Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Beyond Borders

On Sunday I saw 'Beyond Borders' with Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen. If you think there's any chance that you'll like the movie, you really should see it. I guess it did badly (2 million?), but I thought it was very good, like best-so-far-this-year good. I can't see how someone wouldn't be moved after seeing this movie. The storyline wasn't flawless or anything, but the scenery and the political situations made up for any thin plot points or character cheesiness. For most of the movie, she is working for the UN, a job I'd love to have. I was glad I saw it alone though, and I appreciated having the time to reflect on it during the drive home, instead of discussing it with someone. That's part of the reason I like seeing movies alone. Some people think it's odd that I do that, but I especially like seeing serious movies by myself. I have made the mistake of seeing scary movies alone (Scream), which I will never do again. I don't see very many, and I prefer to have a cuddly man to hide behind if I have to see one.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Carolyn Hax

I used to read Ann Landers all the time, but then I found Carolyn Hax. She writes for the Washington Post and is syndicated all over the country. Her column is called Tell Me About It and used to be subtitled Advice for the Under-30 Crowd, but she's lost that part. She also hosts a weekly chat at noon Eastern on washingtonpost.com. I like the advice she gives, here are some samples:

It's called "coping." If it were fun, it would be called "fun."

If you can't stop judging these people enough to put your whole heart into loving them, then leave. I mean it.

Trust and respect just aren't that complicated: Find someone who treats you as well as he treats himself, and then show the same kindness to him. Ta-da. Both of you will make mistakes, but that's okay, as long as they're infrequent, unintended and remedied quickly, with care.

Trust your ego to withstand someone who sees herself as your equal.

No healthy relationship ever dies of an open debate.

Be who you are. If you feel the need to change anything, look for ways to have more fun. That way you'll avoid any disastrous attempts at becoming someone you're not, and you might actually have more fun--which is a great way to get your mind off whatever it is you think you're supposed to have but don't.

Something to look for to tip your decision toward anything new and unknown is the sense that there might be something more rewarding out there than what you have now.

Ask yourself these questions every time you catch yourself comparing your life with others': Who are you; what do you want; is that fair to expect? And are you strong enough not to look back?

We're all afraid of something, and we all run the risk of meeting someone who knows how to prey on that fear. It's not an excuse not to try.

Pretty wise, huh? She gets a lot of "I'm unhappy and I don't know why" letters and she does a really good job of answering them, as well as telling the ones that need it to seek therapy. Check her out, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


On Sunday there was a great episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I just love Vincent D'Onofrio. The show has gotten a little formulaic, but it's still good. I used to watch the regular L&O, but since Benjamin Bratt left, it's just not the same. I was annoyed to find that NBC ran reruns on Thursday so they wouldn't lose to the baseball playoffs in the ratings. I understand when it's a playoff game, but when they preempt regular shows for plain old games, whether baseball, football or anything, I get so annoyed. Why do we have 85 sports channels if the networks are still airing the regular games? There were entire fall seasons in which Futurama was always joined "already in progress". That was mostly Fox's fault, in that 6pm Central on Sunday is a suckie time slot no matter what. Futurama should have been at 7:30 Central, right after the Simpsons. Instead they put crap like Malcolm in the Middle and Oliver Beene in that slot. At least Cartoon Network was smart enough to pick it up, even if they aren't airing anything new. Wake up, Simpsons can't and shouldn't go on forever. And you expect a live action sitcom to take it's place? Ain't gonna happen. King of the Hill is funny, but it's not an anchor to an entire night like The Simpsons is. Find some good and funny animation and make a night of it!

