Monday, May 31, 2004

A Holiday in the Homeland

Finally got back from my Memorial Day weekend in Brownsville and South Padre Island after a 7-hour drive with 4 stops and some unnecessary traffic in Odem. The family was throwing a wedding shower for my Fiance and I and some excited guests were going to join in the fun. Lyndsey's parents, 3 of her grandparents, 2 of her college friends, plus my parents, my brother and his wife made for a multi-generational family First for me! My visits back home to Brownsville are now more like vacations. We always make sure to eat at Antonio's, Garcia's in Matamoros, Mexico, or Bigo's, or The Toddle Inn, and if we get to the Island, the Sea Ranch is our seafood of choice. Lyndsey's folks were able to score a condo at the Sunchase IV (one of the greatest buildings on the island)ending a 2 1/2 year drought for me of actually staying out there. Activities were plentiful, timing sporadic, and communication abrupt; all the usual complications that surround 'Griswold-style' family events. In the end, I had a great time seeing everyone, swimming at the beach, eating my favorite meals, and finally getting the boot clipped onto my back tire after many years of illegal overnight condominium parking.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Fun with Elevators

At the Anadarko Tower, we've got 15 inch monitors in each of the 16 Public Elevators that displays industry news, company events, weather forecast, and our stock price. When a monitor experiences troubles, one of us in A/V services gets a call to check it out; and for the last few weeks we've had persistent trouble with PE1. Our elevator contractor was here with my supervisor taking a look at the cords and connections supplying the signal to the monitor, experimenting with ways to fix it, and I was there to relay how the image was changing with each test. So I got into a short conversation with the Elevator Guru about speeds (ours run 700 ft/min - fairly standard for 30 floors), the controls, differences between ours and other building's elevators, and I had to ask about the ceiling 'escape' panel often used in movies like Speed, Mission Impossible, or The Game. And YES, they Do exist! Then my boss asked about any bad elevators in the area, and the guy mentioned the Del Lago Resort and Conference Center on Lake Conroe. Apparently it's so sketchy, not even he would ride it! You know an elevator should be off limits when an Elevator Scientist is even afraid to ride in it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Time Drags its Feet

I wish it were Friday already. With a big weekend planned and a holiday on Monday, I'm anxious for the weekdays to end. Plus there's some huge events happening at work in the next few weeks and the wedding in July, my birthday in August, my emotions are dehydrated Ramen noodles. Even my brain is reacting in slow-motion. To prevent this, I just have to complete some menial tasks, right? Productive, yes, educational, even better. The more the merrier. Laundry, apartment re-organization, finish reading my book, update this blog [check]. And I'll take my watch off. If this works, it will be June before I know it. What are the metaphors? Time is of the essence? Time flies when you're having fun? Because this week, time drags its feet.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Box Office Bonanza

My first memory of waiting in line on opening day for an event movie was in the summer of 1989. The film was Tim Burton's Batman and I was 10. The first time I remember being interested in how much money a film made was in the summer of 1993. That film was Jurassic Park and I had just finished the 8th grade. I had seen the movie 15 times @ $3.25/piece in the theater and felt that Spielberg was becoming a billionaire based on my allowance. I also discovered that the films that made the most money, came out on VHS for sale the same day they came out for rent! Ever since then I followed my favorites at the box office, hoping they would do well so I could buy the film when it came out. Now films cost more to make, tickets cost more to buy, and box office successes are hit and miss, even during the summer. With the advent of DVD and the increase in video sales, every movie comes out for sale when it hits the home video market. The challenge now is to guess how soon it happens. Shrek 2 has just made $125 million at the box office since it opened on Wednesday. It will hit $375 million by the end of its theatrical run, and come to us on DVD and VHS in late-November, just in time for Christmas. Let's see if my Bachelor's of Box Office and Statistical Studies was worth the money.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Shrek is in the Union!

Thank god for the writers and animators at studios like Pixar and PDI/Dreamworks. It's the comic wit and creativity in spoofing other films that makes animation great, and Shrek 2 hilarious! The opening sequence alone must have referenced at least 5 films; and adding The Little Mermaid was genius! Although not as charming and surprising as the first, this one definitely has its moments. From the long ride to Far Far Away, to Pinocchio's panties, and even Puss-in-Boots' catnip, I laughed louder than the 100 kids in the audience combined. With Donkey and Puss stealing the limelight, there is nothing much for Shrek to do except show his emotional side. Thankfully, he is married, this is what happens to men, so we feel for the green guy; at least I do. But to give Mike Myers $10 million for a sensitive side, I don't understand. PDI/DW, thanks for the laughs, you've created another heartwarming crowd-pleaser! And to those reading, make sure to stay through the main end credits for a nice little surprise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New Releases and News.

