Archive for January 2006

At Work and “On the Bounce”

January 25, 2006

Well, the last few days certainly sped by in a hurry. My new position, at work, seems to have some of the characteristics of an inflatable raft that has been accidentally opened in a rather narrow closet. Everyone seems to “want something”, now. It’s like there’s a radar that hunts down anyone with a spare moment, lest that moment not be filled. But no matter. There may be a lot to do, but it’s not nuclear physics, as I like to say. Common sense usually fills the bill nicely. Although, when you get right down to it, common sense is usually what’s in short supply in most areas of life.

Had the usual day. Nothing too interesting to comment on. Last night, McGhee (the little poodle man) was a bit put off at all the attention the family was lavishing on Miss Cocoa (the shih tzu princess). When it was time for everyone to retire to bed, Miss Cocoa left with my daughter to the upstairs bedchamber and wife and I retired to the master bedroom, downstairs, with McGhee, as usual. However, he refused to sleep on the bed at our feet. He opted, instead, to sleep on his small pillow on the floor, completely ignoring us. I’m sure he was seriously trying to make a statement, because it was COLD last night and we make the most of our electric blanket, fuel bills being what they are and all. This morning, when my wife left for work (I don’t go in till 10AM), McGhee decided that we had had enough and asked to get up on the bed with me and defrost himself under the covers. That’ll teach me.

I was too tired, after work, to do much of anything, last night. Just a couple of chapters of “Starship Troopers” by Heinlein, which I’m re-reading. Carefully, this time. I missed too much the first go-round. I highly recommend it for science fiction fans and\or military buffs. Even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, the philosophical issues brought up can be rather fascinating. Especially the concepts of civil responsibility and who should be entrusted with handling the welfare of the state. Having served in the military, I can identify with many of his points. By the way, the movie, while entertaining, is no more than a superficial spoof of the novel.

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One if by land. Two if you’ve had a few.

January 19, 2006

Today has been pretty standard. Nothing special. I’m still enjoying my new schedule which means I don’t have to get so early and I can spend some time with the family, at night (although the obligatory watching of “Will and Grace” with the wife is starting to grate just a little. The show can be funny, in places, but most of the time it just seems that they’re going for the raunchy joke just for heck of it, without being all that clever.). Still, I got to slap 128 megs of additional RAM in little daughter’s computer so she can do a few more things a little faster. She still insists on playing “Serious Sam” on my computer, though. I don’t know. It always strikes me funny to see an eleven year old play an FPS (First Person Shooter). I guess if we ever get attacked by alien monsters, she’ll be good for backup.

Miss Cocoa, the little Shih Tzu, is getting cuter every day. Now she runs when you pretend you’re going to “get her” (possibly for a bath and the much dreaded hair dryer). However, anytime I find myself near or opening the refrigerator she immediately runs over to me and sits down studiously in case it’s time for something to eat (which is pretty much always). McGhee (the little poodle man) is blissfully unaware of his impending trip to the vet for a slight “reorganization of his priorities”. Namely, the propagation of his species, if you get my drift. The cats are alternately aloof and attention vortexes, depending on their level of neediness at the moment.

Last weekend was the “party weekend” to celebrate my promotion. I can always tell when I’ve been “having a good time”, just by checking my Ebay account to see what I’ve been possessed to order. Sure, daughter needed RAM, but did I really need my own personal Revereware frying pan with a supply of “Twinkle” to clean the copper bottom? Don’t be silly. Of course I did.

No More Rain, Please

January 18, 2006

It’s a bright, crisp sunny day outside. The dreary, “chilled to the bone”, rain has finally left and we can all WAKE UP, now. Haven’t done much in the way of movie viewing, in the last few days. I need to catch up, otherwise I’m tossing away Netflix money. I’ve got five that I need to take a look at within the next few days. They are:
“Grizzly Man” (which really sounds more like “stupid man” when you read the storyline and reviews)
“Brother John” (an often overlooked Sidney Poitier film that I liked as a kid, when it first came out. I’ll review it after I see it to see if it’s held up against the test of time).
“Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte” (Grand Guignol at it’s finest)
“Black Sunday” (“La maschera del demonio” – Mario Bava’s first starring the amazing Barbara Steele. I’ve been in love with her ever since “Castle of Blood” aka “Danza Macabra” I have the European version of that with all the “naughty scenes” left in. They’re in the original French and, trust me, they’re not all that “naughty” – face it, it was 1964 for crying out loud.) and finally…
MSTK 300 “Gunslinger” (just because)

The new position is going well. More responsibilities, but I’m keeping up. The office folks seem to relate to me a little differently, now. Like, all of a sudden, I know what I’m talking about as opposed to the volumes of useful information they use to ignore, coming from me. Schmucks. Oh well, so the Lord grows my tiny empire…

“The Others”

January 16, 2006

I saw an excellent film (from Netflix) last Friday. “The Others” starring Nicole Kidman. I had been putting it off for a bit since anyone (or anything) associated with Tom (“I’m Just Plain Nuts”) Cruise has been a pain in the left side of my brain, these days. Plus, it didn’t help that Mr. Cruise was one of the Executive Producers. But I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the film an excellent example of the way ghost stories should be made, but Ms. Kidman did an outstanding job in the acting department. Go figure. I guess next time I think I’ll actually pay attention to the Netflix reviews, which were basically very positive.

