Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas Cards...

So, I have two boxes of Christmas cards sitting on my floor..... and absolutely no idea what to do. I like to make my cards offbeat and different. I enjoy making up little stories but I seem to be tapped at the moment. As a result my Christmas cards continue to lie there, mocking me.

The new job kept me hopping until the week of Christmas and I have been having trouble being responsible ever since the break began. I have been galavanting about Arizona (the Phoenix area in particular) doing nothing but hanging out and socializing. I am not sure there is a clever or creative spark left. I certainly don't feel it leaking out at parties. I seem to be filled with negative juju and no clear idea of how to get back to normal. I think the CHristmas cards will not be sent this year.... I will try to make it up to those of you that are waiting, somehow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Nissan Leaf Reviewed! (AKA Help Me Win!

I recently drove the Nissan Leaf...... It was a beautiful December day in Tempe, AZ. There was an art fair happening, the fantastic Tempe Art Festival. I like to go there and look at things. I often find things to buy but I am perpetually too broke to buy anything. This time my experience was different. Nissan was there and they had brought along the Nisaan Leaf. They did a little education and then let you go for a little tiny test drive. When I was done taking the car around the block I was able to get a picture taken and to record a video. By recording the video I had successfully entered myself in a competition to win a Nissan Leaf. In order to win you need to see my video and vote for me! Go to this website:
Help me WIN a 100% electric Nissan LEAF™! View and vote for my video now!

You may ask how I liked the Nissan Leaf? Go ahead.... ask!

Still waiting.... c'mon ask me!

Wait this is a blog.... which means I can't hear you. I bet you are begging for a review! I am so sorry friend! I will review the car... but you should get off your knees. You look silly begging like that.

The Nissan Leaf is cute but not super compelling looking. It is another car that is designed for people who do not really like cars. It seems to be the trend with the more "eco-friendly" cars. Think about the ugliness that is the Honda Insight or the unsexiness that is the Toyota Prius. I am not real sure why they can't make a car that looks good. Apparently "saving the earth" means driving a car that makes you sad inside. The Leaf is by far the most acceptable of the cars I have mentioned and I could see people liking it's little hatchback styling.

It was fun to drive. It is super techy inside; push button ignition, gps in the dash and some other junk. It drove smoothly and had a little pick up but I was not able to really test that because they did not allow a freeway run. I was on a prescribed set of streets and really did not get a complete feel for the ride.

They have an eco-drive mode that gets you 10% more range per charge but the minute I had it in that mode I was seriously irritated. I would only cruise in that on longer trips or if I had a low charge. The eco-drive does engage if you get too low as do other energy saving features (radio volume lowered, heat/ac turned down or off). It is automatic and happens so that you will become aware that your juice is low and you are about to be stuck on the side of the road. This is a great thing to add to a car with limited range. It is like the beep your phone gives when it is at 10%.

The ride was distubingly quiet... all you get is a little road noise. It was unnerving and if I was an owner I would plug my iPod in and play it very loud. That way I could steer my focus away from the lack of engine noise. I am sure I would adapt but it was glaringly apparent after driving a loud pickup and a rattling sedan.

The other thing I liked was my chaperone on the drive. She was a gorgeous black lady named Tammy. I was in love with the car partly because I had a crush on her. She gave me interseting tidbits along with a pleasant conversation.

I am excited by the thought of an electric car and I would like for it to be successful and for them to become steadily more normal.

So.... electric cars.... The things I don't like:

I did not like that I walked away not knowing the price of the car. That bothered me a little bit but the website has it posted. One version is 26,000 and the other is 27,000. They estimate the battery pack will last 10 years and also did not provide the price for replacing that. They also couldn't talk about how you will pay for charging up as that system is still being installed. They also have not figured out how payment will be made and how to keep it cheap and (I would imagine) profitable for the charge station. There are a lot of things left unknown.

They did talk about the range of the car. It is estimated to be 100 miles on a full charge. Which translates to a car that is for local use only. The range is not an issue for my weekday commute but it would be for my weekend activities and any trips I would want to take (including a drive on Route 66 I would like to make this summer). The range makes the Leaf a second car and can not be used as the sole car. I do not need 2 cars nor can I afford 2 cars. I seem to not be a primary target for this car.

Another issue is the charge time. You can plug this car into a regular outlet but it will take 20 hours to charge. This means you need to install a charging station using a 220v charge. This was estimated to cost 2,000 to get installed. So forget about it if you live in an apartment or a rental. They say this charger will get it done in 7 to 8 hours. There is an option of a quick charger you can put on the car which if used at a quick charge station will fill it to 80% in 30 minutes. This begs the question, why would the quick charge be an option on this car? Is there a drawback to quick charging?

The other thing I wonder is how green is this "green" car? You do realize where most electicity comes from, right? It comes from fuel burning turbines for the most part. This means coal and oil are burned to generate electricity (electricity is a secondary energy source eaning it needs a primary energy source to be created), with the exception of California who uses natural gas exclusively (which is still non-renewable). 92% of the energy used in the nation is non-renewable which means a good chunk of the electricity would be coming from the evil oil and coal companies. So does this mean the car is really earth friendly? How much more earth friendly is it?

