Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Eve...

I have recieved permission from the parents to host a smallish gathering on New Year's Eve at my humble abode. People would be welcome to arrive around 8 PM and things would wind down around 1 AM (as there is no way I have room for everyone to sleep over).

If everyone who would like to join me Saturday night would please RSVP I would greatly appreciate it. While I am sure my house can hold all of you, I do need a head count to stay within the boundaries my parents have set forth.

I will provide snacks and soda.
You may bring food of your own if you would like.
Anyone with alcohol, whether it be in their pockets or in their bloodstream, is free to NOT join the party.
If there is any question as to what you may or may not bring, please post or leave me a message on aim.

Again, please RSVP

See you soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Back in Pittsburgh

On Sunday night, my Grandpa, Andrew Spontak, died in Pittsburgh. I have been trying to write this blog post since then and I still can't. Every time I try, I get mixed up in what he meant to me, who he was, what happened, how I feel, and a million other thoughts and memories that take up the space usually occupied by any ability I used to have to write cohesively. (See: previous sentence's structure.) Eventually I will write it, but it probably won't show up here.

I am in Pittsburgh until Saturday. I leave for my tour with Cayuga's Waiters on the 4th of January. Please, between then, if you have any time, I could really use a hug.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Those of you who have seen Narnia have probably seen this trailer already, but whatever. I got so excited when I saw it, I thought I'd share it with you all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Girls can rock too. I guess.

Sleater-Kinney is an all-female Portland band that is pretty big on the indie rock scene. They are headlining at the Crystal Ballroom next Friday, the 30th. Opening is Stephen Malkmus, who is now touring with a back-up band, the Jicks. He used to be the lead singer for Pavement. Pavement was fairly revolutionary back in the early 90's. His new album is really good and he's living in Portland now too. And there is another opening act, Quasi. I didn't really know anything about them, so I used the amazing tool that is Wikipedia and found out it's an ex-husband and wife band. The wife is the drummer for Sleater-Kinney. (I wonder if she gets paid twice for the show?) The husband is also from Portland and used to be in Elliot Smith's band Heatmiser. Heatmiser was good. So it looks like a pretty good show all around. It's fifteen bucks. Let me know if you want to go. Unfortunately I don't have the bankroll I did last summer (damn caviar addiction) so I would probably have to collect prior to getting the tickets. Or you could go downtown yourselves. It would make you realize how much you missed hipsters. Unless you're Shakeer and have been living in hipster paradise. Anyway, I'm assuming they're going kind of fast. I'm gonna check it out tomorrow. I have no idea if anyone actually wants to go, this is a shot in the dark. Bang.

post script
New salutation for Ken: Bang Away, Auburn Thunder!

post post script
Malkmus: http://www.3hive.com/2005/05/stephen_malkmus.php

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A blogworthy event

Well, I know I told most of you, but seriously, if what happened to me isn't blogworthy, what is? So the gist of is I almost got myself killed twice in two days. The first was when I was running at forest park. I was running, and everything was going well, until I managed to get myself on a side trail that led me off a cliff 40 feet above highway 26. I managed to scurry back up the hill, but it was fairly scary. Found a place where homeless people live. There were empty alcohol containers, and a spot where it look like people have spent some time. The other time was on my trip to Bend. About 10 miles past Government Camp, I hit a patch of ice. My car starts sliding, and I end up crashing into a tanker, and I thought the driver, too. It turns out that the driver hoisted himself up on a bar before my car reached him, but I didn't know that. I bounced off the tanker and stopped 20 feet away. My brother and I jump out of the car to investigate what I feared would be a bloody mess on the truck. It turns out that the driver was pretty much okay, but then another car, a red Volkswagen hatchback hits the same icy patch that I hit, and slides into my brother and I. I see it in time, and try to dive out of the way, but I slip, and wasn't able to get off in time. The car hit my legs, and I spun off of it, but my brother got hit dead on, and hit the windshield, kinda like Happy Gilmore did when he got hit by a Volkswagen. Except for some seriously sore muscles, I'm fine, but my brother fractured his fibula (The small, unimportant leg bone. After all the annoying paper work stuff, I try driving off, but the car is totaled. I got a tow truck back to Government Camp, and spent the night in a hotel. My Aunt and Uncle came up the next day and got us, and we are now safely in Bend. We should be back up on the 28th, and I hope to see you all after that. I would have seen more of you when I was still in PDX, but the whole snow thing kinda made things hard.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Funny video

Hey. Hope you are all having fun in Portland's snow. If not, watch this video.

http://ftp.secured.me.uk/Demoncars/RoudRave.wmv

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reason #1,537 I Love Oregon

Took this picture on the plane flight home... ah, it's good to be back!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

KING KONG

Even though I didn’t get back ‘til 2:30 last night, I could barely sleep. It took me nearly an hour to even convince myself to close my eyes. It was a reaction I understood after I saw “The Shining” earlier this year, but with this it was different...this time, I just couldn’t believe what I had just seen.

The sheer...well, it’s gonna sound cheesy, but this is Peter Jackson’s baby all the way. And the sheer passion that went into every step of this project shows through right from the start. As eye-popping as Skull Island is, the recreation of 1933 New York is stunning. The scenes at sea got me giddy, and by the time they got into the fog surrounding Skull Island, I couldn’t dream of looking away from the screen. Everything that followed was the most constant jaw-dropping excitement and beautiful imagery I’ve seen in a single film. Ever.

For those of you who were on the same wavelength with me for last year’s SKY CAPTAIN, imagine that same reaction multiplied and taken to the next highest power you can think of. If that makes sense. It’s three hours of tension, heartache, joy, action, spectacle, romance, and everything else movies were made for. This is a movie for people who love the pictures.

And yes. It’s three hours long. Yes, it’s far longer than necessary. And you bet I felt the length by the end of it. But when you’re having that much fun and are that involved in it, you really stop caring and enjoy the ride.

Kong himself is the greatest special effect in the history of cinema. Not only does he look like a real 25-foot gorilla, and not only does he move like hell, but thanks to Andy Serkis’ performance (WETA, the effects guys, used the same method they developed for Gollum in LORD OF THE RINGS), the big guy’s got soul. Not only did Serkis do all the movements (which, when you watch Kong with that in mind, is incredible), but he also did all the vocal work, and while Kong doesn’t say a single word, the differences in his grunts and growls and yawns mean everything.

It is an effects-driven movie, and WETA handles it beautifully. With the exception of maybe STAR WARS, I’ve never felt as transported as I did on Skull Island. I don’t want to ruin any of it for those of you who have no idea what to expect (between the original, the trailers, and reading some reviews, I knew some of what to expect and was still blown away), but wow...in action/adventure films, most of the time the audience knows the film’s main characters will survive. In the case of KONG, which has probably the most famous ending of any movie in history, you know some people have to live. But the tension is right there, the entire time.

There isn’t a wasted moment on Skull Island. Just when you think the crew or Ann might have caught a break, there’s something right around the corner. Or over the hill. Or right next to them, above them, below them...the entire island lives and breathes these creatures, each one distinctly designed.

The cast is top-notch. It is VERY classical Hollywood sort of acting, which to some translates as cheesy. It ain’t always realistic, in fact it often isn’t, but it’s still exciting to watch and plenty engaging. Me, I love that stuff, so I was in.

Naomi Watts especially as Ann Darrow, striking the right balance of damsel in distress (and there’s plenty of distress) and the knowing recipient of Kong’s compassion. She radiates in every moment, remaining totally sincere. And she’s got one heck of a scream on her. Wow. Adrian Brody, as Jack Driscoll, has a hard role to play. He has to be the third wheel, the guy we know Ann must ultimately end up with, but also doesn’t get the same screen time as Kong to develop the relationship in. Meanwhile, he has to be a playwright forced into the role of the action hero. But Brody nails it. He completely makes it work, not as an action hero but as a man driven to extreme circumstances.

And then there’s Jack Black. I remember reading that Jackson had cast Black. First reaction, I was afraid he wouldn’t be able to carry any sort of drama. Then, after seeing the ’33 original, I was afraid Peter Jackson would just demote Carl Denham, a great character, to comic relief. Thankfully, neither happened, and what comes as a result is probably Jack Black’s finest work to date, and a fantastic character. He emerges more and more as a villain as the movie rolls on, and actually this is the character that sees the most change from the original, but Jack keeps it grounded with just the right bit of manic in his eye at all times.

