Monday, February 27

puppy fever

Jake and I caught this ailment this evening when we went to see Grammy and Pappy Law's new puppy, Maddie (Jake took this photo, by the way. I think we have a budding photographer on our hands). She is a 10-week-old Bernese Mountain Dog (aka a ball of fluff). What a cutie! I think Jake loved her more than I did--he has already made his reservations for his next stay at the Law's, which is only 11 days away according to his calculations.

One thing I like about big dogs is watching them grow. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to do this again as I seriously doubt we will have any more puppies here. I guess it could happen, but I'd much rather get a dog that is past the puppy/destructive phase. But, it certainly doesn't hurt to live vicariously through others.

Sunday, February 26

the human stain

We watched this movie last night. It was pretty good. Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins starred in it, so it was bound to be decent. We've watched so many movies in the past few months, that it is sometimes hard to think of something to write about them (this, being one of those times). But, this is definitely one of the better movies we've seen.

Maybe I should turn this into a movie and book review blog. That's all I seem to be doing lately. Hopefully, I will have more to do (and therefore write about) in the coming months.

Saturday, February 25

cell

After Brian's reaction to the last Stephen King novel, I don't think he's going to like this one. Not to give anything away, but the ending kind of sucks. Again. Up to that point, I really did enjoy the book even though I found it to be a bit derivative. And I have to say, the whole cell phone concept was rather implausible. I was hoping for some kind of explanation, but never got one. I don't think it ranks up there with his classics, but it's still a lot better than most of the other stuff out there these days. It only took a week to read and I didn't even have time to read it each day, so it must've had some redeeming qualities.

goodfellas

I don't know how I managed to get through the last 16 years without seeing this movie, but I finally rectified that last night. Brian had already seen this one a number of times, so he made sure I didn't miss any of the good parts (you know, when I was off mixing drinks or whatever). Obviously, this was a good film. The only thing I didn't like was the part where they explained the title, "You know, we always called each other goodfellas. Like, you'd say to somebody: "You're gonna like this guy; he's all right. He's a goodfella. He's one of us." You understand? We were goodfellas, wiseguys." Granted, a minor piece of dialog, but ever since we watched The Stand miniseries on tv so many years ago, where they did a similar such thing, we always make fun of movies that do this by yelling out "Stand!" And, you know what? Practially every movie does this. Just watch. Is it really necessary to explain the title to the viewer? If so, then maybe they ought to work on the plot a little harder.

Rant aside, I really did like this movie. And, it's got me primed for The Sopranos, which starts back up in a few weeks.

Sunday, February 19

mackay's baptism

We spent much of this weekend on the road as we trekked to upstate New York in order to attend our nephew's baptism.

We left here after lunch on Saturday and arrived around 6:30pm. After getting settled in at the hotel, we went over to Jenn (Brian's sister) and Bill's new house to check it out and visit for a bit. We had a nice evening. Brian's parent's, grandmother, and our niece were all there, too.

The baptism was today, of course. Brian played the part of Marlon Brando in that he was the Godfather. Afterwards, they had a nice dinner at a local pub. We headed home pretty early (relatively speaking) because Brian has to go to work tomorrow. He's not permitted to take any time off yet since he is a new employee. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday's in Altoona and had an enjoyable supper and then arrived home around 9pm. Now, I need to decompress a little before I head to bed. Jake and I are off tomorrow and we need to run to the Cozy Inn in the morning to pick up Lizzy.

Saturday, February 18

dogville

This is a movie about how people suck. And, it brings the audience down with it.

The entire film took place on this stage (not unlike a play). The stage was devoid of most props. Houses were delineated with squares painted on the stage. At first this was kind of weird, but most of the scenes were shot close up, so you'd actually forget about it during these times. It was quite engrossing, actually.

The story, which takes place in the 1930s, is about a woman, Grace (played by Nicole Kidman, who did a great job in the starring role) who ends up in this town called Dogville. She is on the run from the mob. The town takes a vote and lets her stay. In order to get people to like her, she helps each person with something (chores, babysitting, etc.) each day. The people end up taking advantage of this, and the story spirals downward from there.