The worst thing I have to say about the car is about the lame polar bear ad. This bear walks for days to find a Leaf driver and give him a hug. Yet no one is scared by a rampant polar bear. Even worse, the polar bear doesn't rip the owners head off and steal the car as would have happened in my version of the commercial.

My interest in alternatively fueled cars is still very high. I am looking at the Nissan Leaf as a first step of many. In order to really turn things around we need a first step. So if you are someone who can afford 2 cars and a charging station please buy one of these. Your purchase could help drive the research on making these things better. We need more research and development to happen to really change the world. I want to stop giving the gas man half my check.

Don't forget to vote for me to win the car. Despite all I have said I would love to win! I like the idea of being an electric car pioneer.
Help me WIN a 100% electric Nissan LEAF™! View and vote for my video now!

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Walking Dead comes to life

I just watched the pilot episode of The Walking Dead tonight. You may already know that I am a huge fan of zombies and have read books, comic books, watched movies (good and some extremely bad) and played zombie based video games. Of course if you did not know then you do now.

This show premiered last night on AMC and for a select few of you this may be old news. For the 99% of the rest of you, this show is awesome. It is based on a comic book of the same name. that I have been reading for a few years now....

The story is set up a while after the zombie outbreak occurs. We find ourselves waking up along side a man in a coma of a sheriff injured in the line of duty. This injury happened before the zombie crisis occurs so he is set adrift in a world unlike the one he remembers. He has been abandoned by his friends and his wife and son. Left for dead in an unstaffed body strewn hospital. This story is not concerned with the outbreak.... the outbreak is old news. The great thing about this is that by starting with a man who wakes up to this horror you can be let in on how this world works. This is a story about how humans are coping with this new threat and from the looks of things they are not coping very well. If the show stays true to the comic books this will be riveting. The story put down in the graphic novels is edge of your seat engaging.

So far the show is keeping true to the story already laid out. It was a great beginning, story wise and the cinematography (I am a sucker for a wide view world is a wasteland shot)and educates those not familiar with zombie survival on the rules of surviving a zombie filled world. If you have AMC and are not too squeamish.... give the show a shot. It is developing some great characters and will be a largely human based drama with the added benefit of attacking zombies. The comic book is character driven and the story lines are very interesting, engaging and thought provoking. The first episode set it up very well and left us waiting for next Sunday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Blog on Words

I have recently decided to suggest some made up words for regular use. They may seem odd at first but I think they will grow on you. It's not like all the words we use everyday are normal. Someone came up with them too!

Astonirate – When something rates very high in the astonishing category. “3-D movies have the power to astonirate, sometimes, like in Legend of the Guardians, you are astonirated at how pointless the movie was. Other times you are astonirated at how cool it was. Then there are the times where a astonirative movie is seen without 3-D and it is merely a colorful mess (Avatar).”

Astonirative - an adjective that means something that is astonishing.

Moo-rific – Vegan friendly, no cows were harmed or used in the making of something. In rare cases this term can be used to signify a triumphant cow, ie., Chicfila’s cow friendly campaign (the cows are winning). “This tofurkey is moo-rific!”

Sucktacular – When something is at the level of sucking that makes your brain hurt. “Legend of the Guardians was sucktacular!”

Sucktastic – See definition of sucktacular. “Legend of the Guardians was sucktastic.”

Vaughnified –When a movie stars Vince Vaughn he tends to talk a lot and very fast. He is kind of like the male version of the Gilmore girls but with the added benefit of actually being funny. “The movie Wedding Crashers was successfully Vaughnified.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Rambling Review of Legend of the Guardians

I don't know what this movie was going for. There are some owls and they like fight and stuff. I am not sure why they were fighting. I just know who ever was responsible for this monstrosity was more interested in 3-D and computer generated crap then having a story. Either way I will tell you what I know about the "story."

Some lame owl kid is obsessed with some legendary hero. His older brother is so not in to the legend crap (neither was I). With a barely explained legend the movie gets started. The 2 brothers fall out of the tree and get wisked away by bad owls. The bad owls convince the bad brother to hang but the good owl runs away with another owl. Then they get 2 other owls and a snake (which was random) to go with them to find some legendary guardian owls. The good owls of course find it and then the guardian owls go back to fight the bad owls. Of course the guardian owls have a traitor in their midst and it is up to the lame good brother to go with his merry band of rejects to save the day. The lame owl still thinks his brother is there against his will and almost dies because of it. Yet he saves the day after dropping his brother in a random forest fire. Everyone thinks he is the bee's knees including his parents which proves parents secretly have a child they could care less about their other child slaughtering.

The 3-D and computer rendering were awesome but there was no story at all. I have no idea why they were fighting nor why the "good guys" were so blood thirsty. either way skip this movie it is a total suck bucket of lameness.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I love this show. I used to watch this show when I had cable. I missed it for a while but soon forgot about it. I mean what was I going to do? Pay to watch TV? You must be crazy!
Then one day, while searching for something to watch on Hulu, I saw it. I have been watching season 4 ever since.