The supporting cast, with the exception of the earlier-noted individual, is superb. They’re developed long enough that they don’t waste too much time, but enough so that you give a damn when the shit hits the fan. Personal favorite was Captain Englehorn, a relatively boring character in the original, but here he comes off like the king of the sea. And the land for that matter. Classic action hero.

I cannot implore you enough to go see this on the most massive screen possible. Portland people, your best options are theaters 8 or 9 at the EAST SIDE Century, theater 1 at Lloyd Center, or theater 1 (I BELIEVE it’s theater 1) at Tigard. For Lloyd and Tigard though, just ask for the Giant Screen show times. I can’t wait to see it on that. And see it at a busy time, preferably this weekend, because the crowd reactions make the movie. It’s one to cheer, scream (I heard a lotta shrieks), and laugh to.

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. It’s one of those things where I did think I’d fall in love with it, but when it happens you never think you’d fall so deeply. This film deserves all the money and awards thrown its way. Especially Peter Jackson. Right now he’s got a nomination for Best Director at the Golden Globes, and I can only pray the Oscars’ll show him the same love he got two years ago.

P.S. Great side story. The night Jackson came back to the hotel from the Oscars after RETURN OF THE KING won everything, he had a production meeting for KING KONG. That very night. Some people partied…he was making another movie. That’s awesome.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hello, friends. How are you? I am well. I would just like to let you all know that during a final my already impressive Falldown skills enter the realm of epic and would ask that you try it yourselves to see if it is somehow a stress-induced phenomenon common to all people of our age, or whether it is me in particular; my distaste of the thought of returning to the test somehow enabling my synapses and such to fire at a greatly increased rate. Thank you for your time and attention. Have a safe flight home, and if confronted with terrorists or lost luggage or things of that nature, remember that the solution to every problem is a quality roundhouse kick.

post script
I may be the greatest 9-speed Falldown player in the history of this universe (and all the other ones, if Dr. Gorman's crazy theories are true.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

JHS Wins State Football Championship

Congrats to all involved...I must admit, while I'm incredibly proud of you, I'm also insanely jealous we couln't pull it off last year. I'd love to hear comments on the game.

-JKB

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Coffee House

Props to Nolan Gary for giving me his ticket. He walked in anyway. Real lax security this time. Not very crowded either.

Ellen Nye and Alex Ward made great hosts. They started out Coffee House with Ellen sitting aside as Alex obnoxiously eats a whole slice of pizza, while Michael Laos keeps shouting out, "That is so Michael Bauer!" Alex later explains Michael Bauer really is an obnoxious eater. I enjoyed it. Alex also had a couple really funny stories about concussions that his dad caused him to have.

Real creative acts this time. I can't remember all of them, so I'll talk about my favorite one.

Some senior guy started beat boxing into the mike, then looped it. He did it really, really, well. Then he plays a bass run on his guitar for accompaniment, and loops that too. Then he raps an MC Hammer song, PERFECTLY. He throws some guitar solos into it too. Wow.

Then he plays a song that he wrote. He played an accompaniment, looped it and played over it. And he did that a lot. And they always came together perfectly. Meanwhile, he sang in it too. He's even a good singer. Toward the end he had a guitar solo where he used used this really cool effect: you heard what he played about a second after he played it, and when it came out, the best description I can think of for it is that it sounded like a violin with distortion that blended all the notes together. My brother tells me that was probably a synthesizer. Anywho, he can play faster than anyone else I've ever seen.

You've probably guessed it. Ben, you probably had it by the time you read "some senior guy," since you read me like an open book. It's Michael Bauer. I couldn't think of how to start this review. I wanted it to be a "this was an awesome act" post, as opposed to a "I love Michael Bauer" post, so I left his name out til now.

PS. I went snow boarding today. I reminded my self of those really fat guys I've seen on Comedy Central that give really good monologues about their experience with sports. I found can almost do everything pretty well on the Buttercup Run. I was starting to get the hang of it by the end. Plus, I can do a really killer face plant.

Other PS: Here's some student's application to NYU that Alex read during Coffee House.

3A. IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I've been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.

Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.

Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.

I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400.

My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.

I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.

Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven.

I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.

I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.

PPS: Longest PS ever (as far as I can tell)! Beat that Ben!

No. 1 Duke v. No. 2 Texas: 97-66

NOW we're playing like national champions.

Friday, December 09, 2005

So Apparently My Residence Hall Caught Fire

...I was over in my early christianity history class (it counts for humanities, of which I need a few) when my roommate calls me and is like, "Hey Mike, the fire alarm just went off, and the building's on fire, and the fire's in the bathroom right across the hall from us."

Literally, right across the hall. There are sprinklers in each room, and I didn't know how the system worked, but I thought that maybe the sprinklers in my room might've gone off, which would mean my laptop, printer, and every single book I owned would be destroyed. Yeah...it didn't make for a good studious mood for the last lecture of the semester.

Fortunately, everything is fine...though the bathroom's outta commission for a while.

The cause? Some toilet paper somehow caught fire. Weird.

Anyway, now I'm too busy being thankful that I'm not totally fucked for my finals and my final philosophy paper to really be able to pay attention in Spanish class...hmm...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A note from DC

This morning, Mr. Wendt collapsed during first period. While on the
floor in room 60, his heart stopped and through the CPR and our staff's
ability to administer a defibrillator, (we have two at school,
thankfully) his heart started and breathing resumed. He was taken to
the hospital where he cannot have any visitors but you can email him at
lieslwendt@msn.com

As of this writing he is alert, speaking with his family, sitting up,
and doing much better. He admitted to not having breakfast this morning
and for someone who has to monitor blood sugar, that may not be the
wisest thing to do. We are thankful for the quick thinking of so many
people here to help him this morning. At Mass this morning, many
students prayed for him. We can't wait for his return.

Also,

After 10 months gone from Jesuit, Fr. David Olivier SJ returns today. He
is assigned to the Jesuit Community to serve where needed and to pray
for the works of the Society of Jesus. We welcome him back. His foot
seems to have healed and he is ready to go.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Having Fun and Doing Stuff!

About a year ago (obviously the Christmas season) I was trying desperately to remember the name of my favorite Christmas carol, but alas I could not. So I was asking everyone what the song was and kept telling them it was about having fun and doing stuff. Unfortunately no one could help me. Until that is SCOTT came to the rescue!!! And told me the song I was referring to was in fact called "So This Is Christmas."

Now for an Outsider exclusive. That's right boys and girls, ladies and gents, refined young women and booger pickers, an interview with Benjamin David Vincent himself.

Cynda: "So Ben what's your favorite Christmas Song."

Ben: "well cynda, I'm glad you asked because this is a matter I've been thinking a lot about lately. I'm just not sure. I think it is "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It's the closest to true. But there really isn't a perfect Christmas song. Many of them are very good, but they're all missing something. I would like to think that the perfect Christmas carol can still be written. Until then, mine is Gentlemen. But that is subject to change because I haven't heard all of them and know I'm forgetting some."

So now that Ben and I have shared I invite all of you to tell us your favorite Christmas songs!

Actual photo for item on eBay...

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 05, 2005

Penn is messed up.

So apparently Penn's been involved in a little scandal recently. Someone took a picture of two students having sex in front of their high rise window and it got published in the school newspaper. Here are some articles about the event. I found them to be quite amusing, especially the second one.

Exposure suit not likely for high-rise pair
Still, expert says that dorm-window scene constituted public act
By jason schwartz
December 5, 2005


The couple pictured in the now-infamous Hamilton College House sex-scene photo could be prosecuted under state law for exposing themselves in public.
But experts say it's not likely.

Penn's Office of Student Conduct has not said whether it will take action in this regard and has not returned repeated phone calls for comment.

The Pennsylvania criminal code states an act is "lewd" if the person involved "knows [it] is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed." The crime is a third-degree misdemeanor.

The couple at the center of last week's scandal had sex against the window of the high rise apartment for three days in a row, said fifth-year Psychology graduate student Andrew Geier, who was closely involved with the case.

Patrick Egan, an attorney and professor at Temple University Law School, said prosecution for these acts is possible but unlikely.

"If you do something continuously in front of a window, one can infer that there is knowledge" that it is a public act, Egan said. "You're in front of a window -- hello, somebody can see you."

