Crazy Uncle Ryan's favorite quotes

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."— Arthur C. Clarke

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Books

So, when it comes to reading I have certain traditions. Around Easter each year I read The Chronicles of Narnia. During the summer I read Harry Potter and around Christmas time I read The Lord of The Rings. Last year I also started reading some Christmasy type books during the month of December. During December 2008 I read several such as The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn and The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket. I continued the tradition this year. Of the five I read this year my favorite was the wildly inappropriate yet ferociously funny The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore.

As for the rest of the books I read I have to ask: "What's the deal?" Why is it so many Christmas books have to be about someone (usually a parent) dying of cancer? Hello, can't we come up with something else to get people in the Spirit of Christmas? I gotta tell ya, 'twas a little depressing after a while. I had also checked out the book The Christmas Shoes but having heard the song it's based on I figured it would be in my best interest to skip that one and just go back to my beloved Lord of The Rings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

About Time

So, two years ago my sister Shanna (a.k.a. "The Cross Stitch Queen") made us a really beautiful cross stitch and gave it to us for Christmas. As much as we loved it we have never hung it up because its size was not one of the standard frame sizes so we knew we would need to get it custom framed. That can be expensive so it stayed rolled up in the top of Collin's closet. Anyway, this morning, Alisa surprised me with an early Christmas present. She had managed to finally get it framed (there was a sale). So, after two years of waiting we now have this lovely decoration up on the wall where it belongs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Amazing Race Finishes

Well, earlier this week, The Amazing Race 15 concluded in Las Vegas with Meghan & Cheyne pulling out the win. This season was unique for several reasons. First off, a team was actually eliminated right at the starting line before even getting to start the race. So, Eric & Lisa lost the race before even having a chance to go anywhere. I don't know if anybody else noticed but they were the only team that was not at the finish line. The other thing that was unique was the fact that for the first time since I started watching the show I really didn't have a single team that I strongly disliked. Usually, there is at least one team that I can't stand and which, interestingly enough, seems to always make it into the final three so I have to endure them for the whole race. Fortunately for me, there wasn't a team like that this season.As for my predictions. I was right on some and wrong on others. Several weeks ago I predicted rightly that Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan would both end up in the final three. However, once it got down to the last four teams I was sure that Flight Time & Big Easy would make it to the finale. But, they got eliminated and Brian & Ericka took third place. Once it got down to the end I predicted that Meghan & Cheyne would take home the prize and though it looked at times like Brian & Ericka might actually pull it off, I was right. One of the great things about this show is the fact that it is so popular that CBS airs two seasons of it every year. That means I just have to wait a few more months (February probably) for the show to come back again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Evil Parking Lot!!

So, last night, I drove over the the local grocery store. For those of you who are worried about me going to the store on Sunday; I was just returning a movie to the redbox I had rented the day before. I had been planning to just wait and return it today but the movie was so very unsatisfactory that I decided I didn't want to be charged a whole 'nother dollar for it. Anyway, I returned the movie and came back out to my car. But, the car would not start. Fortunately, a nice gentleman was more than happy to give me a jump. So, with cold hands I went home. Now this may not seem like a particularly interesting thing if it were not for the fact that I have needed to have a jump three times in the last two weeks and they have all happened in that same parking lot of Harmon's Grocery Store!

There are several lessons that can be learned from this whole thing. First, if I am going to drive my car somewhere on a night when it's 15 degrees out and I haven't driven it all day I should take some time to warm it up first. Second, I probably ought to get my battery checked. Third, and most importantly; The Harmon's Parking Lot HATES My Car!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

