©, etc., etc. (Which, as any parent should know, made him want to watch it even more.) Well one day my friend's little brother, either hoping to garner favor from his mother or just being a complete brown-noser, took the precious videotape and crushed it to oblivion in a vise! Yes... a VISE! How cliché. The least he could have done was cast it into holy water or burning brimstone or something more symbolic. I remember even my MOM being pissed that the tape was destroyed. Those brothers still don't get along too well, and I think it stems back to that fateful day when the episodes died. Fortunately now in the age of DVDs and watching Simpsons on iPhones, it's all just a bad memory.

Which brings me to tonight's premiere! Eighteen long years of waiting have finally brought us to the Simpsons movie. We've collected a gang to go to the flick... although I'm not shaving my head and drawing on two comb over lines for a costume. (I'll leave that to my brother-in-law.) I'll suffice with just not shave this morning so I'll have a Homer Simpson-like five o'clock shadow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Knock, knock

Normally I like cats, but I read an article today about a kitty in Rhode Island that lives in a hospice and curls up in bed with people if they're going to die within 4 hours... kind of like Anna Nicole Smith (edited due to breach in good taste... too soon!). Talk about traumatic... I'm sure that all the residents of the hospice dread seeing that cat walk down the corridor. I'd be hoping that he just passed my room by for the grumpy old man in 6C who always walks around naked. Or I'd get a dog. You can read the article here.

Actually, we had a cat that could predict the death of my sister-in-law. She's so allergic to cats that if Hello Kitty would have curled up in bed with her, she'd have surely been dead within 4 hours... that or at least have her entire face swell up like Danny DeVito's... and THAT'S worse than DEATH!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This week's 'Picture is Worth 1,000 Words'

Go outside and play... or at least read the new Harry Potter book!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Those royals!

Call me a purist, but I always prefer my royals to be all pomp and ceremony, embodying their nation and showing us all how to wave with the back of our hand. When Fergie (the Duchess of York... not the one from the Black Eyed Peas) started hawking Weight Watchers, I thought it was crass... that would be like President Bush promoting Halliburt... wait, nevermind. Anyway, you get the picture. Well, I just read an article that tops Fergie's money-making efforts! Norway's Princess Märta Louise has started a new business teaching people how to become clairvoyants and communicate with angels. ANGELS! I'm sorry, but I think if you're royal, you should really leave talking with angels to Charlie.

Here's the article.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Successful advertising

Margaret and I went to the coast with Will and Deb this weekend (despite the Harry Potter release... more on that later). We stayed in a sleepy little coast town called Neskowin (a Siletz Indian word meaning "backwater") that was so small that it only had one Kwik-E-Mart style shop, a post office that was in the hotel lobby, a stagecoach station, and a single restaurant. It was perfect for getting away from it all... and by 'all' I mean kitschy shops, salt water taffy stands, and electricity. While I was in the Kwik-E-Mart waiting in the checkout line, I overheard a couple in front of me asking the woman at the register if the closest place for pizza was in Lincoln City (about 1/2-hour away). The woman replied, "We have an oven here... we can cook a frozen pizza for you." To which the customer said that they were really looking for something a little more upscale. Without hesitation, the woman added, "Well, we have DiGiorno!" I guess their marketing message got through! In fact, maybe I should send the story to Mega-Chem Corp. (owner's of DiGiorno and Mama's Organic Selections Foods), for them to use in their advertising.

Later that night, Margaret and I were Potter-crazy enough to drive the half-hour to Lincoln City. Will and Deb passed on the opportunity for adventure and opted to stay in the warm and dry hotel while Margaret and I braved the torrential rains and gale-force winds... probably sent by the Dark Lord himself to block our passage. Seriously, several times we thought, "This is CRAZY! Why are we DOING this?" It was hard to see, dangerous driving conditions, and late at night, but we slogged on. We'd been to every other initial release since book 2, so HAD to do it. We were compelled, as if someone were using the Imperius curse on us (and I think that it was the publisher). Eventually we got to the Lincoln City library, where there were several hundred people milling around foaming at the bit to get their hands on the last book. We were number 79 on the list, and at about 10 minutes after midnight, we finally got our hands on the book. We left right after, as there were kids already skipping to the end and reading aloud the final word, (it's "well" if you wondered), and then trying to read aloud the last paragraph. We heard some parents saying, "We gotta get out of here... this is breaking down." Margaret and I ran from the library with our fingers in our ears to make sure we didn't hear anything about the story as we sprinted to the car. The drive back was just as dangerous, but fortunately the only driving mistake I made was trying to get into the parking lot of the hotel and accidentally turned onto their lawn. (Which made Margaret really confident in how well I could see in the dark.) Now I'm patiently waiting for Margaret to finish the book so I can read the startling conclusion... so don't tell me ANYTHING!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

