Saturday, December 31, 2005

The first three films of the day...

Numb-Butt-A-Thon is getting ready to start... with or without people
and I've decided upon the first three films.

We'll start the programming off with the 1981 movie CAVEMAN. Last year
we showed One Million Years BC, so we thought we should find another
prehistoric movie. I'm not arguing that it's a good film, just
tradition. :-)

We'll then segue into Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels... a film
I've never seen, but will in a couple of hours. I'll give you my
thoughts then. :-)

The third film on the docket is the 1964 version of Ernest Hemingway's
The Killer's. It's got Ronald Reagen as the bad guy, what could be
better!

Anyway, I have to run and finish up a couple of things before people
possibly get here. :-)

B

Friday, December 30, 2005

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Such is life, but I'd rather do other
things with vacation time. Oh well. Spent the morning getting a shelf
up for the video projector from the office. It looks so good that I'm
really jonesing for my own video projector now. I'll take pictures
after I make some adjustments. It's nothing major, but it's kind of
fun having an 7' screen in your living room.

I think it's going to be a pretty cool lineup for the New Year's party
tomorrow, but we'll see if anyone comes. One of the things that's
depressing about being here is that we don't really have our own
social network yet. We have social networks that we're tenuously
linked to, but we don't have a cohesive group of more than a couple
friends. Oh well, I'll get to eat Puerco Pibil tomorrow and that's
really all I care about. DANG that's good.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Evil has a new (removable) face...

One of the industry blogs I read had a link to this this afternoon. Kind of funny.

http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad_details.php?id=1273


Just watch.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

a couple of photos before bed...

I'm headed to bed in a second, but I figured I'd post a couple of photos from the weekend. Ang is still in full-on 'nephew adoration mode'. I'm just enjoying being able to buy the child obnoxious toys that light and up and play music.


Ang and Nephew. Like I said, she's in full on 'nephew adoration mode'


My cousin's daughter at the Christmas event on my Mom's side of the family. I just kind of liked how mischievous her eyes look.


Nephew with obnoxious toy #1. heh. :-)


I haven't posted any obligatory meeting shots lately and this isn't one of them, but I'm not all that good at smiling for the camera sometimes. It's hard to believe, but I'm actually pretty happy in this shot. OK, so I was giving Ang that look mostly BECAUSE she was taking a picture of me... but...

ok. off to bed.

putting the flabby in flabbyironman...

The local Y is having a little incentive program right now tied into football season. Every time you come in, you mark off 5 yards on a little football field sheet and indicate what you did that day. It's been going since the beginning of last month, but it was a little surprising to realize that my last entry was Nov 30. I can't believe it's been that long. Oh well, that will change... the holidays are done for the most part, so I'll be back to my regular 4-5 days a week at the Y until cycling season starts... even then I'll be pretty gym focused until later in the spring.

Ang and I picked up the Sin City Special Edition DVD set tonight so that we could show it at our New Years Party on Saturday. I'm not a giant fan of the movie, but Robert Rodriguez is a great teacher. If you want to learn film-making, the DVDs he puts out are a great place to start. Every DVD he does something called the "Ten Minute Film School". On the Once Upon a Time in Mexico DVD he started the "Ten Minute Cooking School" with a pretty wicked recipe for Puerco Pibil. We made that last year on New Years and I think I might make it again. It's pretty wicked wrapped up in a tortilla shell with some grilled peppers.

Anyway, I think we were more excited about picking up the Sin City Box for the 2nd 10 Minute Cooking School installment. This time it was a recipe for homemade tortillas and breakfast tacos. I think I might need to make them sometime soon.

We also picked up Godzilla: Final Wars. We showed a Godzilla flick last year, and I thought it would be cool to show the FINAL Godzilla flick this year.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get busy on a couple of little projects I need to do to get the apartment ready for Saturday. I'm going to maybe build a new entertainment center for the TV, hang a shelf for a projector from work and string a sheet up for a temporary screen. Hopefully that will make the living room a little more viewing friendly. I'll take some pictures when I'm
done.

My sister and brother in law took off for India this morning. They're spending a couple of weeks helping out at an "American Restaurant". Here's
a little story
about the place they're going to be working.

More in the morning.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ah, home. It's such a long drive from Minnesota to Colorado but
thankfully it's doable in a day. We stumbled into the apartment around
11:00 yesterday night, a good 14 hours after we started.

I had a WalMart gift card to use, so I wandered over this afternoon to
see what was on sale. I was psyched to find The Lone Gunmen and
Firefly boxsets on sale for $19.95 apiece. I'm still vaguely
interested in the King Kong Production Diaries set, if only because of
it's cool packaging, but we'll see. I also kind of interested in
picking up that Sin City box set. Again, too many things, limited
resources. blah.

Preparations continue for the 2nd annual 'Numb-Butt-A-Thon' on
Saturday. I don't completely know what I'm showing yet, but it'll be a
world-wide affair. Lots of subtitles. At this point, I think there
might be 5 or 6 subtitled films of the 12 we try to work our way
through.

I'll work up some blow by blows as we go through the day and into the
night... and if you're so inclined, you're more than welcome to come
join us at the apartment. The more the merrier, it's just that you'll
have to come to Colorado Springs.

Off to go finish some things before Ang gets home. In an unusual
twist, she worked today and I didn't. Usually it's the other way
around. It's nice having a few extra days off.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Present!

I know I wasn't able to mail these to everyone, so if you didn't get one of the collections of bad Christmas music today is your lucky day. (you might not want to call it luck, but who knows)

In any case, here's volume nine of our blessed series. The artwork is included if you'd like to roll your own copy of the CD.

Disc 2 will be a surprise. Let's just say it's the LAST CHRISTMAS CD Yule Ever Need. heh.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Merry Christmas everybody if I don't have the chance to blog again this weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

a few random photos

I wanted to take a picture of the little candy mice Ang made this afternoon so I figured I'd post a couple of miscellaneous photos that were on the camera while I was at it... nothing extraordinarily exciting. We're in Minneapolis. It feels more and more foreign every time we go back, but at the same time all of our family live here, so there's a bit of a dichotomy. In either case, I don't know that I could ever really move back. It just wouldn't be the same.

Anyway, on to the photos...

We've been in a group of people called the RMC Elitists for a few years. It's our biggest connection of people. Every year we meet up in Illinois at this Cornerstone music festival. In October, two of the group finally got married. Matt had stood up for me at my wedding, so I think in thoughts of retribution, I had to stand up at his wedding. In any case, here some of us Elitists are in all our glory (or in our monkey suits as the case may be.)


Angela at the Scum of the Earth Christmas party in Denver a couple of weeks ago.



Ang got to meet her nephew for the first time today over lunch. If there's anything bad about being in Colorado, it's not getting to be around for things like little Isaac's first few months. Thankfully, one of the nice things about being in Colorado (and not having plans for kids for a few years) is that we get to be the aunt and uncle that can give the kid loud obnoxious toys... which we're happily doing for the first time this year.



Ang makes these little candy mice for Christmas every year. You start by dipping a maraschino cherry in chocolate bark. Then you attach a hershey's kiss to the dipped cherry. THEN you dip the whole thing in chocolate and add a couple of "Cinnamon candy Ears". A couple little dots for eyes and a nose and you're set. They look cute and they taste good, what could be better than that.

Anyway, off to do some visiting. I feel like a foreign dignitary every time I come to the area... making arrangements for visitations. Thankfully there's no entourage. Maybe in a few years when I'm famous. heh.

more later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

outside Omaha. Can't find it on the radio but apparently it's all cheese today on Hugh Hewitt's show. Cool! Thanks Hugh

One of the last Christmas Offerings

I'll be away from my music library starting tomorrow morning so here are my final five selections. Two aren't really Christmasey at all (only in the tangental sense of being related to holiday travel)

Track 10: Jonathan Rundman - Minneapolis
The shortest and most to the point song about Minneapolis ever written... and will probably always remain that way.

Track 11: That Dog - Minneapolis
I first heard this while riding across the 35W bridge that passes in front of Downtown Minneapolis will crossing the Mississipi river. It was mid summer in the early evening and my friends in the Echoing Green and I were headed out to the Mall of America to hang out. They made it a point of listening to this song every time they went through Minneapolis and I think they still do to this day.

Track 12: Beki Hemingway - This Old Town Tonight
Tonight, Leanor Ortega Till came down from Scum to preach while Eric is back in Michigan for Christmas. She spent a lot of time talking about Mary's willingness and to a certain degree her humanity and how hard it must have been to deal with the situation. This song isn't about that, but it is a song about Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth through the eyes of one of it's residents.