On Fatherhood, Christmas Stockings and Talented Siblings

If I may, I should like to wax philosophical for a moment. I wish to address and attempt to answer the age old question: When does a man truly become a father? Does he become a father when his child is born? Is he a full fledged daddy when he changes his first ferociously rancid diaper? How about when he gets barfed on for the hundredth time or the first time his little spawn scratches his face and actually leaves a mark? None could deny that these are all important and defining moments in the development of fatherliness in a man's life. However, none of these truly represent the moment that a man ceases to merely be a male human who happens to have donated genetic material toward the production of a child and becomes a father. So, when does he become a father? Well, I will tell you. A man becomes a father when he receives a Christmas stocking that no longer bears his actual given name but that displays simply the word "Dad."I have a very talented sister. Actually, I have three talented sisters but at the moment I'm only talking about one of them. Last year my sister Shanna used her mad cross-stitching skills to make Collin a really beautiful Christmas stocking. This year, as a present to our family, she made stockings for Alisa and I as well. It was a very nice early Christmas present and one that Alisa and I both greatly appreciated. Thanks Shanna Banana wearing Purple Pajamas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


So, this past Saturday as we were driving back from Montana we had the chance to listen to the BYU -vs- Utah football game. Well, most of it. When we hit Pocatello that's when we started being able to pick up the radio station that was carrying the game. There was a lot of static at first but as we got closer to home the signal got better. At the end of the 3rd quarter BYU was beating the Utards by a score of 20 to 6. All that changed in the 4th quarter where Utah came back to tie the game 20 to 20. I was getting a little anxious. Fortunately, in overtime BYU managed to pull out a win and the final score was BYU 26 Utah 23. So, we didn't beat them as soundly as I would have liked but the important thing is we won. Now, it's time to listen to the Ute fans give their laundry list of excuses as to why they lost. Shall they blame it on the refs? Was it the weather? What will they blame in order to convince themselves that BYU's victory doesn't really count? The one die-hard Ute fan I have spoken with thus far was just in a state of shocked denial. She kept stating that her team had won whilst she stood there with a rather glazed look on her face. I just had to pat her hand and assure her that everything would be alright and that we would get through this together. So, why did I do all this for an avowed fan of my rival school? Well, I am her home teacher and for heaven's sake; it's just a football game!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving and Grace's Baptism

Last week Alisa, Collin and I went up to Montana to spend Thanksgiving with my sister Kathleen and her family. We had a wonderful time and ate a lot and gave lots of thanks. However, the real highlight of the trip came the day after Thanksgiving when we got to attend the baptism of my lovely niece Grace.As difficult as it may be to believe seeing as how I am the quintessential awesome uncle, this is the first time I have actually been able to attend the baptism for any of my nieces or nephews. Unfortunately, that is one of the prices you pay when you and all your siblings end up spread all over the country. Well, not all over the country; at least we're all in the same time zone now (Thank-you for leaving Pittsburgh Erin). Anyway, it was really great to be there and participate. Congratulations Grace!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
-President George Washington
October 3, 1789

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
-President Abraham Lincoln
October 3, 1863

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
-H.U. Westermayer

With a grateful heart on Thanksgiving Day,
I see all the blessings that have come to me;
and I know no words could ever say to thee,
how grateful my heart is on Thanksgiving Day.

I didn't earn these blessings, no not one gift,
yet you continue to send them forth my way.
So all that I can give, I give to thee today,
to thee my grateful heart is my greatest gift.
-Ryan O'Berry
Thanksgiving Day 1999*

To the three or four of you who occasionally stumble by accident on to this blog; Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and may we all be a little better at remembering to be grateful for all the blessings we have.

*©1999 Ryan O'Berry. Please do not copy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2012 - Explosions, Fires, Floods, COOL

So, I also went and saw 2012 this past weekend. I don't know that I have a whole lot to say about this one. Ultimately, it was just a really fun movie. The premise was a bit ridiculous and the crazy scenes where cars (or RVs) jump huge chasms are totally unrealistic but the fact of the matter was it didn't make much difference because this type of movie would never work if there were to much realism. This was a fun action/disaster movie that also had some heart to it. So, I would definitely recommend it to anybody who just wants to watch an exciting movie.