As much as I liked this movie, I hesitate to recommend it only because it was so weird. If you're into experimental film, you'll probably like it. If not, don't bother.

trace

This was a book written by Patricia Cornwell. It was one in her "Kay Scarpetta" series of books. Kay is a chief medical examiner (a "Quincy", if you will). With all of the CSI nonsense going on these days, I can see why this is a popular series. The book was ok--nothing exciting. It probably would've taken me a lot longer to read than it did, but I got the new Stephen King novel, Cell, right after I started reading Trace. So, I blazed through it as fast as I could so I could start on the new King (which will happen tonight).

Wednesday, February 15

cat bastard

It's kind of like a rat bastard, only worse. I made an appointment for Marley at The Dog House--the pet grooming business that we've been frequenting for the past 10 years. He has a bunch of matted hair on his back that I'm sick of looking at. Otherwise, I wouldn't have worried about it.

Getting Marley in his crate was interesting enough. He proceeded to growl, hiss, and spit venom until we arrived at The Dog House. The woman there was like, "Is he always like this?" As far as I know, he is. Given this, she didn't want to take a chance on getting bitten or having the cat injure himself while being groomed. She suggested having the vet slightly sedate him if we decide to try this again. She didn't think he'd take well to having me stuff a tranquilizer down his throat, hence the vet suggestion. She said that she grooms about 100 cats a year and maybe a half dozen of them need to be sedated before being groomed, so it looks like we're one of the "lucky" few cat owners out there.

Tuesday, February 14

happy birthday, brian

Today, Brian turned 35. What this means for me is that I don't have to be the "older" woman for the next four months. As for him, he's just getting old.

For his birthday dinner, Brian selected a toasted Italian sub. It was quite delicious. I guess that's the curse of cooking all of the time--when you ask him what he wants to eat, he wants a sandwich. Oh well, less work for me.

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day anymore, so at least we didn't have to deal with that. We both came to the conclusion that V-Day is more suited for people who are dating (plus, I think we were both running out of gift ideas), so we gave that one up a year or two ago. That, and Halloween. We both really like Halloween, but just how many pumpkins and skulls can you buy someone?

Anyway, we had our sandwiches for supper and then Brian opened his gifts. He'll be off to a meeting in a little while, so I won't be able to torture him with the dog show on TV this evening.

Sunday, February 12

what breed are you?

I am a Golden Retriever:

"You're the most laidback, loyal friend anyone could ask for. Easygoing and reliable, we're as likely to find you outdoors with a Frisbee as spending a lazy Sunday on the couch. You're brainy and sporty, and your expressive eyes convey your sensitivity to other people's feelings. Just don't let anyone take advantage of your kindness and you'll be top dog."

Can you believe that crap?

What breed are you?

One more day until the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

brian's birthday, part 1

Today, we went to my parent's to celebrate my mom's version of Brian's birthday. It was just the three of us and my parents because my brother had to work today and my grandmother didn't want to go out in the snow. Still, we had a nice time.

Another bonus for today was the fact that I got to pass the torch on a refinishing project I was doing for my parents. All the hard work is done, so I gave them instructions on how to complete the project. I volunteered to refinish a mission-style quartersawn oak desk that they acquired. It came out pretty nice.

Friday, February 10

hearts in atlantis

It's Friday, so it must be another Margarita and a Movie night! Tonight, we watched Hearts in Atlantis pretty much because it was the last movie on one of my tapes and I need to tape some stuff later this month. Much like the book, I didn't enjoy the movie. Much like the book, Brian enjoyed the movie. Take that for what it's worth.

I do have to say, Anthony Hopkins is a fine actor. Every time I see him, I think, "Right--that's the guy who played Hannibal Lecter." (when I am trying to place where I've seen him before). I'm always surprised to remember that fact. You'd think with a role like that, that is all I would remember. I wouldn't call this one of his better roles, but it sure wasn't like DeNiro in Meet the Fockers.

Thursday, February 9

identity

Brian and I watched this movie last night. I have to say, it was an interesting premise for a film. I never would've thought of something like that. I guess that's why I'm a software developer and not a screenwriter. I can't really get into the plot, or it would spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. But, if you're into weird twists and turns, you'll definitely like this movie.

