Five Fun Things Friday — Independance Day Edition

We keep our­selves pret­ty busy these days. Well, we cer­tain­ly man­age to fill the time with some­thing and hope­ful­ly most of it is worth the time we spend on it. So, this one is a week late, but with good rea­son. There’s always a few high­lights, though:

  1. Footrace — Inde­pen­dence Day morn­ing Angela and I par­tic­i­pat­ed in a Fourth of July 5k/10k in down­town Nashville. Run­ning is always a good way to see a city and this was a real­ly nice race (even with a bit of rain on us). I did the two loops to make a 10k which (sad­ly) marked the longest run I’ve been on in about 15 months. Angela and Ains­ley did the 5k which both mom­my and daugh­ter seemed to enjoy as well. Here’s to get­ting back into shape!
    Nashville Fourth of July 10k
  2. Run­ning with Ains­ley — We recent­ly got a bike trailer/ run­ning stroller com­bo. Since we don’t yet have a baby-sized hel­met, we’ve only used it for run­ning on a cou­ple of occa­sions. How­ev­er, it’s real­ly great for us all to get out and run togeth­er. One of the tough things about try­ing to keep in shape with a lit­tle one in our lives has been hav­ing to find the time for us to go out sep­a­rate­ly so the oth­er could watch her. This handy lit­tle gad­get solves that prob­lem, whether we want to run or bike. It’s too bad we don’t bring the dogs with us. I’ll tell you why though: imag­ine try­ing to run while hold­ing a pair of ropes which are attached at the oth­er ends to a pair of mis­siles, each with a miss­ing tail-fin. That’s what it’s like to run with two terriers.
  3. Nashville Zoo — We got a fam­i­ly mem­ber­ship to the Nashville Zoo on Sat­ur­day and spent sev­er­al hours walk­ing around. It’s real­ly nice (and this after hav­ing gone to the San Diego Zoo back in April).
    Giraffe at the Nashville Zoo

    We were in such a Zoo mood, we even went up to Opry Mills to eat at the Aquar­i­um Restau­rant after­wards. Dave & Steph came out to hang out with us for a while, as well.

    The Aquarium Restaurant

  4. Fire­works — It’s the fourth of July and that means fire­work dis­plays. The one in Nashville is real­ly nice. Frank & San­di go to see them with us on their way back to Alabama.
    Nashville Fireworks
  5. Lisa Loeb — She has a new album out called Camp Lisa and it’s — yep! — a col­lec­tion of camp songs. She is doing some in store shows at Barnes & Noble and we got to see her this past Mon­day evening. My broth­er Dave also came out to see her and to hang out with us (he’s a big fan).
    Us with Lisa Loeb

Five Fun Things For Friday — Father’s Day Edition

Ah, you did­n’t think I had been doing noth­ing all this time, right? Of course not. Here’s a few things that have been occu­py­ing my free time:

  1. Chas­ing the Baby — She final­ly fig­ured out crawl­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago. Peo­ple had told me that one day she’d just get it and then she’d be crawl­ing every­where and get­ting into every­thing. Some­how I had assumed that this would be a phase spread out of a week or two, at least. No, it lit­er­al­ly hap­pened that fast. One evening Angela sat her down, and she just sud­den­ly crawled over to my gui­tar and start­ed try­ing to pull it over onto her. She’s been into every­thing can reach since that moment.
  2. “The Wire — Sea­son Three” — This show is just as good as every­one says it is. It’s a won­der­ful bal­ance of per­son­al sto­ries and com­men­tary on mod­ern life. Heavy, of course, but not with­out a sense of humor. How­ev­er, you can­not watch this around your 10 month old daugh­ter. As a mat­ter of fact, the swear­ing and vio­lence is even a bit too high for Angela. Therefore…
  3. Wii Fit - Though we have a cou­ple of oth­er Wii games that we play a lot, as well (Mario Kart Wii and Dr. Mario), Wii Fit is real­ly a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence. Though it uses a lot of game-like con­ven­tions, it actu­al­ly is tak­ing a gam­ing con­sole and chang­ing how you can use it. When (and it’s not as often as I need, any­more) I go run­ning, I can put that on my train­ing cal­en­dar. Regard­less of what exer­cise I do or do not do, the game mon­i­tors and tracks my weight loss progress. The exer­cis­es it offers are real and the feed­back is tru­ly help­ful to improve bal­ance, flex­i­bil­i­ty, and strength. Now, if we only had a big­ger liv­ing room to do those push-up/­side planks in!
  4. “Star Trek — Enter­prise” — Despite the net­work’s many hor­ri­ble choic­es for pro­gram­ming (Wrestling? Seri­ous­ly? WTF, Sci­Fi!? At least your stu­pid B movies and real­i­ty shows have some­thing to do with your chan­nel’s orig­i­nal line-up.), they do man­age to get some great syn­di­cat­ed series. Enter­prise was my favorite ST since Next Gen­er­a­tion, by far. I watched the first cou­ple of sea­sons but unfor­tu­nate­ly fell out of it (it was pre-TiVo for us). Now I can catch up. Too bad these weren’t in HD, though.
  5. Dun­geons & Drag­ons — 4th Edi­tion — Yeah, I know. The fan­ta­sy kick con­tin­ues. It’s kind of hard to explain. A part of me feels like I nev­er real­ly got to play D&D with a seri­ous group as a kid. When I tried, the rules were cum­ber­some and we nev­er got through any­thing. Now, I’ve found some folks who live around here, are my age and have sim­i­lar inter­ests, and who kind­ly let me come join a game. It’s been an absolute blast. I’ll expand on some of this in the near future, but if you’ve ever thought about play­ing a table-top RPG (and prob­a­bly even if you haven’t), the new edi­tion of D&D is real­ly a fan­tas­tic game.

Five Fun Things Friday — Mid-April Edition

Oh, to have blogged in so long and only to come back with a measly list of fluff. Well, some­thing’s bet­ter than noth­ing, right?

I’ve been on a rather ram­pant fan­ta­sy kick as of late:

  1. “Dun­geons & Drag­ons” — That ven­er­a­ble fan­ta­sy RPG lost one of it’s founders last month. How­ev­er, not to be stopped, a new 4th edi­tion of the rules are being pub­lished in June. D&D has def­i­nite­ly come up out of Mom’s base­ment, show­ered, and decid­ed that hang­ing out with some of the cool kids isn’t so bad, after all. This, along with the fact that nerds are now cool, might just make for a renais­sance of table-top gaming.
  2. “Drag­onlance” — When I was a kid, “Drag­onlance” was the coolest D&D set­ting (at least to my pal, TJ, and I — he even had the cam­paign book). An ani­mat­ed film was released to DVD in Jan­u­ary of the first of the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy of nov­els. You know, the sort of the thing that every kid dreams about as they read fan­ta­sy nov­els at age 12? Ah, even at that age, I’d have under­stood just how bad this adap­ta­tion was. I was depressed but hap­pened upon a fan­tas­tic graph­ic nov­el by Dev­il’s Due Pub­lish­ing of the same series of nov­els made me almost com­plete­ly for­get what an awful film Drag­ons of Autumn Twi­light was. I even picked up a new nov­el by the same authors, which so far has been quite enjoyable.
  3. Krull — Speak­ing of D&D and my child­hood (the two of which are pret­ty close­ly linked), I learned from IMDb that the 80’s fan­ta­sy film Krull was orig­i­nal­ly to be the first offi­cial “Dun­geons & Drag­ons” movie. I went back and watched it and too things struck me: A) it does­n’t real­ly resem­ble D&D at all and B) it was­n’t near­ly as good a movie as I remem­bered it being (Great way to start a career, there, Liam Nee­son!). Then I real­ized that pret­ty much all movies based on D&D have been awful: Krull, Dun­geons & Drag­ons, Drag­ons of Autumn Twi­light. When a movie by the Sci­Fi chan­nel is the best of the back, that’s just plain sad. I think Wiz­ards of the Coast should encour­age a TV series, instead. Bet­ter yet: more graph­ic novels.
  4. Graph­ic Nov­els — Hav­ing read the graph­ic nov­el of Drag­ons of Win­ter Night, I went in search of more graph­ic nov­els to feed my end­less need for sci­fi and fan­ta­sy. Oh boy, did I find them: Aliens, Preda­tors, Aliens vs. Preda­tors, Conan the Bar­bar­ian, G.I. Joe… okay that last one isn’t real­ly sci­fi, but did I men­tion child­hood nos­tal­gia? Maybe that’s a bet­ter theme here. Any­way, I’ve been on a graph­ic nov­el kick and, despite it being a rather pricey habit, it has been very reward­ing. A lot of these real­ly rep­re­sent some great com­ic book art­form and I’ve deter­mined are often my best hope for amaz­ing fan­ta­sy visu­als, grip­ping plot­lines, and epic char­ac­ters. They sure as hell aren’t to be found in any of the movies.
my fantasy audiobook collection in iTunes
  1. Audio­books — Last­ly, I’ve also been on some­thing of an audio­book habit (more posts to fol­low on this sub­ject). I was able to find some real­ly great audio­books by R. A. Sal­va­tore and Michael Moor­cock; two men who write about trou­bled anti-heroes with long, white hair. I even found audio­books for that orig­i­nal Drag­onlance tril­o­gy I men­tioned. There’s just one draw­back to the audio­books: I used to lis­ten to these (along with pod­casts) on my com­mute. Now that I hard­ly dri­ve at all, it’s going to me for­ev­er to lis­ten to them all!

Well, before you give me a wedgie and shove inside my lock­er along side my Play­er’s Man­u­al, I should also say that I’ve been enjoy­ing Sea­son Two of The Wire, as well as all this fan­ta­sy stuff. Per­haps that explains it: I need­ed some­thing whim­si­cal and out-of-this-world to bal­ance out the dark, grit­ty nature of a show like the The Wire. At least, that’s why I keep telling myself.

Five Fun Things Friday — Mid-June Edition

Okay, so this is turn­ing out to be more of a bi-week­ly thing than any­thing else. I don’t recall ever promis­ing any­thing — as who would I promise it to?

Five things that have been on my radar ‘o fun over the past cou­ple of weeks:

  1. This is a great music video by a for­mer­ly-not-known-to-me Brit indie Bats for Lash­es. I like the kind of creepy, haunt­ing sound of the song which match­es per­fect­ly the Don­nie Darko inspired video imagery (via Boing­Bo­ing).
  2. Angela and I have been watch­ing Judd Apa­tow’s “Unde­clared” via Net­flix. It’s not near­ly as good as “Freaks and Geeks” but still bet­ter than your aver­age com­e­dy. Most of this, by Apa­tow’s descrip­tion is due to the fact that the real­ly good stuff that goes on at col­lege can’t be shown on net­work tele­vi­sion. True, that. Any­one want­i­ng to go see Knocked Up, please give me a call.
  3. Last night, we went to see Son Volt at Lewis Gin­ter Botan­i­cal Gar­dens. Last week was Big Head Todd & the Mon­sters. Two real­ly good bands. Frankly, I did­n’t have too high of hopes for the Son Volt show as the “reunion” of that band feels a lot like Jay Far­rar cash­ing in on the rel­a­tive suc­cess of the band as com­pared to his solo career (espe­cial­ly last mon­th’s new album, which I found dis­ap­point­ing). How­ev­er, I real­ly like Far­rar’s songs, be they Son Volt, solo career, or Uncle Tupe­lo – all of which got some play-time last night. 
    Uncle Tupelo Cover
  4. Per every­one-I-know’s rec­om­men­da­tions, I read the late Kurt Von­negut, Jr.‘s “Slaugh­ter­house Five” recent­ly. Well, after hav­ing read the book, of course the next thing to do is see the movie (no, not real­ly – I think it’s a shame that the gen­er­al notion seems to be that the high­est sta­tus a nov­el can have is to be made into a film). So last week­end, I watched the 1972 movie based on the book. I was fair­ly pleased with how it got por­trayed and appar­ent­ly, Von­negut was, too.
  5. Last, but prob­a­bly the most impor­tant, Angela and I real­ly enjoyed the baby show­er our friends Hol­ly and Meg threw for us at also-friend Jes­si­ca’s house. It was great and we were sim­ply amazed at how gen­er­ous our friends are. We clear­ly have no idea what we’re doing with this whole baby thing (appar­ent­ly just like every­one else, knowl­edge that has kept us going). How­ev­er, in addi­tion to the real­ly great gifts that every­one went out of their way to get us (and mail us, too!), hav­ing peo­ple to count on is a big deal. Thanks, everyone.

