Wednesday, November 30

the devil's rejects

I was holding out to watch this movie until we got to see it's prequel, House of 1000 Corpses, but things didn't work out. For whatever reason, it's been on backorder at Blockbuster Online for the past few weeks. Perhaps it has a new popularity due to the recent DVD release of The Devil's Rejects. That said, we watched The Devil's Rejects last night. The plot was not so complex that we couldn't figure things out seeing the movies out of order.

I'm not a slasher film buff by any means, but I like Rob Zombie and this movie got good reviews, so I figured what the heck? After the initial nausea passed, I began to enjoy the film. There were a couple of funny things in the movie where we both laughed out loud. This is more than I can say about some recent comedies we've watched (Office Space comes to mind).

I hate to nitpick, but the flimsy body armor the clan had on at the beginning of the movie hardly seems like it would deflect a gunshot. It just wasn't realistic. But, like Brian pointed out, a family of serial killers isn't all that realistic, either. Right. But apparently I can get past one unrealistic point for the sake of a story, but not two. Other than that, I don't have any problems with the plot.

The soundtrack was rather interesting--all classic rock from the 70s. You would not think this would work for a movie of this genre, yet somehow it worked perfectly. I could've done without hearing Freebird at the end, though. In fact, I could go my whole life and not listen to Freebird again and I would be a happier person for it. Freebird! Skynyrd! Yeah--heard that enough times.

Saturday, November 26

a new twist on an old favorite

ala Jacob:

The more you eat,
The more you toot.
So eat your beans,
The magical way.

the interpreter

Last night, Brian and I caught this one while drinking margaritas (of course). Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman starred in the movie, so you know it had to be good. And good it was--full of political intrigue and whatnot. The movie really held my interest throughout. It was a story about an interpreter (Kidman) at the U.N. who overhears an assassination plot for an African leader who will be speaking at the U.N. It took a lot of twists and turns and we find out that Kidman has ties to the country in question, which further complicates the plot. Penn played a member of the Secret Service who was assigned to the case. His acting is always good, and this movie was no exception, but his part wasn't all that interesting. Still, a pretty good movie.

Thursday, November 24

riding the bullet

Brian and I watched this movie last night (it was a lender from one of his friends). It was based on the eBook (by Stephen King) of the same name. I vaguely remember reading the eBook a few years ago. I did not enjoy the format (that much I do remember). Anyway, the original story was ok and the movie followed it pretty well from what I can recall. A lot of the story was the internal dialog of the main character. It was interesting how they pulled this off in the movie--they had two versions of the actor in those scenes and the "extra" character would talk to the main character. This movie also cemented the fact that David Arquette is a horrible actor. Luckily, he was not the main character, but he had the second largest role in the film. Still, it was probably the best thing on TV last night.

thanksgiving 2005

Today was a rather subdued day for a holiday. My parents, brother, and grandmother were all supposed to come over for dinner, but my grandmother couldn't make it due to the weather and my brother got called out to work. He eventually made it here, though, so that was cool.

We spent the past few days cleaning up the house and I spent all morning cooking. I was hoping to do the turkey breasts on the grill this year, but due to the major snowstorm we got yesterday and today, it didn't seem like a good time to do so. The food turned out well. We had your standard holiday fare. Brian's all bummed out because we all but ran out of gravy, so I will have to make some more tomorrow from some chicken broth. It won't be as good as the stuff we had today, but I guess it will have to do. That's as close as I will get to cooking tomorrow. Time for a well-deserved day off. We're both off work tomorrow, so that will be nice. Jake's time off continues through Monday for the official Pennsylvania holiday of the First Day of Deer Hunting.

Monday, November 21

r.i.p. ripley

Brian took Ripley to the vets after work so she could be put to sleep. He stayed with her the whole time, which was nice and not something I could've handled. He said things went about as well as they possibly could have and he was impressed by the compassion shown by the staff.

Needless to say, we're both really sad. Jake on the other hand, is downright cheerful and is annoying the hell out of us both. I guess he's just too young to understand what is going on.