A conviction for a third-degree misdemeanor would result in probation and a permanent mark on the offender's criminal record, Egan said.

One senior who wished to remain anonymous said he filed an indecent exposure complaint against the couple in late October but that the Office of Student Conduct decided not to act on the grievance.

The student said OSC Associate Director Ed Rentezelas e-mailed him last week to say that there would be no investigation into his claim.

"Our office will not be taking any further action in your case," Rentezelas said in the e-mail, which the student forwarded to The Daily Pennsylvanian. OSC officials did not return calls to verify the authenticity of the e-mail.

History professor Alan Kors -- who served as an advocate for the Engineering junior initially charged by the University with sexual harassment for taking and distributing the sex-scene photos -- said he does not think that indecent-exposure charges are necessary.

"Let's put this behind everyone," he said. "I hope people will just leave [the couple] alone."

The student who lodged the indecent-exposure complaint said he filed it after the OSC investigated him for downloading and e-mailing the pictures and creating a group on facebook.com making light of them.

"At that moment, I got very angry. I was basically outraged," he said. "I was just trying to show [the OSC] how ridiculous it was" that they were investigating him and not the couple, he said.

The student said the investigation into his actions ended in late October. Though he was forced to remove the Facebook group, the student was never charged with any violations.

Kors called the investigation of the student "absolutely disgraceful," and compared it to the case against the Engineering junior.

"It is indicative of the same lack of judgment, the same double-standard, the same contempt for student rights," he said, calling the OSC "unfair, capricious and dumb."

Kors has called for a University investigation of the OSC. He sent a letter explaining his position to the president and provost Friday night. He had not received a response as of yesterday afternoon.


High-rise windows able to withstand stress, sex
By jason schwartz
December 5, 2005


The couple pictured in the Hamilton College House sex-scene photos were apparently engaging in safe intercourse, any other consequences notwithstanding.
A representative from Viracon, the glass company that outfitted Hamilton with its windows, said the couple were not in danger of breaking the window by having sex against it.

Brian Dawley, who works for Viracon technical services, the high-rise windows are particularly strong because they are made of tempered glass.

Tempered glass, he said, is about four times stronger than the glass of a standard car windshield.

"I wouldn't expect -- unless you really hit [the windows] with a hard object -- to be able to break it," he said.

Though he added that the glass is typically stronger at some points than others -- and weaker where there are scratches -- it would take significant force to do any damage.

It is doubtful that two people pressed against the surface -- no matter how vigorously -- could break the glass, Dawley said. He added that a chair thrown at the window with a running start might not even get the job done.

Even though the couple's actions were safe, Dawley said that he and his company "don't recommend it."

Please Don't Poke Me.

So, I went and watched me some Duke Basketball last night.

Oh man.

When VA Tech took the lead with 1.6 seconds left, one of the VA Tech Hokies started taunting the Cameron Crazies, like "Looks who's winning now?"

Don't taunt the Crazies.

"The ACC regular season started with a bang on Sunday night as Sean Dockery buried a 45-footer as time expired to lift top-ranked Duke to a 77-75 victory over Virginia Tech on Sunday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Coleman Collins put the Hokies ahead, 75-74 with a rebound basket with 1.6 seconds remaining in the game. Following a timeout and brief delay to set the game clock, Josh McRoberts fired a pass to midcourt to Dockery, who dribbled once before launching the game-winner. Dockery finished the night with a career-high 19 points, with 16 of them coming in the second half."


IT WAS THE BEST GAME I HAVE EVER SEEN. Anybody who saw it on TV or saw the highlights that will probably be on for days knows what I'm talking about, and yeah, I was there. Yeah, we all flipped out and screamed and yelled OUR HOUSE. OUR HOUSE. OUR HOUSE. Yeah, I rushed the court.

I get chills every time I see it.

And yes, you can see it too!

If this link doesn't work, just check my AIM profile. It'll be on there too.
http://www.duke.edu/~ask10/Dockery.wmv

ESPN called it the best finish in Cameron's history.

I don't doubt it at all.

I didn't understand the Cameron Crazies at first...the waiting in lines for hours (days for the UNC game...oh, tenting. You are too hard core for me) the painting themselves blue and white, but now, I get it.

I LOVE DUKE BASKETBALL.

p.s. The Cameron Crazies are ridiculous. We are the most obnoxious, creative fans ever, basically, and we yell THE ENTIRE TIME. Everybody's coordinated, know what to do to react to everything, it's ridiculous, but you catch on pretty quickly to the general cheers that go with every game...it's the specific ones for each team that I LOVE .

For example: Last year, the VA Tech coach, Greenburg, got ejected from the game, and when asked to comment, said "It's ridiculous. Someone should control those fans, I almost got poked in the eye." Hence the chant: "PLEASE DON'T POKE ME. clap clap clap clap clap PLEASE DON'T POKE ME clap clap clap clap clap".

When they took foul shots, the entire student section (which is a helluva lot of people) did the Hokey Pokie (they're the hokies, get it?) as loud and exaggerated as possible.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chuck Norris



I'm sure some of you have already heard these, and others don't appreciate Chuck Norris in all his glory, but for you red-blooded Americans who are in the dark, I have linked some of the legends about America's greatest hero. There are more out there if you are so inclined.

My favorites:

Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus' obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths.

Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fucking Indian.

Chuck Norris died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

Thanksgiving was fun. The Pitmans are awesome. I forgot how much I love them. Claire has grown a ton. They are doing well. Spent a few hours in NYC before my bus to Baltimore came, so I just started walking around. Turns out that most of the Ivy league schools have clubs on 41st or 42nd st, around 5th avenue, where all the expensive stuff is. They are pretty much just upscale restraunts, so basically, expensive, and good clothes required, so I kinda just looked in and took pictures. Other than that... just kinda wandered. Had Thanksgiving meal with family friends of the Pitmans, but it wasn't bad. The dad is an Professor at the Naval Academy, which is cool. Went to DC on Saturday, saw Jen at Catholic, but sadly, Mike was still at Baltimore. Then monuments, which, considering that was my first time in DC, was interesting, even though it was late at night, and pretty much everything was closed. Anyway, it is definitely 5am, and I have a couple of essays to write before class at 10... hmm... Yeah, if the writing on this post is any way indicative of the way I'm writing in my essay, I'm screwed. Almost forgot... On my way back, in Baltimore waiting for the bus, I see it pull up, and let someone off, the driver closed the door, but I showed him my ticket, and he lets me on very quickly, telling me that he's going to NYC, but then tells everyone else around me that the bus is going to DC. Confused, he explained to me that by saying that he's going to DC, noone else will try to get onto the already full bus. So we passed 30 or so people, all with tickets to NYC, and somehow, I was insanely lucky enough to get aboard. The driver was defintely hispanic, and probably Puerto Rican, which would explain exactly what happened. The guy was a crappy driver, too, he barely stayed in the lane, and defintely pushed 80 on the Jersey Turnpike. Oh well, I'm here now.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Varsity House Sunday Night Fights

I had my first boxing match tonight.

Somebody provided the boxing gloves and mouth guards, and we did it in the Varsity House living room, with three one-minute rounds. I had no idea how entertaining boxing was. The two other Chippendale's dancers matched up against each other first. They were mainly jabbing each other. I figured, hey, I could do that. But then the guys in the next match up were throwing haymakers like crazy.

I was up next. I wasn't too worried cause my opponent was 5'9", 125 lbs (I'm 130 lbs), and he doesn't do sports, other than fencing. Tonight I got a new appreciation for having such a violent brother back in grade school (he's not violent anymore) cause those early years taught me how to throw a good punch. I knocked him down once. Man that felt good.

Next was a matchup between two brothers. The little one was aggressive enough to cream the big slow one. To close it all out, the main event had two of the biggest guys at Varsity House. This sure beats working on that term project in Spanish. I have to give a presentation with a partner that hasn't responded to any of my emails and, as far as I know, hasn't done any work. We may be going tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it though. It's on Cuba, so I'll be making fun of communism the whole time.

Babies! and The Gingerdead Man

Yesterday, on the flight from Chicago to Syracuse, I met the happiest baby I'd ever seen. (Her mom claims it's because she's an acupuncturist and knows where to prod her baby to keep her in shape. "See, I just work her stomach" [pokes baby in the thigh a couple times] "and she never, ever spits up!") Nancy, your people have weird medicine.

