Monday, November 30, 2009

Pleasant Valley Sunday

Editor's Note: See yesterday's entry regarding late posts.

Much to just about everyone's surprise, it was lovely winter day here in the DC Metro area. The high was a little above 60 degrees, making jackets optional. Started the day with the usual manner of sundry details and then made my way to Rockville to meet a friend. We took a walk along the Bethesda Trolley Trail where we crossed over both I-270 and 495 but didn't quite walk all the way to fabulous Bethesda.

Walking worked up a decent appetite, but where to go. My friend suggested Rockville's own Amina Thai. What makes this place somewhat unique among other Thai restaurants is the fact the owners are Muslim. This means all food is halal, so you won't find any pork on the menu. D had the Green Curry while I enjoyed the Panang Curry (coconut milk, spices, and ground peanuts). Delicious is putting it mildly. I wanted to just devour it all but restrained myself. The plan was to take it home for dinner but I accidently left it in D's apartment. Oh well.

It wasn't long after lunch when D and I parted ways so she could make cookie dough with her gal pals. Arriving home, it was time for some Netflix goodness. Two discs of Big Bang Theory and the Blu-ray of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock landed in the mailbox on Friday. Big Bang Theory was friggin' hilarious as usual and the HD transfer of Star Trek III is just gorgeous. Having seen the film many many times, I focused on some the more minute details like the textures of the costume fabrics and trying to discern how props and sets were constructed. Throughout all of this was enjoying pound cake that my mom was kind enough to send home with me Saturday night.

The unfortunate aspect of Sunday is that Monday is right around the corner. And with the calendar going into December, weekends will become less and less relaxing as the social calendar fills up with holiday engagements. This isn't to say they can't be fun, but I'll miss my solo movie time and one-on-one friend interactions.

What To Do?

Editor's Note: I continue to have connectivity issues at home (this also happened Sunday). Hopefully, things will be back to normal by week's end. Here is Saturday's entry...

Not sure how to handle turkey leftovers? Behold Turkey & Cranberry Quesadillas!

You can find the recipe at Closet Cooking.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Catching Some Rays

Had to work today and now I have to get ready for my evening of billiards and booze. Until we meet again, enjoy this version of Toto's "Africa", complete with a capella rainstorm:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Link Blogging

Had a bit of an Internet connectivity problem this morning, but here's the entry I had written for today. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a comfy chair with my name on it.

Holiday Links:

Have a safe one everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

Way too much to do today in preparation for tomorrow. Hope all of you find some measure of happiness tomorrow.

Picture cropped from cover of JSA #54 (art by Carlos Pacheco)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Talkin' Some TV

I find myself watching a lot of TV when I'm by myself at home. This usually happens late at night, especially on the weekends where I can easily stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Normally the stuff watched is time shifted (i.e., recorded when it airs and watched later) but occasionally I'll watch shows in real time. So what am I watching? I'm glad you asked:

The Big Bang Theory: I'm a couple of years late to the party on this one, but I am hooked hooked hooked now. Socially inept scientists having wacky misadventures and they're geeks? It's like a sitcom version of my life (except for the socially inept part, right ladies?).

The Biggest Loser: As cliche as this sounds, this show spurred me on to begin losing weight. Starting at 267lbs, I've managed to drop down to 235 in the span of three months. Seeing people with severe weight issues taking charge (with the help of a TV show of course) to improve their health is a good thing. Some of these peoples' stories are genuinely compelling; however, I'm not a fan of the Machiavellian drama that ensues over voting people off.

V: Only four episodes of this will be shown before hiatus with the remainder of the episodes to air in January (I think). The first episode went by way too quickly and now the subsequent episodes are moving too slowly. Along with the pacing, another big sticking point with me is the lack of normal people. In the original, we had three different families and saw the story unravel through them. I'll watch the mid-season ender and see if I'm willing to put up with more.

NBC's Thursday Night Comedies: Without a doubt, I am a huge fan of The Office. I even considered going to the Scranton convention. The show has dipped a bit in quality this past season but there are still enough chuckleworthy moments to still make it worthwhile. Parks and Recreation has vastly improved from that clumsy first season. I'm not an Amy Poehler fan at all, but the supporting cast on that show more than makes up for her "Look at me! I'm ca-razy!" style of comedy. Community rocks my world. Okay, Alison Brie (Annie) rocks my world. The show is pretty funny too. Still haven't gotten into the habit of 30 Rock. Sorry folks.

