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Archive for October, 2008

A nice Halloween soundtrack

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Go here to listen to current artists cover the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

Movies I’ve watched, week forty-three

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

63. Purple Rain
Surprisingly the first time I’ve seen it. Sure, I know the album and the videos, but I never saw the movie. And it’s not bad, Prince ain’t the greatest actor, but its strengths are in the musical performances. I watched it on Palladia (MTV’s HD station) and it was interesting that they bleeped swear words but left intact Darlin Nikki (although the performance is crucial to the plot). B

64. Fire & Ice: The Dragon Chronicles
Oh, Amy Acker. You were so great on Angel and Alias, and I’m sure you’ll be good in Dollhouse, but why did you do this piece of junk? And why did I watch the whole thing? The fire and ice dragon fight is cool, but the rest isn’t worth it. D

Books I’ve read, week forty-three

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

67. V: New England Resistance
Writer: Tim Sullivan
A decent outing, with Willie the only one to show from the main cast. Interesting thoughts on how the aliens’ human skins work, and how they operate on Earth without them. B-

Finally, an endorsement from people you can trust

Monday, October 27th, 2008

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

At home and Mom’s

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Friday we had a quick but tasty dinner of some leftover carnitas (based on this recipe, but with pineapple juice instead of orange juice, and using pork chops for the meat). Jill was wiped out, and the DVR was almost full, so I watched some movies with the dog before enjoying a full night’s sleep.

It had started raining Friday night and continued to rain all day Saturday. It would occasionally slow down to a sprinkle, or increase to a full downpour, but never let up. I had considered going to my college homecoming, but it wouldn’t have been fun in the rain. Instead, I read the newspaper and a book, and continued working through the DVR backlog. I dared melting to run to Safeway and Home Depot, then made myself some nachos before I started the tortuous task of trying to fix a friend’s mp3 player.

I had found a couple of frozen, breaded chicken breasts with marinara and cheese in the center. I sauteed eggplant, then baked it with mozzarella cheese and heated some more marinara sauce to go on top, then made a salad to go with it all, came out very nice. We weren’t in the mood to do much after dinner, watched Graham Norton have fun with Harry Shearer and Eddie Izzard, then watched SNL (we both enjoyed the Obama Variety Half Hour, and Jill loved the Vincent Price sketch, though Maya Rudolph made it painfully clear they need at least three women).

Sunday morning Jill woke me up early as she was woken up by chest pains and wasn’t sure what they were, but she was feeling better before too long. I watched the game in the afternoon (another squeaker), then we headed over to my mom’s. We played with the dogs in the backyard, then went on a little walk before coming back for dinner. It was for my birthday, so I’d chosen Mom’s moo shu pork – she’d also decided to make her egg rolls. Everything was tasty, then we settled in the living room to open gifts and watch the dogs play. I got several nice books I was wanting, plus some nice food items. While we were chatting, I also installed two years worth of updates on Mom’s computer. For dessert we had her homemade carrot cake – moist with some tangy frosting.

Birthday

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Jill’s getting close to the end of school, but she’s still got to go tomorrow which meant a quiet night at home (we’ll go out to celebrate soon, and we’re going a family thing on Sunday). She swung by the grocery store on the way home, and had shrimp dumplings, asparagus and steaks. I grilled the steaks while she prepared the rest, then we ate well. She also picked up a slice of cheesecake to share from Amphora, very nice. I got some nice cards and a jersey I wanted (from my favorite rookie).

Movies I’ve watched, week forty-two

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

62. Bee Movie
Jerry Seinfeld is still fairly funny, although it wears thin over a movie (still best in 30 minute increments). The rating of course is B-

Books I’ve read, week forty-two

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I thought about reading a DNA book this week (and it’s kinda cool realizing I was born in the 42nd week of the year), but was once again pressed for time and wanted to read something short.

66. Harbinger: The Beginning
Writer: Jim Shooter Artist: David Lapham
I put my Valiant collection up for sale this week, and remembered this series as being one of the better ones, so gave the collection a reread. Jim Shooter’s a legendary writer,and David Lapham is now well known too, but the story is your basic X-Men knockoff. C+

2 nights out, 1 in

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Jill got out very early on Friday, so instead of trying to meet up in Falls Church, she came home, then I came home and we played with Illa, then headed over to the Birchmere where Stuart had saved us a place in line. We headed in, had some of the perfectly adequate food, and enjoyed an opening set from Chelsea Lee and Todd Watts (with new songs and a great cover of “Eye In The Sky”) then a fantastic show from Girlyman. They played new songs, old songs and their usual dollop of funny banter.

