February 28, 2005
With her 2003 Oscar for Lead Actress in one hand, and the 2004 Razzie in another, she proudly proclaimed, "They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!" She then dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first."
I was never much of a Halle Berry fan. Sure she's pretty, but I was never too impressed with her acting. Personally I feel she got her one chance with Monter's Ball and made the most of it, but for the most part she continue to take roles in films like Razorfish and X-Men. But at least she's got a sense of humor about the whole thing and understands not to take herself, or the ribbing of others, too seriously. Can't say that about Mr. Sean Penn, who proved to everyone watching the Oscars Sunday night that, yes, he has absolutely no sense of humor. It was hinted at last October when he laid into the creators of South Park, but calling out Chris Rock for making a joke about Jude Law being in every film put out in 2004 proves that Mr. Penn is the wet blanket you throw on the other wet blankets if they start having fun.
Found this site full of magazine ads for PCs from the early to mid 1980s. Wild stuff. Ads for Commodore 64s and Vic-20s, Bill Bixby and Bill Cosby pushing rudimentary computer systems - It's all so trippy.
But my favorite one is the one above. Legendary SciFi writer Issac Asimov making a pitch for the TRS-80.
Ed, I hope you enjoy that.
The rush to buy tickets the first weekend is that I wanted to be sure to get two tickets together. The Cubs sellout their tickets very quickly - the last few years especially fast - and I didn't want to get left having to go through a broker or scalper.
See, Ian's been asking a lot to go see the Cubs. He's been specific - he wants to go see the Cubs. I figured that Ian will turn six-years old this July and he's enjoyed going to the Kane County Cougars games, so it's probably the right time for Ian first big trip to the Friendly Confines. Plus, I haven't been to a Cubs game in forever. I literally can't remember the last time went to Wrigley Field.
Buying the tickets online presented its challenges. Cubs.com would put you in a virtual waiting room of sorts and then check every thirty seconds to see if there was room for you to get in and buy tickets. Saturday morning was a bust - I never got in. But Saturday evening around 5:30 I made my way in and was able to get two tickets to the August 24th game against the Atlanta Braves. I'm really looking forward to it. I hope he has fun.
Just don't tell Ian about it. He doesn't know and I want it to be a surprise.
February 26, 2005
In California they hope to evade the attention of local police officers when they ride a bike in a swimming pool and curse on a crazy-golf course.Please be on the loookout for these criminals.
They also will break the law by taking a nap in a cheese factory in South Dakota.
In Hartford, Connecticut they could be picked up for crossing the street while walking on their hands.
I don't buy a whole of toys, but as Ian will confirm, I still end up buying three or four figures from each of the Star Wars movies as they have come out over the last 6 years. Starwars.com has some nice shots of some of the first figures to hit the shelves this spring and I already see some contenders for who I will be picking up.
Gotta get me a Obi-Wan figure. Haven't picked one up since Phantom Menance and like the look of the character with the beard. As the movies have gone along I have become a big fan of the Obi-Wan character. Never gave him much attention in the classic trilogy - he was just this old wizard who spoke almost as cryptically as Yoda. Ewan McGregor's version of Obi-Wan is a real SciFi action hero. I dig the guy. This figure that they are putting out for Sith would go nicely with the collection that is slowly taking over the top of my dresser at home.
I'm excited about seeing Chewbacca and all the Wookies in Sith and think this figure looks great. Much better than some of the earlier versions that have been done for the character as part of the classic trilogy. Plus, how can you turn down a figure that promotes "Wookie Rage."
Now I probably won't pick up this Clone Trooper figure - I still prefer the look of the Stormtroopers from the classic trilogy over the clones. But I couldn't help but notice how the look of the clone trooper changes in Sith (well, according to this figure anyways) to be moving towards the eventual style of armor of the Stormtroopers in Star Wars Episode IV. The changes are subtle, but they are there.
There are plenty of other great looking Jedi figures and pretty neat Darth Vader and Emperor figures - so I'll have a bunch of figures to choose from. Can't wait for these to be released.
February 25, 2005
The World of Longmire has taken the covers of romance novels and reimaged or remixed them for very funny results.
The "I'm About To Let One" was one of my favorites, though "Lord of the Tube Socks," and "For The Love of Scottie McMullet" are in a close second. I'm hoping they make more.
Check them out.
Please. It's frickin candy. I don't think eating a cherry-flavored snake that looks like it was run over by a truck is going to make any kid go out and start drowning puppies.
People need to lighten the fuck up.
February 24, 2005
You figure out how to turn the top of your car's stick shift into a 20-sided die used frequently in role-playing games - and chick magnetic - Dungeons & Dragons.