New Music Tuesday's brings the latest from Alanis Morissette, So Called Chaos, and a special edition Dashboard Confessional, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar with bonus DVD of MTV2 Album Covers. Here DC performed songs from R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, one of my favorite albums of all time, and Michael Stipe even performs with them on Drive and Hands Down, a DC song. Very cool and lots of fun. I'm also glad to find out that BRAVO is ready for the 2nd season of Celebrity Poker from Las Vegas, starting May 27th. If you missed the first season, well nevermind, I loved it though! With David Cross, Ben Affleck, Willie Garson, and a few others making Texas Hold 'Em look like a blast. Can't wait to see all the new stars enjoy gambling fake money for charity. All In ! Lastly, tomorrow brings the next flick in my 2003 summer movie season, Shrek 2, from my ole alma mater. You can see the first 5 minutes of it here. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sunny Saturdays

Saturday was a great day. Enjoyed breakfast at a nearby diner, caught an early showing of TROY, then walked and jogged a mile with the Woodlands squirrels before heading in to the city to catch a night of comedy by Ron White with my friend Luis. Breakfast was relaxing. TROY met all my epic expectations with great action, architecture, and attitude. Brad Pitt really stole the show for me taking on anyone and everyone without fear. Ron White did the same. Playing to a sold-out crowd, Ron had me in constant laughter with jokes on expensive sunglasses, his new wife, even cracks at his mom and fellow comedian, Larry the Cable Guy. If you don't know either of these guys, check out the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on DVD with Ron, Larry, Bill Engvall, and Jeff Foxworthy. Each of them is great, but the best part of the show is when all four come out riffing off each other to close the show! They're funny, I don't care who you are, they are funny.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Summer at the Movies.

Entertainment journalists have said this year's Summer Movie Season started last week with Van Helsing; but for me, it starts tomorrow with TROY. I haven't really had a 'summer at the movies' since college, and I probably never will again, but if I was given the chance to have just one more...this would be it! Big Effects, Big Stars, unique directors, and some really great stories to throw in the bag. So Here's my summer movie mix tape in chronological order of release date, sorry I'm a sucker for the mainstream. MAY - Troy; Love Me if You Dare; Shrek 2 (of course!); The Day After Tomorrow; JUNE - Harry Potter 3 (looks better than the first 2 combined); The Terminal (Spielber+Hanks=awesome); Spider-Man 2; JULY - Before Sunset (but I'll have to show Lyndsey 'Before Sunrise' first); Undertaking Betty; Anchorman (Will Ferrell is a comedic genius); I, Robot; The Village (M. Night brings another thriller); Garden State; AUGUST - Collateral (Michael Mann brings the Bad out of Tom Cruise); Everyone should check out Super Size Me if it's playing in your area. I saw it at SXSW in Austin and it blew me away! Big budget flops will include The Chronicles of Riddick, King Arthur, and Catwoman.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

James Lipton and Mike Myers.

Have you ever seen "Inside the Actor's Studio" with James Lipton? It's a great interview show filmed at a Filmmaking School in New York (of course) and you can see on the cable channel BRAVO. Tonight I saw an older episode, the greatest I have ever seen where host, James Liption, interviews the hilarious Mike Myers! If you've seen it, you know what I mean, otherwise, seek it, watch it, download it, borrow from a friend who recorded it on their TiVo. I hope BRAVO sells recordings of the show because I want it. Myers is hilarious, witty, and full of improvisational genius. Lipton amazingly gets answers from Myers IN CHARACTER bringing the likes of Wayne Campbell, Linda Richman, and even Deiter (all from SNL) Right On Stage! Phenomenal. Not sure when it was filmed, but it was after 1999, because they talked about AP: Spy who shagged Me. Watch this soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Post-Surgical Disorder

Today is the 5th day since my oral surgery. The headaches have lightened, bleeding to a minimum, and jaw functionality increasing. The Chinese food at lunch was soft and savory; but I wish my teeth could have handled that Egg Roll. Man! It looked like the greatest Egg Roll in the world. I went in to work for the afternoon and was called to duty just as I got there. It was like I had never left, except with new meetings, new requests, and it was raining cats and frogs. Of course, coming home after work was another story. Medicine and guaze everywhere, blankets thrown about, unread mail; my apartment had post-surgical disorder. I'm sure its feeling much better now that it's all cleaned up. Just like me.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Wisdom taken from a Wise Guy.