Track 13: Over the Rhine - Silent Night (duet)
I think this song off of Darkest Night of the Year might be a bigger favorite than the first one I posted.

Track 14: Julie Miller - Last Song
My prayer for the new year.

More posting once I get to Minneapolis tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Brian is a tired boy.

Just posting for a point of reference. :-)

Off to work in a minute or two.
Yawn.

Christmas Offerings Day 3

Another day, another set of songs. I'm hoping to go through Friday.

Anyway, as much as I said that I wouldn't write a lot yesterday night, I really mean it tonight. Looking at my clock, it reads 2:26. Let's see how fast we can get this done.

Track 7: Tom Petty - Christmas All Over Again
Man I love Tom Petty. Learning to Fly might still be in my top ten favorite songs. In any case, this is off one of the A Very Special Christmas albums. I can't remember if it's been on one of the Cheesy albums, but it's definitely one of my favorites.

Track 8: The Smashing Pumpkins - Christmas Time
I don't love this as much as I love Tonight or 1979 but it's up there.

Track 9: Duke Ellington: Peanut Brittle Brigade
A few years ago I stumbled onto the fact that Duke Ellington and his band had recorded a jazz version of the Nutcracker Suite when I heard an abbreviated edit on one of the Ultra Lounge Christmas CDs. I found the entire suite on a disc aptly entitled Three Suites and promptly bought it. I think the recording they did MIGHT be the consumate version of the Nutcracker... and it's something I pull out every year. It was kind of hard choosing a part of the suite, but I think this one sums up what the rest of the suite sounds like the best.

OK. 2:32. Eight minutes. That's not so bad. Now to put some groceries away and hit the sack myself.

See you tomorrow.... umm... err... I mean today. :-)

I thought I was done...

with the late nights, but I have to have a demo disc done for 'the
boss' before taking off on vacation so that we can pitch some
business. Since I'm the only one who can get the work done and I need
to take off for a little pre-Christmas lunch tomorrow it's got to be
done tonight. blah. Oh well, at least it's almost finished.

More in the morning.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

Tonight's truffles look Vaguely tribblelike. These taste much better than I imagine they do. Off to bed. Yawn.

Christmas Offerings Day 2

More descriptions tomorrow. I just wanted to get something up before bed.
Fountains of Wayne - Valley Winter Song I've been wanting to put this song SOMEWHERE for a couple of years now. It's just not exactly cheesy, so I haven't been able to use it.

Beki Hemingway and Jonathan Rundman - Out Behind the Old Hotel - Ang and I were excited when our friends Beki and Randy moved to Denver a few months ago. I almost had her commited to giving me something for the Christmas CD this year, but she ran out of time so I'm stealing something from her Christmas album for this.

Bruce Cockburn - Shepherds I pulled this one out for the first time of the season this year. The whole album (Bruce Cockburn : Christmas) is good, but I think this might be my favorite quiet song on the disc.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

one more reason I will never be thin...

Ang and I have been making Chocolate Truffles tonight in preparation
for the drive back to Minneapolis. I was putzing around the other day
trying to figure out what I'd cook at the staff cookie party last
Thursday. I made the truffles, but divided four ways we didn't have
very many left over.... so tonight I made a second batch. Having done
it a second time, I made some modifications to the original recipe.
With special thanks to Alton Brown of Good Eats fame, here's my
modified version.

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pulverized peppermint candy
1 package almond chocolate bark

Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass
mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat
this process 1 more time. Set aside.

Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium
heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over
the melted chocolate mixture; let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber
spatula, stir gently, starting in the middle of bowl and working in
concentric circles until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth
and creamy. Gently stir in the peppermint extract. Pour the mixture
into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator
for 1 hour.

Using a melon baller, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with
parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

In a blender, place 20-30 round peppermint candies and blend until
slightly less than powder (still sort of granular)

Place the cocoa powder, and peppermint candy powder in pie pans.

In the meantime, place the package of almond chocolate bark into a
medium mixing bowl which is sitting on top of a water filled saucepan,
with the heat set to medium.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by
rolling between the palms of your hands. Use powder-free vinyl or
latex gloves if desired.

Sometimes it helps to dip your hands in a bowl of ice and water. After
your hands have chilled, dry them and roll a few truffles. You'll know
when it's time to repeat.

Once they're rolled, I like to stick them in the freezer to let them
firm up a bit more. The firmer they are the easier they are to work
with.

With a ShishKabob spear, spear your truffle and dip it into the
chocolate. Take it outof the chocolate and shake off the excess
chocolate. I then use my vent above the oven to dry the truffle a
little bit. While it's still tacky I roll it in the peppermint or
cocoa and then dry it a little bit more with the fan until it's hard
enough to pull off the spear.

later I go back and paint in the little shish kabob spear holes with a
little bit of chocolate on the end of a spear. Then I roll in the
appropriate coating.

Anyway, they're quite good... and I think I'll have a hit at the
family gathering this year.

More music in a little while.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Christmas Offering

Every year I spend a couple of months working on something called Tis the Season To Be Cheesy. This year was volume 9. Each Christmas season, I work on putting together a disc of some of the most earnest, but off the mark Christmas music I can find. It's become a bit of a tradition and in a couple days I'll post a link to an MP3 version for those that weren't able to get a CD version. While I like it, and I get a kick out of doing it every year, it's not the Christmas music I listen to by choice. Over the next few days I figured I'd post some of the music that never seems to go away, the stuff that I'm really close to. Maybe you'll feel the same way.

Track 1. Phil Madeira - Christmas This YearPhil might be one of my favorite songwriters. Most of the time he's a songwriter and Nashville studio rat, adding Hammond B-3 to a long long list of records. On the side he's also a singer songwriter. A few years ago he came out with an album called Three Horse shoes, a collection of songs he wrote while hanging out at a pub in the english countryside. One of the songs was this one. Living in Colorado now, I can relate. It's not that I dread heading back to Minneapolis next week, but it's still going to be 34 hours in a car driving back and forth. Someday we'll have the money to just bring everyone down here.

Track 2. Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty - Babe In the Straw"One of the first CDs I ever bought was The Choir's Circle Slide. It was one of those CDs that helped drag me out of a very dark place and they've been one of those bands I've continued to follow because of it. Ang and I danced to a Choir song as the first dance at our wedding. In the early nineties, they came out with a lenten mass masquearing as an album full of collaborations from Alternative Christian artists called At the Foot of the Cross. It's one of the CDs I meditate with at Easter, but a few years later they did a similar project called Noel. Every year, Noel is one of the first CDs I pull out around Thanksgiving. I love to light some candles, dim the lights and just soak in this album and the next album I've selected a track from. Even if you think you've never heard of Steve Hindalong, you've probably heard his work. A few years ago he and Marc Byrd collaborated on a song you've no doubt heard or (more likely) sung, God of Wonders There's your 'Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story' moment of the day.

Track 3. Over the Rhine - The First NoelGrowing up in my family, ever year we'd attend the Sunrise Service at Easter and the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve. I really grew to love walking out of the church after midnight and feeling the chill air and the silence covering everything like a blanket. Usually, there would be a few snowflakes floating down through the air. This song is the soundtrack of the drive home. When I listen to it, it brings back those images and I get a little shiver. The album it comes from, The Darkest Night of the Yearranks right up next to Noel on my Christmas album list... and I think it still will fifty years from now.

Anyway the first three tracks. There'll be another three tomorrow, and so on the rest of the week.

Merry Christmas.

I've been reading through some members of the Triathlete Alliance and
while I don't want to be a grinch, I still don't completely understand
why people make out "Ironman" to be something so grand and awe
inspiring. It's a race... a very long day. It feels really good to
finish, and it was for me, I think, a life changing event. At the same
time though, the way some people write about their upcoming Ironman
races I have to think... "GET OVER YOURSELF!"

Blogging has always been a bit of written self-gratification.
Sometimes I just wish there was a bit of a filter. Run your race, be
happy that you are physically capable of running the race, but don't
let me know that you live in a 'magical happy wonderland filled with
transcendental experiences all at the lacing of a shoe-lace'. Again, I
say "GET OVER YOURSELF!"

Run your race. Train. But realize that just because you're doing this
doesn't make you better than anyone else. You're still flesh and
blood. You're still going to die. At some point, you're still going to
be decrepit. Everything is little more than temporary and even your
Ironman race will only be a blip on your life. GET OVER YOURSELF and
go do your race. Don't pretend all of this is something that hasn't
been seen before because it's been done thousands of time before and
just for the record, you're nothing special.

