Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lenka - Trouble Is A Friend

Just testing the youtube link thingy...but I do love this song. The video is a bit wacky though.

John Adams - David McCullough

We just finished the HBO mini-series John Adams based off of the book by David McCullough. Now after watching the series, I don't know why they made it into a movie. I did not read the book, but based on the movie version, I do not see what would have been so interesting about the book that made someone say, "Hey, this is such a great story, let's make it into a movie!" Especially since there are books about many other founding fathers or U.S. presidents that have to be more interesting.

Now maybe, like so many other books that are adapted to cinema, the movie does not live up to the book. That may be the case here, but since I did not read the book, I can't comment on that. But I have read David McCullough's 1776 and Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton and both were excellent and both had many more interesting events than the mini-series John Adams presented, which would lead me to assume that John Adams (the person) did not have as an eventful life as other founding fathers.

But there is not George Washington mini-series (at least that I know about or on the same scale as the John Adams version). There isn't a Thomas Jefferson movie. And there is no Alexander Hamilton movie. Yet all three appear on currency while President Adams does not (outside of the commemorative presidential dollar coins). Even his son, the 6th president, was on the $500 bill (though that was in 1869).

So my question to you is, what is the fascination with this book? If you have read it (Steve) please let me know.

Outside of that, the mini-series was pretty good as a movie, even with it's inaccuracies. I assume Tom Hanks, who produced it, also thought it was lacking some substance and added more excitement to the movie. For example, they added a ship battle that did not actually happen. The movie shows a battle with a British ship that lead to the amputation of one of the shipmate's legs, in which Adams assisted. But according to Wikipedia, and other sources, the confrontation with the British ship was not a battle and the amputation was several days after the confrontation and was a result of a completely different incident. Now I assume that David McCullough's book is historically accurate, but why did they choose to change this for the movie, unless it is to make the bland book more exciting. But if his life was so bland (compared to other founding fathers) to begin with, why make it a movie? I understand why the book was published, after doing all the research, you might as well publish it, but why take it to the next step, I don"t know.

Overall, the mini-series shows Adams as a cranky man (and later as a cranky, old man) who was obsessed with his image. Abigail Adams appears to have been a stronger founding father as the mini-series repeatedly shows her as the guiding point for an unsure and hesitant John Adams. I would recommend renting the movie, but it did not inspire me to read the book. I would suggest picking up Alexander Hamilton or another founding father if you are looking for a good read.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Watch DVDs On Your iPod

I just thought I'd share a fun little application that I stumbled across to convert DVDs (or any other video file for that matter) to a format that will play on an iPod (any of the video versions).

The program is called Videora iPod Converter and is freeware as is DVD Decrypter (also available on their website) the software you will need to convert your DVD to a computer file before the Videora iPod Converter software make it compatible with your iPod.

The whole process takes about 2 hours per movie depending on your computer, but if your taking a trip and want to bring along a few movies, it is a nice option. Each movie file will be about 650MB so a few will fit on your video iPod and still have plenty of room for music.

DVD Decrypter will create 6-8 GB file that you will only temporarily need, but don't forget to delete it or you will run out of hard drive space on your computer quickly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Movie Review

So we just finished watching this movie, The Women. Well, actually, I finished watching it as Laura is asleep. No, I don't know why I continued watching, because it is exactly what you'd expect from the title. It was like being trapped a...I'm not sure I can say without finding myself in trouble. Yes, I know, wa-Pah, as Chandler Bing would say.

Anyhoo...So the movie has no men in it. At all. In the street scenes, all women. In the restaurant, all women. Pictures, women. Department store, well obviously... Even the dogs are female. No men, not even voices. Hospital, all women. Maybe this was part of their marketing when it was released in theaters (which also probably only had women in them), but I never heard of it before until Laura saw it at Blockbuster and said, "Hey, I like those women. We should rent that." Even the statues, women.

So I guess if you are still reading this, then you might want to know if the movie is any good. Outside of watching to see if there were any actual men in the movie, there really isn't much left. It's similar to Sex and the City, without any humor or depth. Not that Sex and the City had much depth, but comparatively speaking... (wow, I like the ellipses, don't I?) For instance, one character explaining the benefits of being a lesbian says that when they are lost, get this, they both ask for directions - Well, smack my ass and call me Judy, that is funny! Oh, and when they are watching TV, they watch the whole show all the way through without changing channels. Tears of laughter! (Yes, those are both from the same 30 seconds of this movie that never seems to end, but really.) A shopping joke here, a weed/food joke there, maybe a facelift joke for good measure. Women talking, women fighting, women suddenly not talking for who knows why. Maybe I just don't get it because I am a man and I don't understand women. (Hey, look, a "men don't understand women" reference, I can write movies too - well now I'm just rambling, but isn't that what this blog is for...) Debra Messing's acting is funny though, I'll give 'em that.

So, should you watch it? "No mon!" (Yes, I just wanted to do this post for that pun.)

*Laura may have a different opinion.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Always Feel Like, Sonoma's Watchin' Me

So this is what my puppy looks like...when I'm at the computer. All she does is sit there...staring at me...hour after hour after hour... Okay maybe not hours, but it feels like it. "Please play with me."