Michael's son Jeff, an accomplished writer in his own right, took it upon himself to build on his dad's Pulitzer winning novel and wrote to works to bookend The Killer Angels. Gods and Generals focuses on the events from the start of the Civil War up to before the Battle of Gettysburg, and The Last Full Measure which recounts the end of the war. After finishing The Killer Angels I was very much interested in reading the other two books.
Yesterday I finished Gods and Generals, and while I enjoyed it tremendously, I think I was expecting The Killer Angels again. Jeff does an excellent job of recreating the events of the war and comes close to matching the tone of his father's writing, but ultimately I wasn't as impressed with the novel as I was with The Killer Angels.
Jeff, like his father, has obviously meticulously researched the Civil War before beginning to write. The book is full of all the details I came to expect. What was lacking was the same depth on insight into the men who fought the war. Jeff seems to focus most of his energies on Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. They really are the stars of the novel. Winfield Scott Hancock gets considerable attention, but not nearly that of the two Confederate generals. Although, Jeff wonderfully illustrates how the revolving door of top generals effectively rendered the Union Army toothless against the Confederate forces. From my studying of the Civil War I knew that all the changes at leadership prevented the Army of the Potomac from ending the rebellion quickly, but Jeff's novel brings it to life such that I ended up sharing the frustration of General Hancock, General Couch, and the like in their army inability to win the war when they had bigger numbers and were better supplied than the rebels.
Another aspect of the writing that I noticed was how I felt Jeff failed to bring the intensity to the battle scenes that I remember from The Killing Angels. His descriptions lacked the raw emotions and frantic activity that his father so vividly brought to life in his book. The war scenes are horrific, don't get me wrong. I just felt that they didn't display the brutality of the fighting that went on in the Civil War
I think I was judging this book on two levels. At once an entertaining historical novel on it's own, and the same time a comparison of father and son in writing skills. On the first point it clearly scored high marks. Gods and Generals is a wonderful read, especially if you enjoy Civil War, or even early American history. As a comparison of father and son, I have to give Michael the edge and ultimately it flavors my overall impression of the book. It's a great novel, but it's no The Killer Angels
A couple weeks ago the comic book store I frequent had a huge sale on all DC trade paperbacks. I took full advantage of the sale, picking up some books I really wanted to read. One of those books was Grant Morrison's and Frank Quitely's JLA: Earth 2. This was originally published back 2001 after Morrison had wrapped up his run on the regular monthly JLA title. It's a stand-alone graphic novel in which the JLA of Earth become aware of different version of Earth in an anti-matter universe with super-powered beings of its own. There the Crime Syndicate of Amerika rules the world with an iron fist and Alexander Luthor fights to free the people of Earth (or Earth 2) from the CSA's grip. Essentially, on Earth 2 what is good here is evil there, what is evil here is good there, and evil always wins in the end on Earth 2.
What I loved about Morrison's run on JLA was his completely mad ideals and concepts. The guy's brain is twisted like nothing I have ever seen. What I think hurt his run on JLA was the artist DC teamed with him. Nearly all of Morrison's JLA stories were brought to the page by the pencil work of Howard Porter - whose style is ill-suited to bring Morrison's larger-than-life ideas to life on the page.
Luckily, such is not the case with JLA: Earth 2. Frank Quitely is more than capable of giving Morrison's story and grand concepts the visual punch they deserve. Quitely still draws some of the homeliest women I have ever seen (making the seduction scene by Superwoman hard to believe), but over all he captures and executes graphically at a level that Porter was never able to reach.
I think you know where I am going with this review. I get an over the top superhero story supported by an artist with the skills to match up with the mad Morrison concepts being presented. It was a great read. I'm really glad I picked it up.
The doctors at Angthong Hospital, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Bangkok, used a chemical solvent, acetone, to dissolve the glue in the monk's right eye, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday. The two-hour operation was done Tuesday.
"His eye is not damaged, the right eye can see clearly after the operation and the doctors said the left eye also is not damaged," a hospital spokesman said.
The monk, Phra Khru Prapatworakhun, who is the abbot of a temple in Angthong, was to have his left eye operated on Thursday, the spokesman said.
February 23, 2005
I'm not complaining, mind you. I love the Batman cartoon series and love owning these great collections. I just wish I had time to watch all the great stuff I have on DVD. Besides these wonderful animated shows, I still have to get through the Lord of the Rings films, plus a number of DVDs I received for Christmas. I just can't keep up. Although Warner Brothers hasn't officially revealed which shows will be in volume 3, TV Shows on DVD has made a guess at what will be in the collection based on what has already been released.
I won't list them all here, but it would include appearances from Ra's al Ghul, Bane, and Batgirl - which is very cool. Plus, this collection could include the classics "Harlequinade" and "Harley's Holiday", both starring Harley Quinn. Very, very funny.
Even though I don't know when I'll get chance to watch these, I know I want to own them. I'll get there someday.