I also watched Traffic and 8 Mile, neither of which could live up to the movie I saw on Wednesday with Patrick and Cynda: a masterpiece starring the voice of Gary Busey as "The Gingerdead Man." In case you're my older sister and still can't read, that's "GingerDEAD." I'll give you a basic plot outline but since you're going to watch it soon I won't ruin the ending. Basically, a serial killer murders a bunch of bakers in a diner, leaving only the daughter alive. He's executed, but his psycho mother takes his ashes and delivers them to the bakery as Gingerbread Spices, which of course get baked into a gingerbread man. (Only one. And this works because one of the bakery helpers bleeds into the dough. Oops.) With the help of a nice big jolt of electricity, the cookie becomes a living, squealing, evil Gingerdead Man bent on finishing off everyone else in the bakery. Unfortunately, he's still only 12 inches tall.

Hilarity ensues.

It's probably the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. It's probably the funniest thing Patrick's ever seen in HIS life, except Dumb & Dumber and Seinfeld. It's probably the weirdest thing Cynda's ever seen, except the time she got to see an inflatable sex toy wearing her clothes. I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It's probably the most fun Nancy and Ian ever--oh, wait, they didn't come.

Anyway, other Portland events: Mass at Jesuit, party in Spanish just like old times, Thanksgiving dinner with Dr. Gorman, watching Harry Potter, and Jesuit football crushing Barlow like so many beer cans in one of those big green rotating recycling machines at Safeway.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

THANKSGIVING

Hey all...updating on the thanksgiving situation here in brew town...


Ben is trashed off his ass


Scott totally just made out with some ugly girl from adrianna's floor


Skylar is currently peeing out the window of mccormick (sober)


David is sitting alone in his room, rocking himself to sleep


Adrianna has moved in with a frat boy and is planning her first pregnancy


Misha has abandoned Milwaukee to live in Sheboygan with her native people, the indians


And I just wish I knew what it was like to be with a transvestite....


But you can't always get what you want....but if you try sometimes you might just get what you need

(and apparently A needed some good man-loving)


All is well, and we miss you all...except for Misha, she's moved on

Speed Blogging

So it is 3:13 am and I am waiting for my bus to NYC, and Ben decides he is sick of Ariel Sharon. So he turns to me, and I have like 10 minutes before I should get out to my bus, so I'm posting. I'm sure there will be a point to this post soon, but I don't know what it is yet.... Wait for it.... Wait for it... alksdhyfiwaje;slzdlc;/lk.... Yeah, if that is the point of this post, this blog has come upon hard times. Hard times indeed when "alksdhyfiwaje;slzdlc;/lk" is the point of a blog post. So I guess what I'm saying, y'all need to post more. That means you. Yes you. Unless your name happens to be Ben. Then I guess you really don't need to. Especially after that brillaint Ariel Sharon post. JK. I didn't mind it. Yeah, I guess his face gets annoying, but that's only if you check the blog like 2000 times a day. Anyway... bus time... Shalom.






















PS: This space used merely to block the picture of an old guy when you first come to our distinguished blog.

Monday, November 21, 2005

News: "Sharon quits Likud to form new party"


And he helped form his old party back in '73. If an old guy named after a mermaid can do it twice, I am pretty sure I can do it too, with a little help from my friends. I get by with a little help from my friends. Alright, Vincent out!

post script
That's my first ever reference to American Idol, please tell me it's not outdated.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

Don’t just skip right over this thinking it’s my latest rant against all that is Potter. Quite the opposite, in fact. I really, really liked this movie. It’s not perfect, and I’m not suddenly the world’s biggest Potter fan, and no, I will not be reading the books (but that’s got more to do with that I just don’t read), but I did enjoy the hell outta this movie.

My only hesitancy in reviewing this is I have no knowledge of the source material, so I don’t know what to credit to Rowling or to screenwriter Steven Kloves, who penned the last three flicks as well. But in any case, someone involved in the writing process does one hell of a job juggling the various plots going on in the film. Everything feels like it matters equally, be the ominous threat presented right from the beginning, Harry’s participation in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, or even the romantic subplots brewing underneath. Whereas so many action/adventure movies this year threw in a completely uninteresting romantic subplot (HITCHHIKERS, BATMAN BEGINS, FANTASTIC FOUR, THE ISLAND), GOBLET OF FIRE really used it. Obviously, by the time Harry really gets in the shit, nothing else matters. That’s fantastic adventure storytelling – making every moment seem more immediately important than what preceded it.

And never letting up – never give your hero a break. Think of the worst possible thing he could go through, and do it. That’s what makes a movie like this.

And the flick moves like hell. In its two-and-a-half-hour running time, not a second is wasted and I never FELT the length like usually happens with many of that length. Doesn’t make them bad, but for a movie like this, you gotta keep your audience IN it.

And here was my biggest thing with Harry Potter in the past, which is really a personal problem – I never can treat any sort of fantasy as FUN. Comedic relief, fine, but when you’re dealing with magic and all these dark forces, it should never feel like a good time out in the park. The two just don’t link up for me.

So what this did so well is keep the wonder and the magic (not abra-kadabra, but the magic of the story and the imagery), but not make it SILLY. There really aren’t any wacky characters or situations thrown in. Sure, the larger context is that Harry is wrapped up in this game, but it never really seems like a FUN game. People DIE in these, after all.

The games, by the way, are fantastically realized. And here’s where I really credit director Mike Newell. The dragon sequence is a great chase scene. The underwater scene is simply beautiful. And that maze scene…pure suspense. Truly great suspense fantasy.

And the graveyard. When you have this much action and suspense throughout the entire movie, and it builds to something that TOTALLY pays off, it comes off so amazing. Look at Luke and Vader’s battle in EMPIRE. This was the closest I’ve seen to a meeting like that since. It’s every bit as horrible and incredible as the whole flow of the movie built it to be. Anything less would have been so underwhelming (Evidence A: PRISONER OF AZKABAN). And even though I knew nothing of Voldemort or the like, the second Harry sensed it I knew something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. So due credit to not only the writing staff but to Daniel Radcliffe, who overall does fantastic work here.

My problems with the movie are few and far between. The rock music in the dance scene really took it out of the world that was otherwise left entirely intact. Ron and Harry’s bout feels unfounded, and resolves itself with no actual fallout. And as far as I can tell, short of getting pissed at or worried about Harry and Ron, Hermione never really seems to have any problems, and acts mostly as the traditional fallback female role as the voice of reason. That, despite this, she remains a solid, real, and compelling character throughout says a lot for actress Emma Watson.

Right now, this movie's around 11th on my favorites for this year (I've seen 42). However, this is my favorite adventure film this year (unless you count WAR OF THE WORLDS), which I think says a lot in a year with BATMAN BEGINS. So yeah, for those of you who didn't already see it this weekend, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and the Superman trailer is incredible.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Basement Board Weekly

Background: The whiteboard in the basement of Varsity House has been an anti-JP board this year. JP is our President, so we've been plotting mutinies and making fun of him a lot. I wrote this article on the message board.

More background: Varsity House has a new high-tech toaster. You're supposed to press the waffle button when you're making waffles, and then they come out perfectly toasted. Also, fire trucks came to Varsity House on Monday because someone left the gas stove on and the fan was off. James is his roommate, who considered waking up Jon when the fire trucks got here, but Jon was asleep. One last tidbit is that Jon is a senior and his girlfriend is a freshman.

THE BASEMENT BOARD WEEKLY

NEWSFOCUS: Jon Powell's 11/14/05 Diary Entry (Uneditted)

Dear Diary,
I tride to wake up on time this morning. I normally turn off my alarm and fall back asleep. So last nite I put my alarm clock on the other side of the room, so that I'd half to get up and turn it off. It didn't work though. I ended up just dragging my bed over to the clock than turning it off and falling back asleep. That was the forth time I have mist my spelling class.
Today at brekfest I wanted to have some waffuls so I orderd some on the new toaster. Butt aparently, the "waffle" button wasn't working, so I decided to make a bananana. While I was cooking it, I notist a shiny red thing on the wall that sed, "Pull in case of fire." I saw that the gas stove was using fire. I thot that sumthing wasn't rite because it was suposed to be a gas stove, not a fire stove. So I tride to obey the red button butt I couldn't pull it off. But I think it broke cause part of it came down and than it started crying. So I ran away.
I was pretending to be asleep wen a bunch of red trucks showed up. I think they wer bringing me a lowder alarm clock cause it sure sounded like it. I thot I was in trubble because I mist class agin. So wen James came to my bed I pretended to be fast asleep, witch isn't really true, cause I am not a fast sleeper. It normally takes me from ten to twenty minits to fall sleep. Eksept for those times wen it takes longer. Than it is more like twenty to fourty minits. Butt if I am tired, it is more like five to ten minits.
I got to hang out with my girlfrend today. She smells really pritty. Maybe all young girls smell so good. My frends say I am robbing the cradle. Butt I think they just arn't vary smart because I no that I half not stolen any cradles. I like younger girls cause I am so much smarter then them.
Well, thanks for listening to me Mr. Diary. You are my best frend.

