Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Drunk Drunk Drunk Drunk Drunk

Thanks a lot, President Bush. Now I'm smashed, and so is my mother.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Spiderman, Spiderman

Last night, my wife and I watched Spiderman, which is strange when you consider that Kathy is terrified of spiders in general. If you were to ask Kathy what her biggest fear is, she would probably say that it's walking through a cave full of spider webs and having somebody behind her push her through the webs, and her getting all bitten and not being able to scream for fear of swallowing spiders. Yet, she's the one who suggested we buy the movie. Now, the reasoning for this was because, it is a good movie. And, she wanted to see Spiderman 2 when it came out. And, it just so happened, that before Spiderman 2 came out, a special deluxe edition was released that came with one free ticket to see the new movie. So, we bought it. Widescreen, of course, which is what I wanted to talk about, but Spiderman was a nice segue.

So, widescreen is the better format. People who routinely buy the full screen edition of movies are really missing out on (depending on the aspect ratio) fifty percent of the film. This means nothing more than to point out that people are idiots. Where this all falls down, though, is that most people hate the black bars at the top and bottom of their screens, because they think it means they're missing out on part of the movie.

I tell people at work (I make my living peddling movies and other entertaining media) who are unsure about what to buy to look at the screen next time they go to the movies, keeping in mind how wide it is compared to how tall it is, and then to compare that to their televisions when they get home. Some can actually picture it. Others just scoff at me and buy the full screen editions. The problem about this is that after a movie has been a new release for a while, the store I work for (Target, Target, the store is Target and I hope that's the last time I mention it in my blog but probably won't be) will often discontinue carrying one version, and due to sales of full screen often outperforming the widescreen, it's the widescreen we discontinue.

It's nice when the studio puts both versions in the same packaging, such as Finding Nemo, where when you buy it you get the widescreen movie and some special features on disc one, and the full screen movie and the rest of the special features on disc two. What's better, though, is more like March of the Penguins, where all they released was the Widescreen version. Movies that are released in both theatrical and unrated directors cuts are nice, because they know the unrated will sell better. The directors get ahold of that information and, more recently, only release the unrated edition in widescreen. Directors prefer whatever it was shot in, which is, most often, widescreen, and so the director's cut makes more sense in Widescreen.

Watch in widescreen. In a few years, when you have to buy an HDTV, buy one in widescreen, then the black bars will at least get smaller on some movies (ones with wider aspect ratios like Lord of the Rings) and completely disappear on others (more traditional aspect ratios of 16X9, like most TV shows broadcast in widescreen such as Arrested Development, which is by the way the best show on television but I think it got cancelled for real this time...but that's the subject of another blog...). Anyway, so, yes.

Buy your DVDs in Widescreen.

Oh, older movies, like those made prior to the proliferation of television in the 1950's and some of those made shortly thereafter, and also some arthouse pictures, were shot in a standard television-proportioned aspect ratio, so don't cry if you can't find The Maltese Falcon in widescreen because it doesn't exist.

Discussed in this post:
March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition)

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Yesterday, I went to the DMV to update my license. When we moved into the house, I never went and got my address changed so that my license still says I live in the apartment. Or, rather, it did say that, though I haven't gotten that far in the story yet. I am just arriving at the DMV yesterday.

Yesterday, I went to the DMV to update my license, because it still said I lived in my apartment. So, I went, and was delighted to read that the buzz had been correct; they now accept Debit cards there. Oh, and credit cards, too, but only Discover cards, which is useless because who in their right mind uses Discover. I'm sorry if I offended any hard-core Discover card users, but...no. They're useless cards. Visa and Mastercard are much more useful.

Anyway, so I went to the...wait. Okay, I said that, twice now. I waited for forty-five minutes, watching the clock because I had to run back home before going to work because, silly me, I had forgotten my dinner. I got up to the counter, gave the lady my new address, everything else, answered her questions, so on and so forth, and she tells me it's going to be twelve fifty, so I hand her my debit card.