You walk in, choose what cereal (or cereals) you want from the 30 they offer, pick from their 30 different cereal toppings, and they will load up a box for you take home with you new concoction. Or get it to go in the milk-tight Chinese take-out inspired containers.
For someone like Heather, who can (and will) ear cereal at every meal of a day - plus snacks, this is store made especially for her. The first Chicago store will be right by the Sear Tower (which I work within a block of), so maybe she and I can go give it a try the next time she comes down to visit at lunchtime. We can have cereal for lunch.
There is a interesting interview with Eggers in the Onion's AV Club this week. What I found particularly thought provoking is when the interviewer turned the questioning towards advancing the form of literature versus creating enduring works of art.
O: Does the goal of experimentation, or the it's-hard-to-say-no philosophy, come into conflict with the urge to create enduring works? Would you prefer to publish something groundbreaking but ephemeral, or something weightier that might become a lasting classic?
DE: That's an interesting point, because this is something I've been talking about with friends lately. I think we're in a fairly conservative time creatively, in terms of our books that are popular-
O: By "our books," do you mean books McSweeney's publishes, or books in American society?
DE: Yeah, I mean the English-speaking literary world. If you look at the books that we still remember, that are taught, that are canonical, I think a great percentage of them are formally groundbreaking. The number-one book on everybody's list is Ulysses. This is certainly not a conservative book; this is the wildest, most formally bizarre experiment of its time. There are countless examples of other canonical books that sought first to do something great with the craft. It wasn't enough just to have a great story; James Joyce had to tell it in a way that no one had before. I think right now we're in a time where people don't really have the patience for that kind of thing as much as they once did. As readers, we are all a little bit more impatient to get to the point. "Don't bother me with experimentation, just tell me what I need to know." I think that's borne out by the fact that the groundbreaking stuff we've seen published over the last 10 years is commercial, and has found a fan base.
O: Then are you personally producing experimental works primarily to satisfy readers who are seeking out non-mainstream work, or to wake up readers who have become inured to a mainstream style?
DE: Oh, that's a good question. Ooo, ooo. I don't know. To get interested in writing something myself, I have to look at it and say, "Okay, what's going to go on formally here that hasn't been done before? What can be done that would surprise people?" As a reader, I need to be surprised by every sentence. I don't want to read to just find out what happens. I need to have that pleasure in the words, then in the thinking behind them. So I have to approach it that way to get interested in writing, myself. In terms of what the priorities are, when I'm really being true to myself-a friend of mine recently said that no matter what he's writing, he always writes the book he would want to read. I think sometimes we forget that, and we try to think of what other people might want to read, or some sort of compromise between the two. I think that which is most artistically important and lasting are those things that are strange and new. Readers across the board are going to like a balance between "palatable" and "accessible."
I read all sorts of books, and I know that pieces that stick with me are the ones that brought something "strange and new" to my attention. Whether it was in story structure, writing style, character portrayal, or subject matter. What I want is for a writer or artist to show me something that I've never seen before. Or if it is something I've seen before, put a unique twist on it.
I think that this demand of continuously being challenged is why I have little patience with television shows and most ongoing comic series. Unless the artists and creators continue to evolve and bring new things to their work, they end up rehashing concepts and stories they have already done and I lose interest.
I could have stopped halfway down the page, but I couldn't. I read the whole thing. The temptation was too strong. If the spoilers are true, then Revenge of the Sith will truly be the darkest Star Wars movie ever.
If you want to take a peak - here you go. Be warned though, these spoilers - if true - could be giving away major plot points. So if you wanted to be surprised the whole way through your viewing of Revenge of the Sith skip the link altogether.
Curse you Petezilla with providing the temptation. The lure of insider Star Wars knowledge is just too great.
February 22, 2005
Toy Fair 2005 is this week. I've been checking in on the major toy news sites to see what fun and interesting things are going to be showing up this year considering there are releases of both a Star Wars and Batman movie this summer. I love my Star Wars and Batman toys.
By far the strangest thing I've seen I didn't find through any of the popular toy news websites, but rather a comic book blog I read regularly: The Beat.
Heidi MacDonald, who runs The Beat was at Toy Fair and snapped the photo above of Wow Wee's Chimpanzee Facetronic.
As Heidi describes the item, "It's an animatronic chimp head that sits on a shelf, follows you with its eyes and responds to pats under the chin with screeching and making other monkey sounds."
At least they didn't give the chimp head any robotic arms, because then it might be compelled to through electronic monkey poop at you.
Case in point. Ian was home from school for the President's Day holiday yesterday and he and his sister were wrestling/playing. Apparently Ian took a shot to the groin, which predicated the following conversation between siblings:
Ian: "Ow. My penis."
Emma (imitating her big brother): "Ow. My penis."
Ian: "You don't have a penis, you have a Gina"
Emma: "A Gina? No, I have a penis."
Heather was laughing so hard her coffee shot out her nose.