If you haven't seen it take some time and check it out.


I love this show. I used to watch this show when I had cable. I missed it for a while but soon forgot about it. I mean what was I going to do? Pay to watch TV? You must be crazy!
Then one day, while searching for something to watch on Hulu, I saw it. I have been watching season 4 ever since.

If you haven't seen it take some time and check it out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A busy week

I finally lined up my job for next year. Yes that is good news. It is a 6th grade class and it is taking me back to AZ. Which means I am packing for the trip down. That means I have been in the storage unit a lot. Moving is not much fun especially when it is cross country.

Oh well, at least I have a job to move for. It sure beats moving without one. Of course it means my casual trek across the country with a stop in Zion is not to be. I guess Zion will have to wait.

A busy week

I finally lined up my job for next year. Yes that is good news. It is a 6th grade class and it is taking me back to AZ. Which means I am packing for the trip down. That means I have been in the storage unit a lot. Moving is not much fun especially when it is cross country.

Oh well, at least I have a job to move for. It sure beats moving without one. Of course it means my casual trek across the country with a stop in Zion is not to be. I guess Zion will have to wait.

A busy week

I finally lined up my job for next year. Yes that is good news. It is a 6th grade class and it is taking me back to AZ. Which means I am packing for the trip down. That means I have been in the storage unit a lot. Moving is not much fun especially when it is cross country.

Oh well, at least I have a job to move for. It sure beats moving without one. Of course it means my casual trek across the country with a stop in Zion is not to be. I guess Zion will have to wait.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A new new phone

I am writing from my second new phone of the month. I turned my last phone, the Samsung Moment, in to Sprint for a full refund. Then I bought this Motorola Cliq from Tmobile. My dad always said that Motorola phones get better service out here and he is right. I do get pretty good service with this phone.

In other news, I attempted to watch Transylmania last night. It was terrible and we had it off in the first two minutes of the show. It made Scary Movie look good. After that I put in Nobel Son. It was dark, bloody and not very good. I recommend skipping both.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Glee, you have disappointed me

So I am watching Glee... yes, I watch Glee. And normally I am not ashamed of that but lately.... Maybe it is the Lady Gaga aspect of this show or the Kiss counterpoint. It could also be the homophobia angle. Either way this episode has not been enjoyable. Usually I am laughing and enjoying it despite the many songs of torture. Most songs are not my cup of tea but I usually persevere.

It could be that this episode is overly dramatic. It might be that it is attempting to be serious for once. The show is tackling a lot of issues. Rachel finds her mom, Finn freaks out about moving in with Kurt, two jocks, who are hardly (if ever) in the show, are being homophobic, and the goth girl is searching for a new identity.

Of course it is none of that. It is actually the absence of Jane Lynch's character, cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. She is the reason this show is good. Glee! Listen up! Sue Sylvester must be in every show and if she is not you must personally call me so I can skip it.

That being said there was a funny in the last 3 minutes. Apparently the principal believes vampires are real. So I laughed once. Bring Sue back!

Monday, May 24, 2010

At the hair salon.

I am sitting at the Perfect Look Salon in Roseburg. I have needed a hair cut for a few weeks and I finally made it in today. Of course I am waiting. I think life is just a series of waiting for things. Like I am waiting to become employed. Before that I was waiting to be licensed. Waiting is lame.

I have a mound of applications to fill out. I love filling out applications almost as much as going to the dentist. Just hire me... :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

job fairs.....

Do you ever think that job fairs exist to make you depressed? This job fair was tiny and had a huge throng of people in line to "register" Lame!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Phoenix.... so far.

I am enjoying my visit to Phoenix. The main reason I came down was for an educator job fair on Saturday. Originally I had been debating when to fly out and finally opted to stay through the following week. Staying the extra time seemed fortuitous when I was granted an interview. Since I am here looking for work it seemed like a good idea to also go to another job fair with my sister. Who knows what might come about.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The new phone......

I recently got a new phone from Sprint. It is the Samsung Moment with Google. I love this phone! It does a lot of stuff including letting me post to my blog. I can play music through Pandora and did so on the way back from Portland last weekend. The phones slide out qwerty keyboard is awesome and makes texting and web surfing easy.

I am sure you all knew there is a 'but' coming. The issue is the service. It is decent in the town of Roseburg, pretty good along the I5 corridor, and wonderful in Portland. But it sucks a big one at my dadks house. The reason I got the phone was the crappy service from T-Mobile at my dad's place. Which means I currently have crappy service from two national providers. The good news is I can return the phone within 30 days and receive a full refund. The bad news is I have to get rid of this phone.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I don't know how many of you have seen the commercial for the new Robin Hood movie but it has caught my eye. I guess telling a totally different story from all known stories is originality and not just theft of a well known and beloved hero. I mean... why not? I have a new cartoon coming out called Spongebob and it will tell the story of how he became a sponge. Then I have a new movie coming out called Huck. That is a story about Huckleberry Finn about 30 years after the original story. Mainly he sits around in his underwear and watches football but it gets interesting when the electric company turns off his lights.

