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Archive for the 'Happy/Love' Category


2009.05.11 Star Trek the New Old Generation:

I loved the new Star Trek. Let's just get that out of the way at the beginning, then continue.

I am a huge Trek fan, from way back (not WAY way back, like the 60's way back, but way back, like from the 80's). I used to watch Original Series reruns on TV as a kid (in the 70's), I went to see the first Star Trek movie in the theater (not that I really remember it, but my parents have reminded me), then stopped watching Star Trek altogether when Wrath of Khan came out because the little brain-worm-things scared the shit out of me. I got back into it when Next Gen started, and just went nuts over it. You ask me how dilithium crystals work in a warp drive, and I can probably give you an explanation without doing any research.

There are tons of reasons why I enjoyed the original series (and Next Gen, and DS9, and occasionally Enterprise), and I'd love to tell you that it was because of the hopeful and optimistic vision of the future, and the way it portrayed humanity as having overcome greed and prejudice and having dedicated themselves as a race to bettering themselves and fighting the just and righteous fight for freedom and cooperation. But really, I loved it because of the characters. The sometimes quirky, sometimes absurd, sometimes hyper-real, sometimes bizarrely unrealistic characters and relationships that populated the show. I loved it because of the stories, and the campy humor, and the glorious over-acting. And, I loved it because it sometimes asked deep philosophical questions, and other times it paraded around in front of you wearing a Nazi uniform. I don't think I really grasped the historical, philosophical, and sociological ramifications of the Trek universe until later.

But, we're here to talk about the new Star Trek movie, aren't we?

Taken on its own merits, I think this is a phenomenal movie. There are issues of science and issues of execution of course, but overall it is exciting, and fun, and touching, and very Star Trek in lots of the right ways.

I think Chris Pine made a great Kirk. All the characters were written (and directed, I assume) somewhat… over-the-top, and very earnest. I felt that, though Pine also suffered this, he had a presence and subtlety that really befitted the character, and that I can see serving him very well in subsequent outings. There was at least one scene (and I've been trying to remember exactly where it occurred, but nevertheless) where I remember thinking to myself… "There's Kirk. That's Kirk. That was right on." And I think it was just a single word, or very short line, delivered with a certain mixture of joy and self-awareness that I think captured the spirit of "The Kirk," and channeled a bit of the old Shatner magic. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed this new Kirk.

There were certain Kirk moments from a story/plot perspective and from a characterization perspective that I didn't like, but those would be difficult to elucidate without spoilage.

Quinto's Spock also had a lot to offer. Maybe he played it a little too close to the chest at times, and maybe he played it a little too "smirky" at times, but neither of those are entirely un-Spock-like qualities. I thought the father/son and the mother/son things were well written and well played, but I did feel that this Spock, somewhat interestingly, was representative of the Spock we came to understand over the last ~40 years, rather than the Spock we met in the first Original Series episode. Our Spock started out (well, after Where No Man Has Gone Before, anyway) as an emotionless, purely logical, and imperceptibly conflicted character who had very much chosen his Vulcan side over his Human one. That was not the Spock we got in this movie. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing, and I did really enjoy this Spock, but I also felt that this new Spock didn't represent where our Spock would have been at this point in his life. It didn't kill my enjoyment of the character, but it stood out to me as a point of unnecessary disunity.

Ultimately though, I thought Quinto's Spock was fantastic. He enabled you to become invested in the character very quickly, and he brought you along for the… yes, emotional ride through the rest of the movie.

The supporting cast was also varying degrees of good.

Karl Urban's doctor was good, but I felt that he was trying too hard to imitate the wonderful DeForest Kelley. I also felt that the writers did him a disservice by restricting his dialogue almost exclusively (I felt) to classic "Bones" catch-phrases. Dixon over at Shelfbound considered that this may simply be the way McCoy talks, which is an interesting thought, but one I don't necessarily agree with. McCoy (the "real" McCoy, you might say buh-doom-tsh!) had plenty of aphorisms and metaphors to go around, but his dialogue was never so heavy with catch-phrases. Ultimately, it's forgivable, but it was irksome.

As an aside, I absolutely adored the way they introduced McCoy's nickname. It was a bit awkward, perhaps, but I loved it.

