Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last of 2008

This is it. The last post of 2008.

I'm off to a New Year's party at my uncle Steve's. It's a good one. Family. Games. Fun. Just the right way to end the year.

Check back tomorrow and what you'll see won't be quite the same.


End of the Year 2008 - Part IV

Favorite Movie of 2008: The Dark Knight
Runner Up: Iron Man

Favorite Book of 2008: Steven King
Wait, you say? He's not a book, but rather an author? True. I finished his Dark Tower series this year and it was fantastic. It created for me a world of characters I came to care about, and a story that kept me wondering, anxious, and still excited about even months after it ended.

That's as much a year end list as you will see from me. Maybe next year I'll remember a bit more, have paid closer attention.

End of the Year 2008 - Part III

Image of the Year 2008. I took this photo from my hotel room in New York City during my week spent there this summer. It is my favorite image of the city.

End of the Year 2008 - Part II

Okay, so I'm having a bit too much fun playing around on the computer today...

The blog will be different because of it. Starting tomorrow there will be new content, images, logos - a whole mess of newness for you. And these aren't even additions I alluded to earlier.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll stop long enough to each lunch.



End of the Year 2008 - Part I

Woke up with my alarm at 5 AM, but snoozed until 5:15. Don't know why I stayed awake, but I tuned into a couple episodes of Angel (season 1, episodes 1 and 2).

I showered and then went up to Casey's for some breakfast pizza (sausage) and a couple of donuts.

Watched some Futurama on DVD.

I don't really know what I'll do today. I mean, I know I have stuff to do, including work on my additions. But it sort of feels like a day to just do whatever comes to mind. Leave the heavy lifting for the new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Curse You, Milk!

The milk I just bought - I guess - had an open cap, because it managed to spill itself all over my counter before I even had the chance to put it away.

Now I have to go back out and buy another gallon of the stuff because I need it to drink and bake a pudding pie with. Grr.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I was trying to think back to the beginning of the year, what with this year wrapping up. Only, I can't really remember what I was doing a year ago. I remember working out in the summer with my brother and going on RAGBRAI and the Olympics and the past few months, but anything before summer - gone.

If anything, that just tells me how important it is I keep a blog. How else am I going to remember anything that I've done?

Went and saw Bedtime Stories today with some uncles, an aunt, and a mess of cousins. It was good. Much more enjoyable than The Spirit, which I saw last night. Bedtime Stories was fun, filled with great little bits from lots of great actors. I don't know, it just was good.

Changes Are A-Comin'

I guess I wouldn't say changes so much as additions. I'm not going to spoil it now, but for the few who follow what happens here, on January 1st, 2009, you are going to have a whole lot more Pirate.

The changes additions I'm adding will hopefully motivate me to make the changes in my life I want for myself. It will be a lot to do at one time, but I find that I'm only successful when I'm busy. So busy I will become...witness a renaissance, pirate.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not A Good Night

I did not have a good night last night. I was sick from about 10:00 PM until, well, now. I lost count how many times I was up and yarking through the night. It is down to the point where I have nothing left to give up. I could really use a Diet Sprite or a Diet 7-Up. I'm just waiting to head out because of the bad weather - freezing rain and icy roads - and because I'm not entirely sure I'm done being sick.

What a miserable way to spend a night.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Bad, Bad Thing

I did a bad, bad thing. I used some Christmas money and bought me a toy.

(It is quite fun.)

Guitar Hero: World Tour for the X-Box 360 now sits in the middle of my living room.

War Nuggets

I think I've watched too many war movies in too short a time. I'm starting to have dreams that I'm in war. Only, in my dreams, everything - the trenches, the weapons, the planes, the parachutes - is made out of Mc Donald's chicken nuggets. I kid you not.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

'Twas a movie made most excellent. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a great, epic - moving - film. It was just the type of movie that you go see on Christmas Day. It had a little bit of everything; just enough for everyone. It's an interesting thing to think about: what would life be like if you lived it backward - starting out old as a baby and aging back to a newborn at death. One of the top three movies of the year, in my opinion.

All Kinds of Happy

And so then I check my email and Santa had sent me a gift card from Amazon.

I'm not forgotten on Christmas morning by the big guy.

Santa made my day. Quite literally turned it all around.