Of course this is not the main reason I am writing. I have become irritated by the way the evil king dude says outlaw in the commercial. Why must this guy yell the word outlaw? Does yelling make it mean more? I think Hollywood has decided that yelling makes it have more meaning. I do not think that Hollywood allows someone to calmly say "I declare him an OUTLAW!" Apparently Hollywood won't even let me write it without yelling it.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mobile blogging.

I am blogging with my new phone! This phone totally rocks! I had a busy Friday that involved interviewing for a job in Portland. I spent the night there and enjoyed eating at my favorite Vietnamese place, Pho Huy. It was as good as I remember and well worth the drive from my hotel. If you are near the Clackamas mall you should go. I had a beer at Ram Brewing after that. It was a good trip but a little too spendy to do solo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Tacoma Trip

I am back from the teacher job fair in Tacoma. That was a long drive but I felt like I talked to everybody I could while there. Most were explaining how they were still not sure who or what they were hiring for but that I should fill out an online app anyway. This sounded so super encouraging that I had to take a break from it to regroup. When I was all regrouped I went back in and finished up talking to the last half of the people.

When I was done it was 3 and I had plenty of time to hit the museum of glass. That boosted my spirits quite a bit. The main exhibit hall was filled with Preston Singletary's work. Which was amazing. The next gallery was Kids Design Glass, this was hysterical. The glass makers at the museum tauhgt some students about glass making and then had them design their own glass figure on paper Then the hot glass shop made these designs based on the drawings and description provided by the kids. What was awesome was the plaque usually had some quote from the kid that made me giggle. The kids designed things like Bacon Boy (a piece of smiling bacon with a cape), Coyote in Socks, and Chupacabra Way (which looks like a little dragon with a fire ball on it's tail). The best part of the museum is the Hot Shop. They were creating some rondells (flat platter looking things) for an artist couple's upcoming gallery. It was a fascinating process and I spent most of my time in there. In fact the website says it has live streaming of the Hot Shop. To see a little more, head over to

As I was leaving the museum I headed up their glass walk which has a wall and a ceiling of glass made by Chihuly and a few other things by some other artists. The Chihuly Wall was filled with things that looked like vases (or bongs) and some of them were pretty awesome. A bunch of small kids kept screaming "Oh that is so cool!" at everything and that made me laugh. Of course you could see the outside stuff for free and it made me wonder about the admission price. It seemed a little too small for 12 dollars. I think that the Hot Shop made up for it some. It is kind of neat to see a working glass shop. It is used by a bunch of artists at different times and it might be why it costs 12 dollars to get in. I am sure glass shops are expensive to maintain. I do think it was worth going in to see the artwork and some new art being created.

I decided to wander around Tacoma and did so via car because I had to move it anyway. I had not really done any homework about Tacoma as I was not sure how much time I would have there so I kind of wandered around until I stumbled on an Irish pub to have dinner at. The place was pretty nice but the beers seemed a little steep. The happy hour had nice sized potions of food at a great price though so it balanced the beer price out. After that I headed back to the hotel.

I liked the little piece of Tacoma I saw and wouldn't mind moving there. It is really close to Seattle and it seems there are hundreds of suburbs surrounding and linking the two places. I plan to hit up several of the districts in that area. The trip was not a total bust, it helped me know a little more about the state and where I might want to apply for work.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Coffee, Motivation and Job fairs

I pass a lot of my Roseburg life in coffee shops. I think it is kind of strange how comfortable coffee shops are for me to frequent. I can come in, grab a coffee, and connect to their internet. Some internet services are easier to use then others but they all offer it. I tend to be more productive in a coffee shop then I am at home. Which is why I end up here so often. Sure, I can be distracted anywhere, but for whatever reason getting out of the house causes me to get stuff done. So I am sitting in this coffee shop getting some job hunting work done.

Motivation is a big issue with me these days. I want to be working but the entire fiasco over the teaching certificate has sapped my drive. I have to do everything I can to keep motivated in this job hunt. So a cup of coffee and a change of locale to get some crap done seems worth the price of admission.

I have ideas and plans floating around in my noggin. Of course all of them are contingent on this current job hunt. I have one back up plan if the job hunt ends up less then successful. Of course I am hoping that I am successful. I am headed to Tacoma this week for a job fair. I will keep you appraised of the hunt as it develops.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Roseburg Gets Indian Food

Indian food is awesome. It is flavorful and exciting. It is one of those things where you can feed me a bunch of vegetables and no meat and I won't even care. So imagine my excitement when a new Indian restaurant came to Roseburg....

The restaurant is called Flavors of India. They set up shop in an old strip mall where a former employer of mine, Dell, used to reside. It is a small place with a small amount of seating which indicates they are probably expecting mostly take out orders.

