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So I went to see LOTR…

telynor and I went up to the Mall of Georgia’s IMAX theatre to see Lord of the Rings. As I expected, I have a lot of mixed feelings about the results.

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Weekend Update

I was gently chided recently by one of my friends for not posting enough about what’s going on with me lately. She pointed out, quite sensibly, that one can’t always assume that no news is good news, since I often went silent when I was dealing with lots of adversity. So this is an attempt at reporting what’s been going on, and those who don’t care to read such things will probably want to skip ahead to other items on their friends list, one of which is probably a good bit with links in it.

Friday night has become a TV night for kitanzi and me, as we snuggle up to watch Joss Whedon’s new series, Firefly, which is a nifty SF/Western with interesting characters. It’s not perfect, but it’s always intriguing, and gets lots of little things right. Rumours of the shows death have been hovering over its head since it premiered, so I hope this one isn’t going to turn into another show I really like that disappears after half a season. I intend to enjoy it as long as it runs, though.

kitanzi had been planning on going to my coworker Aileen’s baby shower, but she’d been feeling under the weather all week, so she elected to stay home rather than go and expose people to whatever bug she’d picked up. We did light housework, went and got haircuts (needed, since OVFF is coming up soon and we’re not going to be home next weekend), then came home and spent the evening watching the DVD of Beauty and the Beast, which I had picked up a few days ago but not had a chance to sit and watch yet. It was a lot of fun watching this movie again after so many years. The special features, with all the behind the scenes footage, was also a lot of fun to watch.

Sunday we got up early and went grocery shopping, then came home and finished up with the housework before sitting down and watching four hours of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season One DVD, also a recent acquisition. I hadn’t seen a lot of these episodes in a LONG time, and at least one of them had managed never to see at all, so this was even more fun.

So lets see, the weekend consisted of getting haircuts, watching TV, and housework. (And snuggling, of course). A thoroughly boring, unexciting weekend at home.

Life is wonderful. 🙂

Thanksgiving Weekend

kitanzi and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, spent with friends and family.

On Thursday, we went over to telynor‘s house for Thanksgiving Day dinner. I’ve spent the last 2 or 3 T-day’s at her house, and it is always a good time. This year was no exception. Along for the ride were, of course, Harper’s son, G, duality and her FPW, Ed and MEW and their two kids, T and his new FPW, and another person I don’t think I’d met before. We sat around and caught up with Ed and MEW and played with the kids and then had another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. We ended up leaving about 7pm because I was feeling rather tired, plus I’d been paged to deal with a work situation earlier in the day and said I’d take care of it when I got home.

Friday morning, I had to go into work for a few hours, as the problem the night before was bigger than I could easily fix that night. Was able to get everything taken care of in short order, though, and headed home to help get things in order before our guest arrived. I had not had the opportunity before now to meet kitanzi‘s mom, and she turned out to be an exceptionally neat person. We exchanged Christmas gifts on Friday, since we won’t see her again before next year at the earliest.

Saturday morning, Kit’s mom declared an interest in doing something touristy, so we discussed various possibilities before finally settling on heading up to New Echota State Park. New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation before the US and Georgia governments forced them off their land. Many of the buildings from that town have been restored or recreated to give a real feel for what it must have been like to live there. And it was a gorgeous Georgia day, with temperatures up around 60 and a bright sun shining, so it was fun just to walk around and look at things.

We came home and had a late lunch, then listened to A Prairie Home Companion on the radio. When it went off, we popped in the DVD of Ocean’s Eleven, which kitanzi and I had both seen, but Kit’s mom had not.

Sunday, we decided to find some entertainment a little closer to home, and so went out to see the new Harry Potter film. I found it enjoyable, though I think I enjoyed the first movie a bit more. I don’t think it’s because the new movie wasn’t as good, though. Perhaps partly because I hadn’t read the books yet when I saw the first film, and partly because this one is much more plot-driven than the first was. Still, well worthwhile, and I’ll look forward to seeing it again when the DVD is released.

This morning was back to work, and kitanzi‘s mom headed back home to Little Rock. All in all, it was a wonderful thanksgiving weekend.