(Thank you)

Christmas Day 2008

This is the latest I can remember ever sleeping in on Christmas Day. There may have been a day when I was a baby that I didn't wake up early - but I doubt it. I woke up just a bit before 9 AM.

No stockings. No presents. No family. :( Christmas has changed for me.

So, I'm off to my grandma's for some of those things I missed. It's then The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and maybe another movie after that. Later I'll come home and watch my last war movie (The Very Long Engagement) and just chill out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Christmas: Eve

I shouldn't be allowed to spend so much time at home with nothing to do.

I still haven't done any of my cleaning - that's boring.

I did manage to find some more neat-o applications for my iPod Touch. I also found some sheet music online, so now I can attempt to play it on my piano app.

I went comic book shopping - new comic day.

I watched the final episode of Band of Brothers - I have managed to keep up with my 13 Days of War.

I'm going to eat a late lunch and then head over to my grandma's for supper and church at 9:30.

Depending on how tired I am when I get home I'll either watch Home Alone (my favorite Christmas movie) tonight or tomorrow morning.

It's been a Christmas Eve - mostly normal, and mostly enjoyable.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Catching Up On Fables

I was 5 collections behind on the comic series Fables. I'm sort of upset with myself for letting such a great series fall by the wayside. I read the entire 8th volume, Fables: Wolves, tonight and was reminded how great the series is. I have the other four collections sitting on my end table ready to read, and I'll get to them over the next couple of days.

I wanted to get all caught up for two reasons: 1.) It's a great series, and it will be a pleasure to read such a big chunk of it in such a short period of time, and 2.) I have the oversized, hardcover of the James Jean covers for the first 75 issues that I'm dying to spend some time with.

For as much as I want to cut back on my excessive comic spending, I read a series like this, or find a new artist (Guillem March) who simply blows me away, and I find myself dragging my heels.

The Twenty-Third Day of Christmas: Thundercats

Check out this AMAZING - but fake - trailer for a Thundercats movie. If only someone would make this a real movie...

It is so cool what you can find on the web.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Twenty-Second Day of Christmas: The ELE

So Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog ended not at all how I expected.

It was, however, still amazing.

I have a feeling that I'll be listening to the songs non-stop for quite some time. "My Eyes" has to be my favorite song, but "My Freeze Ray" is pretty good, too.

So yeah, I didn't do much today. It's vacation and I didn't feel like cleaning. I almost didn't even go out to the mailbox today, but I'm glad I did, otherwise I'd have left my Horrible DVD sitting out there in the cold.

Now, I just need to work on my application to the Evil League of Evil...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Twenty-First Day of Christmas: Pie

I finally did it; I made my apple pie from scratch.

I had been talking about baking a homemade - crust and all - pie for quite some time. It turned out to be just as long an endeavor as I had anticipated. (Sweet monkeys, cooking takes time and leaves quite a mess.)

The pie is currently cooking away in my oven (I just took the foil off from around the edge of the crust). It will be done in time to take to Christmas with my mom this afternoon. I hope it is at least edible, but I'm not making any promises. I followed the recipe, but...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Twentieth Day of Christmas: Cold Labor

I went to my uncle Jeff's house today to help split wood. I did this last winter and really enjoyed it. Today was no different. Sure, it's cold - today it started out around 28 degrees and ended up dropping to 8 by the time I left. The wind picked up and it was cold. But, I loved it.

There's just something about working hard when the conditions are so miserable that makes it feel like much more of an accomplishment. I wouldn't want to do it every day - probably why I don't live in the country - but for a day, I can't think of a better way to spend my time. I just enjoy helping out.

Although, I could do without the tiny wood shavings that seem to always blow into my eyes. They still feel a little rough, like there's grit in them. I'll blink it out I'm sure.

Oh, and I'm exhausted. We worked outside from sunup to sunset. I might try reading a bit, but I bet I just crash.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Nineteenth Day of Christmas: Wrapping

Work ended up closing today due to what I suppose are icy conditions outside, but not before I'd already showered and dressed at 5 AM. No big deal, really. It gave me time to finish up a project I was working on, watch this week's episode of Top Chef, and wrap some Christmas presents.

I'd been putting off the wrapping until I had some free time (i.e. vacation). So, I popped in the score to Twilight (some Carter Burwell always makes me think of snow - probably because I first really noticed his work in the movie Fargo) and am now in the process of wrapping.