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Random TV thoughts

Quote of the week: "The only thing she hates more than sobriety is kindness." about Karen on Will & Grace

Thursday, October 09, 2003


I think I watch the most television of anyone I know. I recently got a DVR from my cable company, and that has actually cut down on the amount a little. (For those who don't know, a DVR is a Digital Video Recorder - Tivo, Replay TV, etc. Basically, a digital VCR) I have wanted one for a long time. You can set things to be taped just once or every time the episode is on. I swear sometimes scheduled things just go away, though. A little annoying. Anyway, I always get the fall preview edition of TV Guide. It lays out a basic weekly schedule of all the new shows, as well as the returning ones. I plan my TV watching with this for the first few months. Right now, my week goes something like this:

Sunday - Futurama, Simpsons, Law and Order
Monday - Still Standing, Raymond
Tuesday - 70s Show, 24, Frasier, Good Morning Miami
Wednesday - Bachelor, King of Queens, South Park
Thursday - Friends, Scrubs, Will & Grace, Coupling, Survivor/Amazing Race
Friday - Miss Match, Grounded for Life, George Lopez
Saturday - SNL, Mad TV

Plus, during the day I tape several reruns of Friends, the Simpsons and Jeopardy. I also watch a lot of mid-level cable, like Travel Channel, Comedy Central, Game Show Network, Tech TV, DIY and HGTV. I wish the Travel Channel would stop being a 24 hour commercial for Vegas, that Comedy Central would have more stand-up and cancel The Man Show, and that GSN would put a Chuck Woolery limit on their daily broadcasts. All of these things would be fine in moderation (except maybe the Man Show, I was so disappointed with that. Don't they know you need a straight man and a foil, and that 2 foils just make for bad TV?) but they get to be too much.

Another thing that bothers me about TV is that the seasons tend to get shorter and shorter. I mean, there are regular shows, not mid-season replacements, that don't start until the end of October. Then there are shows that have their season finale in March! I always thought the TV season should line up with the school year, essentially starting in September and ending in June. Well, I heard that part of the reason there are fewer shows per season is that they're getting more expensive to produce. While that may be true, I don't think they should just shorten the season, or worse, start running reruns in October. I don't know how the Sweeps months got set up, but I think it's time for a change in TV scheduling. I propose a two season per year schedule. Each season would last about six months, maybe an Oct-March Season and an April-Sept. That way, CBS for example, could run Survivor for one of the seasons and The Amazing Race for the other, both in the Thursday 7pmCST "Midas Touch" time slot. The summer season could be used to test out shows that the networks aren't sure about, and if they are wildly successful, a la Friends, they can be moved to the fall season. You could still have a midseason replacement roster, and more turnover in shows would results in the networks being able to respond to trends faster and profit from all the kids that are home from school in the summer. These are some of my more general thoughts on TV. I will continue my TV ranting later, with more specific criticisms and raves.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Most of the books I have are travel related, guidebooks or just nonfiction relating to another country. I have been getting into the single girl fiction fad that started with Bridget Jones (if you liked that one, read the sequel, so you'll be prepared when the movie comes out. If you didn't like it, you're probably a man.) The best thing I've read in that genre is 'Good in Bed' by Jennifer Weiner. I bought a copy for myself and for a friend at Christmas time. I read it very quickly and am thinking about reading it again. She's got a new book out but I don't have it yet. A friend of mine bought me the first 3 'Tales of the city' books for my birthday this summer. I had started to watch the tapes of the miniseries and didn't finish them. I just wasn't that interested. But, the books were great and I read each of them in about a week.
I have a bunch of Danielle Steel books, too. Before you groan - she has some great stories. My favorites are Wanderlust, The Ring and Full Circle. I think I like those so much because they seem to break out of her normal formula (a rich man or woman is married/committed at the beginning of the book, suffers a break up and then finds love again, sigh). I don't like it when she seemly writes only what she knows. She seems more creative when she tackles a subject she isn't as familiar with, and when she sets the story in a previous era, like with Crossings, the one about the Titanic. I realize that none of my 3 favorites are set in the modern day, either (wanderlust - World War 2, The Ring - 19th Century?, Full Circle - the 60s). They still have the sappy romance, but there are more themes than just that. I also liked Mixed Blessings, and that might be the first time I cried while reading a book.
An interesting side note is that there's a song titled 'Danielle Steel' by a band called The Lucksmiths. I'll post the lyrics if I can find them. He's talking about his girl and that she's got 'the heart of Danielle Steel'. Okay, no more music talk, back to books. I am currently trying to read '1984' and 'The Culture of Fear'. I have tried to get thru 1984 before and I find it easier every time, but I still haven't finished it. The Culture of Fear is by Barry Glassner, you might have seen him in 'Bowling for Columbine'. While it has quite a liberal slant, it's an enjoyable read so far. The most interesting thing that he's saying is that so many of our societal ills stem from poverty. While that doesn't surprise me, it makes real improvement seem even more of a pipe dream, since poverty is so good at being cyclical. But now I digress into politics. That'll be another series of posts.
While I'm talking about books, I should probably throw in a magazine or two. I like 'Games' and I have a subscription to 'National Geographic Traveller'. I buy the occasional computer magazine or chic rag (Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire). Tv Guide and Entertainment Weekly sometimes make it into my cart at the grocery store. I almost always buy the Fall Preview editions of those two (I know, I sound like the Elaine Mannequin guy from Seinfeld) because I like to see good shows from the beginning. And now I digress into TV. I can't believe how long this post has gotten. Sadly, the others will probably be longer.

