Thursday, February 26, 2009

Please God, Make The Roads Impassable

Last night, while watching "Ghost Hunters International", I took a look at the weather forecast for today. I was quite surprised to see that we were due to get at least 6 inches. I'm working in the evenings this week and got a bit excited thinking that perhaps (God willing) the roads would be too treacherous to traverse. I felt like I was back in my grade school days, hoping that the next day would be a snow one. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much, though. There's nothing worse than expecting something and then not seeing it come to pass.

Late this morning, the sun was out and there were no signs of a coming storm. My Pomeranian was barking at the garbage trucks, par for the course for her on Thursdays. A little after noon, it became overcast and about 45 minutes ago, we started getting some freezing rain. A few minutes ago, I heard the thunder roll, a weird experience in Minnesota in February. A good deal of regional evening activities have already been canceled. Will God be on my side like he was when Obama was elected late last year? Time will tell.

Holy shiznet! I just got off the phone and was told that my office will not be open this evening. Yippee! I can watch "Survivor" without taping it and maybe even go to Friday's!!! Life is grand!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Antidepressants Can Add Years to Your Face

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Your mother's wrinkles — or lack thereof, may not be the best predictor of how you'll age. In fact, a new study claims just the opposite. The study, involving identical twins, suggests that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors can add years to a person's perceived age. Results just published reveal that factors like divorce or the use of antidepressants are the real culprits that can wreak havoc on one's face.

According to Dr. Guyuron, "the presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older." Antidepressant use was associated with a significantly older appearance. Researchers said it may be that depression itself increased facial aging, or it’s possible that use of antidepressant drugs relaxed facial muscles in a way that increased the appearance of aging.

(Age 64. Twin on right suffers from depression, and appears older)

In other words, if the misery of your divorce doesn't age you, your attempt to treat it with Prozac might.

Full article

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars '9

This evening, I will be live-blogging the 2009 Academy Awards. I've seen all five movies nominated for Best Pic. Here's how I'd rank them:

1. Slumdog Millionaire -fantastic, life-affirming film, great music

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - a good tour-de-force, but not one I'd care to revisit

3. The Reader - very provocative opening 75 minutes, deflates a good deal over its last 45

4. Frost/Nixon - though many portions were invented, a pleasingly intense film

5. Milk - a bit by-the-numbers, but really nails the early 70's

I'm glad The Dark Knight wasn't nominated for Best Pic as I didn't believe it was a strong enough movie, but feel that Wall-e (my fave film of '08) should've been.

8:10pm Wow, only one commercial break in the first 40 minutes. I love the way they've made the Kodak Theatre super-intimate. Jackman's opening song and dance was fantastic.

9:21pm Nice to see "Man on Wire" win Best Doc. I Netflixed it a few months ago.

9:37pm Will Smith presents 4 separate awards (visual effects, sound, sound mixing, editing). Damn.

11:00pm I loved how 5 prior Oscar winners would take the stage and give kudos to each of the '09 nominees. Absolutely fantastic show overall. The producers did an incredible job. Great to see "Slumdog" get Best Pic and Director. Also nice to see Winslet finally win one and Penn get his second.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chick Flick Cliches

In the late 90's, I went with my significant other to quite a few romantic comedies-women's movies-chick flicks. At that point in time, I didn't have much familiarity with the genre, so what were probably cliches' didn't seem so to me. Some of my favorites were "My Best Friend's Wedding", "Jerry Maguire", "You've Got Mail", and "Runaway Bride". I even enjoyed a few of them in the early '00's: "Erin Brockovich", Legally Blonde", and "Bridget Jones's Diary".

After a while, though, the formulaicness of them caught up with me and now I only go to female-centric films that have something new to offer. I feel the same about Testosterone-Action movies: "Transformers", "Transporter 2", pretty much any film that starts with "Trans".

With that in mind, watch below as three of the players from "He's Just Not That Into You" act out ten Chick Flick Cliches':

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Come To Your Senses

While accompanying a friend of mine last Sunday night to a screening of "Friday the 13th" (don't worry, he paid my way since there's no way in hell I'd pay a dime to see such nonsense), I began to think about pleasure, no, not like that, you dirty devils. Well, kinda.

When one goes out on the weekend, it's almost always to have some fun. Going out to eat is a good one, something that pleases the taste buds. Movies are fine though they only really stimulate the eyes and ears (smell a bit if you like popcorn). Some have boos which actually deadens the senses instead of utilizing them. Sex is a popular one, not least because it makes use of all 5 senses (unless you don't like oral). When I went to the retreat in Oregon, the main thing being stimulated was my mind.

One of my favorite sensual activities is getting a massage. The sense of touch isn't one that's typically addressed while one is out in public unless you go to a spa or like disco dancing. I think I'd enjoy going in a sensory deprivation tank one day.

It'd be interesting to see if I could stick with it or if I'd be dying for some kind of stimulus, some kind of distraction that would keep me from truly knowing myself. What about you, my faithful readers? Could you stand to be alone with just your thoughts?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Reader

There are many things I do that may seem unusual to others, but are perfectly normal to me. Here's one such example: whenever I eat anything at home, whether it be chicken noodle soup (the only soup I eat) for lunch, a french bread pizza and Oreo Cakester for supper, or a couple Nutri-Grain bars in the middle of the night, I HAVE to be reading something while doing so.