While Zoe doesn't get into arguments over who does or doesn't have a penis in the family, she is still entertaining nonetheless. She's this close to walking, laughs constantly - which shows off her 6 teeth beautifully, tries to join in when I'm having a pillow fight with Ian and Emma after dinner, and will roar like a lion or meow like a kitty if you ask her nicely. She's a scream.
Here are the top ten shows most popular with TiVo's Season Pass program:
1. Desperate Housewives
2. The Apprentice
4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
5. American Idol
8. CSI: Miami
9. The West Wing
Today I learned about a site the sells open source coffee pods - to coin a term. Learned about it from the BoingBoing blog. Cafepods.com sells all sorts of pods in all sorts of flavors. You just have to pick the right pod size that fits with your machine.
Normally I would be worried about remembering to tell Heather about this new find when I got home this evening; but because I knew she is a regular reader of the blog and usually checks in one or twice a day, I knew I could post here and she would learn everything I needed to tell her.
Oh - Heather, if you're looking for prices on the pods and it's listed in pounds - click on the American flag at the top of the page and it will convert the prices to American currency.
February 21, 2005
It's an interesting (and funny) comparison, but Batman Begins is still where I want to be. Of course I'm a bit biased.
Plus I hate Tom Cruise. No one man should be that good looking, have that much success in his life, and get that many good looking woman. It's just not fair. I like his movies though. Oh, I hate Brad Pitt for the same reason.
February 19, 2005
Can't say that this promo makes me change my initial opinions on the project from when I first heard about it. This looks like another vanilla cartoon series using classic Warner Brothers Looney Tunes characters. It will probably go the way of Baby Looney Tunes and Space Jams as forgettable uses of Bug Bunny and Company.
Of course I won't make it there. So I'll just have to wait for the official opening on May 19th.
February 18, 2005
As I watched Fellowship in bursts over a number of nights, I realized something remarkable. Usually when I see a film or television adaptation of a book I have read, I pick it a part. Noticing how the characters don't look or sound like they do in my head when I read the novel. Or how the places and scenes don't match the pictures I have created in my imagination. This never happened when I watch any of the Lord of the Rings films. Peter Jackson and his crew actually met my expectations and pre-conceived notions of who the characters were and what Middle Earth would look and sound like. That's amazing. I think it's one of the reasons I instantly loved these movies so much. It is like seeing my own imagination projected up on the screen for me to see with my own eyes.
I can't wait to watch the next two.
From the official Cartoon Network press release: Premiering on Cartoon Network on weekdays beginning Monday, April 4, at 9 a.m. ( ET, PT ), Krypto the Superdog chronicles the comedic canine adventures of Metropolis’ day-saving super dog from the planet Krypton. Krypto jettisons to Earth after orbiting countless years in space as a test-pilot puppy aboard a malfunctioning rocket ship built by Superman’s father. Landing astray on unfamiliar terrain, the fully-grown Krypto swiftly seeks out companionship on Earth and flips over Kevin Whitney, a young boy who also longs for friendship. Endowed with an amazing array of superhero powers, ranging from heat vision to super strength to flying, Krypto partners with best pal Kevin to fight threats to the safety and well-being of the people and animals of Metropolis.
The show will be part of CN's new programming called Tickle U, which will "focus on developing, nurturing and valuing a child’s sense of humor, an essential aspect of a happy, well-adjusted child." The shows that make up Tickle U will be aimed at kids ages 2-5. Hopefully something like Loonatics is left out of this and CN sprinkles in some classic Looney Tunes. Nothing could do more to help nurture and develop a child's sense of humor than old Bugs and Daffy cartoons.
However, there is a new contender who quickly fighting for position at the top of cover artist list: James Jean. Jean has been doing covers for Fables since the beginning, and he's starting to get work on other covers at DC Comics. He brings a unique style to his covers, drawing on his painting/illustration background. The result is some stunning cover art. In my opinoin they make for the perfect cover for a title like Fables and the book's unique premise.
His covers for Green Arrow are equally as impressive. I posted one here last month, but here is another example of Jean's particular take on how to dress up the cover of (and get attention for) a monthly comic.
He sure can make a picture that uses only a few different colors really jump out and capture your eye. It's quite remarkable. I look forward to seeing more of his work on the comic shelves.
As long as I'm talking about cover artists and who I like. Jock, the artist for one of my favorite titles, The Losers, can also consistently turn out a damn fine looking cover. Case in point: what he did for an upcoming Catwoman cover.
"They'll fill vials with tap water and capture samples of air. They'll scoop up soil, take note of lawns and outdoor plants. In rural Wisconsin and New York City, they will ask mothers for samples from umbilical cords and placentas. Babies and toddlers will contribute samples of urine, feces, and saliva. Mothers and fathers from the desert Southwest and small towns in Pennsylvania will sit down to answer detailed questions on their health, their illnesses, and their family histories of illness. Researchers will ask about exercise, diet, and how much TV kids watch.