"Oh, we don't accept those," she told me. I pointed to signs that proclaimed the contrary. "Oh. Yes, that's right, we do, but our system is down and we can't accept them today." No ATM. Nothing nearby, either. They put this thing in an abandoned shopping center. "We have a guy who should be here between now and 4:30 this afternoon if you'd like to wait." I had to get to work, didn't she understand? I guess I hadn't told her. I left, and resolved to come back today.

Today, I went to the DMV. Now, they finally have a sign up that says "CREDIT/DEBIT SYSTEM DOWN CASH OR CHECK ONLY" but, in the corner, they have installed a brand new ATM. This was a moot point, really, because I figured something like that might happen, minus the ATM, so I brought cash with me.

Sorry, that story kind of ends on a weak note.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hey, is that guy blindfolded?

My head hurts, and my stomach aches, and I feel awful. I'm back in St. Louis, but my car is in Davenport. This is nasty bad. I'm thinking of not going to work tomorrow just so that I can have a day to recoup. I might have gotten sick from food, or from Cakelyn, or I don't know what. But I feel like crap.

So, because my head hurt, on the way back down (in my dad's car, he came and met us in Mount Pleasant) I wrapped my scarf around my eyes. My wife told me that I looked like I was kidnapped, and said that the people in another car were staring. That's about the time I fell asleep.

I am sitting in front of the fire at my parents' house and waiting for life to improve.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stranded In Davenport

The following is taken directly from a notebook I wrote in last night:

So this is hilarius, in one of those "please-somebody-hit-me-over-the-head-with-a-blunt-object" sort of way. I'm writing this longhand to conserve battery power in case I need my computer. Now, why dire need would arise escapes me, not to mention the almost certain lack of technology out here, barring me from connecting to civilization. Although, as I haven't checked, I could be missing out on the fastest wireless internet connection southeastern Iowa has to offer.

It stopped snowing, at least.

My car. My poor car. Ever notice how the day you decide not to sell your car, that it is after all very reliable and after all, what is a car if not transportation, and also you plan to drive it till it quuits...it decides to quit.

In a snowstorm.

In Iowa.

And you live in Missouri.

It could be "In a hurricane. In Florida. And you live in Georgia." Anyway, you get the formula.

In a [Bad type of weather]

In [State/Region where aforementioned weather is likely]

And you live in [State/Region that is not too far from aforementioned state/region but, in the aforementioned weather, might as well be on Jupiter]

At least, here on Jupiter (or, Iowa) there's a clean, big truckstop at the Ainsworth Four Corners Amoco/BP.

That is the moment our food arrived and all else was driven from our minds. Well, not entirely.

Thankfully, Kathy's brother Dave lives in Davenport, which is about seventy miles from where my car died but still a lot closer than anybody else we knew. And the food was edible at the truckstop. And my car is going to cost four hundred freaking dollars to repair. I think that's all my car is worth at this point.

Needless to say, we did not make it to Nebraska, which is where we were heading. We are in Davenport, staying with my brother-in-law and his family. There is such a long list of people to thank for making this as painless as possible.

Thank you Officer [Can't-Remember-Your-Name]. Thank you Dennis from the tow-truck place. Thank you Emily at the truck stop restaurant. Thank you Dave for coming to get us. Thank you Dave, Jessica, Katelyn (or Cakelyn as I like to call her) for letting us stay here. Sorry, Bella, I don't like you, you slobber too much.

Bella is a dog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Poetry Award

There is a girl in my fiction writing class. She won her first poetry award at the age of eleven. She's published two books of poetry and is working on a third. She is also writing three collections of prose; loosely connected short stories that, when combined into their three volumes and sold in a box set constitute some pretentious "trilogy" (I say pretentious because she used words like "epic" and "grandeur") but, though she is done with the first one and almost done with the second, she is "going to wait until their all done and publish them all at the same time" in her own words. She is rude, obnoxious, pretentious (did I already say that? maybe I should underline it) and above all, if she is so prolific and talented, then--and this is the big question I have--why in the hemorrhaging f*ck is she going to a freaking community college?