I like their food for the most part. I have visited a total of 4 times and I will discuss my impressions. The first visit I had chicken tikka with rice. I was with my dad but unfortunately I have forgotten what he ate. The chicken tikka was served over sauteed onions. The rice was a beautiful yellow color because of the saffron in it. The dish was mild in flavor but overall pleasant. It was good enough that I could easily see myself going back.

The second trip I decided to try chicken tikka masala (which also came with the saffron rice). I ordered it mild because my dad had ordered his dish medium spicy that first trip and he had whined a lot. What I learned was not to do mild. I am a little confused by this though. I have never had anyone ask me my preferred spice level in an Indian restaurant. I have always had the impression that most dishes were centered around all the flavors and not the spice level. This is not the case at this restaurant as I found my mild dish incredibly bland. I also ordered masala tea which was not as good as I had expected from prior experience with the tea. Overall this was a sub par experience and I think it was because I did not go with a medium spice level.

The third time I decided to get takeout. I reverted to my chicken tikka order. This time they asked spice level on this dish which had not been asked the first time. Remembering my mild chicken tikka masala experience was enough to convince me to say medium. The take out order did not come with rice. The medium spice was definitely spicy. In fact it was more hot spicy then I remember ever having chicken tikka. I may be off base but it seemed weird to not have the tikka flavor be more pronounced. Either way this was by far the best experience I had had.

The fourth trip was during lunch time and I had medium chicken tikka on my mind. However, the lunch menu had changed and they had gotten rid of the lunch specials in favor of a buffet. I decided to do the buffet because I have always liked an Indian lunch buffet. The buffet had chicken tandoori, chicken curry, a dal dish, and a few others I have forgotten. The food was all the right temperature and well cooked but the seasoning was non-existent. I was disappointed in the blandness of the food.

My advice for a potential customer of this restaurant. Do eat there because it is tasty but make sure you get it a little spicy and skip the bland lunch buffet.

My advice for the owners.... punch it up! I am not sure why anything would be bland on your menu. I am hoping you are worried that being the first might make you feel the need to be cautious spice wise. I encourage you to bring out more flavor in the mild. There is more then hot spicy that makes Indian food a favorite. It is rich and fantastic but yours seems watered down. It seems bland enough to not offend the locals. I will be back because I do really like the chicken tikka but I am surprised that I could apply the word bland to this particular cuisine.

A shiny new promise....

It seems I have done a proper job of killing my blog. If you have stumbled upon this entry I am amazed. You are either completley lost or a die hard looking for a scrap. Occasionally I get on this blog and vow that I will wite more regularly or add new features. I think last time I promised this I had an idea of podcasts and a new marketplace. Obviously instead I gave months of stagnation and sad, whiny thin commentary on the goings on in and around my life. I would love to make another proclamation here and now. Something in which I state new goals and directions. Unfortunatley I've got nothing.

I have been coming to this blog weekly and staring at a blank spot to type my latest ramblings. Nothing has come. I feel totally empty of things worthy of sharing. Even worse I have no opinions to share... no agendas to set straight.

This might sound like I am punching my ticket. Turning in my chips, getting out while the gettings good, or turning lemons into softballs....

However... I have decided to give it another go. I have decided to make another promise I probably won't live up to. I promise that I will get back to writing on at least a weekly basis. So if you made it throught this stupid entry come back for some new haps a little later this week.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Free Coffee!

Here is the link to get a free sample of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Just thought I would let you know about it and make it easy for you to get a hold of.

Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

Monday, March 08, 2010

A few Quick Reviews

I am up and awake....

I am heading to Phoenix tonight and I have an entire day to kill. So I thought I should write a little note on here.

I recently watched The Crazies at the theater and I was entertained. It was not terrifically original but it was predictably fun. The government is the boogie man in this flick, which tracks well considering the original film (yes this is a remake) was created by George Romero. I have not seen the original but I plan to. The government has unwittingly created a biological weapon that can't be stopped. Some how, which they do reveal, a small town gets infected. People sometimes ask me why I don't like small towns and this is one of the reasons, because a lot of movies like this take place in small towns. Small towns are evil or at the very least unlucky. Anyway we follow David Dutton, the town sheriff, as he works out what is going on. Of course by then it is too late. The government swoops in and starts weeding sick people out and cattle carting the rest away. Sheriff Dutton's wife does not make the cut. Of course she is pregnant and has an elevated temperature from a cold that she had had for about a month. So she is wrongly sorted and Sheriff Dutton goes to save her. This is midway through the story and the rest of the story is their efforts to survive (duck the trigger happy military and the equally trigger happy infected people) and get back to the government evacuation area. I would recommend this flick to people who like this type of cinema. Try not to see it at the 12 dollar ticket price, shoot for the matinee (I saw it for 5).