Five Fun Things Friday — June 1st Edition

Well, it’s been two weeks since I last did this, so I should have plen­ty of fun things, right? I’ve been soon busy with work and house stuff, I’m not sure…

  1. Watch­ing “Wait­ing for Godot.” After being pub­licly shamed, I fig­ured I’d bet­ter see what all the fuss is about. I tried to watch a taped ver­sion of the play on Google Video, but it was real­ly poor qual­i­ty (in all the ways it can be). How­ev­er, the ”
    Beck­ett on Film
    ” ver­sion I rent­ed from Net­flix was very enjoy­able. I found myself actu­al­ly laugh­ing allowed at some of the very dry humor (at least it was dry in this interpretation).
  2. Big bud­get, sum­mer block­buster movies. Pirates 3 did­n’t make any sense plot-wise, but was fun. It seems like every­body’s favorite part was the sur­re­al­ist Davy-Jones’ Lock­er scene. A lot of that comes from John­ny Dep­p’s charm in the films but direc­tor Gore Verbin­s­ki deserves a lot of cred­it for putting a very odd scene in a block­buster film. Here’s hop­ing Trans­form­ers is equal­ly entertaining.
  3. Angela and I fin­ished up watch­ing “Freaks And Geeks,” the short-lived 1999 tele­vi­sion show by Paul Feig and Judd Apa­tow. The show’s 18 episodes are con­sis­tent­ly good both in writ­ing and act­ing. We just got the first disc of Apa­tow’s fol­low-up show “Unde­clared” and are look­ing for­ward to see­ing Knocked Up soon.
  4. Speak­ing of tele­vi­sion, I’ve been watch­ing some episodes of ABC’s “Notes From the Under­bel­ly” at their web­site. Appar­ent­ly loose­ly based on a nov­el of the same name, the pilot episode was ter­rif­ic and sub­se­quent episodes have been fair­ly good, although not great. The humor hits home, though, as it does it’s best when mak­ing fun of neu­rot­ic first-time par­ents-to-be like Angela and I. Sur­pris­ing­ly (main­ly just because I like it), the show will be back next season.
  5. And final­ly, some­thing not relat­ed to film or tele­vi­sion, we’ve been real­ly enjoy­ing get­ting baby stuff togeth­er. We fin­ished up most of the nurs­ery for our lit­tle girl and on top of that, peo­ple have been send­ing us all sorts of cool baby stuff. We real­ly appre­ci­ate all the kind­ness and help (keep it com­ing, good peo­ple!). It’d be sil­ly to say I was enjoy­ing that a lot. We’re hav­ing our first baby show­er tomor­row and it should be a hoot.

Five Fun Things: May 18th Edition

I’m try­ing to make this a week­ly thing, but who knows how long it’ll last.

