Sunday, July 11, 2010


I give up. I'm done.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 19 - Yelling Discount

It should be socially acceptable for a person to vent their feelings or frustration vocally and viciously. Granted, some people will have a more natural talent for providing and weathering such outbursts of anger, so we would have to find a way to even things out. Compensation of sorts.

I imagine it would work a little something like this:

A person places an order for chicken chunks with barbeque sauce at a drive-thru of a fast food restaurant. That person looks in the bag and once again the barbeque sauce is missing. The person should be able to drive back around to the window, hand the restaurant worker a dollar, and then tear the worker a new poophole (verbally, of course).

If you don’t want to pay the cost of verbally abusing someone, you simply keep the complaint to yourself.

Sounds pretty simple to me. And you’d be able to use this practice anywhere. Don’t get enough extra butter on your movie popcorn, fork over a buck and let loose. Don’t think the neighbors should let their dog bark through the night, knock on their door, and simply provide the payment to give them a piece of your mind. Don’t like the look of someone’s face, give them a dollar to expound on their ugliness.

Sure, this will upset some people, but just imagine the thick-skinned character it will build. And, it’s not like they get nothing out of the deal. Listen to some dummy’s rant and get a free dollar.

Only problem is I’d be broke. I’d be handing out dollar bills faster than I could make them. So I guess it’s still just silent yelling at people for me. For the time being.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 18 - Least of My Problems

My knees are sore from too much time crouched in a stuffy attic laying insulation.

Not just my knees, but my eyes too. Old contacts mixed with dust and fiberglass. Not a winning combination.

And these are just the least of my problems.

What a day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 17 - Books

I don’t know if it’s just that earlier in the year I wasn’t really reading books at the rate I have been this summer, but the last five books I read were amazing. So good that I’ve been reluctant to put them down unless I had to go to work or was too tired to continue reading. Those five books totaled over 3,000 pages, and I just tore through them.

Tonight I finished CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. The story ends with a good enough cliffhanger that I’ll be counting down the days until the final book hits stores (August 24th).

Books in a series seem to be my downfall this summer. Back-to-back I finished THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. Back-to-back I just finished THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE. Before those was THE PASSAGE. I'm in some sort of luck here because the second book of this series has not yet been written yet.

I guess I need to make sure the next book I choose to read isn’t part of a series. Only, looking at my stack, I notice that I’ve already started HUNGER by Michael Grant, and if I finish it I have LIES waiting patiently on the bookshelf. Another series (books 2 and 3 of the Gone series), another chunk of the summer?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 16 - Making Lists

I spend a lot of time at work making lists. When I’m out in the garden center, especially on slow nights like tonight, there’s not much else to do. Without customer interruption, I can take care of all my responsibilities out there in about 15 minutes. That leaves me just under 5 hours to entertain myself.

And I do that by planning and making lists.

I plan out exercise routines, estimate weekly and daily weight loss goals, create to-do lists, calculate how much money I make each month down to each second. These lists I write down on receipt paper, or in the little notebook I carry around for work. Most of the time nothing comes of them, but it keeps me occupied and thinking. I do all this so that I’m not just standing around staring up at the clouds, although I do a lot of that too.

For all the little problems I have at work, there really isn’t a better paying job that allows me to simply stand around and think.

Oh, and tonight I had two awesome customer interactions.

1. Look, if I say I don’t know how to keep the birds from pooping on your deck, asking me again and again and again will still not get you the magic answer you are seeking. I’m a cashier, not a bird whisperer.

2. “Have I let Jesus into my heart?” Um, I’m just your cashier. Take your receipt and leave me alone. “Jesus is my personal best friend. I just love him so much.” Yes, okay. Good for you. “He makes me smile, smile, smile.” Lady, you are freaking me out.

And from last week:

Smell my fingers. This stuff really smell like garlic.” Dude, I wouldn’t smell your fingers even if they weren’t covered in poison. Seriously, a man repeatedly asked me to smell his fingers, waving them in front of my face, after spraying his hands with some animal repellent we sell in the store. Not cool, man. Not cool.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 15 - The Movies In My Mind

Good books, the ones that truly capture the imagination, play out like movies in my mind. I’m not entirely sure if this happens for everyone, or if it is simply my love for literature and film combined with an overactive imagination that create such wonderful shows in my head. But when it happens – and it doesn’t happen for every book, even though I can honestly say it will happen for at least part of every book, for there is usually some redeemable, imaginative spark in all stories – it is magical.

After finishing THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, I told myself that I was done, for a short while, with any book that would so totally capture my attention. The books (yes, I read many books at a time) I was in the process of reading were good, but I was not to a point in any of them where they had become impossible to put down. I thought I’d finally have the time to get some things done this summer.

Yet for some reason I found myself with the urge to read THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. (The nice thing about having so many books on my shelves unread – easily a hundred, seriously – is that I have something for whatever mood strikes me.) I’d heard good things about it, critically and from my mother. Needless to say, I started the book this afternoon and could not put it down. I read it through non-stop, with the exception of a quick 45-minute break for supper. Even though the idea for the story isn’t exactly original – I remember watching a Japanese movie based on a book of the same name, BATTLE ROYALE, by Koushun Takami, that pitted school children against each other to the death on an isolated island – the characters, especially Katniss Everdeen, kept the story alive. And thrilling.

