Ice breaker

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 28th day of April, anno domini 2010 at 11:28 PM, local time.


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Hanny’s “the construction is killing us” Sale

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 20th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 3:21 PM, local time.

So, those of you in Rochester during November might be interested to know that Hanny’s clothing store downtown is having a huge sale this month, mostly because the construction on 1st Ave and 1st St is making it very difficult to see Hanny’s at all, or even get to it. I imagine its being quite cruel to their holiday earnings. At any rate, almost everything is on sale, in the 25% to 30% range.

For those of you not familiar with Hanny’s, they are a pretty good “nice-clothes” clothing store. Their men’s-ware section has lots of suits, suit coats, over coats, leather jackets, hats, canes, sweaters, socks, ties, dress pants, dress shirts, dress shoes, etc., etc. I’ll probably be going back after Thanksgiving to get a new leather jacket, and maybe a new hat. My old leather jacket is at least 8 or 9 years old now, and getting a little rough around the edges. The people inside are friendly and helpful, but not annoying, like at some places I-could-mention-and-might-eventually-mention-but-won’t-right-now. In the subway level, they have women’s clothes, too, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge there. It could all suck.

Anyway, there is my plug for Hanny’s and their November sale.

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Yay Zooey!

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 7th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 10:23 AM, local time.

So, everybody likes The Wizard of Oz, right? The quintessential American Fairytale (arguably, one of the only ones). The books are fun to read, and although aimed at children, adults are not uninterested. The movie is a timeless classic. A cornerstone of our modern culture. (I can’t back that up.) A feast for the eyes, the brain, and the heart. Unsurpassable.

What need have we for another movie version of the story? None.

However, there is a new Sci-fi miniseries in the works (well, probably already finished) that will be aired in December 2007 sometime. As near as I can tell, it is a modern retelling of the story. Remember all the crazy remakes of Der Ring des Nibelungen in the 1980s? Where Odin and the Aesir all rode motercycles and biker outfits? Not like that, but something like that. More grungy, less happy. Darker. Not something for the kids this time. No people in actual scarecrow costumes or tin suits. Nobody dressed up like a lion. Somehow it all revolves around the tin man (apparently). Nobody knows how or why.

Anyway, the main important point here is that Zooey Deschanel (Elf,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) stars as Dorothy Gale (aka, DG. Seriously? Seriously.) This little known actress is spectacular, consistently outperforming her roles. Plus she can sing. Now, I don’t know if they are going to have singing in this remake (I almost think not…), but nonetheless, its an obviously important factor :).

So, if you like Zooey, or The Wizard of Oz, I would recommend looking for this miniseries in December. I think it should be fairly good. However, nobody really trusts my taste in movies like they should, so you will probably all ignore me. Your loss!

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Snow! (and something about Canadia land)

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 6th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 1:55 PM, local time.

So, yesterday, it tried really hard to snow here in Rochester, and it did flurry a bit on three separate occasions throughout the day. I was very proud. Soon we’ll have real snow, on the ground and everything!

Then, I saw Andy’s away messages telling me to go look at the MichiganTech webcams. Apparently it snowed there fairly good. The ground is pretty much covered, though it looks like only an inch or so, and it doesn’t appear to snowing at the moment. Very much not fair. But, they always get snow first (and more, obviously) so I really shouldn’t be too surprised. It does make me want to go play in the snow though. From the looks of the forecast here, it will be quite some time yet before we get any accumulation.

On another note, I saw someone else’s away message as well, and it was pretty funny. I am pretty sure its from a movie somewhere, but I can’t remember which one. It was a quote: “No! Don’t you get it? If you die in Canada, you die in REAL LIFE!”


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Persistence Pays Off

Posted by me on Monday, the 5th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 6:53 PM, local time.

or, Things that you were sure never actually happened in the office break-room, but still are funny.

So, I actually saw someone today try to rock the candy machine back and forth to make the bag of M&Ms fall. In the end, it worked for him, but I was almost certain he was going to break the thing, or have it fall on him. He was rocking it several feet backwards, and then pushing it back to its normal position, causing a big crashing noise. It took several such attempts.

I guess I know other people who have done such things, but sometimes you forget that people really need their candy, and they’ll be damned if they have to buy another bag just to get the one they already paid for. But, I gotta say, if the machine falls on you and kills you, is it really worth the trouble? I guess I am once again reminded not to buy a bag of King Size Peanut M&Ms from the break-room candy machine.

Not that I am particularly fond of Peanut M&Ms anyway, but still.

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Sigh. Another apology.

Posted by me on Friday, the 2nd day of November, anno domini 2007 at 11:17 AM, local time.

So, yeah, it had been two months almost. Sorry about that. The longer it got to be, the more frightened I was about blogging. Just too much pressure for a high quality post or two. So, I got that out of the way earlier this week by posting the first random thought in my head: a low quality idea that got soundly berated by all. And that’s OK. Just had to get over my trepidation.