I love you,
Love,
Jon Powell.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Prayers greatly appreciated.

Today we got a call saying that there was a liver available for my dad. He is now in the ICU being prepped for said liver. They will be harvesting the liver in an hour or so and we will know if it is in good enough condition to be transplanted. The operation is scheduled for nine tonight. Anything can happen though and my mom and I are trying not to get our hopes up. They may decide in a few hours that it won’t work and send my dad home. Also, he is a very high-risk patient due to malnourishment and his social worker said that the speed in getting a transplant is a testament to how sick he really is. All we can do now is hope and pray.

I will most likely be in a hospital waiting room all night, so if you feel like you want to call feel free. The surgery can last anywhere from 5-18 hours and I’ll be honest with you, if I can’t have your friendly faces it would be really nice to hear some friendly voices.

Thanks for all your support. Please keep my dad in your thoughts and prayers tonight. It really means a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Uncle

Hey guys, sorry to be depressing and everything, but my uncle is going in for some really serious surgery on the 17th and I'd greatly appreciate it if you all kept him in your prayers.
thanks

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Very Klepto Thanksgiving

Greetings from Marquette-ville!

Today our usual dining hall fare of piles of crap and grease was magically replaced by a homemade Thanksgiving dinner full of meat, potatoes, and other good stuff. Like pie. I enjoy a good pie. Anyway.

So one of my friends couldn't make it to dinner because she had class and a variety of other things to do. Her parting words before leaving the line outside of the feast were "steal some shit for me, alright?"

And oh, we did.

First, we took a giant stack of turkey and ham, wrapped it in napkins, and gave it to our fifth floor liason to take up to my sixth floor liason's room before going off to work. She embarked, leaving us to the remainder of our dinner and to the most cunning part of our plan. Smuggling out a bowl full of mashed potatoes and gravy in a sweater is pretty hard work, but we managed not to stain anything and got into the elevator. If it started leaking gravy, the plan was to tell whoever caught us that Lydia (the sweatshirt bearer) had a condition. Of some sort. I dunno. We also swiped some silverware for the hell of it.

We got upstairs only to find a missed call on my sixth floor liason's cell phone from the fifth-floor liason... apparently she coudln't get into the sixth-floor liason's room to make the drop on the meat, so now she is at work with a large stack of turkey and ham in her backpack until 9 o'clock tonight. Oops. Oh well, a feast shall be had! And her backpack shall smell like meat!

Ah, it was a very klepto Thanksgiving indeed.

Whoa!

Check out the two first results from the title link! Oh man is that cool!




































There we go. Much happier front page.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Front Page News.

Sex-abuse suits embroil Jesuits in Northwest
Lawsuits The Oregon-based province faces scores of cases, many involving priests in Alaska
Monday, November 14, 2005
ASHBEL S. GREEN
The Oregonian


In the long shadow of the Archdiocese of Portland bankruptcy, an Oregon-based Jesuit province faces a growing priest-abuse litigation crisis of its own.

In the last few years, as many as 100 people have filed sex-abuse lawsuits accusing more than a dozen priests and volunteers of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, according to plaintiffs' attorneys.

The Northwest Jesuits are separate from the Portland Archdiocese and report to superiors outside the Vatican in Rome. The province covers five states -- Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska -- but the bulk of the alleged abuse occurred in remote Alaskan Eskimo villages that during the long winters are almost completely cut off from the rest of the world.

"There's no one to tell, no one to turn to, no one to talk to," said Elsie Boudreau, an Anchorage woman who was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest when she was a girl. Boudreau settled her case for $1 million in April.

The Rev. John D. Whitney, the Portland-based provincial superior, admitted that the Rev. James Poole had committed sexual abuse and apologized to Boudreau.

"We apologize to the victim of this misconduct, and to all who have suffered a loss of hope and trust," Whitney said in April. "We ask forgiveness as we strive to ensure that such actions do not happen again."

The Northwest Jesuits have paid about $7.5 million to settle lawsuits, far less than the $53 million spent by the Portland Archdiocese before it sought bankruptcy protection in 2004.

Bankruptcy was supposed to allow the archdiocese to get a handle on priest-abuse litigation, but 18 months later little has been resolved. More than 200 sex-abuse claims are pending. And a judge has yet to decide the most explosive issue in the case: The archdiocese's claim that church law prohibits it from selling parish churches to pay off sex-abuse claims.

The Northwest Jesuits take the same position about such prominent Jesuit organizations as Gonzaga and Seattle universities, and Portland's Jesuit High School. But no legal proceeding has forced the issue.

Although dozens of lawsuits are pending against the Jesuits and a trial is scheduled to begin in February, Whitney said he has given no serious thought to following the Portland Archdiocese into bankruptcy.

"My primary concern really is trying to find ways toward healing," he said.

Pope Pius XI called remote Alaska "the most difficult mission in the world" because of the extreme conditions, Whitney said. The challenge of working in such a tough environment has drawn Jesuits from throughout the world.

Christopher R. Cooke, an Anchorage attorney who represents priest-abuse plaintiffs, said the remoteness of the villages proved ideal for pedophile priests. Many villages lacked phone service, and roads were not passable during the long winters.

Absolute trust

And the Yupik Eskimos, isolated by geography, language and culture, were taught to trust their priests absolutely.

"Their power was virtually unfettered," Cooke said. "There wasn't a policeman down the street you could talk to if something was wrong."

Cooke said documents indicate that when the Portland-based Jesuits learned about sex-abuse allegations as far back as 1960, they moved the priest to another village or another state. Cooke said that in some cases, pedophile priests from other parts of the country were sent to Alaska.

"They knew," Cooke said. "They had plenty of notice."

Whitney disagrees.

"We never dumped people in Alaska," he said.

Whitney also said plaintiffs' lawyers are reading too much into documents that they claim show Jesuits did nothing about sex-abuse allegations.

Although the province's headquarters are in Portland, very little of the litigation directly touches Oregon.

A suit filed in Multnomah County in September accused the Rev. John Schwartz, a former teacher at Jesuit High School, of molesting a student in the 1980s. Schwartz is no longer a Jesuit and works as a priest in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Schwartz denies the charge, according to a spokesman for the San Francisco Archdiocese, but has taken a voluntary leave of absence from a church assignment.

Priest fathered two

A suit filed last month in Alaska accused the Rev. James E. Jacobson of sexually assaulting two women in Alaska during the 1960s and '70s and fathering two sons. Jacobson later was sent to Oregon and assigned to be a prison chaplain in Salem, where he worked for 25 years before retiring in August.

An article in the Catholic Sentinel said Jacobson was especially beloved by inmates on Death Row. He received the Salvation Army's national award for Chaplain of the Year and the American Catholic Correctional Chaplain Association's Maximilian Kolbe Award.

Whitney said he recently became aware of evidence that Jacobson had fathered children. Jacobson acknowledges having a relationship with two women, but denies sexually assaulting them.

The Rev. James Laudwein was working in a ministry for the poor in Portland until last month, when he was accused in a lawsuit of molesting a 14-year-old Eskimo girl in 1980. Laudwein denies the accusations against him, Whitney said.

Missionary work

The Jesuits, the largest Catholic religious order in the world with 20,000 members, were founded during the Protestant Reformation. They are known for education and missionary work.

In the Northwest province, Jesuit priests do missionary work among native peoples in Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Montana. They also teach at Jesuit colleges and schools, and staff more than half a dozen parishes, including St. Ignatius in Southeast Portland.

Whitney said the organization has paid for settlements with insurance, savings and by asking priestly communities to reduce expenses. None of the money has come or could come from Jesuit schools because they are independent organizations, he said.