One man’s trash…

There’s something very Norman Rockwellian about yard sales. I’ve always enjoyed going to them and browsing through the accumulated flotsam and jetsam of a strangers life. Of course, I always feel a little guilty where there’s absolutely nothing the person has that I actually want. It’s like I feel I’ve wasted their time and hopes looking over everything and judged them wanting in some regard. “Nope, sorry, there’s nothing here I want. Why don’t you have nicer things? What? Oh, you got nicer things, and that’s why you’re getting rid of all this lot. Well, call me the next time you have a yard sale, then.”

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Movie List

Seen a lot of people doing this list of the 100 Top Movies from imdb.com. So here’s the list of the one’s I’ve seen — goodness, but I’ve watched a lot of movies.

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Weekends are for….backbreaking labour :)

Although kitanzi had the day after Thanksgiving off, I had to work, so I did.

Saturday, we went back over to deidrecorwyn‘s for the last phase of moving. I had told her that if she could get a truck reserved for the day, I’d pay for it, so that we could do the move in one shift rather than making a lot of trips in cars. This turned out to be a really good idea, since we pretty well used up the space of a 14’ U-Haul.

This last round was almost entirely boxes, since we’d gotten most of the furniture on the first two days. Left behind was a bit of flotsem and jetsem for deidrecorwyn to deal with on Sunday, but she should be in good shape for getting out of the apartment by her deadline. (I hope.)

We finished getting everything unloaded at the new place; I spent most of that time getting her computer set back up and online. The phone company had screwed up the order to transfer the phone, but managed to correct it within a couple of hours, so I was able to verify that the computer was working and the modem able to get connected before we left.

We left deidrecorwyn, Stuart, and TeriS at about 5:30pm and headed down to Decatur for another Screen Door concert at Eddie’s Attic. I really love those guys, and they were especially tight tonight. They did a number of new songs, including one I *really* liked that Ben wrote for his wife called “We’ve Got A Life Here” that I want to get the lyrics for.

When the concert was over, we dropped by The Book Nook, Atlanta’s largest used bookstore (at least ever since the wonderful Oxford Too went under over 10 years ago *sigh*). It was quite a good haul — I found about 40 Doctor Who paperbacks (I’ve been trying to rebuild my Target novelization collection) that I didn’t have, plus 5 of the first 6 Simon Hawke Timewars books and a handful of Heinleins that we didn’t have. All in all, a good time, if a bit expensive. Oh well, after all the work we did this week, we deserved it!

Sunday was a quiet day spent doing very little, ending on a very fun note: kitanzi had never seen the Mel Brooks classic “The Producers”>, which I recently acquired on DVD. So we watched it and had a grand time with Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom and their sure-to-be-doomed play, “Springtime For Hitler”. 🙂

All in all, a weekend of accomplishments! Go us!

Random musing

First of all, happy birthday to the sublime catsittingstill on her natal anniversary. I’m still entirely convinced that Cat is not strictly human, but somehow a Tolkien elf who never passed into the West, but at any rate, we’re damn glad to have her around.

I adore Mark Morford. Sometimes he goes a bit over the top, but i love the sensibility that anchors his work. I especially liked column today. I could have written the following about myself:

“I don’t watch NASCAR or “WWE Raw” or “The Man Show.” I don’t read a lot of Maxim or ESPN Magazine or Sporting News nor frequent Gold’s Gym with a cadre of thick muscled dudes named Rick or Tony who stand over me and spot my bench presses with a lot of c’mon dude you can do it pump one more rep yeah yeah yeah, just before we all high five and go out for pizza and beer and talk about SportsCenter and the crazy shopping habits/frustrating fellatio inhibitions of our wives.

I do not spend endless hours of every weekend out in the garage rebuilding my rusty old ’67 ‘Stang. I do not grill giant slabs of beef ribs on the Weber every night. I do not reshingle the house or wear khaki Dockers or pound pitchers of Bud Light at O’Shaunessey’s during the Final Four. Maybe I should. But I don’t.

In fact, I engage in few stereotypical manly guy things largely because I live in the City and enjoy a wickedly urban and decidedly lubricious lifestyle, and tend to find many traditionally “guy” activities to be sort of unfulfilling and uninteresting and occasionally sort of dorky and faux macho and sadly devoid of divine sensuality and intellectual mystery and really good booze. But whatever. That’s just me.”

