Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not much happening

I have this cough.  I’m struggling a bit at work.  I’ve been working on this survey results document for my leadership program for a solid week.  Our cat is healthy.  I have to pee.   That is the level of excitement going on in the blah life.  All this to explain why there have been no blog posts lately! 

So, um, I can offer a baby hamster eating broccoli:

I also have this bizarre banana wiener dog photo:


Until something happens or until I post more silly crap….

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


My throat is so dry and raw.  I have this barely productive cough.  As you can see from the forecast below, Denver is in the midst of alternating dry-hot-dry weather.


What’s more, weed pollen is coming in like a tidal wave of throat and lung irritants.  Weather.com does a PollenCast, which indicates just how bad one’s allergies may be (or become) in a particular area.  As you can see below, me and my respiratory system are in for a real treat in the coming days.


For the next few days or weeks this thing will be invading my sinuses and lungs:


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It’s mushroom season here in Colorado and I’m thinking back to all of the amazing fungus I’ve seen here.  Some of my favorite specimens are below:

Aug 7 2005 069 Lawn Lake 014 Lawn Lake 040 Fancy Pass 021 Fancy Pass 076 Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness 003 Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness 008

I am also remembering how awesomely bizarre mushrooms are.  The mushroom itself is just the fruit of the plant.  The main body of the organism lives below ground forming a web.  It is actually incorrect to say that mushrooms are plants though.  The great and powerful Google put it this way:

A mushroom cannot be simply classified as either an animal or a plant. It is obviously not an animal as it does not eat either animals or plants, which is a rather simplistic way to classify animals. It is not, theoretically, a plant because it does not contain chlorophyll and cannot make its own food, which is one of the methods by which a plant is classified as a plant. Mushrooms actually absorb food and nutrients from decaying matter around them.

Not an animal or a plant…fascinating. 

Here are some time lapse videos of mushrooms.  Warning: mushrooms can look quite phallic in their early stages of growth.


If you want to learn a few facts about mushrooms from David Attenborough, watch this video through to almost 4 minutes (you may be forced to watch an ad first):

Monday, August 9, 2010

Before the son of rambow knows you’re dead

More movies.  In July we watched Son of Rambow and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Son of Rambow (2007)

British kids make a campy Rambo spoof.  One kid has super religious parents and the other has absentee parents.  Also, there are androgynous foreign exchange students.

This movie generally received good reviews that used words like “inventive,” “hero story,” and so on.  I’m not easily taken by the antics of cute kids, which may explain my lack of enthusiasm for this film.  That’s all.


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

The perfect crime goes horribly wrong for brothers Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke) when they botch a robbery of their parents' jewelry store in this wrenching drama. Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris co-star as Andy and Hank's unsuspecting parents, with Marisa Tomei appearing as Gina, Andy's unfaithful wife.

This movie was recommended to me several times.  The description, which makes it sound like a male-focused, robbery picture, never really grabbed me.  The cast, however, I found intriguing.  The first time I really noticed Philip Seymour Hoffman was in The Big Lebowski.  I’ve been taken ever since.  Ethan Hawke, however, is a bit hit or miss.  He’s ok but his range seems limited – not nearly as bad as Keanu Reeves but that’s not really saying much.  Marisa Tomei on the other hand is always worth watching. 

I enjoyed it but I don’t think it should become a classic or anything like that.


Sunday, August 8, 2010


We gave in again to the lure of an air-conditioned theater and its summer movie fare.  We saw Salt on Friday.

Salt (2010)

After she's accused of being a Russian sleeper spy, rogue CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) goes on the run, using every tactic, accent and disguise she knows to elude her pursuers, clear her name and protect her husband. Her supervisor, Winter (Liev Schreiber), buys her story, while counterintelligence officer Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) decidedly does not and will do anything to stop her in this fast-paced, intrigue-filled spy adventure.

For a summer movie it served its primary function – to entertain.  Spy thrillers are not usually my cup of tea, but I do enjoy seeing Angelina Jolie kick ass, which she does, handily.  Also, I’ll say it, she’s sexy and has a powerful magnetism.  The role that she plays was originally written for Tom Cruise (who rejected this for Knight & Day).  Thank heavens she took it instead of him, what a yawner to see a man (and Cruise) in another action movie.


Not that the plot is particularly important, but it is strange that it was a Russian theme.  That’s so 80s and not as relevant to today as other places. 

One thing that was displeasing to me was that her husband was an arachnologist – spiders.  There were actual living spiders show in the movie and, in flash backs of their DC apartment, there were spider drawings on the walls and so on.  It was disturbing.  My theory is that the subtle emphasis of spider images was meant to elevate the subconscious fear in viewers. 

So, see it, don’t see it, it won’t have a lasting impact on your life either way.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Unthinkable Invictus Valentine’s Day

I am again behind in my movie reviews.  I wrote reviews on two movies I saw in the theater recently but I’ve neglected those that I’ve watched at home.  So, I’m doing three in one here.

Unthinkable (2010)

The government discovers a plot to destroy America with three hidden nuclear weapons. A seasoned interrogator (Samuel L. Jackson) and FBI agent (Carrie-Anne Moss) must find out where they are. A suspected terrorist (Michael Sheen) who's in custody is their only chance for a timely answer. But what will it take to get him to talk?

Skip this one.  The premise of the movie sounds like it’s going to be a movie that might examine the issues and practicalities of terrorism and torture and maintaining safety.  It doesn’t deliver.  It’s got a lot of nasty torture scenes and bad acting.  Please don’t torture yourself; don’t watch it.


Invictus (2009)

President Mandela wins over country by backing existing rugby team and encouraging them to win the World Cup.

The problem with this movie was that we already know what happens.  We know South Africa wins the world cup and that Mandela isn’t assassinated.  For me that took some of the umph out of the film. Morgan Freeman does an amazing job as Mandela but the movie got too much hype.


Valentine’s Day (2010)

Ok, I’m married.  I’ve been married for a long time and, on top of that, I’m a bit cynical.  So I may not have the proper empathy for the characters in this movie.  But, that said, this movie was awful

I’m trying to think of something I liked about the movie…nope.  I’m at a loss for words.  I’ll take a quote from an Entertainment Weekly review, “Every skit is lame, every line of dialogue is stale, every joke falls flat, and every performance has been phoned in between text messages to agents blinking, ‘SOS!’”