I also saw Shutter Island in theaters. I would have to say I liked this movie but I can't fully endorse it. Even though I liked it, I felt like it needed a little more there. It feels like it was lacking something but I felt like the actors were all doing their best in it. It wasn't the actors and the plot seemed twisty enough but there is some piece missing. I have no idea what the missing piece is but the more I think on it the more I realize that I wanted more from the movie. In this movie, Leonardo is a US Marshall coming to Shutter Island to find an escaped patient. Apparently Shutter Island is a home for the dangerously insane people and that is why the missing person is such a big deal. Of course, upon arriving a storm settles in and they are trapped there until it subsides. Everybody seems to be hiding something and the further in we get the less benign every encounter seems. It was a highly entertaining movie and it works on a lot of levels. If I could just shake the vague feeling of disappointment I would definitely tell you to see it.


Observe and Report: I only made it 15 minutes in before I just gave up. Skip it.
Land of the Lost: Wow....... this movie doesn't even come up to the level of suck. Skip it.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I can't sleep...

It has been an ongoing problem this last month but tonight has been ridiculous. I don't even feel tired. If you are keeping track it is 4 AM here in Oregon and I have not went to sleep yet.

I know it sounds like I am whining here. That of course is because I am whining. I want to be back on a regular sleep schedule. More importantly, I want to get back to getting things done. You know... during the day when places are actually open. There is absolutely nothing going on out in the country at 4 AM.

I moved down to Roseburg because of moeny issues and the whole thing has been a bit harder to handle then I expected. Not because of anybody; just my own head. I feel like I have stepped backwards and my step backward seems to have taken some wind out of my sails. To tell you the truth the wind has not been there since my last class in December. Thanks again University of Phoenix.

The worst part of this is that I took this step willingly. I knew I did not have the money to live in Portland any more. I did my student teaching in Roseburg which made it seem perfect to extract myself from Portland and start here with my teaching certificate. Subbing while taking on the larger world for future employment. It just hasn't played out that way.

Portland was my city of hard luck. I mean, that it was not an economically friendly city to me. Despite that glaring fact I miss Portland. I miss all the great restaurants, having a bacon topped donut at 2 AM, being near bookstores, the fantastic beer, pizza by the slice, the public transit system, and the friends I still have up there. I also really miss my apartment and my blue chair that was steadily falling apart.

So I am stuck. Stuck feeling like I failed, even though I know that I haven't.

Aren't new years supposed to be full of hope? Come on 2010..... bring on the positives. Wow me!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Really Hearing the Music

I am not sure how you feel about music.....

To be truthful, I am not entirely sure how I feel about music. I used to live, breathe and eat music. It easily matched and flowed with my moods. Music told me a lot about things around me and I couldn't go anywhere without a carefully planned soundtrack. I heard Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Dr. Dre and Digital Underground and could get my head wrapped around a school day. I listened to the Eagles religiously, especially in my friend Kevin's Car. Tom Petty's Wildflowers album still floods me with memories of a tumultuous and very exciting year. The Doors and Jimi Hendrix remind me of my bedroom in my first house and the huge sound system I had set up; I remember kissing a girl as the music drowned out the party upstairs. Music was essential to get through my day and the fact that I couldn't listen to them at school or work kind of offended me. My cohort in crime and I have a lot of memories related to concerts, blaring car music and my home sound system. When we get started talking about music you get a lot of random life stories tangled amidst the songs, albums and musicians we love.

And yet....

I find that music is not the same for me anymore. I like an ever widening variety of music but it does not connect as well as it used to. I don't come home and have to put on an album. I don't feel the need to dance and sing along. I hardly ever catch myself playing the air guitar....

People always talk about phases in life. I remember being told that a lot of my extreme interest in music would fade as I got older. I remember laughing at all the old people who listened to talk radio. Now I find myself having one play list of podcasts on my iPod (some from talk radio stations I used to fake snore to). Actually I have 2 small shuffle iPods, one is usually talk and the other music. Long gone are the hours and hours of simply listening to music and writing.

Giving up music was not a conscious decision. Some of my apathy came from having so many albums to choose from. I do not hear an entire album from start to finish like I used to. I stopped listening to 20 minute long songs from the 60's because they were so darn long.

The other side of having such a large collection is that I seem to always be looking for something new that will fit my mood. Of course part of it might be because my emotions are not as intense and wild as they were when I was a teenager or in my early 20's. I still think rock from the late 60's and early 70's fits well into those crazy youthful years but rocking out to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida seems a little silly these days.

I am not saying I have given up on music all together. I still listen to music everyday; just not usually as my sole activity and not nearly as carefully selected. I no longer spend hours crafting a play list or creating a new mix tape (or mix cd as I have made both). I just pick a few artists, load them up and listen to whatever plays.

My interest in music is still high; I am more than willing to give a listen to anything anyone might recommend to me. Whether they are aged 98 or just turned 2 (deinitely not any younger or older then that). I am an open book and seem to have been on a search for new music and new artists to try out. In the last couple years a few new (to me) favorites have included Ben Harper, A Fine Frenzy, Raconteurs, Holly Brook, Flight of the Conchords (always makes me chuckle), Common, and many others. I still listen to and purchase music but I do not connect as much as I used to.

Of course that was until I watched It Might Get Loud.