That claim -- disputed by plaintiffs' attorneys -- echoes the most hotly contested issue in the Portland Archdiocese bankruptcy: ownership of the more than 100 Catholic churches in Western Oregon.

Archdiocese officials say that under church law, the parishes are separate entities. A bankruptcy judge in Spokane -- the location of one of the two other Catholic bankruptcy cases in the United States -- ruled earlier this year that the diocese owned the parish churches. Elizabeth Perris, the judge overseeing the Portland case, is expected to rule on that issue early next year.

Trial scheduled

The most immediate legal issue on the horizon for the Jesuits is a trial scheduled for February in Nome involving Poole, whom five people have accused of sexual abuse. The Jesuits and the Diocese of Fairbanks have settled two Poole cases, including the one with Boudreau. Poole lives in an assisted living facility in Spokane.

One reason that Whitney said he is not considering bankruptcy is that he is seeking to have the courts say the Jesuits are not liable for dozens of sex-abuse allegations against volunteers. That would significantly reduce the number of lawsuits.

Still, he acknowledged that the organization cannot afford to continue paying big settlements.

"If all the claims come though in million-dollar increments, we'll be in trouble," Whitney said.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Concert Review

Yesterday I went to see my first a-capella concert here at Cornell. I always knew that it was a big thing here, and I was finally going to see a concert! I was excited... little did I know, I would be sorely disappointed. Apparently it was put on by the Gay-Straight Alliance or something, I'm not sure, but it was a bit... y'know. They were okay, but there was this one really annoying new kid, obviously he was the gay part. He really sucked. You were able to pick out his voice really easily from the other ones, it just didn't harmonize well.... it was really bad. I think he was retarded, too. Since he is new to the group, they introduced him along with the other new guys. But he couldn't read or write, so they had do an interview instead of him just writing something down like prom court or something. I forget how it went exactly.... but he said that "College was fun.... The Waiters were fun.... His interests were... having fun, etc. Either the guy was the most boring guy ever, or was definitely handicapped in some way. " The mental handicap would explain why he has been "shaving his pubes and leaving them on the toilet" (anonymous tip) So I guess I really shouldn't make fun of him. He looked awfully familiar, too... Maybe one of you will be able to tell me who he reminds me off...


But anyway, I don't know why I paid $9 to see them. And they only did one decent song the whole time "Southern Cross" by Jimmy Buffet. I actually like theirs better than Buffet's... but other than that... Even "We Didn't Go To Harvard" was sub-par.

PS: I really should have left early, especially since my roommate called, telling me that he locked himself out of his room. But I knew better than to just leave in the middle of a performance, so I stuck it out. Besides, I had a friend performing, and I mean, how would you feel if a friend came to see you, but then left 10 minutes into the show? I mean, I wouldn't let him forget about it. EVER.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Let's Play A Little Game!

I could have just linked this, but it's more fun to do it yourself. Today, when Ben instant messaged me to ask for my goat porn collection, I told him I would post it on the blog. So I opened up good ol' Internet Explorer and tried to type in the URL. Usually even with a moderate amount of crack cocaine in my system I can do that. However, tonight I'd added some powdered Ritalin to the mix, and so instead of typing "mmmgravy.blogSPot.com", I typo'ed miserably and ended up with "mmmgravy.blogPSot.com". The result? CORYYYYY!!!

Seriously, that's hilarious. I think as bloggers we should take this as a compliment.

Go team!

Posers

Hey everybody, remember that time Ken single-handedly defaced the St. Ignatius statue at Jesuit by taping a tequila bottle he found to its hand? How awesome was that? Ken's the man, despite what Pat thinks. Anyway, some jerkoff stole his idea here at Notre Dame and duct taped a liquor bottle to Fr. Sorin, except Sorin doesn't have a hand that's perfect to tape bottles to, so they just stuck it to his crossed arms. Lame. And I bet he did it with some friends, unlike our Eagle Scout who went solo. Junior year Ken Colwell is infinitely cooler than the most-likely upperclassmen who pulled this sorry replica of his prank. I don't think we knew how good we had it guys.

post script
No, I'm not bitter Kenneth.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yep, She Deleted It.

I love my team and especially my roommates, and I would never want to see any of them in trouble.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Joys of Science

I think my physical science teacher is bipolar or something. Most days, she just lectures, but there are also days where she brings us candy and tells us stories, or gives us balloons to play with in class, or throws action figures around the room to demonstrate some principle or other. It's pretty ridiculous. But on those days, I look forward to the homework assignments, because they're things like to go float in the ocean (and write a paper about it), or build a circuit, or color the periodic table so it looks pretty. And sometimes she lets us grade each other's homework assignments. (Bad idea.)

Last week, we were assigned to... get this... write a poem about elements. So the night before class, I whipped out an amazing piece of poetry in about two minutes (Cynda helped), which I thought I'd share with you guys, because I received an outstanding grade on it:

Es - Einsteinium, a genius you are
Li - Lithium, with you I shall go far
Eu - Europium, you come from distant lands
Mg - Magnesium, I'll find you in my hands
Er - Erbium, you have a strange name
N - Nitrogen, from the air you came
T - Thallium, your name is even stranger
S - Sulfur, you are a source of danger

Oh, please... hold your applause. Anyway, the dude who was grading my poem liked it so much that he gave it 120 points out of 30. Yeah. That good.

Although I think I preferred the haiku I made up before class for a girl who hadn't written a poem... It's sheer brilliance, let me tell you.

I love elements.
Especially Au - gold.
They are my good friends.

She got an insane amount of extra credit for that as well. And you know what's really funny? The teacher actually put those grades in the gradebook. (Although she hasn't let us grade each other's assignments since.)

My other professors are all relatively normal, and I especially like my political science class because apart from being a really good teacher, the guy's like a stand-up comedian, so he makes things interesting.

But is it just me, or does anyone else have a teacher who's on drugs?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Turkey

I saw Dr. Gorman at PSU today.

Also, my best friend since way back when left for Marine boot camp last week, so any prayers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I Figure It's Blogworthy

Hey guys, I'm alive...

Anyway, as freaking-huge-term-paper season looms over me, I find myself more and more able to procrastinate. Hence, this blogging. I should be working on an oral presentation in Spanish right now, in addition to actually trying to get my Psych group to do some work on our project due Tuesday. I should also be determining what kind of syllogisms Socrates uses in "Crito," and putting his arguments into centristic and Aristotelian logic form...but suffice to say, I'm not.

Instead, I'm letting you know that I got knighted into the brotherhood of Esto Vir, a group on CUA's campus. Basically, it consisted (still does, but this is a history paragraph now) of guys who were tired of the stereotypical man being the crass, loud, binge-drinking, sex-obsessed, tactless, faithless, superficial jock who lives at the end of the hall. So...well, rather than trying to make every male change from that stereotype, their goal was to gather like-minded guys together so as to validate their beliefs, to show them that they didn't have to capitulate. And, should their example of true manhood inspire people to shape up, that's awesome. The group started out four years ago...it was a small group, but it's survived. They chose the patron saint to be St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei (he was the newest saint at the time).

So yeah, we went through this five-week formation period, where we talked about the five lifestyles we focused on: Prayer, brotherhood, self-sacrifice, chastity, and fortitude. Then we went to the beach at the end of week 5 for a retreat, and that was sweet. Then began the week of fire, which is like initiation, but everybody does it. Basically, we go to Mass daily, and starting on Monday (it's technically correct) morning, we wake up at 1 AM to say a decade of the rosary. Then at 2 AM Tuesday, we do the same thing. Then 3AM Wednesday, 4 Thursday, and 5 Friday. And Friday we fast for 12 hours. Then we either do service or pray a whole heck of a lot on Saturday. Sunday's initiation, where old knights renew their vows, and Aspirants are knighted in. There's a sword and everything. It was pretty cool.

Anyway, that's the story. I'm off to get some sleep, because...well, it's that time of day when I realized I should get more sleep.

Have a good one, guys

The Big City

So Nancy is apparently going to NYC next weekend, and, wants me to come down too. I was skeptical at the time, and told her I'd tell her later, because I didn't know then. But now I have made up my mind. I, Douglas Puett, will venture forth from Ithaca into the wild unknowns of the big city.... Syracuse. Me, with the rest of the Rocky cast are putting on two performances on Saturday. Needless to say, NYC is out of the question. But compared to Ithaca, anything is a big city, so I doubt that I'll actually be able to tell the difference.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Am Such A Loser Sometimes.