In all, 100,000 children and their parents will be enrolled in the largest ever study of youngsters. Called the National Children's Study, it will be a 21-year odyssey of discovery, following children from the uterus to the threshold of adulthood. By carefully watching and waiting, researchers hope to gain a better understanding of major diseases that strike children."
Big studies like this are helpful. The article cites the the Framingham Heart Study. Begun in 1948, it has been able to discover the risk factors that lead to heart disease. I hope this one is allowed to follow through on its ambitious plan to follow kids for 21 years. The group is only funded for the first few years, and will need substantially more money in later years if they want to complete the work Congress commissioned back in 2000.
It will take some time to get to the answers, but I believe they're answers worth working for.
Now i can sh0z /\/\y m4d sk1llz on teh k3ybord when t41KN w /\/\y KiDz
When the scientists tried to take the machine away, the monkeys used the robotic arm to throw poop at them.
February 17, 2005
It was announced today that Warner Brothers will be launching a new kids cartoon show on KidsWB this fall called Loonatics. The stars of the show will be descendants of the famed Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the like - however they will be superheros and the year will be 2772.
David Janollari, president of the Kids' WB, said "Wow, what a great way to take the classic Looney Tunes franchise that has been huge with audiences for decades and bring it into the new millennium."
What? The original characters have been huge with audiences for years so you change them!?
I don't get it. My kids love the old cartoons. The original Looney Tunes shorts are classics that stand the test of the time and entertain regardless of whether you are 9 or 99. They're as funny now as they were in the 1950s. There isn't a need to "bring them into the new millenium." The Looney Tunes cartoons will work in any millenium because they are funny.
The items that caught me eye . . .
Batman in Flight Statue
Of all the items being offered, that one looks pretty cool. Not sure where I would put it, but that's an problem I'll probably not have to worry about.
Speaking of the comic, I finished Sin City: A Dame to Kill For today. Around this time last year, shortly after the development of the Sin City movie go under way, I sold all my individual issues of Sin City comics on eBay. The big money I made there allowed me to not only purchase the trade paperback collections of those individual issues, but also a bunch of other stuff. It was the equivalent of taking my money out of stocks and putting them into bonds - from a comic book collection standpoint.
It's probably been about 12 years since I last read A Dame to Kill For, so I got to come into it fairly fresh. I still remember some of the bigger plot points and major scenes, but details were fuzzy. The net result was that I was absolutely knocked on my ass by the comic. Re-reading A Dame to Kill For reminded me why I love Miller's work so much. The atmosphere, the characters, and the art - it's all top notch and wickedly cool. Miller hasn't put out any new Sin City stories since the lack luster Sin City: Hell and Back (the only Sin City trade I didn't purchase with my eBay revenues), but if the sum total of his Sin City work is no more than what has come out to date - then it's been a glorious run and I'm glad that I have what I have. I can re-read his books for a long time. The stories are so entertaining and the visuals so compelling you want to come back again and again.
A pair of paintings from artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge's series of dogs playing poker sold yesterday for $590,400. That's a lot of coin for dogs playing cards.
It just grabs me as funny that something as ridiculous as these painting could command such a high price at auction.
Ian has been running a low fever all this week. No other symptoms. Just the fever. Though the typical stuffy nose developed yesterday morning. He's been in good spirits: eating well, fighting with his sister, reading, and playing with his GameBoy. He just can't seem to shake the fever. He already missed his class' Valentine's party on Monday and he was upset that he had to miss computer class on Wednesday. Heather's decided to hold him out of school again today because he still has a fever - albeit a low one. She's calling the doctor today and hopes to get him in early.
It's just frustrating to see him sick with a fever like this for so long. Hopefully the doctor will shed a little light on things.
UPDATE: Ian went to the doctor late this morning and everything looks fine. They want to see him again if the fever hasn't gone away by Saturday though. So it's back home for more watching TV and pushing liquids.
February 16, 2005
For me, I can take it or leave it. I'm a healthy red-blooded American heterosexual - I like to see pictures of pretty girls in bikinis out on the beach. But if SI stopped publishing it, I wouldn't miss it. I subscribe and read SI on a weekly basis because I love their sports coverage and especially enjoy some of their writers. Peter King, Rick Reilly, and Steve Rushin to name a few. Which, actually, is the basis for Chicago Tribune sports writer Ed Sherman's comments in today's Trib.
Sherman doesn't object to the swimsuit issue out of some sense of higher moral beliefs, but rather he hates to see such a heavyweight in the sports reporting business lower itself to what is essentially a Maxim knock-off once a year. All of the sports publications do swimsuit issues and magazines like Maxim, FHM, and Stuff fill the newsstands every month. So why should SI continue on with a concept that is getting pretty tired? It's a good question.