A Christmas Carol

This past weekend I went and saw the new computer animated Christmas Carol movie from Disney. Now, the last time I had seen a movie in 3D in a theatre it was when I saw Captain EO at Disneyland so I was pretty excited to go see this. Since it had been so long since I had experienced the whole "3D thing" I decided I needed to find the biggest movie screen I could. Therefore, I went and saw the movie at the IMAX Theatre at Jordan Commons. I did think the 3D was pretty cool even though it did give me a bit of a headache at times. I also noticed that if I tipped my head to the side that the picture became all blurry. It was especially cool on those shots were something appeared to actually come out of the screen. I also enjoyed the parts where you were flying through the city.
As for the movie itself; it was your pretty standard Christmas Carol adaptation and wasn't really much different from the dozens of other movie versions of Charles Dickens' classic tale. Most of the lines were directly from the book with no significant changes. The only thing that really made this one unique was the fun computer and 3D effects. Now, for those who might be considering bringing their young kids to this show, I would recommend that you don't. There is one somewhat disturbing and scary part associated with the Ghost of Christmas Present and the two little children "Ignorance and Want" that might be a little too much for younger kids. The Ghost of Christmas Past is also a little creepy. Anyway, if you're looking for a kind of fun Christmas movie (Yes, I said Christmas not Holiday. Take that Politically Correct establishment!!) than this is a pretty good one to go see.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Box - Well, at least I went and saw it

So, I went and saw The Box this past weekend. Unfortunately, I seem to be one of the only people who did. The movie opened up at number 6 for it's first weekend bringing in a measly $7.85 million. Needless to say that was a real flop considering that's not even enough money to cover Cameron Diaz's salary.

In spite of its lackluster box office performance I genuinely enjoyed the movie. It really had the feel of an episode of The Twilight Zone in that you kind of felt like you were getting a little glimpse of a story taking place in an alternate reality where the rules that apply in our world don't exist. In fact, the movie was based off of a short story by Richard Matheson called "Button, Button" that was made in to a Twilight Zone Episode back in 1986. And, like a Twilight Zone episode The Box ended with that kind of feeling of foreboding caused by the knowledge that the strange and disturbing phenomenon you just finished watching is just going to keep on happening in that kooky little world. As the movie was coming to an end I half expected the screen to go to black and white and to see Rod Serling standing there with a cigarette to tell us all the moral of the story.

I liked this because it really was a "thinking" movie. The movie explored a number of issues regarding human nature such as whether people are inherently good or bad as well as whether people are really free or are simply destined to follow a particular road. So, even though I may be one of the only ones to do so, I would recommend this movie for sure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Funny Job Post

So, I was job searching (surprise, surprise) and as I was reading through a job posting I came across the following description of the physical demands of the particular position they were hiring for:

While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to sit. The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

I'm not sure how I feel about having to use my "hands to finger, handle or feel." I would be more comfortable if they would specify what type of substances or people I would be required to "finger." I'm confident in my vocal and auditory skills so I'm sure I would have no problem with the requirement to "talk or hear." I must say though, I'm not too thrilled about the requirement to "reach with hands and arms." I really do prefer to reach with my legs and feet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ryan's Pumpkins 2009

Well, I have just picked the last of my Halloween Pumpkins. Here they are! From Left to Right - Top Row: Ava 2 (11.8 lbs), Smooth Move (20.2 lbs.), Psycho Jack [This Year's "Big Mutha"] (22.0 lbs.), George (16.4 lbs.), Ava (12.2 lbs.) - Middle Row: Casper The Friendly Pumpkin (10.2 lbs.), Sadee (15.2 lbs.), Buck Rogers (14.0 lbs.), Ichabod (13.4 lbs.), The Jolly Green Giant (15.0 lbs.), Itty-Bity (2.4 lbs.) - Bottom Row: Half-Pint Harvey (5.4 lbs.), Wormy (4.0 lbs)*, Captain Buttless (6.2 lbs.)** - Insert: Collin (11.2 lbs.)

So, with 15 pumpkins totalling 179.6 lbs. I think "Ryan's Pumpkin Patch" did pretty good this year. There are a lot of green pumpkins in here so I am making a note to plant a bit earlier next year.

