Saturday, December 29, 2007

Snapshots of an odd evening

Scott taking on Kyle, Sarah, and me in Halo 3 and kicking our butts. Ouch. I was again the meat.

Wagyu beef pigs in blankets and Wagyu beef sliders, Allen Bros. steak dogs, Jain's deviled eggs, Jennie's mac and cheese, Rana's salad. Yum. Wow, did I eat too much.

Lucy Liu as a vampire hunting vampires in Rise, a bad movie that still held its own against recent films that should have been vastly better (ref. my Sweeney Todd and National Treasure 2 entries).

UFC 79: A generally excellent card, excepting the boring heavyweights. Highlights include Manny Gamburyan's ankle lock, Chuck Liddell owning Wanderlei Silva, and in the fight I cared about most, Georges St. Pierre dominating and ultimately submitting Matt Hughes--who was surprisingly gracious in defeat, almost as gracious as GSP was in victory.

Bacon baklava--yes, you read that correctly--from Lisa, from a Food & Wine recipe. Opinions were mixed, but I liked it. The maple syrup taste hits you first, then the bacon comes in on top of it like a lead guitarist starting a solo. Interesting indeed.

Two tres leches cakes from Jennie, both delicious.

Great ice cream from The Chocolate Shoppe in Madison and a local Ben & Jerry's. Did I mention I ate too much?

And now I work on notes for Overthrowing Heaven. I think I see the light....

National Treasure 2

was no better than Sweeney Todd, but because my expectations were lower, I enjoyed it more. That said, it was as derivative a copycat sequel as I've seen in a while, and its grasp on history was even more tenuous than in the first movie. Nicolas Cage is also continuing to mutate in odd ways and is now more watchable for how weird he is than for how well he performs.

The highlight of the film, at least for me, was Helen Mirren, who lights up the screen whenever she appears.

If you need a break from thinking and aren't in a demanding mood, check it out. Otherwise, choose another film.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sweeney Todd

We decided to ignore the reviews and went to see the movie. All the adults were fans of the play; Rana and I had even been fortunate enough to see it on Broadway with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. We were all also Tim Burton fans.

We left disappointed. The reviews were generally right.

Mind you, none of us regret having seen the film; the visuals alone were worth the price of admission. No one can shoot a grimy street scene like Tim Burton. No one can play mad and brooding like Johnny Depp.

The plot, though, was clipped too far, we all pined for the missing chorus, the blood managed to be both gory and ineffective, with the exception of the young sailor's, none of the other singing voices were up to their material--I could go on, but you get the point.

If you're going to see a lot of films this holiday season, keep Sweeney Todd on your list. If you're having to see only one or two, however, save this one for DVD.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I have to confess it. I cannot hide my shame: Sarah just now whipped me in RPS and is the owner of a five-day winning streak. Ouch.

And now, speaking of said RPS loser-to-be, here's a word from Sarah:


CHRISTMAS BREAK (a compilation)

-Beating Dad at RPS 5 (count them 5) days in a row
-Waking up at 1 p.m.
-"Hands on Me" by Vanessa Carlton, "Sleep" by the Dandy Warhols, "Alone on the Sea" by Steel Train, "Glasgow Love Theme" by Craig Armstrong, "Look Up" and "What the Snowman Learned About Love" by Stars
-Food and sleep combined, with a dream that included me actually waking up and making an order for Fettuccine Alfredo (hooray obesity! notrly)
-"Murder, She Wrote" and chocolate cake at midnight (HELLZ YES)
-50 lines of Latin translation (Poem 68 - Catullus, lines 1-40, plus the entirety of Poem 74)
-Sarah is Anderson Silva. You are Rich Franklin.



What can I say? I let it all stand, despite the obvious falsehood of the penultimate line and the fact that nobody invited me for the chocolate cake.

I'll have to drown my sorrow in BCP and Zanzibar chocolate. There are always consolations.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More and less

I always dreamed that I'd be more. Long before my current age, I would have changed the world, done great things, become someone important.

I never dreamed I'd have as much as I do now. I never imagined having such a great family and extended family, so many friends and things, such a nice house, you name it.

The uncharted space between the distant boundaries of the dream and the vast territory of the undreamt is where I wander most of the time, uncomfortable in my skin, in my life, in my head.

I won't lie and say that I spent no time like that today; I did. I always do.

But today, Christmas, I choose each year to focus almost entirely on how lucky I am to have people I'm privileged to love--most especially my children, the life with which I'm blessed, prosperity, health, and all the other good things in my life.

I hope to learn to maintain that focus for more and more of my days.

My thanks to all of you who help me have this life. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christopher Walken

is amazing. No matter how over the top his performance, he still manages to come across as fun, charming, and always watchable. As we sometimes do on Christmas Eve, tonight we took a chance on a DVD of a bad movie, Balls of Fury. It had some funny moments, but mostly it was a comedic, ping-pong-based remix of Return of the Dragon that never quite got in gear.

Except for Walken. He delivered the stupidest lines in the most outrageous manner, and yet he was a joy.

In completely unrelated news, each time I think I might be ready to start typing up the overall outline for Overthrowing Heaven, I realize I've missed some new key point. I know it's better that I deal with these problems now than later, but I am looking forward to finishing the plotting and starting the writing. A few more weeks, I suspect, a few more weeks.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another of our traditions

is the Yule/Solstice party, normally Jennie's, this year hers and her sister's, Jain. The food theme was Southern, and everything was, as always, delicious. We ate the main course at one house, then crossed the street for dessert at the other.

It's easy at this time to bemoan that it's the same fifteen to twenty folks who show up at most of these events, but I see the same data very differently: I'm amazed and grateful to have so many long-time friends. When we gather for these various parties, what we have most to celebrate, in my opinion, is our great good fortune at having a strong group of people who care about one another. The holidays bring that fact into sharp focus, but it's true year-round, and I'm continually amazed and delighted at the fine folks with whom I get to share my life.


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