My Taste

Within a few months of getting to know me, most people tell me I have strange taste. Sometimes they say its bad taste, but usually it's more like "You like the oddest combinations of men." or "That's a rather eclectic music collection you've got there." When I say taste, I mean mostly music, movies, men, TV, books and the like, but also other things like food, home decor, video games and clothes. I would describe my tastes thusly: My taste in movies is decidedly girly, while I think my TV watching is pretty ungirly (with the exception of Felicity and Dawson's Creek - they are really good shows!). Music is probably the area where I like widest selection of things. Books are harder to pin down. And men, this is probably what people think is the strangest thing about me. So, the next few messages will be me pontificating on various taste related subjects.

My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Okay, I didn't write yesterday as I was in a horrible mood. I'm not a morning person and when I have a bad morning, I usually have a horrid day. It didn't end so badly, though. The night before, I watched Losing Isaiah. That's a damn good movie. Halle Berry does a great job, in fact I think that was her breakout role (she's still good- see 'Monster's Ball' and 'X-Men' 1 & 2). I already knew it was going to be good, and I even had it on my Netflix, but it was on BET, so I caught it. I don't care for Jessica Lange, but I seem to see a lot of her movies. I saw 'A Thousand Acres' because I had read the book about a year before it came out, and I love King Lear, which the book was based on. The movie wasn't too good, but the book by Jane Smiley was great. Later, I read her book 'The Greenlanders' which was surprisingly good. It's about several generations of a family that lives in Greenland around the year 1100. You find out what day to day life was like for people at that time. I have a copy of 'The Age of Grief', but I haven't read it yet. The cover makes it look kind of depressing (as if the title didn't do that well enough).

Monday, October 06, 2003

Things I Want

(not comprehensive in the least, and mostly materialistic)

-$500,000 - I don't need a million, just a half
-A Nissan Altima
-People to stop telling me that I will want kids one day. I love kids, but I don't want my own. If someday I do, I'll adopt. Plenty of kids need good homes.
-To travel around the world. Literally, the whole world.
-A B.S, an M.S. and then a PhD
-World Peace - a cliche, but true nonetheless
-Kevin Smith - before he was married and had kids - YUM!
-The ability to control time: freeze, speed up, back and forth, etc.
-A marquee on the back of my car to talk to the drivers behind me
-A helicopter
-A way to record my dreams on video so I can go back and watch them later
-Pinenuts to be banished from the earth because I'm allergic to them. This may sound selfish, but I assure you it's not.
-My Amazon.com wishlist delivered to my door
-A Dishwasher
-For Pineapple Fanta, Sonic and Jack in the Box to come to Minnesota

First Entry

Ok, first blog entry. Um, I'll start with listing the reasons I set this up:

- I have a need to keep track of my random thoughts over the course of time.

- I am always running across cool sites/songs/etc that I want to share with the world.

- I'd like an electronic version of the diaries/journals I have kept over the years.

- This will serve as a nice gateway to some of my other pages.

Here is the blog that inspired me to make my own: kottke.org. It wasn't the first one I ever read or the first time I thought I should start one, but this one made me finally do it.