Simon Pegg as Scotty was a real treat. The character was fun, and lively, and seemed to come off as both brilliant and moronic at the same time. I like Pegg, he's fun. Unfortunately, I never believed he was Scotty. Doohan's Scotty was brilliant but subdued, earthy but not offensive, and excitable but responsible. Pegg's Scotty was mystified, frenetic, and frequently out-of-his-depth. Also unfortunately, Scotty didn't get enough good screen-time to further establish the character. Perhaps there's more to him than this situation allowed to come through.

Uhura was good. Her character had strength, conviction, self-confidence, and power. It is a testament to the actress (and the writers as well) that they were able to establish this, because she was woefully lacking many really meaty scenes.

Sulu was also good, and I felt he fared a bit better than Uhura, scene-wise. He didn't try (unlike Urban) to mimic his predecessor, but inhabited the character he was given. I don't think that I ever really felt he was Sulu, but rather that he was some entirely separate character.

The Christopher Pike character was really great. I felt he got shortchanged in the leadership department in a few spots, but that ties into some movie-wide problems and more potential spoilage. Still, I really liked this character.

Finally, we get to Checkov. What to say… I did really enjoy his introductory moments in the movie, but ultimately I found his character to be very annoying. I also felt that this character was the farthest from the original source material. I won't go so far as to say I didn't like the new Checkov—because he was entertaining, to a point—but he's just not Checkov. However, maybe he is just another casualty of the way the characters were generally over-played. If he'd been more subdued, perhaps he would have fit perfectly. Who knows?

Well, I said "finally, we get to Checkov," but really, the Enterprise is the last (or first?) major character in the Original Series, and we should talk about her as well.

I really liked the new Starfleet ship exteriors, and felt they were true enough to the original. The bridge, on the other hand, was a different story. The old bridge was spacious, and austere but powerful, and it felt comfortable and open. This new bridge was bright, flashy, and claustrophobic. So much of the old Star Trek took place on the bridge—perhaps this is an indicator that the bridge will no longer be the central story-telling vantage point. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in future movies.

At last, we get to the story itself. As I mentioned, it was enjoyable and exciting. Unfortunately, I felt it was also, like most of the rest of the movie, a bit over-blown. It was as if they tried to make every single moment just as tense and dramatic as possible—tried to give the story as much weight as it could possibly carry. The good thing is that it delivered. The question is, is that a good thing? Personally, I prefer my Star Trek a little more cerebral, and a little less "wagon train." Maybe that's the Next Gen era initiate in me, I dunno. I just think there's a line between sci-fi action/thriller and sci-fi action/drama that this movie played too often on the wrong side of.

At this point, I'm not sure how much more i can say without really getting into specifics of plot. I definitely have more thoughts on specific aspects of the movie, and also generally about what it means that we now have this New old generation of characters.

As I've mentioned in other venues, to other people, I loved it, but I also hated it.

- 02:30 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Cool Links - Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Movies - Nostalgia - Pop Culture - TV - Upset/Dislike

 

2009.04.24 hold on there:

A couple buddies of mine recently launched their awesome new website—Shelfbound—where they're currently talking mostly about comics (but eventually about books, music, and movies as well, I believe). On Friday of their first week, they posted a discussion about their personal histories relating to comics, which I felt compelled to comment on.

That post, coupled with the call I received from the comic shop I (used to) frequent—asking if I was actually going to come pick up my (7 months worth of) holds, or if he should put them back and delete my holds list— got me started thinking about my own comics history, such as it is.

At some point in the not too distant past, I was an absolute nut with an active holds list of more than 20 titles, and an average of over 33 books purchased per month. I thought it might be entertaining to air out the dirty laundry of my former addiction, by way of some lists comparing then versus now.

Going through my collection (at least, those books that actually made it up to comicbookdb.com before I stopped entering them), I came up with the following list of titles that, at one time or another, was a regular purchase. Mind you, these were not ALL on my list at the same time, but a LOT of them were.

The "long-time" list consists of books that I purchased (usually consecutively) for more than a year.
The "short-time" list consists of long-running titles that I picked up and dropped, or bought off-and-on, or which were longer-running mini-series.