He's a little dense, that one.

I don't know what's wrong with me. Either it's all the Diet Coke I've been drinking or I'm developing early onset Alzheimer's... or that I'm completely scatterbrained... nah, that's not it. I'll blame the government. Anyway, I've had the Harry Potter book 7 release date on my calendar since about... well, FOREVER. Margaret's brother and his wife are visiting us this weekend and I saw the crazy book release parties here in Portland as a great way of showing them how debauched wacky our city is. Well, since the release was on Saturday, I scheduled a trip to the coast for Friday. I figured we would have plenty of time to come back the next day to attend one of the late-night bookstore parties on the release date. It wasn't until last night, while brushing my teeth (why is it that tooth brushing offers such moments of clarity? I think that's what Einstein was doing when he thought up the theory of relativity, Dave Thomas thought up the SQUARE HAMBURGER PATTY, and when Doc Brown thought up the flux... oh wait, he was doing something else... but you see where I'm going). I slapped my forehead in disgust and dismay as I realized that Saturday starts one minute past midnight on FRIDAY NIGHT!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I wonder if there are bookstores on the coast?

Irish pride

Yesterday, Margaret and I were driving down the road and saw this truck with the Irish flag painted on the tailgate. Nothing says Irish pride like a spray painted redneck truck cruising around. It's a combination that just screams, "Póg mo thóin!" I'm sure all the people back in the old country are so proud. I'll bet the driver eats Lucky Charms, too! Of course it wasn't THAT surprising, given our neighborhood. Right before spotting the truck, we had just seen three street musicians dressed up as a four-armed monkey and a banana and a guy dressed up in classic golf wear (knickerbockers, sweater, tie, and those flat old man hats... you know what I'm talking about). Ahh, Hawthorne!

Speaking of Irish pride, a couple years back Margaret and I hosted a baby shower for some friends of ours who are from Ireland. We had a whole Irish/American theme going on (including bowls of Lucky Charms). Well, since the Irish flag is essentially three colored panels, Margaret sewed a gigantic Irish flag to cover up our hideous and dilapidated garage. This picture is of the happy couple posing in front of the flag, so you can get an idea of how big it was. (I blurred their pictures, as they're actually hiding out in the US... in fact the Brad Pitt/Harrison Ford movie "The Devil's Own" was based on their story!) Well, I'm embarrassed to say that the shower was almost three years ago and the flag is still up. We never bothered to take it down, since the front of the garage was so awful, but now the faded, stained, and fraying remnant is probably an insult to any Irish man, woman, or child that drives by. We're expecting an honor killing from the IRA any day now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Taco Bell woes

After literally YEARS of eating at Taco Bell... and often times eating there every day for lunch at work... I finally broke my record for not squirting one of those pesky little ketchup packets all over my shirt. And of course I broke this record on the day that I have to give an off-site presentation for work. This is going to be terrible! Now people are going to be paying more attention to my chest than what I'm saying. I'll bet NO ONE could imagine what that would be like.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bumper sticker of the day

"At least the war on the environment is going well."


In case you've been under a rock, locked in solitary confinement, or in Arkansas, you've surely heard that the latest Harry Potter movie came out last Wednesday. Well, of course we had to go see it, but due to a sick friend with parental obligations, we were delayed until Friday. Normally we would have been there opening night to see the extravaganza, glitz, and glamour that invariably takes place at such events including costumes, games, etc. Well, since it was two days past the opening and we went to a suburban theatre instead of one in the city there was none of that.