The truth is, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with “guy things”. Most of my close personal friends are female. I enjoy “chick flicks”. I cry over sentimental things. I find most of the concerns of the “average male” to be banal. I often wonder if there wasn’t some sort of mixup in the Souls Routing department, and somewhere out there is a very tomboyish girl who enjoys auto repair and football who was supposed to end up in this body. Something to think over.

Dayna is definitely feeling much better this morning, and back to her old friendly self. And I got a voice mail from the vet on her blood work from last week, confirming that she’s negative for FIV and feline leukemia. This doesn’t remotely surprise me, since she’s never been outside a day in her life, but it’s still reassuring to know her health is in top shape.

Rejoined the Columbia House DVD club for another set of nearly free DVDs (seven for the price of two, essentially). Picked up Willy Wonka And the Chocolate Factory, Harold and Maude, Sense and Sensibility, The Englisman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Schoolhouse Rock, Forrest Gump, and the amusing Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt film What Women Want. Also picked up the Matthew Broderick remake of The Music Man, because, let’s face it, I’m curious. It takes a lot of guts to step into a part that is so firmly and universally associated with one actor, in this case the late, great Robert Preston. I admit that Harold Hill is a part I’ve always wanted to do on stage myself. And of course, I got Pirates of the Caribbean because it rocks and stuff.

We didn’t actually watch any of these last night, opting for The Daily Show and the last part of the sex in the 20th century documentary that was stacked up on the TiVo. TiVo good. I like the TiVo.

Almost no one wants to ask me questions? The poll is still open!

Return of the King

So we finally got to go and see Return of the King.

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I don’t normally bother to watch the Oscars, but with a good chance to see Lord of the Rings actually win in important categories, I figured it’d be worth while. kitanzi and I snuggled up on the daybed so we could pass the time constructively during the boring bits and the commercials (TiVo has really spoiled us with regards to commercials.

Billy Crystal was very amusing as host, and I enjoyed the song and dance number at the beginning. kitanzi was particularly amused at the Lord of the Rings/My Favourite Things parody (anyone have a sound recording or transcript of the opening number? I’d love to transcribe bits of it for my filkbook). We had fun critiquing the various outfits and otherwise kibbitzing over the entire affair.

The best song presentations were all well done, and I really enjoyed seeing “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” performed in character, which is somewhat unusual, but it was an unusual movie. 🙂

Of course, the story of the evening was Lord of the Rings and it’s unprecedented sweep of all eleven categories it was nominated in. I’ve been amused by the reaction afterwards, with plaintive cries of “Well, did it *really* deserve to win all those awards”…and fully half of those cries coming from the same people who were furious at Fellowship and Two Towers being passed over for any important awards the last couple of years. For those of you who don’t follow the Academy Awards on a regular basis: they’re always capricious and arbitrary. Don’t spend too much time on this, it’s not worth the energy. 🙂

All in all, it was a fun way to spend a Sunday evening.

Birthday Presents, Nights Out, and Afternoon Movies

I think we’ve been more out and about the last 48 hours than the rest of the previous two or three weeks combined. 🙂

My birthday is coming up later this month (June 25), but I’ve already gotten my present from kitanzi. For a long time, I’d been wanting to get a really decent digital camera. I love taking photographs, but I’ve never actually owned a good camera. For the last year or two, I’ve been using a Kodak DC210 on loan from eloren, which was a fairly spiffy camera in its day, but its day was 5 years ago.

For a brief while, I flirted with the high end 8mp cameras that are just starting to come out. I had looked at the Sony DSC-F818 at Circuit City while browsing for something else, but the reviews of it were not stellar. The Canon and Olympus models were forthcoming, and I thought I might wait on them. But the more I thought it over, the more I decided that I didn’t need that much camera. More to the point, it violates my long-standing principle of always trying to be “in the curve” on technology products. The question wasn’t whether an 8mp camera was worthwhile.for my needs, but whether it was worth paying the exorbitant price for the latest and greatest product. (Yes, I know there are /seriously/ expensive cameras out there aimed at the professional, but I was limiting my research to consumer and prosumer cameras only, since my budget doesn’t extend to spending that much money on what is at best an idle hobby).