Now I hope to get back into the swing of things. I have taken the time to move all my ideas to blog about from my iGoogle notebook over to my blog’s draft section, hopefully meaning that I can more easily develop them and get them published easier. From opera, book, television, and movie reviews to random thoughts on people, places, and things, there are 46 such items, in various states of done-ness. Some are little more than titles, others are lists of links I should talk about, and some are very close to finished, with sentences and paragraphs and everything. Just need to polish and publish.

So, once again, many apologies for my lack of blogging recently. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I hope to do better in the future.

Also, don’t expect more than one or so posts per day, possibly down to one or so per week. I don’t want to overwhelm my readers with too much to read. I also don’t want the occasional reader of my blog to miss too much if they only stop by a couple times a week and read the most recent post. Not that my posts are so interesting or important that it would really be that big of a deal. :)

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Tea Time!

Posted by me on Monday, the 3rd day of September, anno domini 2007 at 10:36 PM, local time.

When I was little, I hated tea. Absolutely hated the stuff. Looking back, I think it was because the first tea I tried was iced tea, which I still hate, and then some black tea that my mother drank often. It was too bitter for me, so I gave it up.

Much, much later, when I went to China, some of my friends made me go to the Tea House of the Bridge of the Nine Turns (I’m not quite sure how the turns add up to nine, either):

Anyway, it was very touristy, but fun. If you are ever in Shanghai, I would recommend it. Its in the Old Quarter (read: Tourist Trap), right next to the YuYuan Gardens. They had some nice flower blossom teas, where the flower blooms before your eyes inside the glass teapot. I’ve been looking for those teas ever since. (I think I finally found where I can buy them: Target)

Later, when I got back state-side (always wanted to say that…), I tried some Jasmine green teas and found them to my liking as well. Since then, I’ve tried many green teas and like most of them. Plain green tea, Jasmine tea, Chamomile tea, etc. Also, I found some Bavarian Black tea that is quite good as well. Recently, I bought a box of black tea, and discovered, once again, that black tea is quite bitter, and needs sugar at the very least. Then its OK. Up in Houghton, on a recent trip, we went to a tea house on main street, and had a lovely afternoon tea. With Lemon Curd! I do like Lemon Curd…

Anyway, tea is good. I do try to have afternoon tea on the weekends when I can (a good excuse to have slices of French baguette with Lemon Curd or jam or something).

So, that’s all I have to say about tea.

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Losing a song in the sea of opera

Posted by me on Friday, the 17th day of August, anno domini 2007 at 12:02 AM, local time.

I listen to a lot of opera. It’s great stuff. Lots of very memorable songs and overtures, arias, etc. But sometimes, I think I listen to too much opera without concentrating on it. Later, I will find a particular tune is in my head and I know its from an opera, but can’t for the life of me remember what it is. I replay a bunch of the operas I listen to frequently over and over, hoping to happen across the familiar song, all to no avail. A year goes by. More. I begin to fear the worst: I will never hear the song again, except in my head, imperfectly reproduced by my horrible memory.

Then, by chance, one day your friend Jim starts humming a tune, then says , “Isn’t that a great piece from that opera we just saw?”

“What?” I say.

“Yeah, don’t you remember, when Cherubino sings his declaration of love for all women to the countess and hilarious hi-jinks ensue?”

“What?” I say.

Then he brings out Pam’s sheet music for “Le nozze di Figaro”, pages to Act II, scene II, and points out the notes, humming as he goes. “See?”

“Damn it Jim.”

Seriously. Good thing we went to see that opera (which I have to review on my blog yet… how long ago was that?). Otherwise, I may never have found that song again. Even though I have a nice recording of Figaro, and listen to it from time to time (more so since going to see the thing, but that’s a different story).

Anyway, lots of opera, lots of good songs. A pity I can’t remember where they all come from!

*Note: I’ve paraphrased Jim’s actual words. Mostly because I can’t remember what exactly was said, but also because it’s slightly funnier this way. Sorry Jim. Thanks though!

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“These are your father’s parentheses”

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 31st day of July, anno domini 2007 at 11:58 PM, local time.

Wow. Sorry guys, I know how you all hate it when I make a blog entry saying how awesome dinosaur comics or xkcd happen to be today, but seriously folks, this is why I love xkcd: I just read it and had to comment.

Seriously, with lines like “These are your father’s parentheses. Elegant weapons, for a more… civilized age.”, while an Obi-wan stick-figure carries out a stack of parentheses to a bewildered Luke, few things could make me laugh harder. This is just great stuff!

Wow, three new posts in under an hour. Now I’m just tired and should go to bed. Goodnight!

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Harry Potter, with a few days to think about it

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 25th day of July, anno domini 2007 at 12:18 AM, local time.

So, I told myself I would blog today, since I’ve been rather bad about it lately. And so here I am.

Harry Potter. That’s all one seems to hear about these days. That’s fine. I’ll contribute :) Warning: If you havn’t read the last book yet, and you plan to do so anytime soon, please proceed with caution. Things may be revealed below that you would rather discover through your own reading of the book. But seriously folks, you’ve had like 3 or 4 days already. Plenty of time to finish it!

