Saturday, December 31, 2005

RIP Chewy

I don't really want to write about it now. I'll post again later.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Good News/Bad News

Ok, so the bad news first. That's how it goes, right? We noticed that Spaz (that's what we named our hamster) was not happy and was getting more lethargic and depressed looking each day. She also smelled horrible and wasn't eating. So we took her back to Petco on Saturday to see what was up. Turns out she had wet tail, the hamster version of diarrhea. I felt horrible when the salesperson told me that she probably got it from us not washing our hands before we touched her or something like that. I already was sick and was hopped up on cold medicine so I got kinda weepy when we decided to just return her and have her treated in the store.

The good news is that we picked out a different hamster and brought him home. Well, Adam kind of picked him out because I was scared and sniffling. He picked a male that was kind of running up to the glass begging to be taken home. On the way home he got ahold of one of the air holes in the box and almost chewed his way out. I had to cover the hole he ripped open so he wouldn't escape into the car. While we cleaned out the cage and washed everything off to make sure no wet tail germs remained, we stuck him in the old cage where he preceded to chew on anything he could get his teeth around. When we got him into the new cage he explored for a bit and then went to work chewing at various parts of that cage. It was decided that "Chewy" was an appropriate name because it's apparently his favorite pasttime, followed closely by obsessive cleaning and food hoarding.

He's being a much more normal hamster with a healthy appetite and frisky personality. This leads us to believe that Spaz probably was sick before we got her here and it just got worse over the week we had her. This doesn't make me feel completely better, but it helps.

He's cute too... and he's scared of me, just like Spaz was...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Family Member

We went and bought a hamster on Sunday evening. I don't really remember how the whole subject came up but we talked about it for like 2 days and then went out to Petco and bought one. It's a light brown teddy bear (female.) We don't have a name for her yet, but Spaz or Psychotic seem appropriate. She is so skittish and nervous all the time. Maybe it's just because she seems to hate me... I don't know. But she needs to calm down or else she's going to give herself a heart attack.

I'm sure there will be a ton of pictures of her on this site. She's so cute... She needs a bigger cage though. She is a lot bigger than we thought she was. We're working on that...

As promised...

Not a very good picture of the license, but you can still see the horrible red gradiant thing they went with...and my awful, awful picture. *sigh*

Friday, December 16, 2005

Dumb Commercials

There are some really dumb commercials on tv this time of year. There are certain stores I will never shop at/item I won’t buy simply because their commercials annoy me. Most famously for that is Van Vreede’s. Their commercials are just pictures of their merchandise with this obnoxious voice-over by this man and woman. Right now their thing is no interest, no payments, no down payment etc. The lady says the “no” part and the guy says the other part. But she says it gradually louder until she’s yelling. No interest, NO payments, NOOOOO down payment!. It’s so annoying! I hate Van Vreede’s.

Another obnoxious commercial are those Welch’s grape juice ones with that little girl. Her voice alone is grating. Add to that the stupid dialogue and her screaming “forty” at the end of the purple grape one. Ugh! Good thing I don’t like grape juice in the first place because I definitely wouldn’t be buying Welch’s.

Winning the prize for most unrealistic is the current Aleve commercial. In each situation, this person doubles over in pain and whoever is with them whips out this box of Aleve and says, “Here, try this.” Who carries around Aleve still in its box? How ridiculous…

Don’t even get me started on those Stein Mart commercials. Who wears clothes like that? *shudder*

Then there are these LoanMax commercials. They had some on tv last year which were more disturbing than annoying. They had this big dude (think Jolly Green Giant) dressed up as an elf and this little dude (think Mini-me) dressed as Santa. For some reason he was driving this miniature car. It was just odd… I haven’t seen that yet this year, but now they have some radio spots. It’s quite obvious that these commercials were made in a different part of the country. As a native Wisconsinite, I realize we have quite the accent and an uncanny ability to completely change the pronunciation of any word just because we feel like it. Like the lake right next to 21 is Lake Butte des Morts. Proper French dictates that this should be pronounced “Beuooht day more.” But no, here in Wisconsin, it’s “beudemore.” Anyway, in this commercial they list off locations of their businesses in the area. The announcer pronounces Fond du Lac quite correctly “Fon doo lock”, but anyone from this area knows it’s really pronounced “Fon duh lack.” They pronounced Green Bay with the emphasis on “Green” when anyone from around here knows the emphasis is on “Bay.” They don’t really mess up Appleton, but that’s kind of hard to mispronounce. In this commercial they even have weird pronunciation of car and cash and catch. It’s the “a” or something. I don’t know. It just bothers me every time I hear the commercial.