I'll wrap until it's time to brave the ice and get a hair cut and catch a matinee of Yes Man.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Eighteenth Day of Christmas: Stories

Today was the day to pull out my Christmas stories. Last year I started my collection with It Ate Billy on Christmas by Roman Dirge. Here's the back cover blurb:

"It would have been a Christmas like any other for little Lumi and her horrible, terrible, obnoxious, awful bully of a brother Billy. But then a funny little monster appeared and ate Billy right up! Lumi knows it's not really a good thing to let a monster eat your brother, but she can't help but notice that things are, in fact, much nicer now that he's gone. Now that things are looking up a little in her world, Lumi has to decide what to do with her new little monster friend, and - more importantly - what she's going to feed him..."

Sounds Christmasy, don't it?

This year I added The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket. It's a cute little strange story about a lump of coal and miracles. From the back and inside cover flaps:

"Miracles can happen, even to those who are small, flammable, and dressed all in black. This is a story about a lump of coal who can think, talk, and move itself around. Is there a more charming holiday tale to behold? Probably, but Lemony Snicket has not written one."

Don't get too concerned about me. I still love me the classic stories like Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and Rudolph, but we need some new blood every once and awhile.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Seventeenth Day of Christmas: Splurge

I just couldn't pass up this amazingly slick looking, over-sized art book at the comic book shop today. In its sleek black slipcase, with a gold foil Rocketeer etched on the front, it was simply too irresistible.

The Life & Art of Dave Stevens: Brush With Passion features over a hundred pages of art and stories. I don't know if even have a single comic drawn by Stevens, but his style - a puply, 50's pin-up girl blend - has surely influenced many of my favorite comic artists today. I know I loved the Rocketeer movie that came out in the early 90's, and this is my chance to see where that all came from.

I love art books, and interviews with artists. I'll never be as good - or even an eighth as good - but I love seeing sketches and reading about inspirations and influences. It makes me feel creative. And that's a wonderful feeling.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to include a picture of The Rocketeer....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sixteenth Day of Christmas: Dr. Horrible

I am so glad I stumbled upon this wonderful little piece of news today: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog comes to DVD, exclusively through, this Friday.

I started watching this 3 part web musical this summer. As (bad) luck would have it, the thing started the same time as RAGBRAI, and I was only able to catch the first two - wonderful - parts. I've been waiting for the DVD release since I first heard mention of the musical. It is written by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly - television series in my top five of all-time.

Needless to say, I've already order the CD, and pre-ordered the DVD. I simply can't wait. ORDER TODAY!

(There's even a sing-along commentary track to the genius, and awesome, and totally worth the price - $9.99 - of the DVD.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Fifteenth Day of Christmas: My Nuts

It was the coldest day we've had since last winter., I'm not normally one that wears a jacket - just never have been....

And today I paid for it. I froze on the short walk from the parking lot into work. With windchills 10 below, I should have known better. A dude's gotta be careful just wearing khakis - he's likely to freeze his nuts off on a day like today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Late for Atonement

I may be late to the party, but Atonement is a fantastic film.

It is tragic, brutal, and beautiful. There are very few perfect films out there...but this is one of them for me. Everything about it was great: the music, the costumes, the locations, the acting, but especially the impressively staged Steadicam one-shot sequence of the desolation and destruction at the Dunkirk evacuation during WWII.


The Fourteenth Day of Christmas: Leverage

Leverage is the type of show you enjoy to watch. It doesn't attempt to be high drama, even though it does boast an Academy Award-winning actor in the lead - Timothy Hutton, who I last enjoyed in the all-too-short-lived series, Kidnapped. The show is slick, cool, even funny.

It's basically a team of thieves led by a damaged, ace ex-insurance investigator ripping off the bad guys in a very hip, actiony, Robin Hoodian way. The show airs Tuesday nights on TNT.

There's a line in the show that sums this series up: "That's twenty pounds of crazy in a five pound bag."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mucho Music

I've been listening to a lot of music lately. It must just be the mix of great CD purchases and my mood - Christmas time always makes me feel the music.