I promise I'll be happier and less grouchy later.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

what next?

it's the end of the year, which means personal reflection and
corporate reflection. I just got out of one of those corporate
reflections. Basically, we're waiting for things to drop. If they
don't, and we need to be prepared if they don't, we're stuck, dead in
the water. It's not altogether true that that's going to happen, but
it's not altogether not true. Basically, we're at the point where we
have to make precautionary plans and start to take those measures. For
me, it's been said that I should begin to start the job search, just
in case. That freaks me out. A LOT. I know I have skills, and I know
those skills and talents have grown over the past couple of years, but
it still makes me nervous. Even more so just based on the reasons I
moved out here. I can't go into details, but if you're the praying
type, I'd appreciate them. I have lots of decisions I need to make.

Blah.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

The view from behind my little sound booth at church. Man it feels good to be done with the yearly project. More blogging later

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

I don't know if you can read this but running through a KFC drive-through on the way to church, this made us laugh. :-)

Phew!

OK. I'm going to bed. The project is done, or at least almost done. I
got home from the office with the final goodies arond midnight and
have spent the last two hours packing and addressing. Tomorrow, I go
to the post office and get a gigantic postage bill. Oh joy! heh.

I'm a little delirious. Hopefully that will go away once I get some sleep. :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blah

coming into the home stretch... It's been a long day of duplicating,
trimming and packing. Man... it's so much work to get this thing done
every year. I guess I keep doing it because people really respond to
it when they hear it. I handed out the first batch at the Scum of the
Earth christmas party yesterday evening. People were alight when they
saw the second bonus disc. Anyway, all of the first batch got handed
out last night, so it was back to the beginning today. I'm one tired
person... and there's still a full day tomorrow. Blah.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why I Love the Alamo Drafthouse...

...of course, there are many reasons I love the Drafthouse, Austin, TX's coolest movie chain, but the way they treat movies and make moviegoing an extra treat is always wonderful. Handing out red beanines before The Life Aquatic... Wonka bars created by their chef at Willy Wonka, and now, the coolest entrance to a movie theater I've ever seen courtesy of Harry Knowles photos at Aintitcool.com. In order to get into the theater to see The Chronicles of Narnia, you have to walk THROUGH a wardrobe. How cool is that? Check it out...



Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

the first FIFTY are done... only a hundred or so more to go! It's almost like a marathon... except not. Heh.

I can't even begin to mention the word "workout"... it's been since
mid last week that I've had the time to get to the Y. I hate that, but
I end up getting swamped in Christmas prep stuff. Now, with another
semi-secret project I've been busy on winding down, and the Christmas
album almost ready to be shipped, I should be able to get back to
working out. The only benefit to being so busy is that I haven't had
the appetite I normally would. Oh well.

I'll try to post some Christmas music here over the next few days in
addition to the Christmas album. Maybe it'll attract a few more people
to the blog, it's been awfully quiet lately. :-( (of course that's
just as much my fault for being too busy to post)

the mastering is done...

the artwork was done the other day, but the mastering wasn't done yet.
it takes a lot of time to make sure that levels and equalization are
ok. The final album comes in at 31 tracks and 79minutes45seconds.
Huzzah. If you'd still like to help out a little with postage I'm
working on a separate little project that will go out with the
Christmas CD to help with postage. Ang and I have been in a little bit
of a crunch what with the job transition. It just sucks that the
crunch came in December. Ugh. Our Paypal account is
bbehm@lakelandleadership.com. A couple bucks makes sure you get a disc
(though if you're reading this, you're probably getting one anyways. I
am unintentionally forgetful sometimes.) and a little DVD and CD set
I'm putting together as a bit of a thank you.

I don't mean to sound like a schill though. If you want the disc and
can't chip in a couple bucks, or just think I might have forgotten
your name on the list, leave a comment and I'll make sure you get one.

What is "one" you ask? Every year Ang and I spend a couple of months
digging up the cheesiest Christmas music we can find. Every year gets
a little bit better and I think this year might be, if not the best,
right up there with the best. It's a pretty enjoyable little listen.
The list started with about 10 people 9 years ago, this year over 100
people all over the country will grab a copy. Want one? Let me know.

B

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

The yearly project begins to bear some fruit. I love the feeling I get when I see a big stack of things I created... feels great

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Picture Share!


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by bthemn.

Ang is much too Excited for it being this late... in fact I think she's dancing. Heh

Sunday, December 04, 2005

a late night at the office...

ah I love this time of year. The time of year where the after hours
work ends up busier than the on-the-clock hours as Ang and I work on
our annual project. Some people make christmas cookies, others...
well, others work on secret projects. So tonight we're at the office
working on the annual version of the secret project. I just hope it
sounds, errr umm... tastes... err umm looks, err... heck, I just hope
it's good. heh.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Narnia

On the way to the theater this morning, Ang and I drove along I-25s
recently snowpacked roads. It was a bit of a pain, and I was annoyed
at the accidents that stalled traffic, but it was worth it when we got
to Denver, got off on University Ave. and had a couple of miles of
flocked trees lining the parkway. It was quite possibly the perfect
way to prep for seeing the movie, driving down the snow quieted
streets listening to some quiet Christmas music.

Ang and I just got out of the preview screening we had an invitation
to this morning. First things first, it's not the Lord of the Rings
and I never really felt that it was trying to be Lord of the Rings.
There's a certain lightness and choice of color that doesn't exhibit
itself in the three Rings' movies. I'm not saying that as a good or a
bad thing, mostly just a creative choice. LotR is deadly serious. The
other day, I was in the Aintitcoolnews chat room and Moriarty was
crabbing about the fact that it was the "passion of the lion king" and
that the children were wooden. I didn't get that.

I'm mostly trying to get a grasp on the movie. We just walked out of
the theater and there was an Apple Store, so we figured we'd get a few
lines in before we headed off for other activities. She's blogging
from a 20" iMac I'm lusting after, and I'm blogging and e-mailing from
the 23" cinema display hooked up to a Powerbook that I'm lusting
after. Man I love the Apple Store.

Effects wise, there are a few areas where you can't quite buy the
illusion of the talking animals, but they're only moments. I was also
pleasently surprised with the battle scene. I was fearing that it
would be a rehash of Helms Deep or any of the major hour long Rings
battles but while there are some elements that are similar (can there
not be when it's thousands of CGI creatures combatting one another?)
it's different enough and spread out enough that as it started I was
thinking about it as it pertained to its own story and not to the
stories that are related.

Andrew Adamson has shed the burden of Shrek. I'm happy, very happy, to
say that the movie is maybe not great, but certainly good. It will do
very, very well.
There's no "poor old lu", but that's alright.

More thoughts when I get home.

B

Friday, December 02, 2005

Alice in Wasteland

I blame Commodore for keeping me from blogging the last couple of
days... he's kept me up working on a project for him. (ok, ok, so
maybe I can't blame him for the lack of blogging, but it's the excuse
I'm going to use)

I got confirmation that I get to see Narnia tomorrow morning. I really
hope, like I mentioned before, that I can say good things about the
film. I was in the aintitcool.com chat room the other day and
Morirarty mentioned that he had been to a screening and really didn't
like it. He referred to the movie at one point as "The Passion of the
Lion King" and that the kids didn't work and Liam Neeson's Aslan voice
wasn't right, but I've read positive things too. Just in case, I'm not
going in with any expectations and I think that's the proper way to go
into most movies...

I saw a movie yesterday evening called "Alice In Wasteland". It was
produced locally and with local talent and being that I'm involved
with the Colorado Springs Film Society, I felt obliged to go. I tried
to not go in with expectations, but the brother of the director had
mentioned that it looked slick so I had that in the back of my mind.
I'm not entirely sure what film was watched that looked "slick" but I
just can't imagine this was it. Everything about it screamed
mediocrity and the sad part is that they rounded up $300,000 to pay
for it. I'm not entirely sure where the money went. I really wanted to
like the movie, but between inconsistent framing, weird lighting, same
scene color shifts, shoddy compositing, a storyline that could have
been trimmed by a good 30 minutes, and dialogue that was hammy at
best, it was really hard to find something good to say about it. I
felt a bit like I had lost two hours of my life that I would never
retrieve.

My boss was there as well and this morning I asked him how he felt
about it. He mentioned that he liked it and couldn't see how anything
was wrong. What baffles me with that is that this is a guy who's even
more of a camera snob than I am. The thing just didn't look good and
with a $300,000 budget, they should have been able to make it look a
lot better than it did. I know they shot on video, and I can
understand that with shooting on video things aren't necessarily going
to look as good as they might if they had shot HD or even 35mm instead
of DV. That said, DV CAN look good if it's lit right. You have to know
how to work with your tool.