Knowing the sequel, CATCHING FIRE, is out in bookstores already, and that the third and final book in the series, MOCKINGJAY is due to arrive August 24th, means I can fully expect to find myself completely engaged in at least two more novels this summer.

I can’t wait.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 14 - The Girl Who Captured My Attention

After a marathon reading session today, I finished Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. I actually had to run out and buy this book the instant I finished the second one in the Millennium trilogy, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. The series is just that good. (And I’m glad for once that I was late to the series because then I didn’t have the wait between books to deal with.)

The series starts off with THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, which was a captivating mystery. Crusading journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, teams up with a strange and gifted researcher, Lisbeth Salander, to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl many years ago.

Picking up a short time later, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST, comprise a two-book, 1,300-page-plus, epic story of conspiracy, murder, and government corruption. There was not a day that went by that I could put these two books down. The two books are packed with suspense, action, and intrigue. I’d mention specifics – plot, characters, action – but wouldn’t want to spoil the shock and surprise for any reader.

What? Not a reader? Then by all means check out the movie versions of these stories. The Swedish versions of the films have already been released overseas, but are (slowly) being released over here. I’ve seen the first (out on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, July 6th) and am eagerly anticipating the second as soon as it opens wide enough to find a screen around home. American versions of the films are in the process of being made as I write, out in a few years.

So, there are many opportunities available to you to find enjoyment in these fantastic stories. Granted, they are dark, violent, and complex, and they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy a good mystery and love experiencing the good guys stomping down hard on the bad guys, then you can’t go wrong with these three thrillers from Sweden. It’s just a shame that the author is no longer alive to provide us with what happens next.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 13 - GET LOW

After INCEPTION, the only other movie this summer that I must see is GET LOW.

What? Haven’t heard of it?

That’s probably because there are no giant explosions, beautiful actors, mind-blowing special effects, or any of those other big summer draws. And yet, it looks fascinatingly good. Don’t get me wrong, I love big summer movies for all the reasons I listed above, but it’s an interesting story that will make me love a movie, truly enjoy a movie.

GET LOW looks to have an interesting story, to say the least. Here’s a preview.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 12 – Airbending, Hot Tubs, 10’s, and Condors

THE LAST AIRBENDER. Yeah, that’s probably not far from the truth. I don’t think they’ll be making any sequels to that movie. What looked promising turned out to be rather boring.

And that’s a shame because the source material – the Nickelodeon cartoon series – was a wonderfully animated, spirited – fun – cartoon filled with action and excitement. That none of those elements carried over is what made the film truly disappointing.

Not that the day was a total loss. When I returned home from seeing THE LAST AIRBENDER, I watched 3 movies I enjoyed very much. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE and SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE were funny and entertaining. Alice Eve from SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE…a perfect 10, unquestionably.

And CONDORMAN – that childhood classic – was amazing. Even though I remembered not a single part, I can see why I would have enjoyed the film as a kid. It had everything: the everyday man mixed up with spies, car chases, boat chases, superhero costumes, action, explosions…I’m sure my 5 year old mind was blown at the time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 11 - The Movie Maven

Tara Perry is the Movie Maven. She is the host/star of a mostly weekly movie preview show online at Mania. The short program looks at upcoming movie releases, playing clips from the previews in between bits of clever banter. That Tara Perry is attractive, overenthusiastic, and hilarious goes a long way in making the show something I look forward to watching every week.

Over the past few months the show has grown. Episodes are more theme-based. Graphics and special effects much improved. But Tara Perry continues to remain the biggest asset of the show. She’s the kind of pop culture girl a pirate dreams about.

To that end, I’ve decided to embed the episodes here so that all may enjoy The Movie Maven.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 10 - Childhood Movies

Yesterday I managed to get my hands on a copy of WESTWORLD, a movie I vaguely remember watching as a kid twenty-five years ago. Written and directed by Michael Crichton, it’s the story of two guys whose vacation at a western-inspired theme park goes horribly wrong. The robots that populate the park, allowing you to truly experience the wild, wild west – gunfights and bar brawls and all – malfunction and then it’s man vs. machine as our heroes are pursued by The Gunslinger, a bald-headed, evil cowboy terminator in black.

I only remembered the general idea of the film, and the look of the relentless Gunslinger – a sliver-eyed Yul Brynner – but I knew I enjoyed watching the movie, even if at the time, I remember being quite scared. (But then, what movie didn’t scare me at that age?) Over the years I’d remember seeing the movie and occasionally would check the shelves at Best Buy, or a video store to see if they had a copy with no such luck. For some reason or another I thought of it again yesterday and was fortunate enough to find it at Borders.

Even though it was made in 1973, even though I absolutely loathe movies made in the 1970’s, WESTWORLD held up pretty well. Just enough of a sci-fi story mixed with the appeal of a western to still be enjoyable. Sure, the effects are lacking when compared to today’s standards, but – and maybe this is the nostalgia speaking – I still really liked it.

I’m holding out hope that the copy of Disney’s CONDORMAN I ordered yesterday (another of my favorite movies to watch as a kid) still has a little of the same magic left in it in as well.