Anoth­er week flew by me and I’m not sure where it went. That’s more the norm than not I sup­pose. Here’s a few things, in no par­tic­u­lar order that have been inter­est­ing and enjoy­able this week:

  1. Get­ting to see inside me by hav­ing an MRI done. I’ve been learn­ing some about med­ical imag­ing in the past few months with baby ultra­sounds for Angela as well as x‑rays and MRIs for me. It’s all amaz­ing stuff and makes me real­ly appre­ci­ate mod­ern med­i­cine and our abil­i­ty to see what is hap­pen­ing inside us with­out ever open­ing us up. Of course, the cost for all this imag­ing is still high enough to make it as com­mon as I expect it some­day will be, so that makes me appre­ci­ate hav­ing good insurance.
  2. Hav­ing a good boss. Okay, he does­n’t read this so don’t assume it’s for his ben­e­fit or any­thing. How­ev­er, I’ve had some bad jobs before and I’ve been lucky to work for peo­ple sense col­lege that allowed me to work in my own style instead of some rigid frame­work. Work has been insane­ly hec­tic for the past cou­ple of months and that’s going to con­tin­ue for a while in the future. How­ev­er, my boss nev­er beats me up about it. He’s demand­ing, but not unrea­son­able and that’s about the best you can hope for in this kind of work.
  3. Okay, just so you don’t think this is some thanks­giv­ing list, I’ve also been lov­ing three new albums I down­loaded this week. Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is kind of a con­tin­u­a­tion of A Ghost is Born; some quirky and soft melodies punc­tu­at­ed with some rockin’ moments. Not hav­ing lis­tened to Mod­est Mouse for all that long, I can’t say if We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is much of a pro­gres­sion for that band since their last album, but I can say I like it a lot. After see­ing The Avett Broth­ers last week, I can see why my friend Chris likes them so much. Their live album on iTunes – Live, Vol. 2 – seems to cap­ture a lot of their live shows and “Pret­ty Girl From Annapo­lis” has been stuck in my head for days, now. I need to pick up their new album as well.
  4. I got on a Futu­ra­ma kick a few days ago and have been watch­ing a num­ber of episodes off of Com­e­dy Cen­tral (I only occa­sion­al­ly watched it first run in my pre-TiVo days). It’s best moments are using Fry & Co. to make com­men­tary about mod­ern life (this must have been the inspi­ra­tion for Idioc­ra­cy…). It’s most bor­ing moments to me are show­ing once again how annoy­ing Dr. Zoid­berg is or how crass Ben­der is.
  5. This week­end is the Lebanese fes­ti­val in Rich­mond. Angela went to lunch there with some of her co-work­ers, as did one of my co-work­ers, and they said it was great. Angela is going to take me to din­ner there this evening. I haven’t enjoyed it just yet, but I know I will!

Five Fun Things: Week of May 10th

Here’s a list of Five Fun Things I’ve been enjoy­ing late­ly, in no sig­nif­i­cant order (oth­er than No. 1):

  1. Feel­ing our baby girl kick for the first time last Sun­day morn­ing. That was awesome.
  2. Super Paper Mario on the Wii – Not a very hard game, but loads of fun to play and very fun­ny, too.
  3. LostLast night’s episode was proof they haven’t ‘lost’ it. Pick­ing an end date means they’ll have a def­i­nite road map for the rest of the show to keep it great, unlike ear­li­er this year when it seemed to be flop­ping. (Watch it on ABC’s site) Heroes owes a lot to Lost, and has real­ly been build­ing up to a great sea­son finale. Both have been fill­ing the hole left in my heart when Sea­son 3 of BG ended.
  4. Pandora.com – All the recent news about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of los­ing Inter­net radio made me real­ize just how awe­some this site is.
  5. Freaks & Geeks from Net­flix. I wish I had caught this show when it was first aired, but I don’t think my watch­ing would have saved it for anoth­er season.

So what about any of you? Leave a com­ment or post it on your own site (be sure to ping me, track­back or just leave a link if you do!).