New License

I forgot to mention previously that on Monday we went to the DMV to finally get our addresses changed. Only took a couple months… If I’m feeling brave perhaps I’ll take a picture of my new license. I decided to get a completely new one since my old one said I lived in Sheboygan and had the glaring red box around my head announcing that I was underage. The new licenses are pretty ugly. They’ve got this red gradient thing going on. My picture isn’t the greatest either. I look retarded. *sigh* Of course Adam’s picture came out all cute. Grrr. Life is unfair. :(

The Apprentice Finale

So the Apprentice finale aired last night. (The Donald version, that is.) I actually fell asleep while watching the Discovery Times channel so I missed the first 15 or 20 minutes of the program. The show was scheduled to go to 2 hours. Surprisingly, the first hour and a half was made up of the carrying out of the final tasks with minimal introduction and stupid comments from Donald and the announcer at the live party out in New York. After all of that, Donald spoke briefly with the eliminated candidates. I must say that Alla has really disappointed me. From the beginning of the season, she was one of my favorites. If you recall I actually predicted that she had a good chance of winning. All of the sudden in the last two episodes she turned into this monumental bitch with such an attitude that even Donald told her to shut up numerous times. Last night was no exception. She jumped all over Rebecca seemingly unprovoked and Donald had to tell her to back off yet again. *sigh* Is she ticked because everyone knows about her pole-dancing past or something? Yeesh.

This finale had little of the suspense or uncertainty of past seasons. It seemed from almost the beginning that Donald intended to hire both Randal and Rebecca. I mean this whole season has been out of the ordinary with multiple firings on one night and the total elimination of a team twice. When the candidates chose opposing projects it seemed to solidify that hunch. So when Donald said, “Randal, you’re hired” I really wasn’t surprised when he interrupted Randal’s celebratory dance and asked him to come back to the conference table. I WAS surprised when Randal did a 180 and let his ego get in the way of who he had projected himself to be throughout the whole interview process. When Donald asked if he thought that Rebecca should be hired as well, Randal selfishly proclaimed that the show was called “The Apprentice”, not “The Apprenti” (which, by the way, is NOT the plural form of apprentice…it’s not even a word! Nice going Rhodes scholar with 5 degrees…) so there should only be one - him. The crowd quite rightly booed while the credits rolled.

Last season it seemed that it would have been the right thing to do to hire both of the ladies in the final two. Kendra and Tana were two very different people and each one was suited for one of the two projects Donald lined up. It was a shame he chose to hire just Kendra. This season was even more shocking. I’m still hoping he’ll come back and tell Randal to get bent and hire Rebecca anyway. I think Randal lost a lot of supporters with that stupid move. It was totally out of character (unless he was just acting this entire time and this is a glimpse of his real self…)

All in all, a rather disappointing ending to an otherwise entertaining season. Kind of left me with a bad feeling.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I've got no title for this...

I finally got my act together, finished my letter and sent the cards out. If anyone who reads this wants one (and doesn’t get one) it’s because I don’t have your address. It’s up to you to get it to me. I figure anyone who’s important enough should let me know if they’ve moved. We’ll see if I get any of them back as undeliverable.

There’s not much going on here lately. The weather sucked for awhile, got better, and now it’s supposed to dump 6 inches of snow tonight. There’s no way to win weather-wise in Wisconsin. If it’s not the snow, it’s the -15 windchills or the roads of solid ice. Ugh. But once again it’s my own damn fault for not moving somewhere else when I had the chance…

The next few weeks are going to be interesting. Boring at times, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless. This week is pretty normal except that I had vacation yesterday. Adam went to the Packer game on Sunday night so I knew he’d be getting home in the early morning hours and would wake me up so I didn’t want to have to go to work after that. We did some shopping and caught up on some sleep. I’ll be in New London tomorrow (hopefully) finally getting the fixed assets inventoried. We’ll see how much the weather messes with those plans. The rest of the week should be relatively uneventful. I think the monthly meeting is Friday, but I’m not involved with that. I just reap the free donut benefits. Then I have plans to go hang with the accounting guys from college after work on Friday for a while. Hopefully some of the professors will show up since it’s the end of the semester over at UWO.