Maybe she is working on a little telepathy? Or using the force: "You want to play wiffleball with me."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Great Refrigerator Calamity Of 2009!

hmmmm, what shall I have to eat? Let's see, there's um, no, there isn't any of that. Ohhh, how about, none of that either. I guess there's some water. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THE FOOD?!?!?!?!?

"Um well, when I came downstairs, there was this ghost eating all of our food. Upon seeing me he got scared and left," stated the startled resident.

"But why is there no food? He didn't eat it all did he? I mean it was full," I said.

The spooked resident continued, "Well you know how when you are in the presence of a ghost the room gets warm? Well because of that all the food spoiled and went bad."

Confused, I probed, "I see...but don't ghosts and other spirit type things typically cause the temperature to fall? I mean that's what happened in The Sixth Sense and M. Night Shalamalamanahn said that was based on a true story."

"Oh, well hmmm, then maybe it was that pregant woman" the resident stated.

"Well, pregnant women do eat a lot..."

"I know, right!?"

"But still, it seems a bit fishy."

"No that's just the smell from the fridge."

Aaannnnnnddd, scene!

But really, the door didn't close all the way and all the food went bad.

It's A Girl!!!!

No not ours, but our niece. Chloe Grace was born on January 6th weighing in at 6 lbs. and 19 inches long. That goofy looking guy is her uncle.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

'08 In A Nutshell...with pictures

*Note: The beginning of your actual letter should read 2008. Please correct on your copy.

Happy New Year!!

2008 began with a new venture, The Charmed Paperie. Laura started her own business creating customized invitations, announcements, and party favors. She had several clients this year including someone from the east coast that stumbled across her website. In addition, Laura received a GK-12 fellowship from the National Science Foundation, through which she attends an 8th grade science class helping the teacher to teach science the way it is actually conducted and helping the students learn the process of science. After beginning the year in a 7th grade class with possibly the worst teacher west of the Mississippi, she was transferred to an 8th grade class at a school closer to home with possibly the best teacher east of the left coast. She is quite excited to be working with the students and she even learned how to start fires with a magnifying glass from one of them.

In June we went to Barbados to get our pirate on for a week long vacation of pillaging and plundering and to learn the rum trade. Can I get an ‘Arrrrgh!’? Unfortunately, we were about 300 years too late. On the plus side, we did have a great time, but we were pillaged and plundered ourselves – while snorkeling on our last day, some of our items on the beach turned up missing: Gary’s floppy hat, Chipotle t-shirt, and sunglasses, our used disposable underwater camera, Laura’s half eaten trail mix. Luckily we were left with the bag that all of our stuff was stuffed in, our sandals, and all of Laura’s clothes (forensic evidence suggests a topless, bald photographer with sensitive eyes who needed a snack). We toured the world’s oldest rum producer, Mount Gay Rum. The tour was alright but at the end we were allowed to jump behind their bar and create our own concoctions with a bunch of sampling. The best part of the trip (that we knew about at the time) was our first scuba-diving exploration. Snorkeling is great and all, but scuba-diving was 10 times better. We highly recommend it to everyone, assuming you are near water, preferably an ocean. Not so much fun on land, of course we never tried that so who knows…

One little souvenir that we came back with is the world’s first Bugamoo. And with some loving care and time (about nine months) we will have a baby. But you all know that, so moving on…just kidding! We are incredibly excited about our first people baby, heretofore and hereafter referred as Bugamoo. We will be finding out the sex in a few months when the little one is born. We are targeting March 24th seeing as how we don’t have plans for that day yet. Laura’s experience has been quite eventful as the first trimester was filled with nausea and the second trimester provided 4 dislocated ribs due to a few violent coughing fits. We are now in the final trimester (3rd for those of you keeping track at home) and the Bugamoo is moving around like crazy! constantly, like all day long. We’re not exactly sure if this kid is ever gonna sleep. We are quite grateful for our friends who have been very helpful, loaning Laura some maternity clothes and some baby items.

Sonoma’s 3rd birthday party was held at the beginning of October and the trend of having new friends attend has stuck (not only is she brilliant but popular too!). This year we were joined by some of her favorite human friends who came by to wish her a happy day without even bringing their puppies. The puppies had lots of fun and we look forward to next year being bigger and better.

In October we created our fifth annual Haunted Garage for Halloween. While it was fun, we were scrambling at the last minute to find monsters. Luckily, Sonoma’s fabulous Dr. (Karin Burns at whoop whoop!) helped us out last minute along with Gary’s sister and Laura’s family.

Well that is about it for us and oh my gosh, did Sonoma just eat 25 strawberry cupcakes?!?!?! 25!!!! Paper and all!!! 25!!! Yea, Sonoma seriously ate 25 strawberry cupcakes in all of the holiday baking fuss. The benefit of her insanity was that she was actually mellow for an entire evening. We’ve decided to give her strawberry blond highlights to commemorate the occasion.

Lastly, we’ll be trying our hand in blogging, so for those of you who wish to follow us online (not in a creepy way) you can checkout

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I just wanted to have a post on the first day of 2009. So Happy New Year!!!