I lost my cell phone last Thursday.

Felt like I had lost a limb or something...the mourning period was terrible, kept thinking I was hearing ringtones and it was just SO HARD.

Now I have a new phone...but no numbers.

My number's the same, text me your numbers or over AIM or whatever.

Thanks guysssss.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween: What Happened?

I was gonna post this to my personal blog, but it came out so darned well and I think it allows for some discussion and hardly anybody reads that thing anyway that it's going here instead. Love it.

An interesting phenomenon has developed that I'd kinda been noticing, but was really just pointed out to me. It's about Halloween (how appropriate).

First, somehow Halloween stopped being about dressing up as something cool or scary, and became entirely about being a complete idiot (I keep in mind, of course, the giant beer keg) or a whore (how many dirty nurse, librarian, cheerleader, or Catholic schoolgirl costumes did YOU see this year? never mind that the "cat" costume has developed purely into skimpy dress with some ears, maybe a tail). Props, though, to some of the cool costumes I saw/heard about, including Penny Lane from Almost Famous (never mind this girl pretty much IS Penny Lane to begin with) and a suite who teamed up to become Mortal Kombat.

The other phenomenon is that suddenly Halloween is a rival with St. Patrick's Day for "LET'S GET WASTED!" I can see the connection in a costume party sense, but somehow it just doesn't link up in my sober mind. But that might just be consequence of the aforementioned state of being. That said, I met a girl who really wants me to drink with her, so we'll see where that goes.

But I had a good Halloween weekend. I was sick for the first time this school year, and the first in awhile in general (probably since Footloose), so I stayed in the dorms except for a run for video games and Pizzaria Uno, where me and Ben were promptly hit on by a waitress who, upon discovering we were far younger than she suspected, lept from the seat at the table in which she had planted herself. And I discoverd a system for making Eggos.

In spite of the way that just came out, the Eggos and the fleeing waitress were entirely separate incidents.

Also, it snowed here Saturday, prompting the southerners and Californians to go "play in the snow," though it amounted to no more than wet cement, and in turn didn't help my mission to "Get Well Soon!", though it promptly turned to 65-degree weather THE NEXT DAY.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Jesu-What? Life in Spokane(or Spo-Can't or Spokesville or Spo-Compton etc...)

I know, it took me a while to post. This is because I am lazy bastard.

Anyway, Gonzaga is pretty cool. The first upperclassman I spoke to on campus was Tim Rhoads, which was cool. Orientation was kind of disappointing other than that(nothing like ND's) but everything since then has been great. We've already had two retreats, although they weren't even close to comparing to Jesuit's. I also have possibly one of the hardest freshman schedules because I am majoring in computer engineering(considered one of the hardest majors at GU because it is basically two majors in one), have advanced classes in that major, and am most likely minoring in math. In other words, people are in and out of my room asking for help on homework. To give you a sense of how easy it is, the other day I was described as "a genius." It's that easy. Also, I've already had two roommates.

Today I stood in line for about 5 hours to get basketball tickets for Saturday. I'm pumped and they're playing LC State College. I can't wait for big games so that I can sleep outside the building in a tent. It's going to kick ass.

I'm also appearing on TV with several others from Campion. And...let's just say that we're dressed in very strange outfits(mine involves a revolver, an eyepatch, and several items of clothing that women would wear). On TV. Fortunately, it's limited to the Spokane area so the damage is minimal(no one can afford a TV in Spokane, just kidding. But seriously...).

On a final note, the link is to the baratsandbereta.com because Barats is my RA. It's tremendously funny stuff, I recommend watching it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Outsiders Looking In

The Outsiders Looking In

Some breaking news in the Life of Devon (or what little there is of it) that I thought I'd keep you guys apprised of... I just found out that I'm going to be an uncle! My brother Jeff and his wife, Tam found out like a week or two ago. It's too early to determine gender or anything, but they said that they should know by Thanksgiving. I'm really excited... its also going to be interesting to see how my brother deals with a little kid, seeing as how he was fairly cranky about having kids around him when I was growing up. But yeh... thought I'd say that cause I'm really excited!

Hey look, it's Chip and Dale!




Aren't they the cutest?

The Newestest Members of the Chippendales Family...




-Karolyn

The Newest Members of the Chippendales Family






These pictures will probably kill any political campaign I would want to have, but it was one of heckuva dance party. We probably would have made money if there was alcohol there. Oh well. Good times. :-D

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Because I hate my TA's

In case you didn't know, I am an asshole. So there I was, doing my computer science project, and I got really, really bored with it. We had to write something that used RSA encoding, and the way they had us do it was far too easy. So I decided do it the way we did it last year in number theory. I used the Euclidean algorithm for GCD and for finding integer solutions to 1=ax + by. Then I threw in some successive squaring. Luckily, I still had the successive squaring program on my calculator. Unfortunately, I changed the Euclidean program so that Jeff couldn't mooch it off me, but I forgot what I did, and had to redo the whole program by hand. Hellua annoying, but it was fun. But basically, I used math that I'm pretty sure none of my TA's know how to do. They are going to be so hellua confused. Yeah, so that's my story. I used upper-level math on my Computer Science 100 project. I just hope that my TA's don't dock me because they don't know what I did, or think that I plagierize... But I have no need to worry, I'm no Pat, I keep my number theory honest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Conversation I just heard in the elevator

"Okay, so the thing's at three on Friday."
"The only thing is--"
"I'll wake you up at 2:30"
"I have class 'til 3:45"
"I have class 'til...2:45"
"Oh, wait, fuck no, I have class 'til TWELVE forty-five"
"I have class 'til ONE forty-five"

I have no idea why, but this amused me.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Week Back in Portland

-Got a coat (Gotta support those destitute Boyles)
-Saw Mr. Naggi at the airport (imagined that he was there to apprehend Cynda, visualized elaborate fight sequence)
-Told my parents I wanted to be a doctor in the corniest way possible (I was nervous and after being prompted to read my helpful fortune cookie fortune, waited ten seconds and spilled my guts)
-Failed to obtain a ticket to the Iron+Wine and Calexico concert, consoled self with drive through West Hills (Eastside is still better)
-Talked up Notre Dame to Dr. Gorman's Physics class (was doing very well until I couldn't find the right way to describe the trancendence of Charlie Weis and settled with archangel. How dumb is that?)
-Went back to see the kids at daycare (drew Pokemon for an hour and a half)
-Went to littlest brother Geoff's soccer practice and game (they are called the Ranger's but they definitely have not earned Gravy yet)
-Started a vinyl collection in preparation for the concept of the new radio show for next semester (Still working on a name, thinking something like The War on Adult Contemporary)
-Ran to old school, touched rim after nine or ten tries, first time touching a ten foot rim (can you tell I was proud?)
-Saw JV and Varsity play Aloha (disappointed by less than dominant teams)
-Did about 2.5% of the homework I told myself I was going to do (oh well)
-Realized, finally, that Notre Dame is my home (in the car ride to the airport)

post script
I also got a drunken email from one of the members of my section, which is not abnormal, this one was just funnier and less offensive than most. I will go back in my archives and see if any more are worth sharing. I don't know, it made me laugh.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dirk Hemley vs. Suicide Deer

A couple days ago, I was walking up to campus from downtown Ithaca (when I say "up," I mean put on a backpack in NW Portland and walk to Skyline... I got lost and couldn't find a bus stop). I got to the bridge that crosses the gorge between Collegetown and Central Campus, but I was tired, so I went down the little path to look at the waterfall, and was just standing there when a couple of policemen walked down the trail past me. I didn't really pay attention because I was watching the falls, but then I hear a big BAM! I look down, startled, and I see that one of the policemen had walked into the middle of the creek and fired his handgun into a deer, now lying in the stream turning it red. He waits for a second and shoots it again. I was pretty confused, but the guy next to me explained that the deer had been on the bridge, probably about a hundred feet above the stream, and gotten scared by a car and jumped off. It's hard to communicate what a huge jump that is. Anyway, the deer apparently was still alive and the policemen had to shoot it.

This place is pretty gangsta.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL COOL

I've always wanted to say that but have never been presented the opportunity. Discuss.

I AM MORALLY OPPOSED TO CAPITALIZING

I live at home. I have no car. I go to PSU. I do gymnastics.