*This pumpkin had to be carved immediately. I didn't name it "Wormy" for nothing.
**This pumpkin is so named due to an unfortunate run in it had with a rouge weed-whacker that left it with a rather large hole in its bottom regions.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Dark, Dark Day

Well, as of 12:30 pm Mountain Time today I have officially been out of work for ONE FULL YEAR. There are a number of colorful terms that are not allowed on network TV that I feel a bit like screaming right now. But, I will forbear.

Anyway, I think that's about it for now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amazing Race Issues

OK, so last night I recorded The Amazing Race as I do every Sunday night. However, there was a slight problem. I ended up missing the last few minutes of the show because 60 Minutes went over time by about 15 minutes. I then had to go online and try to watch the end of the show so I could find out who got eliminated. Needless to say, with my slow internet connection it took a while to watch.

Anyway, why am I blogging about this? I guess I could do a blog post about the fact that last night I made and ate my first caramel apple of the fall. But, I just think that it is a bit ironic that a show called 60 Minutes would go for any longer then, well . . . 60 Minutes. Wow, this is pretty much the lamest blog post I've ever done.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Defeating Shadows

Usually I don't post book reviews on my blog but since this book was written by one of my wife's co-workers I thought I would include my review here as well as on my goodreads page. I hope that this review will be a help to her in promoting her book. Just to warn you, this does contain some spoilers.First off I want to say that this was a really good book. I thought the story was ingenious. The plot was very creative and I loved the whole concept of the Elemental Beasts and the swords, the Directional Kingdoms, the Void Vulture, etc. One thing that I really enjoyed was the four main characters. I think of the four princes that I like Dominic the best. This is probably because he’s almost as snarky and sarcastic as I am. One of my favorite parts of the book came near the end when Sam was close to death, saw the paths and was given the choice of whether he wanted to come back or not. Though scenes like that are hardly unique in literature for some reason that image just really hit me powerfully. I especially liked when Sam asked the Mortin and Phillip he was talking to in the dream if they were the “real princes.” I’m glad that they’re answer was kind of vague. It makes the scene more interesting to think about and wonder about.

With all that said, there were a few things about this book that made it a bit awkward to read. With most novels the narrative is told in past tense, as though the author is relating a story that happened at an earlier time (“Someone went and woke him up”). However this was told in present tense as though it were happening right there and then (“Someone goes and wakes him up”). I found this very distracting at first since I couldn’t remember having read a book like that before. However, after a short time I got used to it and it stopped bothering me.

There was also a conspicuous lack of punctuation at times. Now, I majored in linguistics so I don’t care much about so-called “proper English” or anything, but sometimes when one chooses to leave out a lot of commas it can be hard to interpret the sentence correctly. Sometimes I actually had to re-read certain parts to figure out how the phrases within a sentence were supposed to be broken up so I could figure out what the author was saying. Another thing was a lack of proofreading. This book had more typos than I have ever seen in a book and I’ve read Chris Heimerdinger’s Tennis Shoes series. Extra words, misspelled words, words written as two words that should have been one word, using the wrong form of a word, etc. Needless to say, it was a little distracting.

Another thing I noticed was there were a lot of repeats of ideas. In most books you get the description or an explanation once, then if a character needs to relate that information to someone else later on in the story the author will simply state that the character related the information. However, in this book many times when these types of situations happened the full explanation would be related again in the text. This was a little unusual but I actually found it a kind of nice. Since I often read this book a bit sporadically sometimes it helped to have the information repeated since I had often forgotten it. This book was a little predictable at times. There were many incidences when I read something that would remind me of scenes or themes from The Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter or other fantasy books. Of course, most fantasy stories remind the reader of other fantasy stories and when you have read as much fantasy as I have you tend to notice those similarities more. So don’t misunderstand; this is in no way a copy or a knock-off of some other story. Defeating Shadows is a unique and creative story that happens to contain many of the themes that are dealt with in other stories in the genre.

So overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys reading fantasy as much as I do. Hopefully Kris E. Kay will write more soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Job Stuff

Well, I had another job interview yesterday. It went really well and I am expecting to hear back from them in the next few days. I am still waiting to hear back from the other companies I have spoken with in the last few weeks. That's about it on that subject.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The First Pumpkins Have Arrived

So, after months of waiting and painstaking work I was able to pick the first pumpkins of the year. The one on the left weighed in at a bit over 20 pounds and is a solid contender to be this year's "BIG MUTHA." So, I have not chosen a name for it as of yet. The pumpkin on the right weighs in at about 11 pounds. It is tall, skinny and has a very hard time standing up on its own so naturally, I decided to name it "Collin."

Now, some of my beloved nieces and nephews may be thinking: "But Crazy Uncle Ryan, there's only two pumpkins. Will there be one for me for my jack-o-lantern?" Fear not little pipsqueak and dry your eyes! These are but the first ones to ripen up. There are many more of various shapes and sizes so there will be one for you as well.

Job Hunt Update

OK, so I had that interview back on September 10th and that went REALLY well. At least, that's what I think. It looks like a really great opportunity and they said they would be letting me know in about 3 weeks. That was a little over a week ago so I still have a little while to wait. I also had an interview yesterday. The company told me when I contacted them that they didn't have any open positions but they wanted to speak with me anyway. That interview went well also. They told me they would let me know if they have any openings come up in the near future and they would also keep an eye out for opportunities with their customers. It's always good to have a few more people keeping their eyes open for you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interview Update

I have a job interview tomorrow morning. I am excited and optimistic about it so everybody cross your fingers. As for the interview I had a few weeks ago; I'm still waiting. They sent me an e-mail back on the 28th telling me that they are still reviewing resumes and they would contact me "should further interviewing be requested." I like to think that the fact that they sent me that message means I'm still in the running. Anyway, that's the update.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Merlin – Jolly good show!

So, in an attempt to lift the caliber of summer TV, NBC decided to import a couple of foreign shows to add to their summer lineup. I had the pleasure of watching both of them. The Listener, a hit Canadian program from last year about a mind-reading paramedic, got pulled after only 8 episodes due to low ratings. I was sad about that but fortunately, the other show stayed. That other show was Merlin.
Merlin (which, not surprisingly, comes to us from the U.K.) follows the adventures of the teenaged, budding sorcerer Merlin as he comes to Camelot and becomes the servant of the than Prince Arthur. Merlin has the ability to perform magic but must keep it secret because Arthur’s father King Uther Pendragon has outlawed all magic and is ready to execute anyone who he thinks is practicing (or even capable of practicing) magic. I’m sure that there are many who are more familiar with the Arthurian legend than I am who are simply groaning when they see the amount of artistic license and the numerous anachronisms present in the show. Of course since most scholars agree that there was never a King Arthur in the first place it doesn’t really matter that much. I mean, since it is pure fiction why not have a bunch of Polynesians living in 6th century Britain? Anyway, I loved this show. It was fun, imaginative and significantly more family friendly than the majority of my TV shows. In fact, my wife actually enjoyed watching an episode with me every once in a while. I really enjoyed the interaction between Arthur and Merlin. In a lot of ways it reminds me of me and my little brother Shane when we were younger. Just like Arthur and Merlin we both liked each other very much but neither of us were willing to admit it.
So, since the season finale a few days ago I have been keeping an eye out for information about whether NBC is planning to bring it back next summer. If they don’t they can expect a sternly worded e-mail from me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harry Potter 6 comes to the big screen

So, a few weeks ago my wife and I went and saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I have to say I was very impressed with the movie, much more so than I have been with the last few Harry Potter film adaptations. I felt like they did a good job of keeping the important stuff in the show while keeping the superfluous added nonsense (like the third movie’s shrunken heads) to a minimum. I really liked the girl who played Lavender Brown. I thought she was very cute and did a great job in the role.