I used to be fine ingesting things while watching the telly, but in the end, it just wasn't doing it for me (commercials are too brain-deadening and even the news is just yada-yada-yada). I don't like doing hard reading in these circumstances, however. It almost always is a magazine; one of the three I subscribe to (Time, Newsweek, & Entertainment Weekly). Sometimes I'll be all caught up on the mags and will have to go downstairs to obtain a 7-year old copy of EW (I used to save every ish, but now give them to a friend of mine when I've polished them off).

When I go out to eat by myself (which is rare these days), I also make sure I've something to peruse while dining (usually a newspaper). The only time I'm ever eating without reading something is when I dine out with another. I'm not exactly sure how I got this way. For some reason, I just can't take getting orally satisfied without being mentally stimulated as well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Thriller for the Ages

I just finished watching one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's a film I got from Netflix called "Transsiberian". I knew it had to be good, since it received 90% on (that means 90% of the critics who reviewed it gave it the thumbs-up). If you have Netflix, it's possible to watch it on your computer, but this is the type of movie one should view on their couch or recliner with a blanket covering them on a cold night.

The less you know about the film, the better. All I knew is that it involved an American couple who were traveling on Russia's Transsiberian railway.

Most mainstream thrillers are crap, formulaic and disappointing. But this one constantly surprised. I found myself much more tense watching it than I typically am when viewing a movie; very effective work by the director. If interested in the film, don't watch the trailer; it reveals way too much.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Special Offer For My Closest Friends

As regular readers of this weblog know, my favorite restaurant is Friday's.

I go there about twice a week these days, usually once on Tuesdays since they have a Buy 1 Burger, Get One Free special and then again sometime during the weekend. I'm a member of their GiveMeMoreStripes program in which for every $100 I spend there, I get a coupon for $8 off my next visit (I've gotten at least 8 of these coupons in the last year).

Last week, Friday's sent me a Buy 1 Entree', Get One Free offer. I used it last weekend, but it's actually not a one-time thing. It says "Spread The Joy! Send this coupon to your co-workers, friends, & family. Send it to everyone you know so they can use it over and over again until March 1, 2009!" Full disclosure: the coupon is not valid on Valentine's Day.

So, dear readers, if any of you are interested in obtaining said offer, leave a note in the comments or send me an email and it will be on its way. Maybe I can get a couple of you as hooked on the place as I am.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Watch "Marley & Me" For Free Tonight in the Comfort of Your Own Home!

Last week, I was on a spiritual forum talking to a woman about this and that. Here's an excerpt:

Tom: "I planned to see "Milk" this past weekend, but was feeling much too lazy."

Rachel: "lol! I watch all of the movies "free" online. Sometimes, I'd go to the show, but at *********.com, you can see them all. When it's cold, sometimes a person just wants to chill in the house and look at good movies. When the weather is nicer, I'd go to the show (maybe). A movie can come out on Friday, and by that same night, it's online, in its entirety. Very convenient."

Wow, I thought. My favorite theatre is about a 15-minute drive away, prices range from 6 to 8 dollars, and many times during the winter, my feet get too cold for me to really enjoy the movie. I decided to check out the site. I figured it was probably bootleg videos, you know, the kind where someone took a camcorder into the theatre and videotaped what was on the screen.

Imagine my surprise when I watched my first movie, "The Reader". Starring Kate Winslet and nominated for Best Picture, the movie is still playing in hundreds of theatres across the country (it's yet to come to Rochester). The movie started and I quickly realized it was the actual movie, not a copy or a bootleg. What I was watching was a screener (the Academy of Arts & Sciences sends out screeners to many of its members so they've no excuse not to see the nominees).

I leaned back quite happy to be seeing this much-talked-about film. Once I set it for full-screen, there were no advertisements to take me away from the movie and the movie was presented in its proper widescreen format. After 72 minutes of play, it said I had to wait 54 minutes before finishing the movie unless I wanted to sign up for the Deluxe Package which costs about ten bucks.

I figured I could wait the 54 minutes, just treat the time as an intermission in which I could go to the bathroom, get a snack, maybe take a bath and think about what I'd just watched. An hour later, I went back to my computer and finished the film. The next day, I viewed "Happy-Go-Lucky", another film that hasn't come here, but which I was greatly looking forward to seeing.

It's about a lady who is always happy no matter what is happening in her life. Yesterday, I watched "Doubt", a movie that did come to town, but has since gone. Four of its performances are nominated for Academy Awards. Now, none of these movies are even on home video yet. You can imagine how elated a movie fan like me was to see these films without any of the distractions I would be exposed to at our local theatre.

Other movies presently available are the Best Pic-nominated "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Slumdog Millionaire", and "Milk". If you like comedies, there's "Marley & Me",

"Paul Blart: Mall Cop", "Bride Wars", and "Hotel for Dogs". All are currently playing on the big screen. I'm sure you're wondering by now where to go to experience such joys. Well, I'm not gonna give this out to every Joe Schmo on the web. If you'd like the link, leave me a note in the comments or send me an email.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who Are You?

A couple weeks ago, when I changed my template, I also adjusted my blogger roll a bit. Instead of using a person's first name, I came up with a colorful nickname (the two newest people on my 'roll are exempt).

For example, I named Eric, an accountant, "Numbers". Rachel, who I know virtually nothing about, was given the moniker "Jane Doe". If you're a regular, go find yourself on the left-sidebar and if you have any questions why I gave you the name I did (or want me to change it), leave a note in the comments or send me an email.