Yesterday morning an oral surgeon removed both of my upper wisdom teeth, quite differently than my dentist did 3 years ago with my lower ones. I went in, lied on the chair, the assistants got everything ready and in walked the surgeon. As I made fists with my hand, the doctor pricked the IV into my arm. I remember looking to the ceiling and then waking up in the passenger seat of my car saying "OK" to Lyndsey as she walked into Eckerd's to fill my prescription. I swear to you I have no recollection of the surgery, of getting into a wheelchair, or even into my car? Lyndsey does swear that I asked if I could have my withdrawn wisdom teeth 3 times! I only remember once. So I'm in day 2 of recovery and I've never missed solid foods so much in my life. Double Daves Pizza Buffet, Egg rolls, Brisket, Cheeseburgers, cookies, I have craved these all day long! This is almost as painful as the soreness in my jaw. The doctor said I should be just about ready for solids on the third day, but I don't think that would be very wise.

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Friends - The Last One

I thoroughly enjoyed the season finale of a really great show called "Friends." At 7pm was an hour long retrospective of the show including best of antics of each character and the group as well. Watching these clips really reminded me how much I've enjoyed the show; even though the first 5 years were a lot funnier than the last. I don't think I have a favorite episode, but I definitely have favorite moments. Rachel's closure and Ross' "you're Over me? when were you under me?" line, the game Chandler and Joey played against Rachel and Monica for the apartment was a great piece of writing, and of course tonight's great moments with the twins and Ross' anxiety over the message on his answering machine. Great moments to end a great show. But why didn't they mention anything about Joey moving to L.A.? Seems like this would make sense in creating a nice transition into his show this fall, which NBC did give us a quick glance at during a commercial break. Nice Plug. And tomorrow I'm getting my last 2 wisdom teeth out, wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

"Hall of Dishonor"

Checked The Battalion today, Texas A&M's own student newspaper, and found a very interesting article. It seems the A&M chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas posted a list on their website of A&M professors they feel are biased in the classroom. Now, I've never had any of these professors. I consider myself to have views on multiple sides of political agendas, and most of you know that I am also a graduate of Texas A&M; but, I have to say that I find this whole concept rather alarming. Check the article out, if it's not on the front page of the Battalion website, then click here. I understand if you get upset with or want to question a professor's point of view, or teaching methods, but to post a list suggesting not to take these professors? That's insane?! I mean, what if the profs came together and posted a list of students' names on their department corkboard saying "watch out for these students, they are excited about class!" We used to just tell each other whom not to take because their tests were too tough, or you couldn't understand them, or they only taught one section and it was MWF Afternoon! I say, congrats to the profs for getting a rise out of their students. Encouraging students to form their own opinions is a positive thing. That's what learning is all about! The thoughts and ideas reflected in this post do not reflect those of Texas A&M University, The Battalion, or their affiliates.

Monday, May 3, 2004

Well, oh well.

Well, Smarty Jones, favored to win 4:1, came in First at the Derby and Action This Day did not. Thankfully, I also put $2 down on the favorite which paid $10.20. Not too shabby at all. Tomorrow, I'll be back on the early shift at work, 7am-4pm. Each month I switch between the early shift and the late, 9am-6pm. Each shift brings a different responsibility and a different kind of work load. Early means handling the everyday tasks which also means, making sure equipment gets setup and delivered in a timely fashion. Late means handling special projects and equipment maintenance which also means a little more lag time and a little less responsibility. I actually do prefer the late shift because I enjoy working the special projects more than the everyday task. And that's not to say I don't create my own special projects so that there is no lag time, ok, it just helps the day go faster. But finishing at 6 is such a bummer. Post Office is closed, Cinemark movie tickets are more expensive, and I just can't seem to get anything done. Really, this is all about how I'm not excited about waking up early to be at work by 7 after conditioning myself to start at 9. Oh well...