The two CD's I've been listening to constantly are Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreak and The Hotel Cafe presents Winter Songs, a Christmas CD sold at Target (and online), featuring quite a few outstanding new and traditional holiday tracks by female singers. Both CD's are excellent and couldn't be more highly recommended. "Love Lockdown," "Paranoid," and "Robocop" are the three repeated tracks on 808s I can't listen to enough. "Winter Song," "The Heartache Can Wait," "Maybe Next Year (The X-Mas Song)," and "Frosty the Snowman" are some of my new holiday must-plays.

In fact, it was "Winter Song," that led to some happy connections. Earlier this week I managed to catch the neat - cute - little animated music video for the song. It was just what I needed; it started my day off with a smile. Then a couple of nights ago I caught a live performance of the song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson on The Tonight Show (such a tiny little guitar). Again, it was just fantastic. So great in fact, that I had to rush out and pick up Ingrid's CD, Be OK.

It is that CD - Be Ok - which I'm listening to at this minute. And it is great singer-songwriter, piano/guitar, fun music.

That is not to say that all in music land has been grand. Two recent recommendations disappointed me. It's not that Break Up the Concrete by The Pretenders and The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem are bad CD's - they are good, but just not as good as I expected from the recommendations. It happens. I'm just glad that I'm not without music that makes me happy.

Oh, and Paramore has a new CD/DVD, The Final RIOT!, out now, which is also quite good.

(Did I ever go link crazy in this post?...still, the links to the music video and The Tonight Show appearance are worth the click.)

The Thirteenth Day of Christmas: War

There are 13 days until Christmas (including today). I've decided to spend my time leading up to Christmas getting in the spirit - the spirit of war.

(Don't ask - it doesn't really make sense, nor does it need to.)

So, here are the war-related movies and series I'll be watching each night leading up to Christmas Day:

December 13: The Patriot
December 14: Enemy at the Gates and Atonement
December 15: Band of Brothers - Part 1
December 16: Band of Brothers - Part 2
December 17: Band of Brothers - Part 3
December 18: Band of Brothers - Part 4
December 19: Band of Brothers - Part 5
December 20: Band of Brothers - Part 6
December 21: Band of Brothers - Part 7 and The Last Samurai
December 22: Band of Brothers - Part 8
December 23: Band of Brothers - Part 9
December 24: Band of Brothers - Part 10
December 25: A Very Long Engagement

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Origins

I went and saw The Day the Earth Stood Still tonight. It was okay. Nothing great, but just your good old-fashioned B movie with stuff getting destroyed, bad people dying, and the good guys surviving.

What made the theater-going experience worth it was the trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


And I mean that: w-o-w.

Maybe it's just because I'm such a comic book nerd and recognized so many characters from the X-Men universe, but color me impressed. I particularly enjoyed Wolverine flying from a car, through the air, up into an oncoming, attacking helicopter. The shot is framed so widely that he's just a tiny thing (with claws) attacking a beast of chopper in slow-motiony action goodness.

I can't wait until May 1, 2009.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Space Gas

I have a fascination with brand new gas stations. I don't know exactly what it is - or why - but I love stopping at newly opened stations.

Tonight on the way to my second job, I stopped at a newly-opened Kum & Go station for some gas. It was...awesome. The pumps were new and the paint was fresh and sparkling like tiny diamonds. These things looked like space-age ATM machines. Clear digital displays and the bluest-of-sky-blue lights illuminated your selected gasoline grade. Even the stickers were placed perfectly, not a single one crooked or peeling or popping with air bubbles.

It was such a quiet, perfect night I even heard the tiny whir of the machine printing as it spat out my receipt.

I could have sat at the pump for at least an hour just staring at its perfection.

(Holy bejeezus, am I easily amused and excited.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Tenth Day of Christmas: 250th Post

Wow. Two hundred and fifty posts on the blog since I started it about a year and a half ago.

My first post seems like such a long time ago. I think (look) back to my life then, and while it's not much different from what it is now, it is different in some major ways.

I do spend a lot of time thinking about the past. And that's kind of depressing. Looking to the past is just inherently depressing, I think. It's the future I should be thinking about. What will my life be like a year and a half from now? And more than just wonder about it, I should be going out of my way to make sure the next year and a half is better (different) than my life now.

Okay. So maybe I'm thinking too much on what should be just another Wednesday - new comic book day - night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Ninth Day of Christmas: Cookie Walk

Holy holy crap! There was this amazing thing at work today: a cookie walk.