Long-Time Collections
Amazing Spider-Girl
Amazing Spider-Man
Batman
Batman Confidential
Batman: Gotham Knights
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Batman (various mini-series)
Captain America
Captain Marvel
Catwoman
Daredevil
Detective Comics
Harley Quinn
Incredible Hulk
JLA
Marvel Knights Spider-Man
New X-Men (Morrison run + a few)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Powers
The Punisher
The Spectre
Spider-Girl
Spider-Man
Spider-Man (various mini-series)
Superman/Batman
Transmetropolitan
Ultimate Fantastic Four
Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate X-Men
The Ultimates (2002 & 2005)
Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man
Wonder Woman
X-Statix (X-Force)
Short-Time collections
All-Star Batman & Robin
All-Star Superman
Army of Darkness
Dark Tower
Elektra
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Green Arrow (kevin smith run + a few)
Marvel Knights
The Pulse
Sensational Spider-Man
Spectacular Spider-Man
Spider-Woman
Superman (off and on)
U.S. War Machine

And finally, after a few years of increasingly sporadic trips to the comic shop, and the cancellation (Spider-Girl) or ruination (Spider-Man) of some favorite titles, I've whittled down my holds list to the following:

Current holds list
Batman
Daredevil
Detective Comics
Powers
Superman/Batman
Ultimate Spider-Man

So, from 30+ titles every month I'm down to 6 (well, five plus Powers, which is apparently not even close to monthly anymore). Depending on the quality of the last 7 months, I may yet drop Superman/Batman, and I was considering dropping Daredevil (though the guy in the store said it'd been pretty good of late, so i dunno… i may just selectively pick up arcs, if they look good).

Of course, I just saw on Diamond's site that Dynamite Ent. is coming out with a new Buck Rogers comic, which I have to at least get the first issue of; and the guy at the store told me there's a rumor my girl (Spider-Girl, that is) may be re-launched. So, I may be back up to 8 titles in the near future… but for now, at least, it's a little more reasonable.

- 11:54 pm - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Cool Links - Friends - Happy/Love - Pop Culture

 

2008.11.16 after the fact:

I had the best intentions, prior to the election to write a series of articles about some topics of importance to me, not the least of which was to be a follow-up to my McCain post about why I like Obama so much. Considering the internet's current position as my life's red-headed stepchild, those posts didn't get written. Ah well.

(Also, you may note, I have taken a page from Brian's recent posts, and reinstated the CAPITAL LETTER into my bipolar repertoire.)

So, in light of the fact that the election has already happened, and I now have the President-elect I actually wanted for a change… I thought I'd take a moment to discuss my opinions of the various election results.

(warning: as usual, "a moment" became more like "an hour", be forewarned)

1. President-elect Obama

Well, aside from the fact that this is absolutely hair-tinglingly fantastic, the election of Barack Obama has, in some measure, restored my faith in the people of this nation. Regardless of the historical significance of electing a black man to the nation's highest office (a great thing, to be sure), I saw this election as being about something above and beyond race, it was more about an acknowledgement that the last eight years' fiscal and social policies have, to a large extent, failed. It was about the people finally recognizing that we can only pull ourselves out of this mess, by pulling all of us out of it, together. The President-elect has been a consistent voice of hope and inspiration, a welcome change from past election cycles, where the public discourse, when not dominated by infantile personal attacks and questions of character, couldn't break away from a message of fear and disillusionment. Not so this time. The President-elect was able to maintain his clear message, and speak above the ignorant masses who desperately attempted to demean him by spreading blatant falsehoods.

But I digress… the election of Barack Obama would seem to be indicative of a major shift from the politics of isolationism and moral superiority to one of national unity and moral inclusionism. As I say, would seem to be…

2. Ballot Measures

As with previous elections, there were a few states voting on special ballot measures on topics including women's rights and marriage equality.

In light of the Presidential election results, it is somewhat surprising to see the across-the-board victory of morally repugnant anti-marriage laws. It seems almost unconscionable to me, that an individual or group, in this day and age, would deign to claim a right for themselves that they would deny to other people… Have we not learned from our past mistakes? Other, more eloquent people have spoken recently about the issue of gay marriage, and I fully intend to more deeply explore my reasoning for supporting it at a later time. So, at this point, I'll just say that I am incredibly disheartened that, in this time of unity, understanding, and inclusiveness, that we would do such harm.

