Entries from November 2006 ↓
November 30th, 2006 — Scrubs, Television
Hooray! Scrubs is back! I love the creativity of this show. Here, major characters (including janitor) are teamed up with a patient, where each is playing a dual role to show the whole "doctors see themselves in their patients" thing. I don't think they needed to do the morphing special effect, wasn't it obvious?
But what was up with Blue Man Group? Talk about pointless stuntcasting. And what the hell did Dr. Cox do to his hair? How in the world is Jordan letting him walk around like that?
November 29th, 2006 — Family
Katherine, telling me about her day at school.
"Daddy, I painted under a table at school today."
?? "You mean you painted on a table?"
"Yah, I painted under the table."
"Are you saying under or on? You mean on a table?"
"Well that's silly, how do you paint under a table?"
"You take your paper and your paints, and you put them on the floor and you lay down on your stomach so that your feet stick out the end, and then you paint Chinese."
Well, that sentence took an interesting turn right there are at the end. "You painted Chinese?"
"Yes I did."
"Chinese letters? Which characters did you paint?"
"No, silly, not letters. I just painted a chinese building."
"What's a chinese building look like?" She begins flailing her painting hand around in space, as if I can imagine what she's trying to visualize for me. "How do you know what Chinese buildings look like?"
"I learned it from watching tv."
"What show taught you that?" Then it hit me. "Ohh! Sagwa, the Siamese Cat, right? You saw Chinese buildings on that show?"
"Yeah, Sagwa showed me."
Mystery solved. Thought I would like to see what her Chinese building looks like.
November 28th, 2006 — Uncategorized
Opera Mini is quite easily the best browser out there for small mobile devices. I've just installed the newest version on my v360 with no difficulties at all. It's such a treat to work with an interface that's actually designed for the phone right from the start, and not to constantly have to remember whether to press the 5 button, or select, or menu or what.
I continue to be quite pleased by my purchase. I've got a great browser now. I can read my gmail. Plus, I use it as an image wallet instead of constantly rotating through pictures in my regular wallet and getting them all creased and faded. And hey, who cares about the backlash over customized ring tones, I like being able to use any mp3 I want. Beats yet another techno-mix.
Coming soon: I've also sent some video podcasts directly to the phone, so now whenever we've got some time to kill with the kids I can let them watch episodes of Dora, Diego and Blue's Clues without having to carry around my iPod. When I get directions setup for how to do that, I'll post.
November 27th, 2006 — Uncategorized
Took the kids (4 and 2) to see Happy Feet this weekend. IMAX style, which I explained to Katherine simply as, "A zillion times bigger than the movie screen you're thinking of – the biggest movie screen in the world." It was a pretty easy call from the minute I saw the commercials — just a big ol' mess of animated, dancing and singing penguins. Perfect kids movie.
Ummm…. not so much.
Yes, it's an animated dancing and singing penguin movie. But it's also lots and lots of other things. It's long. It's scary. And it's so crazy over the top political in its environmental message that I'm pretty sure I saw an animated Al Gore in there somewhere near the end. We get it. Humans screw up the food chain. And it will take a miracle, such as thousands of penguins tap dancing, to make people realize that. Perhaps that second part of the message wasn't what the producers intended, but it comes with the story.
Although the movie is only a little longer than the typical kids movie (I think it still comes in at under 100 minutes), man did they shove alot of movie in here. It's as if somebody read the basic 36 plots and tried to shove them all in. He's different from the crowd, so he is shunned. Doesn't get to play in any penguin games, so to speak. Check. His dad wants him to be what society wants him to be, rather than to be himself, so there's got to be the falling out and the reconciliation. Check. (This part was the weakest of all the stories, by the way). He's got to get the girl. This was so obvious that they didn't even make much of a conflict out of it, it was obvious from the beginning. And he's got to go on a journey to save everyone. This was the part where it got scary and, quite frankly, depressing. Again I say, "We get it. Humans bad. Animals innocent victims." It's hard to say "hero's journey" while talking about animated penguins, but really, if you see it, you'll see what I mean.