The story takes place on an island formally occupied by the Nazis. We find ourselves observing a mother and her two children trying to cope with the disappearance of the husband\father during World War 2. He’s missing and assumed dead since the war evidently ended two years prior to the events that are taking place. The children, we are told, have a severe allergy to light and must forever be kept in the dark or in light no brighter than a candle. The servants have run off for some reason and the mother has advertised for replacements. Shortly thereafter, three potential employees show up at her door and seem to be the answer to the mother’s prayers. Or are they? As things develop, we begin to understand that the new servants have a hidden agenda, which meshes with some surprising events from the past. I thought I had everything figured out until a double twist completely caught me off guard. If you like traditional creepy ghost stories that rely on the story telling as opposed to blood and gore (ala “Dead of Night” and the original “The Haunting”), then this film is for you. Definitely worth a look.

On the other side of my life, I was promoted, last week. I guess they didn’t want to wait until April to move forward with that small item. Now, I’m Senior Supervisor in charge of both shifts (120 employees). This is great for two reasons. Number one, of course, is the increased salary. Secondly, since I run both shifts, my hours are situated in the middle of the shifts. That means I no longer work till 1:30 in the morning. I come in just before lunch and leave early enough in the evening to actually see my family. I think I startled them for the first couple of days, but thankfully, no one dialed 911. This is Henry’s version of “The Others”:
“Who’s that?” (door opens)
“It’s me” (me)
“Me who?” (wife)
“Henry.” (me)
Everyone comes rushing out with various weapons and telephone at the ready (finger poised on “9”)
“Oh it’s YOU! (read – “I thought you were dead”) How was your day?” (everyone)

And “life” returns to normal…

You know the name of…

January 10, 2006

I had the opportunity to go see “King Kong”, last Sunday. Let me just say this – it’s a BIG movie. “Lord of the Rings” big. Which is understandable, since both were directed by Peter Jackson. There was a lot of initial speculation as to whether or not it was a wise decision to re-make a classic. But I can honestly say that it needed to be done. It was so breathtaking, that afterwards, I mentioned to my wife that “this is how the audience must have felt back in the 30’s when they saw the original”. First of all, there were hardly any missteps which is incredible for a film that’s nearly three hours long. It was also a stroke of genius to devote a sizable section of the film to character development. Every time one of the characters died, you really felt it as opposed to the “cannon fodder” approach that was taken in the original. The special effects were nothing short of “stunning”. The battle between Kong and the T-Rex’s as they’re falling though the vines (with Ann Darrow hanging on for dear life) was jaw dropping. The depiction of the natives sent chills up my spine as opposed to the ridiculous racist caricatures from the original. You may notice, that in a clever twist, the original native types are depicted in the later stage show. That actually made me laugh. All in all, a visual, technical and emotional masterpiece that should be viewed on the big screen, if you have the opportunity. Don’t miss it.

Happy Holidays – Well, not really

January 9, 2006

Wow. That was a close one. I hope everyone had a great holiday, because mine was the “holiday from hell”. Oh, Christmas was just fine. Did the usual family things, Dinner, presents, etc. However, New Years was a completely different ball of wax. It started with me feeling a bit under the weather. This quickly blossomed into a full “where did this come from?” illness. The thing that was so misleading was the fact that I was running a fever which indicated that I had the flu. So antibiotics were prescribed and I was taking aspirin for the pain. Bad mistake. You see, it wasn’t the flu but a developing ulcer! As you may know, taking aspirin when you have an ulcer is similar in concept to imbibing a sulfuric acid martini. The pain was, shall we say, “unique”. Even my feet began to spasm from the muscle tension. Fortunately, something told me to drink some milk and when I noticed a slight dip in the pain level, I knew what the deal was. Back for a completely different set of medication and I was on the slow road to recovery. Unfortunately, by this time, I was weak from lack of food and I still couldn’t keep anything down. But, by Tuesday, I was well enough to drag myself into work. The day was rather stress-free, so I was OK. However, on the very next day, I was informed that the first shift supervisor had been fired and I was needed to run both first and second shifts! Criminey! In order to do that I had to immediately adjust my sleep cycle by four hours so I could be present on both shifts. So there you have it. From the outside, it must’ve looked like one of the extras from Romero’s “Land of the Dead” trying to direct over 100 technicians and support people in some meaningful manner. On the plus side, I feel a lot better, today and now I’m convinced that I can do just about anything. Oh yes, I also had to cancel B-Fest again, this year. How nice.