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     January 28, 2004

I was pondering my recent lack of deep thoughts and clever insights into the human condition and decided that the constant barrage of demands from the little woman, the kids and the job are mentally draining me so I don't have the time to let my mind wander in other directions (as I did so frequently over Christmas vacation). Oh well, who needs to be creative and insightful?

Movies

I have seen a few movies over the past few weeks and was also subjected to an Ashley Judd marathon to celebrate Julie's new haircut (she has short hair again, just how I like it).

Swat: It was okay. Better that I exepcted based on reviews and word of mouth. I'm a Samuel L Jackson fan, so that helped. The action was good, the acting was okay...the plot was a little too predictable. I was amused that LL Cool J was credited with his real name, not his rap moniker (in the movie credits). And as a final comment...how about those eyebrows on Colin Ferrel? Man, those suckers are thick.

Uptown girls: This was a chick flick, but it was pretty good. Britney Murphy played her part well. The little girl, Dakota Fanning, is a great actor for such a youngster . She reminds me of my own daughter, Keli, quite a bit.

Something's Gotta Give: This one was another chick flick. Jack Nicholson had very nearly the same role (without the obsessive-compulsiveness) that he played in As Good as it Gets (a movie I liked, by the way). Canoe (Keanu) Reeves had his traditional Ted (Ted "Theodore" Logan, dude!) haircut. Diane Keaton was naked. She had a surprisingly fit bod for such an oldster. Amanda Peet was in it, too. . .and managed to keep most of her clothes on throughout the movie.

Along Came Polly: I don't know that I would recommend this one to anyone. It had it's moments, but seemed to be, for the most part, a Something About Mary rip-off--only not as funny. Woe and despair Friends cast! Your free "million dollars an epsiode" ride is almost over. Let's see, all the cast members have been in movies and how many of those were successful. . .uh, none?

Seabiscuit: Finally, a movie to which I can give a resounding "thumbs up." I was exepcting a lot less when I began watching this movie. I was pleasantly surprised by all the depression era background and character building that went on--reminiscent of the The Grapes of Wrath. I don't know how much of the story (outside of the depression history) was factual, but it was a well-told story. I was unhappy to see spiderman getting his butt kicked by so many of the other little people, but you can't be a super hero all the time, I guess.

Ashley Judd movies: Okay, so my "marathon" only consisted of two movies: High Crimes and Double Jeoprady. Each is well worth the two hours of your life spent watching them. Both are suspenseful, well acted, well case, and well scripted movies. I doubt anyone out there has not seen either of these movies, but if you haven't, you should run out and see them.

Van Helsing: I'm stoked about this movie. It looks great. If you haven't heard, it's about the vampire hunter, Van Helsing (played by Hugh Jackman), who hunted down dracula in the stories. In the movie, he gets to tangle with other horror icons: the wolfman, Frankenstein and others that aren't coming to my mind. The wife has no desire to go see it, so we'll see if I ever manage to go see it (I still have not seen Underworld because it was "too scary").

Books

I have finished reading the Myth series of books (with the exception of Myth Inc in Action). The book I just finished, Myth-ion Improbable, was set between the third (Myth Direction) and fourth (Hit or Myth) books in the series, which presents, at least I would think it would present, problems with story continuity, if read in this order. Oh well, it's just fiction.

I read Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, a few months ago, but I was thinking about a graphic adaption of this novel recently and thought that Mark Oakley would be the perfect candidate for the visualization of this book. His Thieves and Kings characters (Rubel for Tristan, especially) just seem to fit the character mold of the Stardust characters perfectly. Oh well, I'm sure it will never happen. . .

I have, belive it or not, just started reading the Harry Potter books. I received the most recent one, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for Christmas and since I had temporarily run ou of reading material, I decided to give these books a go. I was expecting a C.S. Lewis style of children's book, and while the situations of the book may be somewhat like the Narnia books, the writing is not quite so child-friendly and slow moving as the Narnia stories. I'm only about 50 pages into it, but so far, so good.

I have re-joined the ranks of the Science Fiction Book Club. I finally gave in (having run out of reading material that was appealing to me at the moment) when I saw a nice selection of books I wanted to read:
A Tolkien Miscellany (a collection of JRR Tolkien short stories, I belive), Unfortunately, this book was not shipped with the order. Not sure what happened there. We'll see what the SFBC has to say.
Nanny Ogg's Cookbook (a Terry Pratchett creation that has been around for a while, but I have never actually seen before),


The Thousand Orcs and Legacy of the Drow (both RA Salvatore books. I got the Legacy of the Drow inadvertantly. I meant to get his latest--also with "Drow" in the title)
And three non-reading, art, books:
Mythology: The DC Comics art of Alex Ross
This hardcover art book was actually bigger than my scanner. It's awesome!
Fastner & Larson Gallery
This soft cover book was also bigger than the scanner. I was disappointed to see that it was a soft cover. Oh well.
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years (I appear to have mis-ordered two of this one somehow according to my e-mailed invoice. Oops.) This soft cover book was also too big for my scanner. So much for the SFBC mini-books of the past.
So I should have substantial reading material in the near future. And I got all these books, hardcover editions, for around $25. Pretty cool.

Other Stuff

I felt inspired to rant about taxes and the Social Security system a couple of weeks ago. The unfairness of a system that forces me to contribute so that people who have never contributed a dime toward the fund can live on my money really makes me mad. Especially when I'm told that I will probably never see a oenny of my money due to the impending collapse of the fund. . .I seem to have lost the motivation in the intervening time, so I'll spare you the rest of my tirade this time. . .

Here are a couple of humorous web sites that are worth a look:

Software Reality: This one is only really funny if you're a programmer. Otherwise, it may be a bit difficult to read. These are true stories of the ridiculous habits in tech management that lead to buggy software, failed projects, high staff turnover and stinky (overworked and underwashed) employees.

The Best Page in the Universe: This is the personal web page of a guy in Utah who is somewhat pessimistic, to put it mildly. 'Pessimistic about what,' you ask? Pretty much everything. His humor makes me laugh out loud, but be warned: there is rampant profanity on these pages. the specific article in the link is a good one.

Here are a few excerpts from a recent email that was making the rounds:
GEORGE CARLIN STRIKES AGAIN !!!!
Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?
If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that 1 out of 5 enjoys it?
If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?
Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?
If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?
What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older...then it dawned on me?.. they're cramming for their final exam.

Badbartopia News

I have finally updated the information in the California Software Developer page with data pertinent to 2003.

I have made serious strides toward completion of the Douglas Adams site. There are now downloads in addition to the incomplete Guide and the link to the Java version of the Infocom game. The one weak link is, as always, the online Guide. Reading Don't Panic (the guide to the Guide by Neil Gaiman) gave me some new ideas, so I may get to work on that eventually. . .

The Highlander site is done. There are sounds and images to download and loads of info about the movies and tv series. Go to this page and click on my link to the official site so I can win a sword. Please. . .

I have started working on the JRR Tolkien site. It is still in the very early stages, but there is at least something to see now.

Lastly, I have uploaded a new drawing. It's a cow (Annabelle) from the cover of a video that my 6 year old cousin, Heather, was watching last weekend.

Sorry about the excessive length of this installment of the Badbartopia news... I'll try not to wait so long next time.



© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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