Here's a link to the <a
href="http://wattimagination.com/alice/">trailer </a>. Maybe I'm being
too hard on it... maybe I'm judging based on the criteria I'd use to
evaluate a feature film. Maybe I don't have the right to criticize
because I haven't made my own feature yet. I give them credit for
creating a film, but not the "A for effort" that giving credit just
for making a film independantly might earn.

Anyway, I couldn't believe my boss had enjoyed it. I also couldn't
quite believe all of the people who were literally guffawing all
throughout the movie. I left perplexed at the adulation of the crowd
after the movie ended and the Q and A began. I hope they're able to
turn a profit with their movie, but I wouldn't pay to see it again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

back to being busy...

but that's the norm, thankfully. In any case, I just got an invitation to see the Chronicles of Narnia Saturday morning. I'm looking forward to it. I really hope that I can write good things about it, but we'll see.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I was late getting my swim in this morning. I'm a bit of a news junkie so it's hard not to get magnetically attracted to the computer when i get up to find out what's gone on in the world since I've been in bed, and today was no exception. After extricating myself from the computer and getting ready to walk out hte door, I realized we had a pitch today and the clothes I was currently wearing would be completely inappropriate... which led me to searching for my suit as quietly as I could (Ang was asleep) making me a bit later. I did end up at the pool and did squeeze in about 1500 meters, but I've got a long way to go to get back into shape.

My main goal this winter is to build more upper body strength and balance out my legs. For whatever reason, my left leg is a bit less stronger than my right leg and I'd like to even that out. My secondary goal is to improve my freestyle because right now it's awful. We'll see how successful I'm able to be, but so far I've been pretty diligent.

Things are slow at work so I've had a chance to catch up a little bit on my blogging. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't be able to get TOO caught up, but we're waiting on projects to close so it'll be a couple of weeks probably.

I'm more than halfway through the Bono book now and I'd still heartily suggest it for your own reading list.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to work on some movie blogging in and amongs a couple of other projects stewing at home tonight.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bono in conversation...



Had to run to the library over lunch to pick up a couple things on reserve and spent a minute or two looking through the new non-fiction. Happily, I stumbled on the new Bono book 'Bono in conversation with Michka Assayas'. Read a few pages of it over lunch, so far it's been an interesting read.

I'm only in chapter 1, but I figured I'd post a little interesting tidbit of some unused verses from Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own. I guess these were sung at his fathers funeral but ended up not getting recorded.

"... I think How To Dismantle... also allowed me to vent all that stuff. The atomic bomb, it's obviously him in me. Yeah, "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" is my swan song for him. I sang it at his funeral [recites, but does not sing]: Tough, you think you got the stuff / You're telling me and everyone you're hard enough / Well, you don't have to put up a fight / You don't have to always be right / Let me take some of the punches for you tonight / Listen to me now: I need to let you know you don't have to go it alone / Sometimes you can't make it on your own. It's like a Phil Spector kind of a deal, very fifties. There's a verse I left out of the recording: When I was a young boy in the suburbs of Cedarwood / I wanted to be great because good would not be good enough / Now that I'm older, I don't see things any clearer / We're closer now but still a long way off / I need you to know you don't have to go it alone / Sometimes you can't make it on your own. And then it goes into this middle eight which is amazing. I scream and it goes: Sing, you're the reason I sing / You're the reason the opera is in me / Still I need you to know a house don't make a home / Don't leave me here alone / Sometimes you can't make it on your own. So it turns around at the end. It's a sort of simple song, but it's, I hope, the last song I will be writing about him.


anyway, worth reading if you get the chance to pick it up. I've got other things to read, but I imagine this one will float back to the top and get read first.

Monday, November 14, 2005

sad...

my posts never returned. Ang and I had an interesting if uneventful weekend for the most part. Saturday we went up to Denver to catch a screening of Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, the new film by Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan (who were also behind 24 Hour Party People) and then did some shopping for our annual secret project.

Sunday started with a couple of movies at the dollar theater, The Brothers Grimm and In Her Shoes. I know In Her Shoes is a chick flick, but it's a chick flick as directed by Curtis Hanson, and I really dig Curtis Hanson. Hansons three films, L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, and 8 Mile are all dramatically different films that all work extraordinarily well and the current film is no exception.

With a long break in between, we wandered over to Angela's work so she could pick up her schedule and she discovered that she'd been fired (along with several other people). So, a decent weekend finished off quite a bit lousier than it had begun. Thankfully, Ang should be able to get a massage job soon, so there shouldn't be too much of a proplem just finding something to do for a couple of months while that happens, but it's still annoying.

Anyway, just wanted to post an update. It's a swim night tonight, so I'll put in about an hour of laps before we go watch a movie. We've got quite a few to still work our way through and I'll make sure I blog them as we do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

OK I'm really annoyed...

Commodore was bugging me to get back to posting in an e-mail so this afternoon I spent about an hour writing a couple of posts. I sent them (from my blogger widget, which is what I normally use) and for whatever reason they've passed into the great beyond. Maybe they'll come back, but if not they're just gone. I'll check later and if it didn't post, I'll come and rewrite it. In any case, sorry for the lack of posts. There hasn't even been an especially good reason, just busy. Like a workout, once you miss a couple days, it's easier to miss the next couple until you've gone a month without posting.

Ang and I are getting ready to sit down to a couple of movies. Exciting stuff (ok, maybe not, but it's comfortable and I've already worked out today so I don't care if I'm sitting on the couch)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ironwoman

I've got an actual Ironman related post! I'm sure some of you already know about this, but I stumbled across it today:

http://spaces.msn.com/members/ironmanprofile4/?GT1=7221

The first female with a prosthetic leg to finish Ironman Kona.

I was reading through the comments people left. Someone said something about another female amputee having finished Ironman Wisconsin in 2004, so I guess Sarah is the second woman to finish an Ironman on a prosthesis - but the first to finish Kona. Both women are pretty inspirational, I'd say.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I just updated the DVD library, but perusing it, I realize I forgot to add a couple. So, it's a MOSTLY up to date library. Now I just need to find some time to knock a couple of movies off the list each night.

Lots of planning tonight. I've got an important meeting with Parks and Rec tomorrow to discuss the Film Society project. If it goes well, the project is a go. I think it will go well... but I'll be praying it does anyway.

Off to work, I need to be a lot more motivated today than I was yesterday. Blah.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm alive... addendum

We didn't get a chance to visit the Drafthouse over the weekend, but being the movie geeks that we are, we did force our friend Lisa to bring us to the local Movie Trading Co. We only bought 13 dvds. I'm almost proud of myself for that statement. Ok, maybe not. In any case, I'll get the DVD listings updated. I haven't updated in a month or so.


Now that it's the offseason, the movie reviews will have to make a comeback too. I'll post more. I promise.

yes I'm alive!

Com sent me one of those "Are you still breathing, or are you a corpse?" comments yesterday, so I figured I'd better pop up out of my burrow.

Ang and I were in Austin over the weekend visiting friends and seeing a couple of other friends finally get married (they dated five years. I don't know that I would have had the patience). Anyway, we ate way too much, as is the custom when visiting 'the austinites' and I still feel like not eating anything for a week.

At the same time, now that we're back, winter weather has made it's first encroachment. It'll be gone and back up to 70 by Friday, but it's kind of nice seeing snow out the front door. I love sweater weather.

I think most of my cycling is done for the year, but I'm going to be getting in to my off season running regimen in the next few days. Ang and I are still debating looking into a Y membership. We have a workout room at the apartment complex, but I don't have anywhere to swim laps.

I'm busy working on the outdoor cinema initiative the film society has been developing. We have a meeting with some high-up people on Friday that will hopefully be a solid "We're moving forward" type of a moment.

Things are still busy, but a few days off has seemingly cleared my mind and I'm feeling a LOT better. That was the goal... and seemingly, it's been successful.

More later, including some panoramics I shot over the weekend.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

dum dum duh dummmmm



two shots from the wedding.... a petrified Matt and the obligatory group shot.

more later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

BLAH.

so far afairly uneventful trip. we just got stuck in Burleson, TX when ang left the keys in the car whileshe pumped gas.ofcourse, hilarity ensued. or not.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Hunt



In it's element, the Generalicus Managerius hunts for a shot. Unafraid of his surroundings, his outfit of black lets him stand out in the barren highlands.