As I understand it (because I'm still in a bit of shock about this whole thing) people bring cookies - and by cookies I mean a crap ton of all different kinds of cookies, brownies, and candies, and you - I - get to walk from table to table just loading up an entire container of whatever I want. It felt a little like stealing, but...awesomer.

I even got to wear a plastic glove to keep my germies to myself.

Cookie walks = awesome.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Eighth Day of Christmas: The Ocho

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is such a funny movie. "ESPN 8 - The Ocho." HA!

That's not to say that I watched the movie tonight. Anytime I hear the number 8, I think of this. Proof positive that movies have ruined/influenced/dominated my life.

Still, I won't stop them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Fringe

Whoa, did I ever waste a day. Sleeping until noon doesn't give you nearly as much time if you were planning on waking at 5 AM. Ah well, there was still enough time that I got some of my work done and still managed to catch up on some shows on the DVR.

The show I caught up on was Fringe. I was 4 episodes off of being current, and I managed to knock them all out today. This show has entertained/intrigued me since the start. And it's only gotten better. There's a good chemistry between the cast members and just enough weird science and on-going mystery to really draw you in. It's also nice to watch a show that's just a bit longer than than the normal 42-44 minutes. This show has right around 50 minutes an episode running time, and while that may not seem like much, to someone like me who watches so much television, I do notice the difference.

I recommend you catch up on Fringe - Tuesday nights on Fox - so that when it returns in January with new episodes you are ready to go. It's worth the viewing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Sixth Day of Christmas: In Da Hood

I've spent most of my day chillin' in my hoodie. It's fantastic. My normally cold home has been getting the best of me lately. So, last night after watching Punisher: War Zone, I bought some new slippers, a hooded sweatshirt, and some lounging around pants (and while they may look like sweat pants, they aren't - I don't do sweat pants). I also bought another jacket. And a work shirt/jacket thing in anticipation of some tree-killing I have coming up.

All in all, it's been a comfortable day. Comics, movies, TV, books...ahhh, this is a weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Ruined Christmas

My day started off so well - I woke up with time to get around at a leisurely pace, ate some awesome little donuts...things were going great.

And then I listened to this message from my mom telling me that my family would be celebrating Christmas on the 21st. Not Christmas morning like we've done for the past 27 years. The fucking 21st.

I'm not normally a person who rocks boats, but this really irks me. So much so that it was all I could think about - ruining my mood, my great morning, my day, and my entire Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Fourth Day of Christmas: Frustration

There's no feeling like that feeling you get when you put all of your effort into something - or helping someone - and it (they) falls apart (do nothing to help themselves). I suppose that's why they invented the word: frustration.

Still, understanding the concept of frustration does little to alleviate the...frustration.

If I didn't love this time of year so much I might have said - humbug.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Third Day of Christmas: Music

Today was the day I began rockin' the holiday tunes.

I never start before Thanksgiving, and thanks to my new-found love of honeyhoney, I'm a few days late with the Jingle Bell-ing.

Still, better late than never, getting those chestnuts roasting and those sleigh bells ringing: ting ting ting-a-ling ting.

(I'm also loving some great scores by some of my favorite composers: Danny Elfman, Milk; Carter Burwell, Burn After Reading; and Bear McCreary, Eureka and Rest Stop: Don't Look Back.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Second Day of Christmas: Non-Stop Reading

It's been awhile since I've plowed through an entire book in one day, let alone one night, let alone a few hours.

Ah, the joys of reading children's books.

It's actually not a bad little series I'm reading: The 39 Clues. The second book in the series, The 39 Clues: One False Note, came out today. The series is basically National Treasure-lite. Clues, mystery, action, suspense, double-crossing back-stabbing families...pretty good stuff.

And oh so Christmas-y.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The First Day of Christmas: Rushed

I got a little too used to not having to do anything or be anywhere over my short vacation. So used to nothing, that I was almost late to work today. It's a good thing I live as close as I do.

I didn't hear either of my two alarms, or my cell phone alarm. I was out and lucky to wake at all.

So, of course, I was rushed all day long. Worked all night. And I will be damn sure that I'm in bed at a decent time tonight.

Hmph. Vacation.