Next week I work Monday and half of Tuesday and then I’m off on vacation or holiday until the following Wednesday. Heh. This is what happens when you wait until the last minute to use your vacation time. Not that there’s really much going on during that time anyway. Pretty much everyone else is off anyway. IMA has their holiday meeting next Tuesday night and hopefully things go well with that. The speaker had been contacting me about setting equipment up (which I’m pretty sure isn’t in my job description) but I think I managed to get everything taken care of. Adam plans to come with me since it’s the “bring a guest” meeting of the year. I’m afraid he’ll probably be bored out of his mind and wonder what kind of person he’s with after meeting some of the IMA members. Eh. He should get a good meal out of it at least.

When I return to work on the 28th it will be time to gear up for year-end stuff. I’ll be out in New London again on the 30th to do some major job closings and G/L clean up before the end of the year. I caught the year-end closing right at the end last year so it will be interesting to see how things go from the start. Presto’s year-end always seemed pretty low-key. I came in on Saturday or Sunday a few times, but it really didn’t seem much more strenuous than a normal monthly close (excepting adjusting entries for taxes, accruals, etc…) I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Holiday-wise, I think I’m pretty much done doing whatever shopping I’m going to do. I still have to come up with something to get for Angie, my boss, though. I’m not sure what the appropriate gift is. Adam’s idea of a pen didn’t really do it for me. I’ll have to keep thinking on that one. As for other people, I’ve got a couple more ideas floating around in my head, but I’m not sure I’m going to act on them. I’m more focused on what kinds of things I want to get myself after Christmas :) I’ve really been making good use of my new mixer. This weekend I baked two different batches of cookies (peanut butter chip and peanut butter/chocolate chip) just because I felt like it. It was fun, and they turned out great. Made the house smell good for awhile. Kind of got rid of the onion smell that had been hanging around since I made meatballs. I’ll definitely be getting a food processor, but I’m also looking at getting serving dishes since I really don’t have anything like that. I’ve also been eyeing a few other things, but I only have so much space in the kitchen. I suppose we really could get rid of the duplicated appliances (like the two coffee makers sitting in the closet…) but I don’t know. I have this problem throwing perfectly good appliances out just because we found a better one. I don’t think Goodwill takes stuff like that either… *sigh*

Anywho, hopefully this “getting a cold” feeling will go away and I’ll be able to stay healthy during the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Community Property

Adam and I had a conversation about weddings and marriage and the like last night and it got me thinking about Wisconsin's screwed up community property laws again. One of the main reservations I have about getting married is because of these laws. I saw how they screwed my mom big time during her divorce and I have no intention of getting myself into that same boat. Not that I expect that to happen, mind you. You never know though.

I was just doing some research and it looks like a prenuptial agreement trumps the community property laws. This makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. There are only 8 states that have these stupid community property laws and Wisconsin has the most messed up version of them. Washington is one of the other seven. Evan & Jodi, I was wondering if you've come in contact with anything about the laws out there and what you think of the whole thing...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Funny how things work out...

While I was looking for the most recent copy of my resume (that being one of the things swept away into oblivion by the terrible hard-drive crash(es)) I ended up in the file manager of my geocities website for the first time in quite a while. I kind of stopped updating or changing that once I got my independent blog and photo sites. As I looked through all the pages there, I came to my “What I Want in a Man” page . This was up for a while, linked to my Yahoo! profile, just as a kind of guideline for all the loser guys who would randomly IM me. I figured if they could get through an entire page of bitchy text, they deserved my attention. I took it down soon after I graduated. Then something else in the file manager caught my attention. It was a page simply entitled “Adam.” Funny thing is this page was created (according to geocities) on March 13th - a month before I/we got my/our act together and became all official. Interesting…

John Irving Movies

My brother had written a blog entry about John Irving’s The Cider House Rules a while back and I had intended to comment on it. I didn’t get around to it and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I should give this topic its deserved amount of attention. There are those who would rather see a movie based on a book than read the book itself. There are those who would rather read the book than see the movie. To each their own, I say.