Saturday I relaxed in the morning and early afternoon, clearing some room of the the DVR, then we headed out. Two library booksales, a thriftstore and a CD store later we’d both made some scores, and we ended up at the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Seven Corners. Our first time at that location, a very good meal. I had cream of crab soup, a Caesar salad, and their pepperoni pizza while Jill had the andouille egg rolls and a Reuben with fries and a side salad. I had the Pumpkin Ale with the soup and the Palo Alto with my pizza, both excellent pairings. After dinner we headed over to George Mason University where we saw Lewis Black at the Patriot Center. He was hilarious as usual, but I was operating on not enough sleep, and I caught myself nodding off a couple times, but roused myself for his finish.

Today’s hasn’t been much of a lazy day around the house. Lots of computer stuff – auctions, genealogy and DVD making. Good late football game, and Jill ended up inadvertently making dinner. She was making chicken soup for lunches, but had so much chicken she made a second soup with dumplings. Good thing it was tasty.

Fall TV Review

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

It’s still a little early in the TV season, but I feel like doing reviews now

Sunday
The Simpsons
Family Guy
Still some of my favorite humor, I wonder how long these two can stay on the air. There’s always something to laugh at here. Never really got into American Dad (baby and dog humor is better than effiminate alien and German fish humor) and will give the Family Guy spinoff a shot, but don’t know how good it will be. B

True Blood
I haven’t read the books, but Anna Paquin is pitch perfect as the telepathic waitress who’s had it up to here with the thoughts of human men and is naturally intrigued when a vampire comes to town and she can’t read his mind. B

Desperate Housewives
I liked this show, was watching it from the beginning but was growing tired of some of the characters. The five year flash forward was a good point to jump off – I watched the first ep and it confirmed my decision. C

Robot Chicken
Metalocalypse
The only shows I’ve gotten into from Adult Swim, always funny (maybe ’cause they’re so short). B+

Z Rock
A great new mockumentary about a real rock band that in the series is more succesful as a children’s band. Plus being on IFC means nudity and swearing is allowed. B

Spaceballs
Avoid at all costs – bad animation and worse writing. Mel, I hope you got paid big for this. F

Monday-Thursday
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
I don’t want the country to be in a bad place during a crucial election, but these guys are at the top of their game. A

Monday
Chuck
Heroes
The best two hours of TV. I’m enjoying both the A and B stories on Chuck, and the lessons of season 2 have been learned on Heroes and there’s a lot of action and superpowers. A

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Dead Like Me (on hd.net)
Both good shows, both not quite as good as the first season, but still worth watching. B-

Tuesday
Eureka
Already blown through the first half of the season, with a twist midway through I never saw coming. A great mix of comedy and drama. B

Fringe
I enjoy J.J. Abrams’ shows, but this one is too close to X-Files. On the chopping block, but may watch more for now. C+

Gavin and Stacey
You’d thing a series about a couple meeting and getting married would be too sappy, but they play it right. It helps that it’s written by the folks who play the couple’s best friends, and they get the best lines. B+

The IT Crowd
An intriguing new British series about two guys running an IT department and their new boss who is technically deficient but socially proficient. Not bad, might improve more – and I’m curious to know how the US version will be. C+

Wednesday
Pushing Daisies
Another show that’s not as good as the first season, but I’m still watching for now – potentially next on the chopping block. B-

Knight Rider
I liked the TV movie, but the first ep was so horrible I couldn’t finish. D-

Thursday
Smallville
Pros: Lex, Lana and Kara are gone, Green Arrow is back (the fifth season where he showed up a lot was great) and Clark’s finally in Metropolis working at the Planet with Lois. Cons: Clark’s still not flying and is afraid to use his powers (after seven years!), Chloe’s in another love triangle and the new director of LexCorp is (so far) just a female version of Lex. Who am I kidding, I’ll watch until they take it off air. B-

Life On Mars
The pilot was very good (and a great 1973 establishing shot) with some sci fi elements and great acting, but something had to go and it looks like it will primarily be a police procedural. C+

SNL Thursday/ 30 Rock
30 Rock hasn’t started yet but Tina Fey has been superb on SNL, and I really enjoy the Thursday format of SNL. B+

Friday
Sanctuary
The pilot was badly paced, but I gave the next ep a shot and it was better. Plus who can resist another butt kicking babe in leather? B-

Star Wars: Clone Wars
I didn’t see the movie, but the series so far hasn’t been half bad. B-

Real Time With Bill Maher
Love or hate him, it’s the only place to find a nearly unrestricted discussion of current events. And I think “New Rules” are almost always funny. B

Saturday
Primeval
A team of scientists running around England trying to stop creatures coming in through portals to other times (including lots of dinosaurs). B-

Saturday Night Live
Not quite as great as Daily Show/Colbert Report but more hit than miss. B