Stargate: Universe: In fanboy circles, this is often referred to as Battlestar Galactica Light. To an extent, I have to agree. However, the past couple of episodes have appeared to be getting away from the tropes associated with Galactica. The characters appeal to me much more than the plots. Eli especially stands out as my favorite character. He's a math geek who constantly whips out pop culture references. What's not to like? Don't like the communication stones at all. Hard to sympathize with the marooned people when they spend half their time on Earth (albeit while inhabiting other people's bodies).

Monday, November 23, 2009

You're in command now, Mr. Kirk

Yesterday, I watched the Blu-ray of Star Trek partly because I wanted to watch it again and partly because I promised a review way back in May. Watching it again evoked memories of attending that press screening and being surprised at just how good it was. Friends wanting to see what the hype was about drafted me to see it with them. This meant I saw the film four times this past summer.

The following will contain spoilers and could cause blindness if not viewed properly. You can rejoin us after the picture of the Enterprise to remain spoiler-free.

The film still holds up reasonably well in its fifth viewing. The opening scene retains its intensity despite its obvious viewer manipulation. I still like that George Kirk was able to share a last moment with his wife to name their newborn son. The look of the U.S.S. Kelvin and its crew felt perfect to me. I know it won't happen (except possibly in comics and novels) but I really want to see more adventures with the Kelvin's crew.

The bit with young Kirk and the corvette was a bit long compared to young Spock's intro. I understand that this was to portray his brash youth (further cemented by the obligatory bar fight) but it felt a bit like pandering to the 18-24 demographic. I think it would have worked better if we had seen the consequences of stealing the car.

My favorite character in the film was easily Dr. McCoy. Karl Urban and Chris Pine worked really well together and pulled off the McCoy-Kirk chemistry nicely. If there's anything I'm looking for in the sequel, it's more McCoy.

I did have some problems with the movie. First and foremost was the unexplained 25-year absence of the future Romulans. The deleted scenes show that they were all in a Klingon prison, captured after the collision with the Kelvin crippled their ship. The audience shouldn't have to obtain a plot hole's explanation from a deleted scene (or in a comic book). I've mentioned the overly long car chase. The other problem I had was the lack of senior officers aboard the Enterprise. Cadets serving in senior positions (like first officer) is a contrivance that serves only to put the younger characters in the spotlight. I was able to swallow this (and the subsequent command assignment at the end) but it remains one of the film's weaknesses to me.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Star Trek canon in all of this. I've mentioned my issues with Trek fans and this subject before and I'm not surprised there are fans who don't like the film because of the changes made in the film. We bought the idea of a Mirror Universe for 40+ years and now we have a problem with alternate universes? The appearance of "our" Spock in this alternate timeline, in my opinion, continues the canon. Many fans believe this film has overwritten/erased the timeline "established" previously and they couldn't be more wrong. Spock (with Uhura chiming in) clearly explained what had happened. The writers could easily have told the rabid fans "tough toenails"
Overall, I felt the film got more right than it got wrong. Doing things a bit differently is what Star Trek needed and audiences seem to agree (and not just the 18-24 demographic either). It's a decent film and one I'll probably watch a number of times if only to find Easter eggs and such.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A New Beginning

Wow. Here we are nearly seven months later since my last post. And here I am hoping to begin writing on a regular basis once again -- hence the new layout. Unfortunately, I've fallen victim to microblogging via Twitter and Facebook. Both are fine for keeping in touch and providing some laughs, but don't allow for a whole lot of insight. While things are busy at work and my social life is full, I think both are manageable enough to allow for some actual writing.

From now until New Year's Eve, I will be posting at least one new entry per day. Feel free to razz me on Twitter or in the comments should I fall down on the job. No guarantees that all of these entries will shed anymore light on the question mark that is yours truly, but there will be at least something. The other blogs (Best Picture Derby and The Unofficial Index to G.I. Joe) are slowly but surely taking shape for regular updates again.

I hope you'll join me on my thoughts inane and look forward to having a bit of fun with this.

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