I agree with Mr. Sherman. I like his arguments and think SI should take them to heart. There's plenty of places for someone to get a picture of a pretty girl in a bikini on the beach, but you can't get the great sports photography, reporting, and commentary from SI just anywhere. I think it's time for the sun to set on the SI Swimsuit issue and for the editors of SI to stay focused on what they do best.
February 15, 2005
I could watch this thing over and over. It is mesmerizing.
It's wierd but also a little fun.
Originally uploaded by bmckillip.
This cartoon pretty much sums up how I feel at times when it comes to Social Security. Give it a click to see it full size.
Incidently, I'm playing around with Flickr now for handling pictures. Tried this once before with Picasa, but didn't like it. Flickr has been around for about a year and is very popular, so I'm giving it a try. Still have to see if I can tweak the posting template to my tastes, which might be a challenge.
February 14, 2005
Before Brian McKillip became a successful lawyer in the Chicagoland area, he sent three years trying to get his maintenence-free cat business off the ground. Named Hands-Free Kitty, the company attempted to sell what amounted to cat heads surgically attached to a life-support box of sorts. This self-contained pet product was designed for busy professionals who wanted to have a pet cat, but didn't have the time or the know-how to care for the pet. Happy Hands-Free Kitty owners would only have to add a little water to the back of the box every morning and remember to plus the unit at night to charge the kitt's life-support systems up. Needless to say, Brian's concept never really caught on with pet owners and he was forced to abandon his dream and settle on practicing law in suburban DuPage County.
Looks like there is a greenhouse effect and it's been slowly building over the years. The warmest year on record was 1998, with 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third, respectively. 2005 could take the new #1 spot.
What does this mean to me? I thought I might have to swallow my pride and actually buy a pair of sandals so my feet don't frickin' bake in shoes through the increasingly hotter Chicago summers. I'm sorry, a man's foot should not be seen in public unless he's going completely bare-foot - the full foot monty if you will. I don't want to see no hairy man-toes peaking out from Birkenstocks when I'm in McDonald's trying to score me a Big Mac. It's just gross.
I will concede that these guys and their sandaled feet are probably more comfortable during the warm summer months. I know my feet get pretty hot in full shoes and socks and I don't want to deal with the stink of going sock-less in shoes during the summer. Sandals do have that appeal to them. Providing feet that are free of the constraints of cotton and leather uppers to feel the cool breezes of a summer afternoon. But then I remember those hairy man-toes and I just have to say "NO!"
But I might have found my saving grace: Land's End. I could get these shoes, or even these shoes. Athletic shoes that are advertised as being nearly as ventilated as a sandal. Some even have a sock of sorts already built into the shoe. They look pretty good too.
Ah, I might have dodged me a hairy man-toe bullet there my friends.
At least the family that we carpool with will take his valentines in to school for him today, and when Ian does go back to school he'll be able to pick up the stuff he would have gotten if had been there. So all his work won't be for naught. But he'll still miss the party and all the fun that brings to kindergarteners. I mean, of all the days to get sick he has to get sick on one of the days there will actually be a party at school. That just sucks. Poor guy.
February 13, 2005
This past week we had some problems with the van and had to take it into the shop for repairs and general maintenance. It was then that I realized that we might have to start considering a new - larger - car for our second car. In the past, if we had to drop the van off for repiars or whatever, there wasn't a problem. Our whole family could fit within the little Neon, car seats and all. But now with three kids - and they all need to be in car seats still because of the law in Illinois - there is no way to get everyone into the Neon. It caused quite a hassle when it came time to drop off and pick up the van this weekend. Now we needed to either find somone to watch the kids while we make the exchange or get someone to drive us to the repair place. Luckily we were able to make it work this time. But I hated having to rely on someone else like that in order to take care of our business. That's when I started thinking that a larger car to replace the Neon might be a nice thing.
Having a bigger car not only would allow us to move all the kids in either vehicle, it would also provide us the extra cargo space to carry all their shit. And there is a lot of it. Sometimes I'm struggling to get everyone' stuff into the van when where making a trip to Ohio to visit Heather's family. Plus, we could get ourselves a nicer looking vehicle for when Heather and go out by ourselves. The Neon is nice and all, but I feel a little silly when Heather and I go to a wedding or a nice restaurant to celebrate an anniversary and we pull up in our old Neon. I'm not a guy who gets all hung up on what kind of vehicle I'm driving, but at times like that I wish I had something with a little more class when I'm taking my wife somewhere.
I haven't really looked at anything specifically and I don't know if we'll do anything in the near future (it's nice not having any car payments), but it's fun to think about the possibilites. One of the cars that have caught my eye is the Chrysler Pacifica. The vehicle is a cross between a station wagon and a SUV, but with a touch of style. I think they look pretty nice on the road.