Here's a comparison. Did you see the Spielberg A.I. movie? Remember how it just never really ended? How it just kept getting darker and darker and you were never really sure if it was just going to stop on a downer note, or if it was going to circle back around? This movie's got a bunch of that toward the end. I'm not saying whether it circles back around or not, lest I be accused of spoiling it.
Is it for kids? Maybe a little older than mine. Mine recognize the penguins, they did the plastic toys you can get at Burger King, they watch the commercials and so on. Did they understand the movie? Eh. The 2yr old certainly didn't. The 4yr old found it mostly scary. But then again she finds all movies scary, including Strawberry Shortcake. She does not like bad guys. And this movie does have a bunch of them. There's a boatload of scenes where the penguins are chased by scary predators (during such scenes I'm turning to my wife and saying, "Oh come on, do they really have to do this again??")
Overall, was it enjoyable? Cute. Not as good as I'd hoped. The direction is pretty lousy, if you can say that about an animated movie. Lots of music, though you get the feeling that you never really hear a song from beginning to end. Lots of dancing, but never really any focus on anything other than feet moving so fast you pretty much can't tell that they're moving, before cutting away to a scene of thousands of them doing the same thing. The "final battle", if you can call it that, between the young penguins and the old guard was actually pretty entertaining – the old penguins do this sort of baritone chant to the "Great Guin", trying to drown out the music that the young ones are making, and it blends nicely.
This is getting too long. It was a nice, typical Thanksgiving movie. Glad we saw it. Wish it was better.
November 26th, 2006 — Family
The girls are now playing that game where they get to "be" everyone. You know, when watching the Macy's Parade and seeing a dance number and they take turns saying, "I'm the purple one!" or "I'm the pink one!"
So last night we're reading a Beauty and the Beast princess story, starring Belle. "I'm Belle," says Elizabeth (who is 2, for those that don't usually follow along).
"Daddy," whispers Katherine (4), "I'll be Belle too. But don't tell Elizabeth, she doesn't think that both of us can be Belle."
"You not Belle!" shouts Elizabeth, who obviously heard.
"Who can Katherine be?" I ask, trying to be peacemaker not simply because I'm physically in the middle of them.
"I Belle!" says Elizabeth. "Katherine, you can be the Beast!"
Ah, love. Elizabeth finds this hysterical, Katherine not so much.
November 20th, 2006 — Family
Over the weekend, Katherine is trying to use logic to determine what television show Brendan (6months) might like to watch. Since, after all, he is a boy and he might not like the same shows that girls like. Katherine decides that he might like "Manny", or "Bob the Builder." This is because, to quote Katherine, "Because Daddy, Brendan is so small, I don't know what he wants to be when he grows up. He could be a hunter, or maybe a hair dresser…."
"Hopefully not a hair dresser," said Daddy.
"Why not a hair dresser?"
"Oh, just one of Daddy's jokes that you're not supposed to get, sweetheart."
November 16th, 2006 — Television
Our favorite quotable TV show is set to premiere soon, on November 30. Apparently Blue Man Group will make a guest appearance.
I don't really care about Blue Man Group (saw them twice, a million years ago), I just wanted a reason to post another story about the Scrubs season premiere :).
November 16th, 2006 — Uncategorized
In what turned out to be not so big a surprise at all, Emmitt Smith wins Dancing with the Stars. From the very beginning of the show, Mario Lopez was the clear favorite, Emmitt one of the long shots. They cast some sort of athlete every year — Evander Hollyfield, Jerry Rice, and now Emmitt — only Emmitt was clearly the best of them. By judging both final dance competitions identically (both Mario and Emmitt received a 59 combined on three dances) the judges basically turned it into a popularity contest. Mario was probably the better dancer. But the audience liked Emmitt more. He smiled more. He had more fun.
I think most importantly, though, is that the audience liked Cheryl better than they liked Karina. Cheryl's the champ from last year. People know her. She also looked…well, nicer. Every week Kerry would commented that she just didn't liked Karina's face. She looked mean, like she was too competitive and wasn't having a very good time.
So, there you go. One of the token athletes finally won it. It turned out better than I expected, really, from what I originally saw the list. Jerry Springer was actually great to watch. Sure he was the comedy act, but in a good way. The whole "waltz and my daughter's wedding" thing was nice, and when he got all choked up when it was finally time for him to leave, he showed some real class.