The I've Been Working Too Much Shot of the Day

Sorry for the lapse in blogging. Work beckons. Yesterday was my first day off in over two weeks. Brian is one stressed out boy. Brian could really use some regular sleep and weight lifted off his shoulders. Brian is tired and burned out. Here you can see Brian getting the only exercise Brian's gotten lately, hauling equipment around. Note that that's the easiest way to carry the tripod but that it hurts quite a bit because the twist lock for the ball-head joint ends up digging into your shoulder. Brian wasn't happy dragging that tripod around.



What you can't see, is the look on Brian's face. If that look could speak it would say "I hate being up early on Saturday morning, just to drive around with the general manager chain smoking cheap nasty cigars and cigarettes in a minivan with lousy ventilation. Furthermore, I hate that these smoke breaks eat in to the time that Brian could be spending on other projects that he needs to finish as well and that he'd rather be doing other things than giving up his weekend for work. (Noting of course that said GM makes almost double what the underpaid creative director does (and Brian arrives at the underpaid part by consulting the most recent AIGA/Aquent industry salary survey... specifically, the Rocky Mountain areas numbers))

What also goes without saying is that Brian misses his bike. Brian hasn't ridden because Brian has worked really weird hours. Brian knows that not getting the exercise he SHOULD get is only adding to his angst.

Brian is very tired.

Brian wants to do Ironman Florida next year.

Brian also knows that the film society project he's working on... developing a summerlong "Friday-night Movie in the Park" program is going to take a lot of time, if only for the fundraising portion.

Brian needs to evaluate his priorities.

Have I mentioned that Brian's tired?

Maybe after Brian spends 34 hours in a car driving to Austin, TX and back for a wedding, Brian will be able to get some car-coma sleep. Maybe Brian will get a chance to work on the Film Society business/project plan he needs to finish.

Maybe, just maybe, Brian will learn to not bite off more than he can chew.

"nah," Brian thinks to himself, "that will probably never happen."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ironman Florida

I came to the realization to day that I might be out of contention for Ironman Florida next year.

Some of you may know that I've been coordinating the Colorado Springs Film Society the last couple of years. It's been on hiatus this summer as we reevaluate our goals, but that's changing. I'm going to be in the process of developing some stuff for the film society that I can't quite talk about yet, but will have the Society becoming a legally functioning entity with my becoming the director. All of this, of course, is in addition to my regular duties. I just don't know that I'll have the time to train.

We'll see though. I still have a little more a month and a half before I have to bite the bullet for registration. In that time, I'll have a better idea of what my time commitments are going to be like.

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately... as things have gotten a little busier with the film society, there have been more projects at Red Penguin too... so things are spinning on that front as well.

Anyway, I'll try to remember to get some posting in. I promise.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ang and I spent part of yesterday night working on a database of all the movie trailers we have. Yes, it's a geeky thing, but it'll help when we're putting together previews for the film society. A lot of times, we own a trailer we're looking for but it's not on the disc that you'd think it'd be on. Ang has the day off today so she's been doing some more logging.

Ang just sent me this over IM and it made me laugh
The Company has got 10 preivews...real previews, not the ones with the voiceover that says "this movie has won these awards, and this is what critics have said about it, and I'm going to tell you what this movie is about using an annoying voice and lots of really bad adjectives!"

Friday, September 16, 2005

movies and biking

Yeah, it's been a couple weeks now since we saw Cat Ballou on the big inflatable screen. But a few days ago I posted my review and a few more pictures on my blog http://coffeeandcinema.blogspot.com

It hasn't been a great biking week this week. I only biked to work once this week. We had a bit of a cold spell - if I had biked yesterday, I would have been biking to work in 30 degree weather.

Next week Brian and I will both get back on the horse - or the bike, as it may be. But tomorrow it's driving to Denver for a marriage workshop/seminar through our church.

Friday, September 09, 2005

burnout...

I think Wil's burnout is contagious. After working a 12 hour day yesterday I got home and was just not looking forward to riding to work this morning at all.

The commute to work isn't that hard, but this time of year the wind blows from the north in the morning and the south in the evening so there's always a headwind and my body hasn't been recovering from these rides which aren't even all that epic. I guess I'm just in the doldrums for some reason.

I still need to update the movie blogging from the weekend. Hopefully I can get to that tonight.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A few photos before I need to race to work in a minute or two. The Rolling Roadshow was tres' cool. Ang and I'll both have more to say about it I'm sure. In the meantime, photos...


Your obligatory monday morning donkey photo. Heh.


The Alamo Drafthouse's Rolling Roadshow has an immense inflatable screen that they use for screenings. Someday, hopefully the film society will have the same thing.


The mainstreet at Buckskin Joe's. Building's were closed, but it was kind of cool basically having the whole facility to ourselves. With it being a holiday monday, people were reticent to drive an hour out of the way (two hours from Denver) to come out to a outdoor movie. They missed out though. We got to spend a little time with Tim and Kerry League the couple that owns the Austin Drafthouse locations and Harry from Aintitcool.com. I wish I could join the tour and head to Amarillo to see Hud but there's too much to do here. Next year though...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

cinematic bacchanalia...

It's still a few months before Butt-Numb-A-Thon and the similarly named but not quite as cool 2nd annual Numb-Butt-A-Thon (that would be the much smaller Behm thrown 24 hour movie day here in Colorado Springs) but today will be a small precursor as my friend Russell and Angela and I prepare for the one stop of the Rolling Roadshow coming anywhere near here tomorrow... in beautiful Canon City. Cat Ballou. I haven't been down to Canon since the Red Rock Canyon century a couple months ago and I don't know that Angela has EVER been to Canon, but we'll head down tomorrow and say hello to all of the prisoners.

Canon City is the prison capital of Colorado. I think there are 8 prisons in town? (I could be wrong about that) The biggest prison of them all is the federal SuperMax facility. The Arkham Asylum if you will of prison facilities. Teddy K lives there, major terrorists live there. It's not a pretty place.

Here are a few pics I don't think I put up after Red Rock Canyon this year...


Just down the road from the SuperMax facility we ran into the Sumo Golf Village. I'm not entirely sure why it's Sumo Golf Village, but visions of overtly large japanese men teeing up on a par 5 made me chuckle.


This was the second year of the century. I guess last year, the course was the reverse of this year... which means that last year, they had the opportunity to CLIMB UP this 9% grade sign instead of descending like we got to do. OUCH.


We ran into this just a little past where that 9% grade was and stopped to take a picture. I was surprised the first time I visited Canon City how different it was from the Springs. It's only 45 minutes away but it feels quite a bit like driving into the old west.


This photo should actually be first in the order, but I spent the most time tweaking this image so it goes last. This was the first rest stop on the century. The first ten miles were basically straight up to this point so we were more than ready to take a break when we saw the tent. You can get an idea of what the terrain is like from the background.

Anyway, so Cat Ballou tomorrow and who knows what we'll watch tonight, but there will be beer (though probably mostly of the 'root' variety) and pizza and movies. Movie blogging will take place but I think the selection is going to be a seat of the pants type thing. will it be four flicks? five? inquiring minds want to know, but not even the programmer knows.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Injuries and things

Ang here. Figured I'd post a little bit more about my spill on the bike. First off, half my family is in the medical field. I grew up in a house where it was perfectly normal to talk about surgeries and injuries at the dinner table. My sister didn't enjoy it, but I was always fascinated. That's probably why I'm so fascinated with injuries.
On top of the gash in my knee that you see in the picture, I've also got several bruises on my legs, a cut on the back of my other ankle, and a few other scrapes here and there. There were some injuries sustained to the bike as well, unfortunately. I broke the elbow pad off of Brian's aerobars. I guess I also bent one of the handlebars in a bit. I got new tires now. I think Brian may have already mentioned that.

As far as Brian smiling in pictures...he doesn't do that so much. Especially when he's taking a picture of himself. I still think he's pretty cute, though. ;-)

Friday, September 02, 2005



A photo that Ang took of her injury this afternoon that she wanted to put up. She's pretty proud of it.

a few photos from last weekend...

with my parents in tow last weekend we did some wandering around. Commodore mentioned in the comments that I don't smile nearly enough in my photos, and that I don't ever take photos of myself outside of meetings. So.. here you go Com, this is as much smile as you're likely to get.


and one more self-portrait. I've got quite a bit of weight to drop.


and the obligatory "guests are in town" shots from Garden of the Gods. I love the garden, but it seems like it's the place that you HAVE to bring people to. Hopefully these aren't the same photos you'd usually see.



while we were at Garden of the Gods we went to the "trading post". It's just a tourist trap gift shop, but while we were there we saw a 'bike family' walk in. Two parents and three kids all dressed up in the same flag jersey outfits. Ang and I wandered outside to look for their bike but we couldn't seem to find it anywhere. I knew Ang was a cyclist when I heard her mention something like "Did you see the bike family!? Awww... they were sooooo cuuuuttteeee." Kind of like what she'd say when she saw a puppy. Anyway, when we left the shop we finally saw their bike... and oh what a bike it was. I've seen tandems with trail-a-bikes attached, but I don't know that I've ever seen a bicycle built for five. On top of that, I don't know that I've ever seen a bike with it's own "Tandem Talk" built in Tandem intercom. In any case, marvel at this miracle of modern cycling engineering. heh.