I haven't actually read anything about the Pacificas, so I don't know if they get good mileage or handle poorly or blow-up when you make u-turns. Like I said, I haven't done any serious looking into anything yet. I do know that my Aunt Mary drives one - or at least I think she does. No matter. For right now I'm digging the car because it looks smart, the price isn't too high, and I'm confident I could fit my family and their stuff all into it if I needed. Something I'm not getting with the Neon right now.
Stay tuned to see if anything develops with this one.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez talks with people who were affected by flooding in Araira in Miranda state, about 50 km from Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2005, after floodwaters receded following a disaster that has left at least 15 people dead. (AP Photo/Miraflores, Marcelo Garcia)
February 11, 2005
However, back in December I noticed that when I did a search for "brendan mckillip" on Google, I wasn't getting the results I used to get. The first page of results were almost all links to brendanmckillip.com - most notably archive pages of my blog. Back in December I saw a switch in what was getting returned. Now almost all the links on the first page of results have to do with me, but they all point to other websites from brendanmckillip.com.
At first it irked me but really didn't bother me. That was until I realized that because Google had clearly changed some of their indexing logorithmns, now the fun little search box on brendanmckillip.com to search my site no longer could really search my site. Basic searches on subjects the I write a lot about - Batman, comics, cartoons - weren't returning like they should in search. Frustrating. Especially considering that because of the work that I do, I know something about Search Engine Optimization and have done what I could to incorporate that into the design of this site. I guess I have to do more.
So I've pulled the Google search feature from the site. Disappointing for me, but not horrible. I would like to have something there in it's place because it helps me when writing blog entries to reference something I might have written about in the past. But I'll make due.
Incidently, the Yahoo! search on "brendan mckillip" returns the types of results that I had come to expect on Google. The MSN search isn't quite what I would hope, but at least this blog comes up first. Yahoo and MSN , of course, use different search software than Google. I was hoping that Yahoo had a free search module similar to the one Google provides, but no dice.
Miller was clearly one of the greatest playwrights America ever produced, and his contributions to the theater and the culural landscape are profound. Though it is sad to hear of his passing, it's comforting to know that he will live on through his many works.
Only a couple of weeks in and we're already pulling in Corey Feldman? You already know Emmanuel Lewis will probably take the stand at some point. And what about Bubbles, that lovable scamp of a chimp? This trial has the potential to be a perverted episode of VH1's I Love the 80's.
February 10, 2005
Here are two short videos of Zoe trying to walk and collapsing into a fit of giggles. Sorry about the poor video quality, the only thing handy at the time was out digital camera and it's sub-par video shooting capabilities.
LONDON (Reuters) - A British woman was sentenced to two and a half years in jail Thursday for ripping off her ex-lover's testicle with her bare hands during a drunken brawl after he refused her sex.These two guys should get together. They're like their own special little club.
Amanda Monti, 24, flew into a rage in May last year after Geoffrey Jones, 37, who had ended their long-term relationship, rejected her advances.
She grabbed him by the genitals, tearing off his left testicle, then hid it in her mouth before a friend of Jones handed it back to him saying "that's yours."
February 09, 2005
I look at Zoe and see the huge stains all across the top of her sweatshirt. If I had pictures I'd share.
Heather: "Well, blood and grape juice. Zoe was playing on the kitchen floor when suddenly she started crying really hard. I didn't see what she did exactly, but she managed to bite her upper lip pretty good and it was a bleeder. The grape juice came later."
Brendan: "Obviously . . . "
Heather: "I don't think those stains are ever coming out."
In addition to the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, my in-laws gave me some cash for my birthday. I set it asside explicitly for buying these sets. So I was just sitting on the money to buy these DVD collections and finally got to pull the trigger last week. Plus, I learned when you bought the two sets together, you could get a $10 rebate. That effectively reduced the cost of the Superman DVD set to eight bucks. 18 quality Superman cartoons for $8. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Not sure when I'm going to get to watch all these great cartoons. I'm pretty well jammed up on my DVD viewing, and demands on my time aren't going away any time soon. Never the less, I'm excited about having them and having the option of popping them in at anytime to enjoy a Batman or Superman adventure.
February 08, 2005
You see public celebrations like this, or similar things in Germany, Spain, or France, and you realize just how puritanical U.S. culture is. I mean this nation practically had a coronary when an aging pop star flashed a nipple for two seconds at the Super Bowl a year ago. Meanwhile, in Brazil they parade people wearing practically nothing down the street and everyone loves it.
Why are we so uptight?
LONDON (Reuters) - A Welsh rugby fan cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.
Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, "If Wales win I'll cut my balls off," the paper said.
Friends at the club in Caerphilly, south Wales, thought he was joking.
But after the game Huish went home, severed his testicles with a knife, and walked 200 yards back to the bar with the testicles to show the shocked drinkers what he had done.
Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in serious condition, the paper said.
Wales's 11-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was their first home win over England in 12 years.
February 07, 2005
One stick-in-the-mud neighbor filed a lawsuit complaining that the cookies had triggered an anxiety attack that sent her to the hospital the next day. She had become frightened when the girls knocked on her door at 10:30pm.
The judge awarded the dorkus neighbor medical costs, but refused to give any punitive damages. (The article doesn't say what ass-face was asking in terms of punitive damages).
I'm asking Heather to whip up a batch of cookies which I plan to put in the mail for Ms. Over-reaction tomorrow. My note will read, "Boo!"
Rucka and Brubaker created Gotham Central and artist Lark defined the distinctive "look" of the title. I felt the book took a bit of hit when Lark left, but DC has found artists that match Lark's style enough that I still enjoy the book. But now with one of the writers gone as well, I start to worry about what the future holds for Gotham Central. One of the nice things about having two writers with a shared creative vision was that you got different types of stories depending on which writer was handling the current storyline. But even with different types of stories, the overall feel of the book remained consistent. It kept the book fresh, and freed up the writers to recharge between story arcs. It would also effectively lengthen the run of the book. One writer would only have so many stories to tell about the characters before running dry creatively. Having two writers switching off, and even collaborating at times, means you got three times as many potential stories. And provided the sales are there to support it, three times the length of run for the title.
So now I'm worried that Gotham Central won't run as long as it could have. While it's consistently been one of my favorite titles over the last two years, if the run is shorter - then the run is shorter. I've enjoyed it with Rucka and Brubaker tag teaming, and I'll enjoy it through the end of Rucka's run. But I would have liked more.
February 04, 2005
The weirdest item has to be the C-3PO tape dispenser. There's something a lewd about it, if you ask me.
Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. Read the product description:
This "eye opener" of a gadget is an alarm clock come 4-piece jigsaw puzzle in one. When it's time to leave your incredibly cosy bed each morning, not only will your ears be treated to a fantastic ringing melody, a 4-piece jigsaw puzzle randomly shoots out.
So what you ask? Well, in order to turn off a ringing alarm, you must solve the jigsaw puzzle, assembling it back on to the clock.
Seems easy...not! It's a great way to get up though, as by the time you've found all 4 pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and solved it, you'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the day ahead.
Never mind. If I have to jump out of bed and perform a task to shut off the alarm, I will not be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
He watched as it took 4 minutes for a Windows machine to be rendered inoperatable after connecting to the 'Net via a DSL connection for the first time. Morford asks the obvious question:
"Why the hell do people put up with this? Why is there not some massive revolt, some huge insurrection against Microsoft? Why is there not a huge contingent of furious users stomping up to Seattle with torches and scythes and crowbars, demanding the Windows Frankenstein monster be sacrificed at the altar of decent functionality and an elegant user interface?"If anyone can provide a logical answer to this, I and Mark Morford would like to hear it.
There is nothing else like this phenomenon in the entire consumer culture. If anything else performed as horribly as Windows, and on such a global scale, consumers would scream bloody murder and demand their money back and there would be some sort of investigation, class-action litigation, a demand for Bill Gates' cute little geeky head on a platter.
Luckily (!?) the guy had 60 bottles of beer in his car to fuel his urination marathon for life.
"I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."
Ian's reading skills are developing in leaps and bounds. Every day he is amazing with his new ability to read words he's never seen before or read entire books. It's like a little miracle watching your child learn how to read. I just know a whole new world is opening up for him now. It also means that Heather and I can no longer spell things in front of the kids. Ian's starting to be able to listen to the letters we're saying and put them together correctly to understand what we're talking about. The kid is smart.
The potty training goes extremely well. In fact, you could almost say we're done. Emma has been in "big girl" underpants all this week, and the number of accidents has been very small. I think I can count how many times she didn't make it to the bathroom in time on the fingers of my hands. Emma has done a fantastic job. We're all very proud of her. Of course now we all have to job to attention when Emma yells, "I HAVE TO GO PEEEEEE NOW!" Which isn't so bad, except Emma appears to have a bladder the size of pea. Oy! This is the polar opposite of her brother, who can go hours - maybe even days - without peeing.
Zoe is quite possibly the cutest kid on the planet. She loves to eat new things - no, she demands to eat new things. It can be frustrating at times. But then she smiles at you with those cheeks and you forget the frustrations. She is getting even better at standing and furniture-walking, but she is hesitant to try walking on her own. Even if Heather or I are holding her hands, she still prefers to crawl. She's just too damn good at it.
I've just posted some new photos of the kids in the photos section of the site. Here are some sneak peaks at what you can find:
Me? I am busy at work and home, but still trying to get in a little movie watchin' after hours. Heather is becoming a certified eBay junkie while she settles into a new Pilates routine that is making her feel and look great.