Rest In Peace, Big Sweet Rip.

the latest on ripley

I took a sick day today (because I am pretty sick about this) in order to spend one last day with Ripley. After much discussion last night, we came to the conclusion that the best thing to do for Ripley is to have her put to sleep. The poor dog can't even eat anymore and that is probably her most favorite thing in the world to do (followed by frisbee and ear scratches and eating yellow dogs--none of which she can enjoy at this point). It's kind of funny, because she still gets excited at mealtimes (old habits die hard, I guess), but then just looks at the food in her bowl and walks away. I guess some people might wait a little longer, but I would prefer to remember her how she's always been rather than her decline. So, the deed is scheduled for 5:45 today. Brian is going to take her after work because it's just not something I feel I can do. I still have to talk to our vet. I want to make sure she agrees with the diagnosis. I have to think she will because a lot of it is stuff she already brought up. Even if we had a few thousand dollars to spend on Ripley's treatment I don't think we'd do it anyway--I don't think putting the dog through a lot of pain in order to, at best, reduce her quality of life is a good decision.

At least we had a great summer together. For the past six months, I made a concerted effort to exercise the dogs twice a week. A tired dog is a good dog, they say. We had a lot of fun playing frisbee in the back yard. Even Lizzy now enjoys the game. Of course she is on a tie-out because she won't stay in the yard, but Ripley has always stayed in the yard. On one particularly beautiful Sunday afternoon (and I've got a roll of film to prove it), the dogs and I went out to play frisbee. When we were done it was too nice to go back into the house so we just hung out in the back yard for a while--me in one of the patio chairs, them sniffing around the yard. It's one of the nicest memories I have of my two current pups.

Sunday, November 20

so, that's that

Brian called a bit ago. I'm not sure of all the test results, but Ripley definitely has a mass in her chest (probably cancer). And she might have some sort of auto-immune disease at work as well. Today's options were:
1. spend a few thousand $$ for surgery and treatment that might not amount to anything
2. have her euthanized
3. take her home

Brian opted for #3 for now. I'm sure I will need to talk to our vet tomorrow, but things obviously aren't looking good.

bathroom remodel: day 37 & sick dog

Yesterday, I touched up some spots I missed while painting (painting textured paint is a real pain in the ass) and finished caulking the tub surround. Brian spent the day working on the vanity. Lowe's also delivered our vanity top and it looked fine. They gave us about a 20% discount so at least we don't have anything to complain about anymore.

We were hoping to work more today, but Ripley's condition keeps getting worse. So, we made a decision to take her to a 24-hour animal hospital in Monroeville. Brian left around 2pm and it doesn't look like he'll be home anytime soon. He has called a few times with updates, but mostly he has been waiting. Apparently it's a busy place. They're going to do some tests and try to come up with a diagnosis (sound familiar?). Then there will be decisions to make depending on what they find. Hopefully I will hear from him soon because the waiting is killing me.

Saturday, November 19


This is another movie I've been wanting to watch for a while. It starred Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, and Edward Norton. In a nutshell, it was a movie about a heist. There wasn't enough sex, nudity, or violence in it for me, but Brian really liked it. The three main characters did a great job in their roles (though Brando's part was pretty small). As far as movies about high-end thieves go, I liked Heat a lot more.

office space

When this movie first came out, I wasn't really interested in seeing it. I already live it, so why would I want to watch it in my spare time? But, I heard some good things about it in the meantime and Jennifer Aniston, who I like, was also in the movie, so I thought I'd check it out. Looks like my first impression was the one I should've stuck with. I mean, the movie was ok--kind of amusing--but not laugh out loud funny. If I'm going to watch a comedy, I feel that it should make me laugh.

Friday, November 18

ripley, part 2

No news would've been better than the news I got today. The vet called and Ripley's white blood count was low (rather than high, which would be seen in an infection). Additionally, one of her kidney tests came back high, which means things aren't working correctly there either. Due to the kidney numbers, I had to take her off the diuretic for now. She's going to remain on the antibiotics because those won't hurt anything, though it's starting to look like she doesn't have an infection. Really, the problem is that there are so many conflicting things going on, it's hard to diagnose. The latest thing to rule out is a lymphosarcoma. The vet thinks it is quite possible that she has cancer in one of her organs and it spread to another. Great.