Being that I am such a big fan of these books I have had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that so many of my favorite scenes (like the scene in St. Mungo’s in book 5) and many of my favorite characters (like Peeves, Bill and Charley Weasley, Ludo Bagman and Rufus Scrimgeour) never make it into the movies. In addition to the obvious fact that it is simply not possible to preserve everything when translating a book to the screen I have concluded that the producers likely recognize the fact that most people who watch these movies have probably read the books and can therefore fill in the blanks for themselves without having to have everything shown on screen. Another thing that has often bugged me with these movies is the fact that you seem to see them in class so rarely that you tend to lose track of the fact that they are indeed going to school. OK, now time for Ryan to get on his soapbox and have a little rant. There seems to be an ongoing joke related to these movies that I find really annoying. I find it so irksome because not only it is so ridiculously inaccurate but the people who propagate the joke, for the most part, ought to know how ridiculous it is. The joke is about how the actors who play Harry, Ron and Hermione are getting too old to be playing high-school aged kids. In the really stupid film Epic Movie which spoofed a number of films there is a scene where the main characters end up at Hogwarts and meet parodies of Harry, Ron and Hermione played by fat, middle-aged actors. They continually rant about how it makes no sense that these three are still at this school while the balding Ron, the pregnant, smoking Hermione and crazy Harry insist that they are really teenagers. In the previews for the new Adam Sandler movie Funny People a character makes a crack about how these characters are so old that they must be going for a PhD in Wizardry and asks “how long are they gonna be at that high school.” Now, some of you who are not as big movie buffs as I am may ask yourself, “What’s the big deal? Aren’t they too old to play teenagers?” The answer is no!
The simple fact of the matter is this: In TV and movies high-school aged characters are almost never played by high-school aged actors. Let me give you a few examples to illustrate my point. In the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Alan Ruck was about 30 when he played the part of Cameron Frye. Rachel McAdams was about 26 when she played Regina George in Mean Girls. Turning to TV, in the new FOX show Glee high school football star Finn Hudson is played by 27 year-old Cory Monteith and high school sophomore Rachel Berry is played by 23 year-old Lea Michele. I could give more examples but let’s face it; this post is long enough already. Anyway, how does this compare with our three Harry Potter stars? Well, Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter just turned 20 last month. Emma Watson who plays Hermione Granger is 19 (a whopping 2 years older than her character) and Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley is just about to reach the ripe old age of 21. So, the truth is, by normal Hollywood standards, these parts were actually cast a bit young. End of rant.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Whole 'Nother Interview

Well, I must sound like a broken record but, I have a job interview on Friday morning. This came as a surprise to me because this was a company I had applied with back in January and had received a rejection postcard from. Well, whilst I was up in Idaho enjoying some time with my inlaws, celebrating Collin's first birthday and learning a great deal about the stock market from my father-in-law, I got an unexpected e-mail. As it turns out there are rare occasions when that whole "we will keep your resume on file" thing they say in those rejection letters is not just a big fat pile of bantha poodoo (that's a Star Wars reference. Ask a nerd if you don't get it.). They have another couple open positions and they want to have me come in to see if any of them will be a good fit. So, I am very optimistic about the interview on Friday. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rothfuss Interview

So, while Patrick Rothfuss (Author of The Name of the Wind) was in London he gave an interview regarding his new and highly anticipated book The Wise Man's Fear. I found the interview fascinating and so I decided to post it. It is almost an hour long so I totally understand if you choose not to watch it.

Patrick Rothfuss Interview
Uploaded by SFLTV. - Arts and animation videos.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harper's Island