It Might Get Loud changed everything for me....

It Might Get Loud is a documentary about 3 musicians getting together telling their stories and playing some music. The musicians included Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame, The Edge of U2 fame and Jack White from the White Stripes (and the Raconteurs). I am a fan of all 3 men and their various music endeavors. They make great music that I consider very essential to my collection. In fact, as I type away I am listening to War by U2 and plan to switch over to one of the other bands afterward.

This documentary is fabulous and is a must see for music fans of any stripe. It helped remind me of the passion behind the songs and to pay attention to the feeling of the music and the words; to vibe with the music and to stop treating it like a background highlight. My connection to music had become tenuous because I forgot to really listen to the music and allow it to transport me.

I plan to pay more attention when I listen to music from here on out. I will make sure to listen to more whole albums again; especially when it is a new artist or a new album by an old favorite artist. Another step I will take is to look more into these bands histories. I used to know a lot about the musicians I called my favorites and it enriched the auditory experience for me. Finally I plan to get more live music DVD's, see more concerts and spend more time listening.

Ps.... I also plan to get my own copy of It Might Get Loud.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Some thoughts for the New Year......

I don't know if you, the 3 people who still occasionally glance at this site, have noticed but I have not written a lot lately. It isn't like I wasn't trying. I have sat down several times with the intent to write and have felt my mind literally go blank. My mind has been a dry husk and I have to tell you my lack of writing has had me pretty worried. I have felt like a bottle with a stopper that was stuck. A lot has been on my mind and a lot has been needed to be said but when I sat down to write no words were there to say them with. Read this statement clearly because some writers equate bad writing to nothing but I literally mean nothing came out; not bad, good or mediocre simply nothing. I was literally a blank slate, I couldn't even force anything. Sure I have managed to post like 6 times in the last few months but most of them are dismissible and only one was creative. I thought when school ended I would have the time to get the juices flowing again. I was expecting a plethora of new ideas and blog entries to clog the system but it didn't happen. I think I would describe my mind as being fogged. I knew there is a lot going on but I wasn't really sure where and when; and if I sat down to write my mind froze up. Today was different though. Today I felt the first break in the creative dam. The story I am about to rely is not a fictional story but luckily is is also not a boring update. It is just a replay of my thoughts or at least the best rendition I can offer.

I slept in and was very casual about greeting the day. I actually took a bath and relaxed a bit in the tub. I had no real plans for the day and didn't even have a clue of how to spend it. I knew that I did not have a lot of money and everything that sounded fun would require some money. So I hopped online for a while. Then I bustled around my house packing clothes and taking apart the computer desk for my impending move. It was about then that I had to get out of the house. I decided to go to the book store at the mall and read some books in their cafe. I picked up a book and read half of it when I felt a flash of intense hunger. In all my lolly gagging at home I had failed to eat. I headed upstairs to the food court and decided to try the new fish and chips place. I eyed it several times on previous mall excursions but I decided that today was the day. I ordered my food and was pleased to be handed a lobster shaped beeper that would alert me when the food was ready. I knew that this beeper meant that I would at least be assured of hot food. I headed to the nearby arcade to play a little Gauntlet Legends. I was trying to get the token machine to take my dollar but it kept refusing and I was a little distracted by the crazy Russian guys punching the tar out of some weird punching bag game. Anyway, on the 4th try with my seemingly perfect looking dollar, I noticed the machine these muscle headed dudes were busy abusing was for sale. Which made me immediately wonder if Gauntlet Legends was still around, as I am convinced I am one of the very few who play the thing. It occurred to me that checking would be prudent before getting my tokens at about the same time the machine decided it would take my money. The clink of the tokens ended the internal struggle and I went further in the arcade to discover Gauntlet's fate. I found it sitting there unplugged with a for sale sticker on it and I felt a little defeated. I looked at the price and remembered my Silver Spoons inspired dreams of owning a few arcade games. For a brief moment I envisioned bargaining with the guy who was selling it and could see myself arranging a spot for it. In my imaginings I had a much bigger house and money to burn. I spent the tokens on games of chance that gave prize tickets I did not really want and left to await my food. My mind was on autopilot and I was thinking about a lot of things about this new year and the last couple of years. I was feeling exhausted and a little defeated. As much as I hate to admit it the debacle that happened two weeks ago at the university really had shaken me to my core. It undermined my confidence and kind of made me wonder what I really had to offer. I have not bounced back like I hoped I would even after things went my way. I would honestly say that I laid down and had stopped fighting. I have been putting off some steps I need to take to get licensed and that makes no sense because I had a blast being a teacher this last year. I enjoyed every minute I was up in front of the students and working with them as their teacher. I liked answering questions and trying to help them understand a concept. I admit that I liked one of my experiences better than the other but it had nothing to do with the students. The more I think about it the more I realize how true that is. I hated the stupid work sample and the constant nagging the university kept giving me about that horrible, rancid, time wasting and irrelevant piece of crap. It's a hoop, people kept telling me... just jump through it people kept saying. I did jump through the hoop but I shouldn't have to. I never learned to play the pointless game very well. I have always believed there should be a reason to do something. For a while there I believed there should be a likable reason to do things and you can see how that affected my job record. I kept hopping around so much that my employment history is a joke. Of course when I finally decided to dig my feet into the ground and hang in there the company laid us all off. Beautiful.