We had to run to the vet's office again this afternoon, as she wanted to give Ripley some fluids to make her more comfortable over the weekend (since her kidneys aren't functioning properly).

Ripley's going to need to go to Monroeville for an ultrasound of the kidneys and chest. They will also do a chest tap so that the fluid in her chest can be tested. This has not been scheduled yet. I have to call the vet's office on Monday with an update on her condition and then we'll talk about scheduling it. I keep getting the idea that the vet thinks she's going to go downhill fast and that's why it was not scheduled today. Really, though, if you didn't know Ripley, you wouldn't even know anything was wrong with her. Not that that's doing any of us any good right now.

Thursday, November 17

ripley's latest malady

Our Doberman, Ripley, has not been acting like herself for about the past week. I finally called the vet yesterday and made an appointment. They took an xray of her chest and it showed fluid in the lungs. This could be caused by numerous things, but the diagnosis is pneumonia for now. Her blood test results will be in tomorrow and those will either confirm or rule out the diagnosis. I'm rooting for the pneumonia at this point because it seems treatable. She was put on antibiotics and a diuretic and will remain on them for a few weeks unless the diagnosis changes.

While researching her symptoms yesterday, I came across dilated cardiomyopathy and thought for sure that was going to be it (damn the internet!). After describing Ripley's symptoms to the vet, that was her first guess, too, but that's why she ordered the xrays. Luckily, Ripley's heart was not enlarged, so this doesn't appear to be the problem.

We all love Ripley and showed it again today when I paid the vet bill. For that kind of money, I could've bought a new Doberman (but she's well worth the money). Dobermans are great dogs, but they have so many health problems. One guy who works at the vets used to have one and says he'll never get one again because of all of the health issues he had with his. I can kind of understand his attitude, but I do really like the breed.

More on this subject tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 16

big dogz

I've been wanting to check out this place since it opened. We finally made it there this evening. The food was fine (Brian and I both had sandwiches). We ordered mac & cheese for Jake and it turned out to be deep-fried macaroni and cheese wedges, so they obviously serve a lot of health food there. Healthy or not, he ate it. If we go there again, I'll have to remember to order a mixed drink. Our waitress's answer to my question "what kind of white wine do you have?" was "Chardonnay". They don't exactly have a large wine list is what I'm trying to say.

Sunday, November 13

bathroom remodel: days 35 & 36

Between yesterday and today, I finished painting the bathroom! It's so nice to be done with that. Brian spent a lot of time on the vanity over the weekend and is making good progress with it. I guess my work here is done until the vanity is ready. Besides it, we have to put in the new ceiling (no small task) and install all of the fixtures. Still a lot of work left to be done, but at least the bathroom almost looks complete.

Saturday, November 12

beef & wine

Yesterday was a busy one. After I got off work at 2:30, my mom and I ran to Somerset to pick up a side of beef. After splitting the meat between the two of us, I crammed ours into our little chest freezer (I really need to get an upright freezer soon) and then loaded Jake into the car to run for wine supplies. Someone told me that Oak Spring Winery moved from the Galleria to the Westwood Plaza, but I'll be damned if I could find it. I really needed supplies, though, so I took a chance that the new Thomas Feed Mill wine store (can't remember the name) would still be open and ran to Windber. Luckily, they were open till 6:00 (it was 5:45 when I arrived), so I was able to buy some bottle sanitizer.

I spent the evening washing bottles and then we bottled my last two batches of wine for the year. We did a Petit Verdot wine kit which was quite tasty already and a batch of Strawberry-Zinfandel that I made from a recipe. I used red zinfandel rather than white zinfandel this time so it's a little drier than usual, but still quite good. Anyway, that gives me over four cases to put in my wine racks come Monday night. Good thing--they were starting to look a little sparse.

On Friday, I also reserved the five Selection Limited Edition wine kits for 2006. Cheers!

Friday, November 11


Brian and I caught this movie on HBO the other night. I used to totally love Tom Cruise. So did my mom. We used to go see all of his movies at the theatre whenever a new one came out. Not so, anymore. He's kind of fallen out of favor with me with all of the Scientology crap. I still think he's a good actor (though he can't grow a beard to save his life. maybe he should take some vitamins or something.), but I don't like him enough to shell out my hard-earned cash to see his movies. But, if one should be showing for free, I'll probably watch it.

This was a great movie, though. It is a story about a contract killer (Cruise) who hijacks a cab driver (Jamie Foxx. hoo-rah) and makes him drive him around the city so he can kill a bunch of people on his list. This was my first Jamie Foxx movie. I rather liked him. I remember watching him on In Living Color way back when. He's turned into quite a good actor.

The Flick Filosopher has much to say about this movie so I might as well not even bother trying. You can read a good review here.

odd thomas

I finished reading this novel yesterday while waiting for Jake at his karate lesson. I rather enjoyed it. It's the first book from Dean Koontz that I've read in a while and I was wondering how it was going to be. After reading a bunch of his books, I noticed that they all sort of had the same theme so I pretty much gave up on worrying about his latest releases. This one was pretty close to his usual theme, but had a slight twist at the end that made it a good read. I'll have to check out some of his other recent books now.

I'm too lazy to write a synopsis of the story right now, but it is typical Dean Koontz fare complete with bodachs, killers, and ghosts. (oh my!) Having read quite a few Koontz books, I'd say this is now one of my favorites from him. Apparently there's a sequel to this novel, called Forever Odd. I'll definitely be checking that out at some point.

Wednesday, November 9

bathroom remodel: day 34

Last night, I finished up the walls. Next up: painting. Not sure if I'll have time to work today because I have too much other crap going on, but at least the hard part is done. Brian also worked on the vanity yesterday evening. He finished up the base of the cabinet. Next up is the face frame. Once that is done, I will finish the vanity and we'll install it in the bathroom. After that, Brian will work on the doors and drawers as time permits. Anyway, all of this puts us in a good position for the weekend.

Monday, November 7

bathroom remodel: days 32 & 33

Yesterday, I patched all of the holes in the walls (with some help from Brian). Today, I put another coat of drywall compound on them. I think one more coat will do the trick and then I can finish painting in there. Brian is working on the vanity as we speak, so I think we're going to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel sometime soon. Whatever will I blog about when this project is finally done?

Sunday, November 6

time to plant the garlic

I planted the garlic. 216 cloves to be exact. I got it in the ground just as it started to storm. Good timing. I was running a few weeks behind this year (I normally plant it in mid-October), but I don't think that will matter much.

Saturday, November 5

bathroom remodel: day 31

Brian finished wiring the wall sconces this afternoon and started on the drywall. I found out part of the reason why we're so behind on this project--as soon as we get a little bit ahead, we're like "hey, we're ahead, let's stop working!" On the plus side, this allowed me to clean up my butterfly garden this afternoon and work on my Christmas cards. On the minus side, we'd probably be done by now if we'd just keep working.

fahrenheit 9/11

Brian and I caught this documentary last week. It was really funny (or it would've been if it weren't so true). Now I realize that you can make anyone look bad and Michael Moore is a liberal filmmaker, but he had so much material to work with, I don't know how he cut the film down to two hours. I don't think this film would influence anyone one way or the other (if so, maybe you ought to pick up a newspaper and read it), but it did bring up some good points. Anyway, I liked it and I don't normally go for documentaries, so it's worth a look if you're already leaning to the left.

Wednesday, November 2

bathroom remodel: day 30

More electrical work was done this evening--the one sconce is hooked up and the other one is ready to hook up. That said, if it all works, we are set for the weekend. Hoo-rah.

Tuesday, November 1

bathroom remodel: day 29

This evening, Brian and I ran the wires for the wall sconces. So, that puts us in a good position to have the bathroom workable by Thanksgiving. We need to have the electrical stuff totally done by the end of this weekend in order for my revised schedule to work.

Lowe's sent two delivery guys to the house today to pick up our vanity top. Brian talked to a real manager there yesterday and he says the holes can be plugged and new ones drilled. We'll see. From what I've been reading about Corian, it does sound possible. Supposedly the turnaround time is going to be a week. We'll see about that, too. We did learn one lesson--don't even bother calling Lowe's on a weekend if you have a problem with something. Waiting till Monday to call surely would've saved Brian a few points on his blood pressure.