It was somewhat enlightening to me, however, to see the results of some of the ballot measures intended to increase restrictions on abortions. Surprisingly, to me (since a significant portion of my family is firmly in the "pro-life" camp), these measures were soundly defeated. I wouldn't say I'm surprised thatthey were defeated, but at the depth of the defeat–there was a measure to amend the constitution in Colorado to define a "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization," which was defeated resoundingly at 73% against. That is a staggering defeat of what I see as the most critical point of contention between the pro-choice/pro-life groups. Again, I'm not going to get into my personal feelings about this debate here now.

Somewhat related however, and disheartening in its own way, was the passage of a measure prohibiting adoption by unmarried "sexual partners." While the ballot language apparently specified both same and opposite sex couples, at least CNN lists the measure as a "Ban on Gay Couples adopting children." The reason this irks me to the extent it does is not precisely because "unmarried couples" can't adopt, but because of those–religious and "pro-life" groups–who I'm sure were behind and rooting for this piece of legislation. It just strikes me as… I don't know… frankly mean as well as counter-productive. I mean, you have a group who says, "I'm sorry, but you can't get married because… well, because I say you can't… and because I say you can't get married, well, now you also can't have children. So… nyah, to you." I mean, really? Then, of course, you turn that coin over, and it's the pro-lifers who are saying "Abortion is bad because it's killing kids needlessly… there are alternatives like adoption to consider here! Oh… well, not for YOU people." Like saying there are all these loving families just waiting for children, lined up around the block, and you're now saying an entire segment of the population will not be allowed to bolster your argument just on principle. It's just stupid, and a big part of the reason why I can't align myself with religion as a social organism. But again, another post for another day.

Lastly, it was interesting to see, among the above mixture, some positive votes for, of all things, SCIENCE! In this age of Jenny McCarthyism, measures were passed to allow the use of medical marijuana, and to allow stem cell research (though that last one was apparently a state constitutional amendment, which seems bizarre to me…). So… yay science!

3. Senate and Super-Majority

The day after the election, I pretty simply thought that the populace of Alaska must be under some form of mind-control… to think that senator (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens was actually leading in votes was absolutely incredible to me. Thankfully, as the vote counting has continued, his opponent has taken the lead, and looks likely to be victorious.

I know very little about Al Franken's opponent (the incumbent Senator) in Minnesota, but I do like Al Franken.

With three Senate seats still up for grabs, it's not impossible that the Democrats could pull off a super-majority. I've had a few conversations with friends about the possibility, and basically I see it as a potentially good thing, though also potentially disastrous. For one thing, I think the legislative branch has been stymied for too long with partisan bickering just for the sake of being oppositional. Yes, the Rethuglicans and the Demobrats have genuine differences on some important points of policy, but I think the partisanship in the last 10 to 12 years has been disgustingly beyond the bounds of governmental propriety. The partisan divide has led to bills laden with pork, with incentives and honey pots to get fence-sitters to vote, and with poison pills to get others not to vote. Some good bills have been lost, and many bad ones have been passed, in the name of getting "something" accomplished, and in the interest of saving face. So, if a super-majority can lead to some cleaner un-encrusted legislation getting passed quickly, perhaps it's a good thing. Perhaps it will force legislators to work together to actually write good law, instead of just being obstinate.

That said, a super-majority could also be fraught with peril. The Democrats could run roughshod over the government, pass many questionable–even potentially dangerous and de-stabilizing–bills, and set themselves up as a national menace. They could, at the least, sully the good-will the party currently enjoys nationally, and set themselves up for big losses in the next election cycle.

Fortunately, I think congress will happily follow the lead of the President-elect, and that the President-elect will confidently and intelligently guide them to create good and appropriate legislation to achieve the goals he's set, and put our country back on the right path. So, though I think the manifestation of a super-majority unlikely, and while I recognize the potential pitfalls, I also think it might be a good thing.

The bottom line…

All this leads to the fact that the Democratic party, and liberals and progressives in general, are in the place they've been hoping, wishing, and praying for since Al Gore's loss in 2000. They finally have control, almost exclusively, to push through some far-reaching progressive legislation–to set this country right; to help this nation become a better, more inclusive union; to help stabilize, guide, and enlighten the world; and to set us on a clear path to the 22nd century.