Back in 1939 Agatha Christie published a book called And Then There Were None. In this book a group of people are trapped on a deserted island. Even though they are quite sure that they are the only people on the island one by one they start to be murdered. There was a great deal of fear in the hearts of each of the characters because they knew that the most likely scenario was that one of them was the murderer. But there was also the nagging fear that there might indeed be someone else on the island that they didn’t know about. And Then There Were None is considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s best novels and is by far her most financially successful. As a result of this fame there have over the years been numerous horror movies made based on the same premise of a group of people trapped on an island being killed off one at a time with no way of getting off.CBS just finished airing a single season, 13 episode show called Harper’s Island. When I first heard of this show it looked like just another cheap carbon copy of the template Christie employed in her classic novel. However, it turned out to be a very different and interesting take on the trapped-on-an-island-with-a-nutcase-killer story. The story is set on a fictional island off the Washington coast and features a previously supposed dead, serial killer named John Wakefield. The difference that I found so fascinating about this was the fact that this was not a deserted island. Harper’s Island was an inhabited island with hundreds of people with all the normal stuff that one would find in any other town. I found that way of doing things interesting because this type of story has so often depended on the fact that the characters are cut off from any help or escape. The way the creators of the show were able to make it all work was by keeping the first several murders secret from the characters. The people that were killed early on in the show were people who were supposedly about to leave the island anyway, flighty people who had a habit of taking off suddenly and without warning and people who most of the characters didn’t know were on the island anyway. One murder was even disguised as a suicide. Of course, eventually people start realizing what is going on and, like any good mystery, suspicion falls on several people before it is finally revealed who is behind it all.In the end, in addition to John Wakefield there was also a bad guy among the main group of characters that was committing some of the murders himself. Though this was a pretty good show, there were several things that I didn’t really like that much. First, when our crazy man finally shows his face and starts killing people openly you have one of the most annoying horror flick clich├ęs. That is the whole thing where five people with loaded shotguns can’t seem to kill one kook with a long ugly knife even though he is standing ten feet away from them. The other thing that bugged me was in the second to the last episode when we found out who Wakefield’s accomplice was. I know with these types of reveals it is supposed to be a huge surprise but when Henry turned out to be Wakefield’s son and accomplice it was so unexpected and such a big surprise to me that it didn’t really seem plausible.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Job Search Update

For those of you who are craving an update on my happy joyous job search here it is. I had my interview back on Wednesday and I got a rejection e-mail on Friday. However, there is some good news. I'm leaving in about an hour for an interview with another company. It just goes to show that this whole "Networking" thing is pretty useful.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Another Job Interview

Well, I have another job interview tomorrow. I interviewed with this company before back in November but this is for a different position. Also, I had a networking contact that works for the company and recommended me to the person I'm supposed to interview with. So, I guess we'll see what happens.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen – Falls Flat

I am a huge fan of Transformers. I loved the first movie and I really, really, REALLY wanted Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to be as awesome as the original. Unfortunately, it just didn’t deliver. The first movie was a little heavy on the adolescent, potty-humor but this one just took it to such an extreme that it became ridiculous and got old very fast. There also seemed to be a great deal more swearing in this one and not much of a plot.

Now, I don’t want to make it sound as though I didn’t like anything about it. The special effects were incredible and the first about 20 minutes of the movie was awesomely action packed. I liked how they expanded the mythos behind the Transformers and explained more about the interactions they had had with Earth before and the way that sheds some light on the whole Beast Wars Transformer line. Also, I thought it was nice how they showed that Transformers have the free will to choose which side they are on. Unfortunately, all this wasn’t enough to save the movie. I hope that they do better with the next one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I’m Wasting My Life, Get Me Out Of Here!

Oh, the dark and dreary wasteland that is Summer TV. The 3 ½ week saga I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! finally came to an end last night with the great Lou Diamond Phillips being crowned King of The Jungle. Torrie Wilson had been my first choice to win but if she couldn't take the prize I’m glad that Lou did. I did enjoy watching the show but to be honest, at the end of the finale I found myself wondering why I had wasted so much time watching a bunch of D-list celebrities running around in the Costa Rican jungle doing Fear Factor style stunts. Well, I can’t get those weeks back but at least it gave me something to watch while all my real shows are off the air for the summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My First Father’s Day

This past Sunday was my first Father’s Day as a full-fledged daddy. Alisa and Collin did a very nice job of making it memorable for me. Alisa gave me a new computer chair. A wonderful gift considering the condition of my old one.Collin gave me some butterscotch suckers. Apparently he liked them too as seen from the picture below.
Collin also gave me a nice little dad sculpture that his mommy claims he made himself. I think he had a little help from Alisa with the painting.All and all, Sunday was a great day. I’m very grateful to be a dad and to have been blessed with such a wonderful little family.