To my knowledge, these are the JI books that were adapted to the big screen. Let me know if I’ve missed any:

The World According to Garp (1982)
The Hotel New Hampshire (1984)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (as Simon Birch (1998))
The Cider House Rules (1999)
A Widow for One Year (at least the first half – as The Door in the Floor (2004))

I’ve seen them all and read all of the related books. I think I actually own all of them (the books) but Garp…

The World According to Garp
This is perhaps not the best JI book or movie to start with because it’s perhaps the most bizarre. That’s not saying much though, as most of his books are kind of out there. Big screen wise, Robin Williams plays the title character, Garp, with Glenn Close as his mother. Overall the movie was very well done. I’m not sure what else to say about this one. I’ve only read the book once and although it has one of my favorite completely messed up scenes ever (the one in the car in the rain…when she bites off his…you know…) I never really got into it too much.

The Hotel New Hampshire
I actually just finished reading this one for the third or fourth time last week. The movie has a lot of relatively well-known actors (Rob Lowe, Jodie Foster) but it is really just poorly made. It sticks to the general plot points of the book but it just doesn’t give it the pizzazz I think it could have had. Maybe it’s because it was made in the 80’s, but it just has that low budget look. The book itself is one of the stranger ones. There are several themes that keep finding themselves in JI’s books: prostitution, weight-lifting, wrestling, strange sexual situations, strained relationships, death in weird ways. Someone always seems to end up in Amsterdam or somewhere else in a German-speaking European country. This book has it all.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
This is actually the first JI book I got. It was a gift from Evan (although I believe he told me that Jodi is actually the one who picked it out.) It was interesting enough, but it’s really not one of my favorites. Too much overtly political commentary I guess. The movie kind of altered the story a bit and kept Owen (aka Simon) as a child throughout the entire film rather than have him grow up as he does in the book. The overall theme therefore changed quite a bit, but the ultimate “Owen/Simon as a hero” plot point remained. But a lot less politically motivated, with no mention of Vietnam. I found the movie (starring Ashley Judd, who I’m not too fond of) to be a little dippy. A feel-good movie of sorts I suppose, but just not my cup of tea. They had to take out all of the good parts because they altered the story so much from the original.

The Cider House Rules
I read the book before I rented the movie. Therefore I didn’t have that preconceived idea of what the characters should look and act like that my brother mentions. Charlize Theron is a beautiful woman, but I didn’t really like her as Candy. I don’t know. Something about her bothered me. My favorite character in the movie version was the man who played Mr. Rose. While I must say that The Cider House Rules is perhaps the best adaptation of one of JI’s books, I’m afraid there are some problems with it. Most noticeably, the character of Melony doesn’t exist in the movie. She is a rather important person in Homer’s life in the book. I just couldn’t understand why she had been eliminated in the movie version. I saw or read an interview with JI somewhere discussing this point. Apparently he believed that her character was too strong and would ultimately overpower the other more important plot points. I guess he has a valid point – and it’s kind of hard to get a 500+ page novel into a reasonable length movie. There are other changes that were made from the book and, while I thought the movie was pretty good, the book is definitely better.

A Widow for One Year
I must say that I was the most disappointed with this movie adaptation. What I think is most disturbing is that in the extras on the DVD there is an interview with JI and he appears to have been satisfied with the whole thing. *sigh* How can you be satisfied when someone turns your awesome book into some boring hour and a half long melodramatic snore-fest? I was really looking forward to this movie as this book is one of my favorites. Granted, they only tell half of the story in the movie. The cast was decent (Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger) but it just never gathered any momentum. The book is full of great scenes and lots of heartbreak and emotion that the movie never seems to capture. Not to mention that the second half of the book is probably the better half… Eh, I was highly unimpressed with the movie. The book definitely wins in this case.

I guess it must be mentioned that in order to get a decent rating from those parents over at the MPAA, each of the books that has been made into a movie had to lose some of its JI charm. He definitely has a messed up sense of humor and is, at times, quite crude. I mean, the subject matter alone is enough to put some people off: abortion (The Cider House Rules), incest/rape (The Hotel New Hampshire), swinging – the partner-swapping kind (The 158-pound Marriage).

Anyway, I guess my point is some authors write in such a way that it’s difficult to get a decent movie out of the original publication. Most of JI’s books are near or over the 500 page mark. They’re full of wonderful description and dialogue, but it’s just not practical to try and cram all of that into a movie. Of the attempts that have been made, I’d say that CHR was the most successful. He even got an Oscar for that. (Funny about that…in his most recent book, Until I Find You, the main character is a screenwriter of sorts and JI has him fictionally win that Oscar since he didn’t want to take the award away from someone else.)

Wow, I’ve almost written an essay here. Sorry about that. :) That’s just my two cents (or perhaps a dollar or so in this case.)