After wandering around Old Colorado City for a while (a shopping district on the outside of Garden of the Gods) we wandered downtown to a park to have some lunch and Ang went photo crazy with the squirrels.



and, while we're at it. An Angela shot photo of a duck.


and thus ends this little photo tour of the evening...

My first spill

I took my first fall yesterday. I tried to go around a puddle of mud, but I didn't quite make it all the way around. I slipped in the mud and fell down. It was almost to the top of a slow up-hill climb, so I wasn't going too terribly fast. Two cars stopped and asked if I was okay, which was very nice of them. I think the fall looked worse than it felt. I'm a bit scratched and bruised, but other than that I'm fine. Once I find my camera, I'll maybe take some pictures of my knee and post them. It's not that bad, but it is my first "battle wound" so to speak, so I'm kind of proud of it.

yawn

Today was one of those mornings where the weather was fine, the wind was fine, and yet the ride still sucked. I haven't been getting to sleep as early as I should lately and it's been affecting my performance. My quads feel pretty sore. We picked up some endurox at the store yesterday, so hopefully that will help with the recovery. The stuff tastes horrid, but it's always worked for me in the past when I need more muscle performance day to day and wouldn't have the recovery time otherwise.

While we were running yesterday nights errands Ang had a staff meeting at work. With gas the way it was, we didn't want to drive back to the apartment and then have another trip all the way back down to the coffeeshop so I got pulled along. I feel really blessed to be in the job I'm in. As a creative director, people know where I'm coming from and my leadership is generally acknowledged. I'm given the power to make the decisions I need to make.

At the coffee shop, I got talking to one of the owners wives (the owners are perfectly coiffed very yuppy late-30s dentists) who's an interior designer. Being an interior designer, I mentioned I was a creative director and tried to talk about work a little bit, not shop because they're two different industries, but work because they ARE at least a little related. Conversation was met with a brickwall. I handed her a business car and she oohed and ahhed over it and passed it to her husband who promptly passed it back. I hate when people give me back a business card. To me, it says, "Yeah, this looks nice, but I'm not ever going to use your services so here have your card back, I don't want to know how to get ahold of you".

I just felt like even though I'm outside their system, and in a position of my career that's a little bit higher up, I was treated as below them because my wife works for them. I was kind of pissed off.

The other owner asked later if we had biked down. I told him sort of, in that Ang had met me on the way back after not getting my message and that I had ridden and she went to get the car, but then mentioned I was getting ready for my second Ironman Tri. I think sometimes that I use the Ironman as a way to beat people over the head. It's an event that's kind of inconceivable to a lot of people and when you tell people you're getting ready for your second it's a like a big middle finger "yes I'm a fat graphic designer but I'm more fit than you". I don't know why I do it, but sometimes I can't help myself from mentioning it as I stand tall and try to tower over the person I'm saying it to. Maybe I said it because I was still trying to be the alpha male after getting put off by the first owner, maybe not.

In any case, the meeting meant getting home later than I wanted to and then being up later than that working on getting Ang's tired changed on her (that's hard to say) road bike (it's mine I tell you, MINE! heh). The tires that were on there had led a good long multi-thousand mile life, but bike tires aren't really worked into our budget right now so I hadn't gotten them replaced. When Ang flatted out last week I saw how bad they had gotten and we finally got them replaced yesterday night.

We bough specialized armadillos mostly for price, but they were supposed to be good for commuting so that was the other reason. I came home to do some reasearch on what I'd bought and found out how tough they really were. I guess they're very similar to kevlar in the way they're constructed. You're supposedly able to roll over shards of glass without flatting out... not that I really want to see that.

On top of being tough like that they were tough to get on. Man, I forgot how hard it can be to get a wire beaded tire onto a rim. Whoo-hoo! Ouch. Anyway, they're on. Although i need to redo the front tire because I put it on backwards (the tread pattern is going the wrong way) but I can fix that tomorrow.

Off for another fun day of coding. blah. It's one thing to write CSS and get it to work the first time, it's another thing to go back and try to analyze what it was that you did and figure out why it's not working. Needless to say, the latter is I what I'd say makes you a programmer and I don't rise to nearly that level. I'm a designer who happens to have to code.

Movie blogging this weekend hopefully, it's been much too long. Maybe there'll actually be a rebirth of the weird double features (I forgot what I was calling them)

Monday, August 29, 2005

.

my friend Chris sent this to me this morning as we were talking about church website redevelopment. We were talking about why church websites fail and how the articles he was reading pointed mostly to style over substance.

Isn't style over substance the reason MOST things fail? I think that could almost be the answer to the secret of the question of life! Things fail because they're focused on style instead of substance.

Anyway, it's a blogging article talking about why church websites should be blogging and focusing more on information and getting away from doing sites that look like snazzy brochures that puff up the senior pastor.

Blogging: Advice for Church Websites

back to the grind...

My parents were here this weekend, which always means that things of an athletic bent take a backseat to hanging out. This isn't an altogether bad thing, but it still meant that I didn't get to do any riding this weekend.

I decided to take the long route into the office via the Air Force Academy this morning, mostly because I hadn't ridden it lately and I wanted to confirm why I hadn't ridden it. The route's longer and actually climbs more than the normal short route does. On my way up the entrance of the trail I saw a guy bopping along on his mountain bike and watched him pass me before I got to the top. Obviously, this means that a chase is afoot. I reeled him in and then inexplicably he just stopped. He stopped. He's not SUPPOSED to stop. That means that I'm stuck with him chasing after me when he inevitably starts again. I don't like being in the chased position. The entire rest of the ride I'm looking over my shoulder trying to find where he is... every time I think I've dropped him for good, there he is on my tail again, wearing his dopey expression and haircut shaped into the shape of a helmet so that he didn't need to wear a separate one. UGGGHHHH! I wanted to stop for a second and take a drag of my orange gatorade but every SINGLE time I wanted to do that and catch my breath a little, THERE HE WAS! It was aggravating to say the least. He finally took a turn and continued up the path, leaving my neuroses to their own devices but it was a little frustrating.

There was a bit of a bite in the air this morning. Fall won't seriously come to Colorado for at least another month, but mornings like this start to sneak in. As soon as you get pedaling the cold melts away, but the first few minutes on either side of the ride always give you a bit of a chill.

I was reading an article talking about Hurricane Katrina's economic impact. I guess the 1mbpd that they pump in the gulf from offshore oil rigs has been temporarily shut off while the hurricane moves through which is yet one more thing that could push gas prices up, but that's not the big concern. I guess the big concert is that with no new refineries built since 1976 due to regulatory policies, more than 17% of refineries exist in LA and AL. If they get hit sufficiently hard it's not inconceivable that with speculation we could see $4 a gallon. $4 a gallon scares the living daylights out of me. I'm not entirely sure what we'd do besides try to ride even more than we are now. Thankfully, you can ride year round here if you really want to. Plus, I can't imagine the hamper it would put on the economy at $4/gallon but maybe it would finally create the economic incentive for hyrdrogen development.

Now, with that said, I know that $4/gallon gas wouldn't last forever mostly because of economic factors. $4/gallon makes lots of other oil retrieval economically feasible, like the oilsands in Canada and inevitably with the increased supply from alternative production, you're going to create a bulge in supply and overpower demand thus deflating the price, but it's not something I want to test in the short-term future.

one word. UGH.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a port

I clicked over to Angela's own blog at work this afternoon and read this and thought it was pretty great piece of writing. I think one of the things I love about journaling/blogging/writing in general is that it's a way into heads that you otherwise wouldn't be able to go in. In these short two years of marriage, I've found that it's not all intellectual and stimulating conversations... sometimes it's just life, but there are those times where something surprises you and the gauze gets pulled back to remind you about what you found so intriguing about your partner in the first place.

In any case, I hope I didn't overhype her words, but I really dug them.