Can they do it? Yes, they can.

But only with our help, and guidance.

- 01:47 am - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Happy/Love - Politics - Society

 

2008.07.18 Love ya right back:

found this via the official unofficial Mudhoney fan site—a video wherein the boys of Mudhoney talk about how much they enjoyed their visit to my lovely louisville. <tear>

now, the really funny part of this story, and something I had previously decided *not* to post about after much debate, was the fact that, during the show and much to his embarrassment, Mark Arm gave a great shout out to the place and people of… lexington. it was a pretty funny incident that had him stumbling over himself trying to save face. perhaps it was the chorus of boos and surprised laughter that clued him in.

that's ok Mark, we love you too!

- 11:12 am - PL ::
categories ::  Cool Links - Happy/Love - Local/Louisville - Music - Society - Uncategorized

 

2008.06.29 every little bit:

as you may remember from waaaay back in 2005, i was attempting to participate—or procrastipating—in that year's NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month "competition." i managed to get a whole 1900 words or so written (out of 50k) before the month was up.

well, i'm back in the saddle, once again trying to make some progress with this thing. i haven't made a ton of progress in the "torrential flow of words" department, but i have managed to finish the first chapter and throw down a few notes about ideas and events in the novel.

and i also managed to finally, after three years, get a basic outline hashed out for the thing.

so, i'm not going to hit my goal (set at the beginning of this week) of an additional 3000 words by monday, but i have made some progress in other areas, so i'm pretty happy.

- 02:44 am - PL :: 1 Comment
categories ::  Happy/Love - NaNoWriMo - Personal Projects - Writing

 

2007.04.05 a list:

a cow-orker was asking about Sonic Youth today, specifically for a "best of" type of list. i responded with a limited list and the stipulation that i never feel comfortable picking favorites. i figured, with my resurgence on ye olde bipolar, it might be an interesting thing to pass along.

the following list is primarily made up of my highest rated SY tracks in iTunes, though i haven't rated every track that's in my library, so i don't claim it to be a complete list. i did cherry pick a couple of tracks from among the currently unrated ones, to fill out the list.

Washing Machine
Skip Tracer
No Queen Blues
Becuz
Confusion is Sex
Inhuman
Confusion is Next
A Thousand Leaves
Hoarfrost
Hits of Sunshine
Sunday
Bad Moon Rising
Death Valley '69
Flower
Murray Street
Disconnection Notice
NYC Ghosts & Flowers
NYC Ghosts & Flowers
Dirty
Hendrix Necro

so, if you've never heard of 'em, or you just haven't made up your mind about 'em yet, i'd say these are a really great starting point.

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- 05:17 pm - PL :: 1 Comment
categories ::  Calls to Action - Happy/Love - Music - Raves

 

2007.03.31 a gathering of old men and their ladies:

last night, after a two year absence from the stage, saw the re-emergence of Louisville's own Old Man. It was a great show, with some old classics and new hot ones from the album that's in the offing.

The Rud was much the same as I remember (my band also hasn't had a show in quite some time, and we haven't played the Rud for quite some time besides), but now they've settled on the "back stage," which i think is a major improvement from the "mid" stage. The sound is still mushy as ever. I think the Rud's sound system (or sound guys, i'm not sure which) is better suited for simpler acts, like… well, mainly vocalists, poets, plays, etc. I think you throw some guitars and drums in the mix, and the system has to work beyond it's limits to get the sound out there. Which is not to say that it's bad, just that there's some color to it. I still think the Rud is a great place to play, and a great place to see a show.

so Old Man rocked it out, did a superb job, and i enjoyed it thoroughly. oh, and there was a song with neil on the harmonica, putting the folk into "punk/folk." very cool.

following Old Man was an actual old man, alone on stage with his acoustic, strapless guitar, and his haunting voice and often nonsensical lyrics. i think everyone was pretty much alternately astounded and confounded by the performance. some of the lyrics i couldn't make out, and the ones that i could, well, some didn't seem to make any sense at all, as if they were just words stuck together for no particular reason, others made complete sense, but perhaps the most interesting part was that there was a deepness of emotion behind every lyric. in the end, the only pronouncement i could make was, "it wasn't good, but it was awesome." oh, and i told neil somebody should do a study on the guy, see how his brain works.