We weren't about to let the delay and location stop us, though. Margaret and I donned our new magical hats we'd bought for the occasion. I bought mine thinking it looked like the Sorting Hat (and I was prepared to use it to judge people... just like the Sorting Hat does!), although now that I look at the picture, I think it makes me look more like a scarecrow. We only wore it into the theatre, though... a fact I'm sure the people behind us were greatful for. Margaret also smuggled in some "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans." They've added two new flavors recently: dill pickle and rotten egg. After unfortunately getting the dill pickle-flavored one, I realized that this would be a great diet aid: after eating that disgusting flavor, I couldn't eat for a while afterward as the thought of that nasty taste pretty effectively reduced my appetite to nothing.

Well, the book release party is this Friday, so we'll have another opportunity to get dressed up... only this time, we might put together more complete outfits than hats. Although since we don't have a brush broom, Margaret will have to make due with a vacuum, or maybe a Swiffer. Those fly just as well, don't they?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

LiLo got an iPhone

I just heard that Lindsay Lohan got an iPhone. With its smooth glass surface, it's the perfect portable coke-cutting and snorting station... and it makes calls to your dealer... and it can map the quickest route back to rehab.

80's Trash Music

Have you seen that particularly hilarious form of graffiti where people put stickers or paint words on stop signs, making some statement of things that should "stop?" I've seen signs that say STOP wearing fur, STOP the war, STOP Bush, and STOP graffiti... (well, not that one, but the irony would be excellent.) Anyway, they're always good for a laugh... unless you work for the transportation department, where they've taken to slapping their own stickers that say "defacing stop signs." Well, yesterday Margaret and I saw one that was AWESOME! It was a stop sign with a sticker on it that said "collaborate and listen." I instantly recognized the opening words of Vanilla Ice's magnum opus "Ice, Ice, baby." Then, and maybe this next part happened because I had just channeled the 80's from watching the Transformers movie, (that's my only defense) I completely mortified Margaret by finishing the rest of the opening of the song: "Stop, collaborate and listen. The Ice is back with a brand new edition. If you got a problem, yo, I'll solve it. Check out the beat while the DJ revolves it." For a moment, Margaret was completely dumbfounded. What had she gotten herself into? Who knew that after a decade of marriage that that was lurking inside her husband? Actually, I couldn't believe that I'd remembered it myself. I guess that song meant more to me than I thought. Although, if you think about it, it does carry an important lesson that I've carried throughout my life since hearing it that first time: always put ice in your Diet Coke!

Speaking of that song which now cannot be named, I remember one time when my parents bought a used car. It was completely digital on the inside, with red lights on EVERYTHING! It was like driving an American version of the Starship Enterprise. Well, the first night, I borrowed the car and drove it in to town and picked up some friends to cruise around town with. I remember I had a cassette single of... the song which now cannot be named.... and we played it loud and over and over and OVER again, thinking we were the COOLEST! Well, it turned out that we weren't the coolest. We found out the hard way why the previous owner sold the car: it died in town and wouldn't start and when it finally did, it make some awful noise. Talk about destroyed street cred. I guess what should I have expected for an AMERICAN version of the Starship Enterprise. (That's why we bought our GERMAN version of the Starship Enterprise: our Jetta.... we call him Hansel.) Now, after all these years, I wonder if the car was just punishing us for listening to that insipid song over and over again. Fortunately Hansel didn't punish us after I broke out in song last night or we would have had to walk home. Good ole Hansel... he never judges us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words

(Click on the picture to enlarge it, because you'll need it bigger to see how much gas the rest of the world uses in comparison to us.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Don't you hate it when...

Don't you hate it when you're showing your boss your new iPhone and he's looking at all the features and then stumbles upon a racy electronic note your wife left in the Notes application.... uh, not that that happened to me or anything.... no sireee.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I almost forgot to include my review of the iPhone, now that I finally laid my hands on one. Here's my simple, one sentence review of this miracle:

"The iPhone is the official telephone of the Celestial Kingdom."

And I don't throw that around lightly. Yeah, don't bring up my review of the Swatch as the official timepiece of the Celestial Kingdom. That was just a crazy teenager not knowing what he was talking about. This time, it's for real. I mean seriously. When you're holding it, it feels like you're holding the future!