If there's only one person I outshine in this semester's class, I hope it's her.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


My grandmother is lamenting her generation. In the last four months, she has lost two of her best friends. She seems to be preoccupied with death at the moment, but it's more of a casual preoccupation than a morbid one. She's at that age when death is just a part of life, I suppose. Her husband has been deceased for twenty-six years (I never met him but supposedly I look just like him) and she's had six or seven hundred knee replacement surgeries (I am of course exaggerating). Anyway, it's somewhat of a bummer for my wife, who's father is going in for surgery this week to correct two pinched nerves, one at the base of his spine and the other near the top.

For the past several years, my father-in-law has been battling Parkinsons-like symptoms. These symptoms have worsened in the past two years, to the point where standing has become a pain and walking has become an ordeal. He's in his early sixties, and a school teacher for the past forty years. He teaches on the third floor of an old building, no elevators and the trudge up the stairs has been taking a toll. To top it off, the entire family is chemically sensitive. The pesticides used in the school do a number on the girls in my wife's family, and it's been proven that pesticides can irritate and sometimes bring on Parkinsons. The medication, exercise programs and other such things have not been working to correct his symptoms, so this fall he went to a neurologist for a sleep apnea test because things were getting so bad.

"It could be a pinched nerve, but there's no evidence of Parkinsons," this person said. Two and a half years of crying, praying, and dilly-dallying with the idea of legal action against the school for using harmful pesticides, and in one night, it is given to my wife's family that they may regain their father. And so, it has been concluded, he does have two pinched nerves. But he is far from out of the woods now. The particular nerves that are pinched are dangerous; if he takes a tumble, he could do irreparable damage to himself. It could be fatal. So eggshells have been walked upon these last few weeks, and this week he goes in for surgery. Then, two weeks of recovery. We're all hoping. For once, I am actually praying for somebody. This is somebody I didn't even know three and a half years ago, had no idea he even existed. Now, because I love his daughter and love his family, and because I love him, I am praying.

Anyway, my wife is reading Tuesdays With Morrie on the couch, because she doesn't want to listen to my grandma talk about death. I wish I could whisk her to Nebraska to say "I Love You" to her father's face.

Discussed in this post:

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


That's right, I am watching one of the greatest sports movies of all time. Now, I'm not the biggest hockey fan (in fact, not a hockey fan at all) but being a big movie fan, I absolutely love this movie.

I have to work overnight tonight. I can't wait until I am done with school and out of my retail job. Some of you may know what I'm talking about. Of course, that's assuming that there are some of you out there. Anyway, the point is...I forgot. I'm only taking one class this semester. That's the last time I'll do that. From now on, I will be in school. IN SCHOOL. Well, okay, not from now on. From next fall until I'm done with my undergrad. That means not working full time anymore. That means taking a pay cut, I guess, but hopefully, with scholarships and grants, I won't have school to pay for and I might get a little extra bonus money. Hang on, face off.

Shot saved by Jimmy Craig. That's me, by the way, I am Jimmy Craig. Or, at least, my friend Jerry thinks I look like him with my long hair. I think my dad just came home.

I'm over at my parents' house using their wireless internet because I still don't have internet at my house. Oh well.

So, yeah, random thoughts, so sorry. I will go now.

Discussed in this post:

Friday, January 06, 2006


I am currently enduring day six of a twenty day beard-off with my brother-in-law, Paul. Now, Paul started his beard-off earlier, and actually ended his on day three of mine. But, you know, pictures at five day intervals track the progress and thus far, I think I'll win. I'm watching When Harry Met Sally... with my parents and my wife. Good lord I miss the internet...why can't I get DSL at home? I don't know, ask SBC. Bastards.

So, here I am with a blog finally. I feel so...um...I don't know. Whatever.

Discussed in this post: