Tuesday, November 28

candles burning

This was a book started by an author named Michael McDowell (who died during the writing of it) and finished by Tabitha King (otherwise known as Stephen King's wife). I thought I'd give it a whirl, but the book took me months to read. That is not normal for me. I kind of enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I just never felt like picking it up. It sat for a week between readings quite often.

But, then I got the new Stephen King book, Lisey's Story, so I had to sit down and finish reading this book once and for all. In the midst of this revelation, Brian's dad lent me a James Patterson novel, so I guess I'm going to have to read that before I start on the new Stephen King because I want to get it back to him. But, judging from past Patterson novels I have read, this won't be much of an issue. I have just the opposite problem with his books--I can't put them down. Besides the fact that his stories are interesting, he writes these really short chapters. So, there's always time to read "just one more".

Back to Candles Burning...Yeah, I guess I really didn't like it.

Monday, November 27

Sunday, November 26

enjoy it while it lasts

I took advantage of the nice weather this weekend and finished cleaning the insides of the vehicles. I also washed and waxed the Highlander today. What a pain in the neck! I can see this isn't going to happen very often. When I had my Scion, I used to wash and wax it all of the time. It was all glass on the roof (and it also had the plastic front and rear bumpers that are so prevalent on today's cars) so there wasn't much surface area to wax and it could be done quickly. Of course my Scion was the only car I ever made an effort to keep clean and look what happened to it.

defending your life

We caught this one last night. It was pretty light fare. I'm sure it was a great date movie in its day (1991). The movie is about what happens to you after you die--basically what you go through in order to prove yourself worthy to "move on" (go to heaven?) or whether you have to go back to earth and try it again (reincarnation). No hell here, folks. The movie wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, but it was amusing. Unfortunately, not a sophomoric joke in sight.

Saturday, November 25

north country

This movie was on HBO last night. I've been meaning to catch it, but didn't get around to it until yesterday. It was based on a true story of the first major sexual harassment case in the U.S. Charlize Theron played the main character who worked in the mines and suffered through some stuff you wouldn't believe could've happened just over 20 years ago.

Brian and I both enjoyed the movie, though he is totally offended that men could act the way they did in the movie. Isn't that sweet?

speed cleaning

I found this article on speed cleaning last week. It has a lot of good ideas in it. I think we're going to try it out. I'd much rather have the house look good all of the time versus looking good just after I do a major cleaning.

In other house cleaning news, we spent a good chunk of yesterday getting the office in order. It really needed cleaned. But, it still doesn't look good up there mainly because that is the last area of our house that needs to be remodeled. I attempted to straighten up the office a few months ago, but could never get Brian up there to work on his desk so only two-thirds of the room was completed then. At that time, I managed to organize the cables for two of our three computers and clean. By yesterday, the room definitely needed to be cleaned again, so we did that. And, I organized the cables for Brian's desk and he filed a bunch of stuff away and set up his desk so that he's ready to work come next Friday (his first official day as a full-time self-employed person).

Thursday, November 23

ace, it's the place

We used to have a Cambria True Value Hardware store up the street. It was good to go to in a pinch--you could get a lot of things there, but it didn't replace a major trip to Lowe's or Home Depot. Then, the True Value part was dropped and they became Cambria Hardware. Unfortunately, the name wasn't the only thing that changed, as they dropped most of their stock as well. We stubbornly continued to go there for years, but nearly always had to run to one of the big box stores because we couldn't find what we were looking for.

Enter: Cambria Ace Hardware. The old place is under new ownership and a new franchise. We checked it out this week and they have quite the selection of goods (more than the previous store ever had). I hope the store is a success because this should save us a lot of time and running around. It seems like any time we are working on a project, we're always missing something. Running to Richland to get a part or whatever supplies we need isn't conducive when you're in the middle of something, so this will be a good deal if it pans out.

happy thanksgiving

We had Thanksgiving here again this year so we spent the week getting the house in order. I guess it doesn't hurt to entertain occasionally--it keeps the house clean anyway.

My parents and grandmother and Brian's parents were in attendance today (besides the three of us, of course). It was nice to be able to spend a holiday with both families--this was the first time for that. Hopefully, it won't be the last.

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday in that there are certain things that are expected for dinner. That definitely makes the menu planning easier. And, actually, most of it is fairly easy to prepare, so it wasn't too much work until the last hour, when it was crunch time, and everything had to be ready at once. We managed, albeit 30 minutes later than I had planned, but everything turned out just fine.

Wednesday, November 22

the big lebowski

Brian wanted to watch this movie, so I added it to our Blockbuster queue. He really enjoyed it. I thought it was ok. It was pretty subtle for a comedy. I like my comedies to be a little more...sophomoric. Still, it definitely wasn't a bad movie--just not my style.

I've really been enjoying watching these movies (and this is just the beginning--we have all winter ahead of us). There is nothing on television these days (except for Thursday) so it gives me an excuse to turn on the tube in the evenings. Not that I'm looking for an excuse, but it's a nice way to relax at the end of the day.

Saturday, November 18

the break up

It was a Friday movie-margarita-bean dip night.

Continuing the theme of this week's movies...I thought this was a pretty good movie. I went into it knowing how it was going to turn out so I didn't mind the ending. Apparently a lot of people didn't like how it ended, but I like things that have a different plot than every other thing out there. Vince Vaughn's character was a total oaf, and while he turned things around by the end, it was a case of too little, too late. Even Brian said, "that guy's a jerk." Of course, he has a special place in his heart for Jennifer Aniston as she's one of his best friends.

light up night

Last night was light up night for downtown Johnstown. Activities started at 4:00, culminating in a parade at 6:00 and the "light up" after that. Due to having to do things like work and eat supper, we didn't make it downtown until the very end of the parade. That was ok with me, though--all I wanted to see was Central Park all lit up. After the parade, everyone gathered in the park. Once Santa arrived, he flipped the switch and the park was lit in Christmas lights. It looked very nice. We'll have to go earlier next year and try to enjoy some of the other activities they have to offer.

There was some guy downtown (I like to think of him as the Santa Nazi) screeching through a megaphone about "the lie of Santa". We could barely hear him from where we were standing, but he went on. And on. And on about it. Free speech, and all, I guess.

Friday, November 17

the squid and the whale

We watched this movie last night. I have to say that I really liked it. I think Brian did, too. It was very engrossing and realistic. It told the story of a husband and wife that divorced and the effects that the separation and divorce had on them and their two sons. On one hand, I didn't like how it ended. But, on the other hand, this wasn't the sort of story you could just wrap up.

It was billed as a 'dramedy', so it wasn't entirely depressing. None of the characters were likeable so that helped, too. It wasn't so much the story that was good, but the way it was told. The acting was superb. It was definitely the best role I've seen Jeff Daniels in.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 16

the end and the beginning

Brian quit his job today to become a full-time freeloader (er--I mean freelancer). His last day will be November 30. Imagine how liberating that must feel. Yeah, I can't relate, either. I haven't directly mentioned this before, but he has been working hard in the evenings and weekends over the course of the past year and now all of his hard work is paying off.

In addition to Brian's freelance duties, he'll also be handling the roles of Mr. Mom and Handyman Brian. We pretty much haven't done any work on the house in the past year. That is about to change. I would really like to have all of our remodeling completed (for the most part) before I'm 40. This should help quite a bit .

Of course, I have an ulterior motive. I'm hoping beyond hope to be Prime Design Solutions' next employee.

Tuesday, November 14

good night, and good luck.

This movie was about how Edward R. Murrow broke the McCarthy story. The movie was ok, but I just wasn't up for a history lesson this evening. I suppose a little history never hurt anyone (unless you happened to be a part of it).

I don't know if this was a good movie for Brian to watch as everyone was smoking like a chimney throughout the movie. He commented. Hopefully, that's as far as that will go.

Saturday, November 11


My manager at work hosted his second wine tasting party this evening. We were a little late for it because Jake had to march in the Veteran's Day parade in downtown Johnstown. Hardly anyone from his cub scout pack showed up for it so I'm glad we didn't skip it. The parade was probably twice as big as the Columbus Day parade he marched in. It was nice to see all of the people downtown even though it was raining.

Anyway, my parents took Jake out to eat at the Szechwan afterwards and Brian and I went to the wine tasting party. This has got to be my favorite type of party to attend. I don't know why people aren't hosting these things on a monthly basis. I guess we're overdue to have one, but I'm holding out until Brian builds a bar for our family room (it made the "short list" today, by the way). As usual, when large amounts of wine are made available and consumed, we had a great time this evening. We had to cut out a little early because my parents had some things to do this evening, plus Brian scheduled band practice for 8pm. But, I made the most of my time and got to try a number of new wines. The winner of the evening was a Steele Zinfandel. I'm definitely going to have to try some more wines from that winery.

a history of violence

Last night we did that movie and a margarita thing that we do so well. We also had chips and dip, which really hit the spot. I forgot to buy dip, so I had to make some. Luckily, I have a good dip recipe (and all of the ingredients on hand), so it was not a problem. Oh yeah, about the movie...This movie was cool. It had a pretty original plot, which I will not get into because I don't want to give anything away. The best part about it was that they didn't feel the need to quote the movie title in the movie. I hate when they do that. But, if you're into drama with a twist of the Sopranos, you'll probably like it. Or, if you like Viggo Mortensen (who doesn't?), you'll probably like it, too.


Yesterday, I took advantage of the nice weather and took the afternoon off work.

First on the agenda--running to Somerset with my mom and Jake to pick up our annual side of beef. This was the first side of beef we've bought since we got our upright freezer--that sure made my life easier.

Next, I planted garlic in my garden (finally--I seem to do that later and later each year). It sure was a beautiful day for gardening. I only wish I would've had more to do in the garden.

After that, I vacuumed the vehicles and installed some rubber floor mats in preparation for the winter. I was hoping to Armorall the interiors and clean the windows, but ran out of time. With any luck, I'll catch another nice day next week and finish up. Brian's outside right now trying to wash and wax before the rain comes. Ideally, I would finish up my end of the cleaning today, but we have a lot going on, so I don't think I'll have time. Here's to hoping for another nice day this week--is it too much to ask for?

Thursday, November 9


The weather is nice
It is warm for November
No complaints are heard

Wednesday, November 8


Rumsfeld quits.

Democrats take control of the house.

Democrats take control of the senate.

And, to top things off, I was pretty pleased to see how our local elections panned out. Maybe this democracy thing works after all.

Tuesday, November 7

the good girl

We watched this movie last night courtesy of Blockbuster. I thought it was a pretty good film, if you like character studies. Brian, on the other hand, didn't like it at first, but after thinking about it all day, decided it was a decent movie.

Jennifer Aniston starred, and this was definitely her best movie role to date. As it turns out, she really can act. Who knew?

Saturday, November 4


Weird news story of the day: Police arrest naked man with concealed weapon

bubba ho-tep

Brian's boss is always lending him movies. They guy has eclectic tastes, to say the least. Because I'm too lazy to summarize the plot, here's an excerpt from the back of the DVD, "When mysterious deaths plague the Shady Rest retirement home, it's up to an aging, cantankerous "Elvis" and a decrepit--and black--"JFK" to defeat a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy with a penchant for sucking human souls!"

Need I say more? Brian actually liked the movie. In case you haven't figured it out, I did not. I will say that it was better than An American Haunting, though.

Friday, November 3

the human camera

You have to check this guy out. "He’s an autistic man who accurately draws entire cities from memory after a single 45-minute helicopter ride — right down to the correct number of windows in each building."

bird flu

It's that time of the year again. I scanned through a really interesting online book about the bird flu the other day. It's mostly a discussion of past pandemics and how the current bird flu is brewing.

And, I stumbled upon this great preparedness guide today. The password is 'fluwikie'. Get it while it's hot.

And while we're on the subject of the flu, why is it that I can't seem to find a flu shot anywhere? Well, ok, there are some flu clinics going on at various drugstores and grocery stores, but who wants to wait in line for an hour for that? Supposedly, there were more flu shots available this year than people who would want to get them. But, I read something about a distribution problem and that certainly seems to be the case. Um, how about if someone gets in a truck and delivers this stuff? If I get the flu this year because I missed my shot, I'm going to be really pissed.

Thursday, November 2

an american haunting

This was a movie about a witch-- The Bell Witch. By all accounts, I think John Bell may have died of bordedom. What an awful movie. And, it wasn't awful in a good way that you could laugh at, it was just terribly not interesting.

Two thumbs down.