Getting back to today's tale. It was about the time that my lobster started buzzing and flashing that my mind started to whirr. There was a little smoke and a few annoying sounds like when the bathroom vent fan gets stuck but the important thing was my mind was working again. I sat there mowing down the fish and chips, the surprisingly super tasting fish and chips, when my brain kicked me out of mopey mode. I am not sure what the exact though was but it was somewhere during the linking of the last few months to the last couple years of unpleasantness. I then started thinking about other people I knew and the year they have had. A lot of people have been knocked down and pummeled by the first decade of this new millennium. It sucked big time for a lot of people and yet we are all hanging on, some of us by our toenails. Something about that thought gets me jazzed. I know that sounds weird so maybe I should try again.

I look around and I see a lot of strong people hanging on. They aren't hanging on to their possessions but they are hanging on to the people that matter in their lives. People, that I know, are reevaluating what it means to be successful and happy. That is a good thing. Our priorities were out of wack. The dreams of a beautiful home, the latest gadgets, and the fastest and biggest car were getting in the way of people caring about other people. I felt like I made a few connections today that I had missed before. It really is about the people in your life even those in the periphery. Obviously friends and family are part of this rebirth of humanity but so should the person you buy your coffee from. Why are the people we interact with, on a daily basis sometimes, not more of our circle. Why don't I know the kid at my favorite coffee shops name. The very guy who always makes me smile and feel welcome. What the hell am I doing complaining about the lack of warmth of other people when I am so closed off to humanity. Why do I think people are fake when they ask a servers name? Why don't I talk to the person I am doing business with a little longer? After all they did just ask about my day... why not give them a brief snippet?

Then I thought about a friend I have been hanging out with a lot recently. A friend that seems to know hundreds of people all throughout the downtown Portland area. She knows all the people at her favorite shops and she is always chatting with people she doesn't know at all. People always talk with her and enjoy her company even if at first they have no idea what to do. We were killing time before seeing Sherlock Holmes and we were at Banana Republic where she was talking to a cute girl who works there that she knows from prior visits. This is like the 10th conversation like this I have seen and I ask, as we leave the store, how she knows so many people. She turns to me and tells me (I am going to get this wrong), "I know the people who matter." I was confused for a minute but this gal is a talker and she kept on going. She told me about how the people in these stores matter and that her pet peeve are those who come in and view these human beings as their servants. People that disregard the store employee's humanity and give off such a negative vibe that it brings everyone down. I agreed with her because I always try to be polite and courteous to people I encounter but that wasn't all of the message and the rest of the idea about really seeing the person behind the role was bouncing around my head unresolved for a while.

That conversation was revisited as I watched a young man strike up a conversation with a girl about their choice in authors. I realize that these weren't exactly the same thing but they are similar. Both experiences show people with a willingness to put themselves out there and connect with another person. Of curse the gentleman at the bookstore might have been more interested in the cute girl then he was in the book but he definitely was able to talk about that particular writer in detail. All these things clicked for me and I realized that I need to change some things that I am doing. I can't say I revolutionized the way I handled the rest of my interactions today. I was feeling the urge to write and my only other interaction was to purchase a 5 dollar journal because what I had in my head would not wait until I walked home to be released. I was so consumed by the urge to get my thoughts written down that I didn't really practice what I am currently in the process of preaching. I should explain something about my writing habits: occasionally, I get this insane urge to write and have no writing pad near me and that is why I have like 15 partially used books in my home. Once that urge hits I write and for a while I find a spot to stow a journal on my person to prevent such crazy expenditures of money caused by not being prepared to pursue this insane writer's life I have carved out for myself. I am thinking I will probably by another book later on this year in another such emergency because eventually I won't feel like carrying a hardly ever used journal with me anymore.

After I bought the book I sat there furiously writing everything I could down in it. I wrote about how people will survive the last decade and become stronger because of it and that the only thing we can do is renew our pursuit of our dreams. Whether you are a 32 year old unemployed but nearly graduated teaching hopeful, or a younger person still sorting out the dream and trying to make it match up with the reality of the world around you, or someone who might be on the wrong side of a dream and being forced to start all over. This rough patch will be transversed and something will fall into place even if it takes a little wiggling to make it fit. While that is happening and things are getting sorted out, remember to say hi to that neighbor you have never acknowledged before, engage the grocery clerk in a little dialogue, talk to your server about various thins that gets them to stop and enjoy the little chat. The world continues to get more electronic everyday and our interactions seem to be getting fewer and it is going to take a conscious effort to remember the human part of life. Start remembering that people all around you have their own story and that i isn't bad to pay attention occasionally. Talk to people, smile and laugh with people and keep your head up. Things will get better.