So why oh why do the producers have to keep fixing the final show? During the first season everybody screamed fix when Kelly Monaco, nearly eliminated in the first week, came all the way back to get a perfect 30 score in the final week, even though she tripped a few times. They did it again this season. It's like they gathered in a room and said, "Ok, how can we make the last show end up a high note?" You could have called that 59 for both dancers in your sleep. I mean, really — Emmitt gets a 9 from Bruno for a shaky lift in the last dance, but Mario's "Ok, now I put Karina across here, pause, now I lift her up, pause, now she puts her hands down, pause…" lift was supposedly perfect, and the best dance of the season? Nope, not buying it. The excuses the judges found to take away points were too forced for me. Somebody told them "Ok, Len, you find some reason to take a point from Emmitt, and Bruno, you find some reason to take a point from Mario." I suppose it makes for a better finale, but it's just so obvious it's a little insulting.
November 15th, 2006 — Blogging, Family, Television
Got a message on the company email yesterday that there's going to be a movie filming on our street and in the building next store, so be prepared for the traffic and detours and so on. Turns out that this movie is The Game Plan, starring The Rock. How cool is that? I wandered downstairs today for lunch (nice that it is 60+ degrees outside) and yeah, they're shooting a movie all right. Just like you see…well, in the movies. Lots of big spotlights, and people carrying around what look like posterboards with tinfoil on them. We can't get anywhere near the action, of course, but the crowds are positioned so that you can get a glimpse. I didn't get to see him (yet), but apparently others have, as I heard some conversation like "Can you see him? He's sitting in the front seat of the car. There, he just got out, that's him…"
What reaallllllly annoys me is that according to the trivia for the movie, just last week they were filming in my own hometown! Argh. The Rock was wandering around my home town and I missed it. That's annoying. Surely that would have merited a sick day from work. After all you can hardly expect North Andover to draw the same sort of crowd that downtown Boston does.
Didn't he just make a football movie?
It's funny how different audiences see things. I'm in a meeting, there's a pause while we wait for some people, and I toss out, "So, did anybody go downstairs to see The Rock? He's shooting a movie."
Lady across the table looks interested, but kind of shrugs off the reference with, "I don't know who that is. Who else is in it?"
"Kyra Sedgewick," I say.
"Oh my god I love her!" she says, and begins chatting excitedly with the woman next to her about this woman's movies.
All I know about Kyra Sedgewick is that she's Kevin Bacon's wife, and I sat across the row from her on a plane once. One of those moments to kick yourself, because the entire flight I kept wondering, "Is that Kyra Sedgewick?" but not having the guts to ask. She was with two kids. Getting off the plane she even had trouble with her luggage and I should have been a gentleman and offered to help lug it, but I didn't. I think I assumed that when she walked off the plane there'd be people waiting for her or something. Instead I went home, went online and looked her up, and sure enough that was her – the description of the two kids matched perfectly. So now I tell people that my Kevin Bacon number is 2.
Technorati tags: the rock
November 12th, 2006 — Family
Sometimes we all have our days. Just got back from the worst vacation I've ever had, which culminated in packing the 5 members of my family into a single hotel room for the evening. Nothing quite like going to bed for the night at 6:30pm, afraid to even turn on the television for fear of waking one of them up and setting off a chain reaction.
During the weekend, Katherine got a "princess puppet" from Grammie and Papa. During the confusion of changing hotels, it was misplaced. She kept trying to dig through the bags looking for it, and I kept telling her to leave the bags alone, there was enough chaos as it was, and that we would be sure to find the puppet in the morning.
This morning she came up to me and said, "Daddy, later are we gonna find that puppet?"
And I said, and I am so proud of myself in this moment :-/, "Katherine, if you mention that puppet one more time I am going to throw it out the window. You've already asked me about the puppet, and I already told you that I promised that we would find the puppet. Now don't say puppet anymore."
To which Katherine responded, ever so calmly and patiently, "Ok. But Daddy? I didn't say puppet. I said later are gonna see Grammie and Papa?"
Oh. I feel big. :-/