My new coffee shop

I'm not at Gloria Jean's Coffee any more. I'm now working at a coffee shop that was started in Denver and just expanded to Colorado Springs. Peaberry Coffee. I had a half hour plus commute to Gloria Jean's, and am now only 6 1/2-7 miles away from where I work. And with gas prices being what they are, I've begun biking to work. It takes me about half an hour to bike there (mostly downhill) and 40 minutes to bike back (mostly uphill.) Biking there in the mornings is really relaxing and wakes me up. I love it when my shift allows me to bike to work just as the sun is rising. I should bring my camera with and take some pictures someday.
The other day I had to be at Peaberry at 7, which meant leaving at 6:25 (to get there at 6:55 and have time to change into my work clothes.) The sun was still rising. It was high enough to where all the beautiful colors had gone away, but there was still this soft white glow illuminating the city. I found myself wondering how many people were up at that time, and how many of them were high enough to be able to look down at the city and see that. It looked so beautiful and innocent, like one of those little miniature towns that you see set up at Christmas time - but without the snow.
I think I'm going to enjoy my morning rides.

Just one of those mornings...part deux (Ang's story)

The ride to work this morning (left at 4:30am) was going really well. My coffee shop is on Academy, which is one of the main drags through town - thus one of the busiest. Though it's not that busy at 4-something am, I still avoid it. That means I go on a street behind a WalMart, then through the parking lot of the Chapel Hills Mall. After that I go through the parking lot of a major shopping facility that includes Best Buy, Whole Foods, and DSW among other things. From there I ride behind a few more buildings before getting to my coffee shop. This constitutes the last 5-10 minutes of my morning ride. As I was crossing from WalMart to the mall I thought to myself, "Hmm...that's a funny noise. I've never heard my bike make that noise before. Something feels different. I'd better stop." Sure enough, flat tire. I tried to pump it up a bit so I could at least make it to work, but that didn't take.

So I'm about 10 minutes late to work this morning, having to walk my bike the last few miles. Once we get the coffee shop opened and take care of the first small rush of customers (mornings are usually fairly quiet with evenings being busier) I sit down to take a look at my tire. I was pretty proud of myself for getting the wheel off (and later, put back on) properly having never done it before. I pumped air into my tube and tried to look for the leak. As soon as I stopped pumping, the tube went completely flat again, not leaving me any time to search for a leak. I figured, "Huh. That's not good." I found a hole and patched it. I tried again to inflate it, but to no avail. So I figured I'd wait until my co-worker who knows something about bikes came in. I washed my hands and ate a bagel while I talked to another co-worker about his new job loading and unloading supply planes in Antarctica that he leaves for in a month.

Travis, my biking co-worker, comes in at 7. I have him look at the tire, and he says, "Yeah, that looks really worn down." He's got a friend that works at a bike shop, so he text messaged him to see if he was going to stop by today and get some coffee, thinking maybe he could take a look. He might even have a tube he could give me. The bike shop friend said he wasn't going to be able to stop by. It was a nice thought, though. I ate another pastry (an apple-filled croissant) and drank my orange gatorade.
The rest of work went by pretty quickly. I walked behind buildings with my bike, and walk across the parking lot of the major shopping facility. I turn right, and walk down a few buildings to the bike shop. They put on a new tube for me. The guy at the bike shop proceeds to tell me that my tire is really worn down and torn up. I've got a new tube on there and that will get me home, but I should look into a new tire. That would do a lot to prevent future flats.

So I set out on my way home. A little ways into the bike ride, I realize that it's now almost 2:30pm and I haven't eaten anything except my bagel at 6:30 and my apple-filled croissant at 8, so I'm feeling a little weak. "Oh well," I say to myself, "I'm half way home. I'll just take it really easy and stop couple times going up hills, drinking lots of water. Then I can eat when I get home." Shortly after this realization, a huge bright yellow Hummer buzzes past me, barely giving me any room. That scared the bejeezus out of me.

About a mile away from where I live is a strip-mall kind of thing which is home to a Chinese buffet and a sports grill. I never realized how much you can smell the food outside the building before. Oohhh, I'm so hungry.... I made it home and ate my leftover spaghetti from the other night. I then took a shower and crashed for about an hour. I didn't log on to IM or anything, so I think Brian was worried about whether or not I made it home okay. I did. I feel a little better after my nap, but I now realize that Brian's parents will be here on Friday and I have a lot of cleaning to do.

just one of those mornings...

Man, I feel beat up. I didn't ride yesterday, figuring that I'd make my non-ride days Tuesday and Thursday so I can get home in time to leave for church and my Thursday night ride respectively. Figuring yesterday was a rest day, I thought my muscles would regroup but they didn't. This morning hurt.

Even though I only took a little more than 38minutes of riding to get to work it felt like at least double that. I'm attributing it to the lousy sleep I got last night, I guess. I couldn't sleep early and ended up staying up til midnight. Then, this morning, Ang called to let me know she blew a tire on HER commute to work. I felt bad not really having anything I could do for her. I know there's a spare tube somewhere in the apartment but I couldn't find it anywhere. She made it to work and had a bike-centric coworker coming in at 7, but if he couldn't fix it I told Ang to walk over to the bike shop that's relatively near her coffee shop. I'm sure she'll blog on the experience later, but this post is about 'ME!!!' (just kidding)

Anyway, I just didn't have any energy in my legs this morning. The climbs which are steady but manageable just really burned this morning. It's been a long time since I've felt like I need to stop for a second on a climb while on the way to work. I stopped twice today.

With the tiredness this morning, I also had my other little injury bugging me. I've been getting this pain up my right shoulder blade and into my neck. It feels like I could crack my neck, but it ends up just being really sore. I'm not sure where it came from, but I'm guessing it's exacerbated by my loaded down pack in the morning and then further exacerbated at work. The problem is that there really isn't anything I can do about it at work at least. I'm going to try leaving clothes at work that I can change into and maybe that will lighten my pack enough to not bother me as much. We'll see.

Now where did that stash of ibuprofen at the office go...?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

a preview...

What I've been working on lately

and am still working on.... but at least it's coming together.

Monday, August 22, 2005

site changes

Confessions of a Flabby Ironman has a new poster. I adjusted the membership so that Ang could post directly instead of having to comment. With two people hopefully there'll be that much more blogging. (Or maybe more appropriately, that much more slacking off)

Ang's morning post

I'm pretty fond of my spiffy new backpack. My favorite part is the "deluxe cool padded back for added ventilation." It's got extra padding on the shoulders and low back, which is pretty comfortable. But that leaves the space in between the pads as sort of an air vent that wind can go through as you're riding. And as Brian mentioned, the "reflective accents for added safety." I also just discovered that it's got "two side compression straps to balance load." It's got clips on each side that sqish your backpack together a bit so that if it's not all the way full things fit tighter and don't go sliding around while you're riding. I'm turning into such a bike geek now, geeking out about my new gear and stuff.
Hmm...I should go try on those Cosmos...

and back to Monday...

38 minutes again this morning. It wasn't an exceptionally exciting ride this morning, just the same fairly monotonous terrain. I think my Mountain Bike is just a tad small. Every time I adjust my seat up to the right height, it ends up sliding down a couple inches. It's very odd, and it puts my legs into a position where I'm putting more pressure on my knees.

Ang and I had a bike date on Friday. The summer of my eighth grade year in Jr. High, I had some good friends who would go out riding with me all summer long. Mostly, it was to the dollar theater, but we would ride all over the place. It was the summer the town shrank. Suddenly, being able to get wherever we wanted without our parents, the world was a much more exciting and fun place. After that summer people moved and we went our separate ways, my friend Pouyan developed pretty severe schitzophrenia, Joel went off his own way, Siavash moved to Michigan and I stayed where I was and kept biking, but I missed those times of just tooling around with no particular place to go. I've got it back.

It's so much fun having a second cyclist in the family. As much fun as it was riding around with the guys 'back in the day', it's that much more fun riding around with Angela. I'm really proud of how far she's come this season, and how quickly her attitude about cycling has changed. I was asking her about it the other day and she mentioned that for a long time it was 'my thing' and that she needed to find 'her thing', but that after riding with the club and meeting lots of other people who have very normal shapes and love biking her attitude shifted a bit.

In any case, we wandered down to Movie Trading Company, then over to Sonic for some ice cream, then Barnes & Noble to dig through the stacks and back to WalMart because Ang needed a backpack and I wanted to see how feasible grocery shopping with a bike could be. The answer? You have to be pickier about what you buy, just because you don't have as much room, but it's still very much feasible to pick up a couple items on the way home. We picked Ang up a backpack so that she'd have a better way to transport things to work and back and I think, for $20, it's actually got a couple of cool things that my $60 backpack doesn't have. The major thing I like about it is that it has lots of luminescence built into the stitching. On the way home, it looked like something out of Tron the way it glowed. Now Ang is jonesing for some shoes, but hopefully my spare pair of Cosmos will work out ok for her. I accidentally bought them a little bit small so hopefully they'll fit her just fine.