Wednesday, February 8

yoga, finally

After almost a year of procrastinating, I finally got to do yoga today. No, I was not finally able to buy an hour of time. Rather, I have weekly meetings with our India group (at work) that I am required to attend, and today's meeting started 90 minutes before I usually start work. So I finished up a bit early today and was able to squeeze in an hour of yoga before Jake got home from school. Since it was not a "yoga with dogs" tape that I was watching, I had to put Lizzy in her crate because she wouldn't stop licking my face. It went alright, but I am nowhere near flexible, so there were some things I couldn't do. There's a yoga show on Oxygen every morning. I taped a few episodes of that, so I think I'll try that next time and see if it goes better. Anyway, I kind of liked it. I think I fell asleep at the end for a few minutes during the meditation portion. I felt pretty good when I was done, so we'll see how it goes next time. One thing I did learn is that it's harder than it looks. I knew I wouldn't be able to do a lot of the stretchy things, but what I didn't know is that your body gets a little workout. I suppose this is a good thing, though.

Sunday, February 5

it's super

The Steelers pulled out a win this evening. It wasn't pretty, but it was good enough. Definitely not the kind of game I like to watch (at least not when my team is playing). It was a pretty close game throughout and, unfortunately, Roethlisberger was not playing well this evening. I wonder if the game would've been last week if he would've played better--he was on such a roll. Either way, it didn't matter--they won. At least we won't have to hear about "one for the thumb" anymore. I was glad to see Bettis and Cowher get their rings. The Steeler organization seems to be a pretty good one and they were well-deserving, too.

Brian's dad came over to watch the game with us. I decided on a Mexican theme for the food. Actually, I started off thinking "what goes with a Margarita?" Duh, Mexican food! So, I made up a menu of chicken fajitas, guacamole, black bean dip, salsa, and, of course, some black and gold cake. Brian's dad brought a 7-layer taco salad. It was quite a spread. We'll have to do this again next year.

Saturday, February 4

actions not worth repeating

I just got done washing my hair this morning when I heard Lizzy barking like a mad dog. And, it sounded like she was in the family room. Uh oh--someone (me) left the gate at the top of the stairs unlatched. So, I raced downstairs to see Marley the Demon Cat sitting on the chair, with all of her hairs raised up, hissing like some beast out of hell, and Lizzy standing on the floor barking with all of the hairs on her back standing up. I tried calling her over, but she went closer to the cat, and the cat started making some weird moaning sound. Lizzy promptly started squealing like Marley was stealing her immortal soul (I guess you need to resort to theft when you're soulless--a soul isn't something you can buy at PetCo.). I was able to grab Lizzy's collar at that point and direct her upstairs. Phew! That could've been a mess. The funny thing is that it's not like Lizzy hasn't seen a cat before, but I'm guessing Marley has never been around a dog, therefore prompting the reaction between the two of them. While Ariel doesn't like Lizzy, she certainly doesn't act like that when they are around each other. I just hope the two cats get along. I could do without having one pet living on each floor of the house.

trainspotting

Brian and I both enjoyed this movie, which was directed by the same guy who did 28 Days Later (which was a terrific film). It was about a group of heroin addicts living in Scotland and the one guy who tries to get clean. There was a lot of profanity to be had, but it was hard to hear due to the thick, Scottish accents. I have to say, the British sure can screw up a good poop joke--there were two in this film and I couldn't even watch the one, it was so disgusting. Be warned.

Thursday, February 2

the injustice of it all

We got a new pet today. A cat. Hardly a fitting replacement for Ripley (not that you could replace her). The cat was Brian's sister's. Oh yeah, his name is Marley. He was not playing nice with her toddler, so they had to find it a new home. Unfortunately, they couldn't find one, so they were going to take it to an animal shelter. So, we stepped in and adopted it. I'm not a big cat fan, as you might know. Actually, I do like all animals. However, as far as pets go, I prefer dogs. Cats are too standoffish. Or something.

Anyway, this cat is currently in our family room re-enacting the Exorcist (without the vomit). I went down there to check on him and he said something like "My name is Legion."

He's pretty cool looking, though. He's a black cat with just a little white and he was born on All Hallow's Eve Eve. October 30th to be exact. Not sure how the interaction is going to go between our dog and our other cat. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks if he ever comes out of his carrier.