Moving right along, halfway through chapter one of the last book, I almost stopped reading to blog/complain about how disappointed I was in some of Harry’s actions and thoughts, but I figured it would be better to finish the book and present my reactions fully tempered by time and results.

After finishing the book, I still can’t say that I am completely happy with all the choices Harry made, and I still think he is too hot-headed and doesn’t think things through enough to fully garner my respect. And the movie that just came out (The Order of the Pheonix) portrayed Harry at that stage in a very similar light, where at some points I almost hated what Harry had become. Now, I grant that he was quasi-possessed by Voldemort, but still. Your friends are there to support you and help you through these difficult times. You don’t turn your back on them when they offer to help! In the book, I don’t think I was as angry with him at the time (during book 5, this is), but in the movie they had to cut stuff and tweak things and what resulted is a slightly different piece.

Anyway, enough about Harry’s childishness. The other thing I can say after finishing the last book is that in no way was I displeased with how things turned out. Going into book 7 the way things were, I could not have asked for a better outcome, really. Given the constraints of how I knew Ms Rowling was going to have things go in terms of Ron and Hermione (seriously, Ron? Ron is a dufus for six and a half books, then becomes a jackass, and then some great leader. I don’t buy it. He still isn’t good enough for Hermione.).

Though, I must say that when Ginny was first introduced in book 2 or 3 or whatever, I wasn’t very impressed with her either. She seemed, at the time, a very week character with no interesting qualities who hero worshiped Harry to the point of embarrassment. But, by the time we got the book 5 and 6, I was completely happy with how she had developed, and her strength of character was very encouraging. Despite Harry’s faults, he is still the hero of the series and does deserve to live happily ever after at the end, and since Ms Rowling deemed fit to occupy Hermione with lesser interests, Ginny is certainly someone who could be lived happily ever after with.

A few more items here in short:

Snape. Best possibly way that all could have been worked out. Very predictable, but altogether good. I’m glad they didn’t spend 7 books making us hate his actions but learn surprisingly good things about him for no reason whatsoever.

Malfoy. In the end, I didn’t need him to live, but it did allow a few more things to play by doing so. I’m ok with it.

Fred. Eh, there were already two of them. How many jokesters do you really need in a fictional universe? His death served a purpose and throughout the story, while he and George were humorous, I never really got attached.

Kreacher and Dobby. Good show. The redemption of Kreacher made the death of Dobby kind of balanced. Maybe? I know a lot of people were torn up when Dobby died. That’s fine, that’s fine. It was a noble sacrifice. I can’t claim that eye moisture didn’t increase at that point. But people do die in wars. House elves included.

Dumbledore. This goes back a bit to Harry’s irrationality at times. Seriously, nobody is perfect. And imperfect people in the spot light can get misrepresented by the malicious media. It happens. Harry should have been more open minded in the beginning, allowing both for imperfect friends and for malicious journalists. But anyway, I am glad that Dumbledore got the chance to explain himself a bit to Harry. That was nice, if only for Harry’s peace of mind.

Neville. Yeah Neville! I only hope that he and Luna got together and had some very interesting children. Ms Rowling didn’t deem fit to tell us about anything on the Neville-Luna front, and that surprised me, seeing how pat she laid everything else out. I’ll just have to assume, I guess.

The Nineteen Years Later Bit. I liked it. I was quite glad she put it in there actually. I know, I know, maybe now its harder for her to write more books in the series, but really, its not. There is a large gap that can be filled in there, and seriously. Its not like they die after 19 years. More stories can be told afterwards as well! Some might even be really good if they skipped another 10 years and told some stories from the adult point of view of Harry and Ginny’s and Ron and Hermione’s (and Neville and Luna’s !) kids. But I digress. Anyway, I was happy that I didn’t just have to wonder and hope that the right people got together, or that they got to have children, or that they were trying to raise their children properly in a post-Voldemort world, or that Hogwarts was still up and running and producing well-rounded and well-respected young wizards and witches.

Wow. I keep meaning to stop and say that anyone wanting to discuss more is free to bring it up. So, here I will stop and say that anyone wanting to discuss more is free to bring it up.

I was just saying the other day that I think that even with no more stories in the series, and nothing else whatsoever to talk about, people could discuss this universe and the people in it for probably the rest of their lives. Discussion of motives, actions and reactions, logistics, really cool objects (seriously, I am a very hetero guy over here, who never once has considered carrying a purse or handbag or merse or what-have-you, but when I was reading about Hermione’s magic bag that occupied essentially no room but could expand as big as needed to fit whatever you wanted into it… woah. I’ll take two please. And Hermione’s choice to fill it with books was pretty much exactly what I would do, I gotta admit.), etc, etc, can continue for a long time. People are still discussing The Lord of the Rings, for crying out loud, and that’s only 3 books (or so… plus prelude, histories, legends, notes, letters, etc., etc.).

Anyway, as an emergency session of book club was called for later this week specifically to discuss the completed Harry Potter series, I should leave some of that near-infinite well of discussion topics for that time!

Good night!

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