Indispensible uses for the earth's precious resources

Every now and then, I see a product (and almost 100% of the time it's plastic) that makes me think, "Gee, the earth is SOOO much better off with that product that will eventually go into a landfill instead of the boring raw materials and clean environment that were used up in the product's creation." You know, things like PEZ dispensers, automatically twirling lollipops, and Paris Hilton CDs. Well, this weekend, I saw something to add to the list: The Spiderman 'Water Web' Water Slide. It's like a slip-n-slide, only with a giant inflatable Spiderman hand that doesn't shoot web, it shoots... wait for it.... WATER! Oh brother! Why couldn't they choose a more cultural and educational subject to use for kid's water playthings... I'm thinking the peeing boy statue in Brussels would translate to this purpose particularly well.

Speaking of slip-n-slides... maybe I'm just bitter because the two main memories I have of our slip-n-slide were both traumatic The first one was how bees would be attracted to the water on hot days, where they would drown and leave their corpses to sting us when we stepped on them. The second was the propensity of our geese to poop all over the slide. Believe me... even though both lubricants work well, I'll take plain tap water ANY day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fourth of July

We came back from our Utah vacation completely sucked of all energy and seriously sleep deprived. Here's a synopsis of our 6-day visit. Fly in to Salt Lake, visit Margaret's dad, drive to Logan, visit with my family there for a day and a half, drive to Salt Lake for a family dinner, drive to Heber and spend the night there at Margaret's sister's house, wake up and go boating, drive to Pleasant Grove for a wedding reception, spend the night at Margaret's brother's house, wake up and drive to Salina where Margaret's sister and her husband have a farm, spend the night there, wake up and go horseback riding, drive to Salt Lake after lunch, meet Margaret's dad for dinner, spend the night at Margaret's mother's house, wake up and go to Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake, visit Salt Lake library, head to the airport to fly back to Oregon. Phew! I'm exhausted just TYPING that! Fortunately we came back on the July 3, so we had a day to recover on the fourth.

Speaking of which, I tried to buy an iPhone yesterday while we were out and about but there are no more 8GB models in the entire state! Cruel fates... why must you mock me? And mock me they did. It would have been so bad, but when we went into the Apple Store to get one, they had demo phones to try out. Man oh man... after actually being able to USE one, I'm even more smitten. Now the wait is even that much more unbearable, since I know what I'm missing.

After that disappointment, Margaret consoled me by going to Transformers with me. Our friend Stacey came, too. I thoroughly enjoyed it, laughing at all the 12-year-old targeted humor and felt like I was a little kid watching the same thing on Saturday morning cartoons, only now with cussing and more violence. It was AWESOME! Sadly Margaret and Stacey were more amused with my reaction to the movie than the movie itself.

After the movie, we came back to our house for a barbeque. We got all the fixings for s'mores but when the time came to roast them, I found that we didn't have a source of willow trees to denude like we did in scouts. I hunted around the house for a bit, trying to think of how to roast them with utensils, hangers, or soldering wire. Then it struck me! The most perfect solution... a solution both elegant and lazy. And I'm talking really lazy. How, you ask? This solution, which I've dubbed the Toasterator© (and as you can see, I've trademarked it so if you try it at home, you owe me a 3¢ royalty), consists of the rotisserie attachment to our grill. Instead of holding a whole chicken, suckling pig, or ostrich roast, the prongs hold MARSHMALLOWS! The rotisserie slowly rotates them, with absolutely no effort on my part. A side benefit was that the heat also partially melted the chocolate set on the graham crackers we'd set on the grill. I'll never roast marshmallows without the assistance of electricity again!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Presidential differences

Russian President Putin is in the country visiting President Bush this week. They went fishing and I don't know about you, but when I saw the picture above in the paper, I thought that Bush looks like a redneck schlub and Putin looks like the new James Bond. Has it really gotten to the point that Russian governmental officials dress better and look cooler than American governmental officials? What's next? Japan making better cars than the Americans? Nah... that's going too far! That'd NEVER happen.