This morning's weight was 223.5. Who knows how much of that is water weight but I imagine not all of it is. I'd like to at least drop another 10-15 before this wedding I have to go to in October.

Anyway, more webcoding today. I've got quite a bit of work left to do on these sites I have to redevelop in this last part of August. More later, I promise.

Friday, August 19, 2005

blah

No riding this morning, I was too beat up after yesterday evening's ride. I never know who's going to show up for the Thursday night ride I lead for the bike club. Often-times, due to the horrid weather I've seemingly had every Thursday night this season, it's no one. Yesterday I had someone who said they were going to be coming so I made sure I was there right away.

The person who said they were going to come didn't show, but I still had someone show up. He told me he was new to the club and had only been riding for a couple of years. Never estimate a cyclists ability from what they tell you.

On our way out of the parking lot he told me that last year he did his first century and this year he'd done four. OK, I'm starting to reevaluate my estimations. He then tells me that he's not very good at climbing. I tell him I'm not much of a climber either and I back the conversation up to ask which centuries he's done this season. He, of course, mentions that he did Triple Bypass.

HELLO!? You're not a climber and you finished Triple Bypass? It was then that I noticed that the non climber had started to break away off into the distance as we started the first five mile climb up a pretty sweet finished but not open road extension that will eventually let Ang and I hop over to the southeastern side of the city quite a bit easier.

Now, I realize that I was already tired from the first two rides of the day and he was riding on completely fresh but warmed up legs, but I was getting dropped hard. To make matters worse, the route that I plotted out turned out to be maybe the hilliest route I've ridden on this side of town. Way more than half of our ride was climbing and with available light, we put in around 16 miles. 16miles in an hour, with 10+ miles of it climbing... and climbing isn't little hills, I think we started out around 6000', climbed to 7300 or so and then started undulating.

At points I felt like my quadriceps would burst from my legs. So, no riding for me this morning. But, Ang mentioned on her way home from school that she saw a tent outside movie trading company. Tents outside my favorite store are not a good thing (for my pocketbook at least) so we'll ride down for dinner tonight.

I ran across the street to buy one of those $2.50 subway daily sandwich deals and between leaving the store, crossing the freeway and turning back up the road to my office, gas went from 2.59 to 2.61. DEAR LORD. UGH. There is no more motivation to ride than that.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

maintenance

I turned off anonymous commenting due to comment-spam. There should be a circle of hell dedicated to spammers. I'm fine with opt-in lists, but unsolicited spam is just obnoxious.

day two

I opened up dashboard this morning to start this post and hit play on the iTunes widget. While noticing that there were 443 days until Ironman Florida iTunes started playing BNL's Falling For the First Time. I thought they were appropriate this morning.

Barenaked Ladies Falling for the First Time

I'm so cool, too bad I'm a loser
I'm so smart, too bad I can't get anything figured out
I'm so brave, too bad I'm a baby
I'm so fly, that's probably why it
Feels just like I'm falling for the first time

I'm so green, it's really amazing
I'm so clean, too bad I can't get all the dirt off of me.
I'm so sane, it's driving me crazy
It's so strange, I can't believe it
Feels just like I'm falling for the first time

Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost
Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost
What if I lost my direction? What if I lost sense of time?
What if I nursed this infection? Maybe the worst is behind
It feels just like I'm falling for the first time
It feels just like I'm falling for the first time

I'm so chill, no wonder it's freezing
I'm so still, I just can't keep my fingers out of anything
I'm so thrilled to finally be failing
I'm so done, turn me over cause it
Feels just like I'm falling for the first time

Anything plain can be lovely, anything loved can be lost
Maybe I lost my direction, what if our love is the cost?
Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost
Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost
What if I lost my direction? What if I lost sense of time?
What if I nursed this infection? Maybe the worst is behind


With stoplights it was a 38 minute ride into the office this morning. I don't know if it can be cut down to a half hour, but we'll see. Ang continues to be the one lighting the fire. As she was getting ready this morning, she stood over the bed and asked if I was going to ride. When I groggily said that I thought I would be she said "Good! Otherwise you won't get your three days in!", and walked out of the room. I love my wife.

Gas across the street is up to $2.51 at the Safeway and $2.59 next door at the truck stop. I think Safeway uses fuel as a loss leader to get people to come to the store because that 2.51 is actually 2.48 with your safeway card. In any case, it just makes me more interested in working at this commuting thing.

I think the hardest part of the commute is just how boring and open it is. Ang's route heads right into the developed area so she has stuff to look at. I follow the freeway through a big open plain. There's development once I get into Monument proper, but even that isn't all that much. Things seem to go faster if there are things near you so that they look like they're moving quickly. Try it out some time... it's truly, I think, psychologically more demanding to keep up a higher pace when you don't have anything but grass around you. Add to that that you're slowly climbing and it just makes it hard to get excited about the ride some mornings.

The ride home is different. Heading downhill, it takes just barely 25 minutes with traffic lights.

In any case, I'm here at work stuck working on some CSS issues. If you're a CSS person, e-mail me. Maybe I can pick your brain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

yawn...

Ang took off for the coffeeshop at 4:15 this morning and I wanted to send her off just to make sure she had everything she needed for her ride... afterwards, it took forever to fall asleep again. I hate laying in bed trying to sleep and just not going under.

I got up groggy a couple hours later and debated riding to work or not. Knowing Ang had already gotten up and ridden though? I can't imagine there's any better psychic butt kicking to know your still fairly green to cycling wife rode to work at 4:15 and you're debating riding because you're 'tired'.

Yes, I rode. It actually wasn't a bad morning for a ride, the fog/clouds were just rising from slightly below the mountains and there was this kind of ethereal haze from the light bouncing through them. I took the shortest route which is a little over 8 miles and 1000' of climbing. Total time? 40 minutes. The ride home will be barely 30.

I was doing math in my head and assuming I ride 3 days a week (which is the goal Ang and I've set) then that should translate to around 240 saved driving miles/month... multiply that by 12 and divide by the 21 mpg that I usually get, and that should save us around 137 gallons a year. Multiply that by the 2.47 that gas was this morning and that's an extra 330 or so that we can sock towards debt (and Ironman registrations!)

But that's just gas for the Santa Fe. Ang's ride is shorter, but with the riding she does three days a week, she should be able to fill the Elantra up every three weeks instead of two.

I can honestly say that I'm interested in finding out what cycling will be like as a lifestyle. I don't think we can park our cars entirely, mostly because of how spread out things are around here, but I think we can shrink the amount we drive by a good chunk and shrink some pant sizes in the process.

stats from the past couple days
Sunday club ride: 20.5 miles
Monday night dinner ride: 14.5 miles
Ang's Tuesday Commute: TBD
Brian's morning commute: 8.1 miles

Monday, August 15, 2005

a reason to bum around Denver...

It seems like there's never something extraordinarily cool going on around here. Denver gets all of the big shows just because, well, it's Denver and we're not... and last weekend, the radio let us know incessantly that "STEVEN PAGE OF THE BARENAKED LADIES IS GOING TO BE PRESENTING A CONCERT AT THE DENVER GRAND PRIX, SATURDAY NIGHT AUGUST 13TH" in some kind of cigarette smoking "Film Voice" crossed with a monster truck announcer voice. The only thing missing was "saturday, Saturday, SATURDAY!!!". In any case, tickets were spendy enough that we couldn't afford to go if we wanted to, so we didn't pay much attention to it.

While I was waiting for people to turn up to my ride on Thursday, I was digging through Denver's weekly, WESTWORD, and saw that Steven Page was going to be doing a free instore at Virgin Megastore the Friday before the show. Score! Anyway, we drove up on Friday. I guess Steven has a new album and side project out called The Vanity Project which is what he's out promoting, so he did a few songs from the new album. I guess it wasn't very well publicized because there maybe only 30-40 people there. It was kind of strange.



After the show he signed a few autographs and hung out. It was kind of cool. Ang still hasn't had a chance to see BNL live, but at least she's seen one of them.

After the show we wandered around the sixteenth street mall a bit and then grabbed some dinner and movie trading company. Ang was psyched to find all of the Planet of the Apes films in the bins so we picked them up. I love having a wife who thinks finding the Planet of the Apes movies cheap is really cool.


Ang and I and Steven Page...



... and some random photos of buildings I took while we were wandering around the mall.

Off to bed, more tomorrow. I promise.