most of the rest of the evening was spent hanging out with friends, some of whom i haven't seen in several months. it was good to catch up, hell, it was good just to be around them again. it also gave the prick an opportunity to talk about finally making use of the practice space we've had for a month now. hopefully this week, we'll at least be able to get our stuff moved in, which will act as a catalyst towards getting us to the practice space at least once a week to *use* that stuff. i'm looking forward to it. i'm excited by the idea of a "new beginning" for the band, and have been itching to strum the strings for a while. (i'm a terrible guitar player, if i'm not at practice, i hardly ever touch the thing, except to move it from one spot to another.) if all goes well, perhaps we'll be ready for our resurgence party in 6 months or so.

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2007.03.27 of old friends, avail:

wherein your humble narrator again laments the inevitability of social distance

the wife and i had the pleasure this evening of hanging out with a few old friends, one of whom has recently embarked on a new life adventure in LA la land. again i was reminded of why it is i've chosen these people as close friends, and again i've had some nostalgic pangs for the times when i could just walk into the next room to enjoy wit, share an anecdote, or request advice. i realize, of course, that i've traded up&mdash;for someone with whom i can share many of the same things (along with many other things besides–not all of them "dirty", you cretins)

now all my closest friends but one are married (and he's probably not far off), and that has a way of cramping the social style, especially when you get doctors, near-doctors, students, and parents in the mix. schedules are hard enough to work around when you're just you. when there're two of you to consider, well, it quickly spirals out of control. work time, me time, us time, we time… we time nearly always gets the shaft in that arrangement.

i know that there's not a lot that any of us can do about it, so until we're able to be more proactive about it, i'm just planning on enjoying the infrequent times i get with my friends, and looking forward to the times that i can be reminded why i liked them so much in the first place.

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- 10:51 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Family - Friends - Happy/Love - Local/Louisville - Nostalgia - Society - Wife

 

2007.03.26 new look, same old me:

after 30 something years of perfect vision (in my one good eye, anyway), i realized a year or so ago that I was starting to have trouble focusing, and that things were generally seeming a bit blurry. i first attributed it to the fact that i generally don't get nearly enough sleep, and that these symptoms were worse the less sleep i got. after a time, i realized i was just fooling myself, and after mentioning it enough times, my wife started badgering me to just go get a checkup. knowing my track record with such things, she eventually just set up an appointment for me. thankfully, it turns out the prescription i need for my good eye is very minor. the doc said it was pretty much up to me whether i wanted specs or not, and after some debate, i decided to go ahead and get them.

and actually, i'm kind of amazed at the difference they make. when the doc made up the little test specs from the kit in his desk drawer, the effect seemed kind of minimal. things were a bit sharper and brighter. but with the glasses, it's a much more obvious change. so ultimately, they work better than i expected, and i'm glad i got them.

it's still a little weird seeing myself in them, but sara likes them, so i can live with the weirdness for a little while. the most bizarre thing has been the dearth of comments i've gotten. i expected pretty much everyone to notice and say something, but only a few people have. very strange.

- 05:27 pm - PL :: 6 Comments
categories ::  Happy/Love - Wife

 

2006.12.08 lazy day in old st. lou:

so, i'm up here with my lovely wife, doing her res. interview at WashU. i'm just chillin in the hotel room, shooting at my co-workers with the 2006 Power Treecam—a brilliant idea by yours truly, brilliantly embellished and executed by our boy ben.

i've run over to the St. Louis Bread Co., where I got the skinny on the fact that the national chain Panera Bread (as known to most of us) was actually originally the aforementioned St. Louis Bread Co. I picked up my breakfast there (croissant, cinnamon roll, and coffee) and they gave me a soufflé for free.

I've spent most of the morning upgrading our WordPress installation to 2.0.5, and just installed the wordpressReports plugin, so we can see just how many people aren't coming to visit the site to enjoy the dearth of updates.

and now, i'm going to watch the Special Edition DVD of Star Trek III, which my buddy nate so thoughtfully gave to me on my most recent birthday. thanks again, nate!


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