Having realigned my expectations, I asked “What are the requirements I can’t live without?” Since my primary interest in a camera is taking concert and convention photos, the two things I wanted to be sure of were a good shutter speed for taking action photos, and a good optical zoom for getting close to the action without having to be on the lip of the stage. Having defined my needs thusly, I did a fair amount of research, and finally settled on my desired choice: The Minolta DiMAGE Z2. The Z2 is a 4mp camera, features a 10x optical zoom, and was rated very highly on shutter speed and responsiveness for action photos: As an added bonus, it can be set anywhere from fully automatic to fully manual, depending on what kind of shots you’re trying to take. It’s been way too long since I used a manual camera, but it’s kinda need to have the option if I want it.

When I mentioned to kitanzi that I’d finally decided which camera I wanted to buy, she said “Well, it’s your birthday this month, go ahead and order it.” Three days later, a nice UPS man brought it, and I’ve been happily snapping random photos with it ever sense. I’m still getting used to how it responds, but on the whole, I’m really happy with it.

Friday night was my first chance to really give the camera a shakedown. kitanzi had gotten a work reward entitling her to leave work a half-hour early, so we took advantage of this to go and see the Middle Eastern Music and Dance night at the Red Light Cafe, featuring some dancers from the same troupe we saw at the Renassaince Festival. Kit actually got out of work an hour early rather than a half-hour, due to the unexpected slowness of the day, and so we arrived at the venue in plenty of time, and got a good table right in front of the dance area. Unfortunately, although we had been led to believe the show actually started at 8pm, it was 9pm before the first part of the entertainment began. The lead act was a Greek band named Tesserae. While this isn’t the sort of music I listen to on a regular basis, it made for a nice bit of variation and they were very good at what they were doing. My only real complaint was wishing I understood the language so I could get more of what the songs were about.

Once the dancing began, I really got to put the camera through its paces. On the whole, I’m very pleased with it. I did go through afterwards and throw away a number of shots which were either blurry or captured the subject just AFTER what I wanted a picture of, but that’s a risk you run in dance, especially dance with as much kinetic activity as this! I still ended up with 77 pictures that I thought were worthwhile for one reason or another, out of about 110 frames. Of those 77, maybe 5-10 are truly outstanding. I’m especially happy with this photo, which really captures the exuberance and joy the dancer was getting out of her performance.

There’s a fair amount of redeye, which is always a problem with flash photographs (and the Z2 has quite a powerful flash), so i spent some time looking at software aimed at combating that (since I can’t afford a bounce flash just at the moment). I found a rather remarkable piece of software called Red Eye Pilot, which has a demo that is fully functional other than allowing you to save your manipulated photos. After using it on several of the photos from Friday, I’m convinced that it will be well worth the $30 investment, but I haven’t actually purchased it yet. Once I do, I’ll probably retouch several of the photos from last night. I probably need to find a primer on post-processing photos if I’m going to get really serious about that. Right now, though, I’m just having fun.

Saturday morning, we got up, and decided to go see a movie. For whatever reason, Kit and I don’t go to the movies that often, but there’s actually several films out we wanted to see. We decided to head over to the Medlock Crossing 18 for the first showing of Shrek 2.

Shrek 2 was absolutely marvelous. I adored the first film, and was a bit wary of a sequel, fearing that they’d not be able to capture lightning in a bottle again. I need not have worried. Shrek 2 is at least as good as its predecessor, and in many ways is more satisfying. There’s a certain amount of emotional depth here that the first film lacked, and it satisfies a desire I think most of us have had to wonder what happens AFTER the fairy tale. (Paging telynor. telynor, please pick up the white courtesy phone…)

The Giant Tub O’ Popcorn was plenty of food for both of us, so we came home and decided to work up an appetite in the pool. We spent an hour or so splashing around, bouncing the Big Blue Ball around, much to the delight of several of the neighborhood children. Once tired and hungry, we left the ball in their care and set off to Cheeburger Cheeburger to enjoy a decedent lunch. I ate the portion of my lunch that wasn’t Too Much Food, and unfortunately set in on a good portion of my lunch that was too much food, but it was all so good, even if afterwards I felt bloated. Obviously, a nap was in order, so we came home and slept for a bit. I spent the rest of the evening catching up on LJ while Kit watched Iron Chef, and then we both watched the latest episode of Coupling Season 4, which I had downloaded on Thursday.

Tomorrow, we’re planning to go see The Prisoner of Azkaban. We’ll see what other mischief we can manage after the movie is over.

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