A while ago, I started out at PSU. Between a few distant, but bad memories, and Machuca telling me he did his Christian Service there, I had low expectations to say the least. I didn’t get what I expected.

Portland. I’ve lived here all my life, but in the past few weeks I’ve seen a totally different side to this quiet little city. There’s actually some cool stuff to do here. Who knew. It’s really great living here. It would be nice to not live at home and to have a car, but I can’t have everything.

The school itself is actually pretty good. It’s actually pretty scholarly instead of sport and party centered, though there are lots of parties and our sports teams, well..., exist. The classes themselves are also really personal, I didn't expect that with the huge population of PSU. Even Japanese class is fun. I have not said that for a while. Out of school activities are great too. There’s a shit-load to do. I could seriously go on all day. Another plus is that people here a pretty cool too. PSU has a pretty unique student body, mostly because people are older. It’s pretty unstructured here, and I love my free time.

In other news, I’ll be joining break dancing club and I suggest you guys do the same if you have the opportunity. People are pretty understanding no matter how bad you are and I guarantee that you’ll have a great time. Also, my teammate Kyle broke the high bar. He literally snapped it in half and sliced open his hand. Luckily he was in the foam pit and kept rotating so he didn't land on his head. This has only happened once or twice in the history of gymnastics (that is snapping in the middle) and we got it on video! Probably the only one ever. My team’s also going to Japan in February so that's gonna be amazing. A good post at least...

GODDAMMIT NOT ANOTHER ONE

Okay, so this little tropical depression showed up in the southern Gulf and became a wee lil Category 1 Hurricane a little while ago. It's called Wilma and it's the only time a storm has ever had a W name. With Wilma, this hurricane season ties 1969 as the busiest on record. If there is another hurricane, we'll be calling it Hurricane Alpha because we're all out of names.

Oh yeah, Wilma ain't so puny anymore.



Here's the report:

OCT 19, 2005 3:00AM CDT

An hour ago, the RECON reported a pressure of 892mb, tied the 2nd lowest on record with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. The eye is an unprecedented 2NM across -- and the aircraft is taking readings from the 700mb level. Typically, 700m is around 10,000'. In Wilma's case, it is 2,132m around 6,500 feet. 168KT in the SE Quadrant, just 3NM outside from the center -- is at least 175mph sustained surface winds.


To translate, this thing has an INCREDIBLY tiny eyewall (2 nautical miles...) and is moving really, really fast. Not only that, but it now has the second lowest pressure on record, which means that it has the potential to be the second strongest hurricane on record. The best way to describe this storm is a really, really big tornado. The only thing people in its path have going for them is the fact that this thing is hauling ass so it won't have enough time to stick around and cause major damage, and the eyewall (which contains the most destructive winds) is so small that the major damage will be very centralized. Due to a very strong cold front moving through the area, Wilma is set to make a sharp right turn and slam straight through Florida and come out the other side into the greater Atlantic sometime around Sunday or Monday.

For the record, the lowest pressure system on record is Super Typhoon Tip (870 mb), which was roughly the size of the entire western United States. This hurricane is incredibly tiny compared to Tip, and yet it has an incredibly low pressure.

So there's another Cat 5 storm in the Atlantic. This has been one batshit hurricane season, and there are still almost 6 weeks left.



CORRECTION/UPDATE: Wilma's pressure has now been measured at 882 MB, making it the lowest pressure storm in the Gulf and Atlantic Basin since the dawn of pressure measurement. This also makes it the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Gulf. Wilma also has the smallest eye that has ever been observed. It's a record breaker, this one. Hoooly shit. This storm dropped 100 mb in pressure literally overnight. It deepened at the rate of 9.7 mb an HOUR. 90 minutes from when it was reported to be a Cat 2, it became a Cat 5. Psychotic. It's like a diseased mutant bastard child of a tornado and a hurricane. Nobody's ever seen anything like this one.

Oh Hurricane Alpha. What will you be like?

PS. Click on the link in the title. That is some CRAZY eye movement. Like the eye itself is being pushed around by the storm.

PPS. Scott does movies. Alex does Tacos. I do hurricanes. We're like an entertainment-food-catastrophic weather event news station.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

SPICY CHICKEN CRUNCHWRAP SUPREME

If you haven’t already, you're going to be hearing a lot of negativity from critics across the nation about this Crunchwrap. And there's good reason for it. The Spicy Chicken does a fine job here, but nothing that it could have been given Taco Bell’s past success with pulling tastes out of foods that are otherwise not so good. The ingredients aren't particularly original, and even mines some territory Taco Bell's covered before (but though comparisons are easy, this is NOT a "Chalupa"). It's cheesy. It's schmaltz.

But there's a reason I left the restaurant smiling. There's a reason I boarded the Tri-Met and bounded Down the street to Hawthorne Comics to pick up not only the soundtrack (called "Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap: A Collection of Music to Drive and Live By"), but this CD that I don't even know what it is that's just called "Taco Bell: Songs From the Brown Bell" (they were out of or never had John William’s amazing score). There's a reason I then nearly ran back to my house to throw this into my computer to listen to it. There's a reason it now blasts from my computer's speakers. (“You’ve got that Crunchwrap feeling, now its gone, gone, gone, whooo whooo hooow!)

And it's not just because the elevator music that Taco Bell plays is simply wonderful, though that too is true.

It's because this is a fantastic taco. There are a thousand ways critically you can bring it down, and between every article posted to Rotten Tomatoes (literally, some guy had rotten tomatoes in his) that contributed to its 31% rating, you'll be able to find all of them.

And yes it's schmaltz. Of COURSE it's schmaltz. Of COURSE it's cheesy. But since when was that necessarily such a bad thing? If it draws you in, if you care about it and you feel every moment of it, bring on the schmaltz. "Nachos" are pure schmaltz. But they are fantastic. (Personally I just order mine without the nacho cheese)

This is a Taco Bell Lover's taco. It's one to grab your friends and sit in the middle of a crowded Restataunt. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, this is THE dinner to serve them. Or go alone. I grabbed my buddies Bridget, Amy, and Kelly and went to Lunch knowing full well I'd be sitting with the co-workers and old people. Just sit down and let yourself be immersed in it. Take in the juicy sauce that you know Taco Bell has picked especially so you can enjoy it. Enter a sensation much like being high. Watch small town America drift by as you drive across America. Remember your first love. Remember your last love. Remember the loves you never had but were just as sweet.

And you'll hear comparisons to The "Gordita." If anyone tells you that, they have never tasted the Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap. Beyond a very BASIC ingredient list, you could not find a more different film. It spends no time trying to be hip or weird or cool, but spends every second invested in the pure taste and joy of bliss.

It's about love finding you when you absolutely need it the most. It's about reconnecting with your taste buds when you'd pretty much written the idea off. It's about making a connection with a strange food, be it spicy or mild, and giving yourself that knowledge of Taco-Belliness everytime you see your new true love, The Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap. It's about impossible ingredient combinations that are not so entirely impossible but so entirely real in their taste. If you've tasted a taco bell taco, no matter its size, you'll taste the spicy moments in this Crunchwrap as much as you taste the sweet ones. And you'll know how much you would've killed for one of those tastes to linger forever.

Chicken is a food I have despised since my mom only cooked chicken for three months strait, and on through Thanksgiving Dinner and even Christmas and its presence during Easter was enough for me to not care that the rest of the meal looked fantastic. And though one could pick apart its placed here, it was GOOD. The Chicken did exactly what it should: It was dynamic, exciting to eat, and drew me in at every turn. He made you CARE about the poor defenseless chicken that you were eating.

And the tomato-lettuce combination...I love that. I've ALWAYS loved that. From The “Gordita" on through the first time I tried The “Chalupa" to even "The Original Crunchwrap." This is the tomato-lettuce combination’s best taco to date. It's fantastic. Engaging as it always is to eat, Taco Bell managed to place them in a way I'd never seen them before. I have no idea what it was specifically, but it brought me far more down to earth and totally believable that I was eating something fit for gods. The Crunchwrap has a quality that makes you WANT to eat it, and it was there. And beyond being the tomato-lettuce who rescues the spicy chicken from evils of the hard-shell you CARE about the plants that were sacrificed so that you could enjoy your meal


The rest of the supporting ingredients...fantastic. Taco Bell never for one second lets any one of them just be another ingredient in the Crunchwrap; merely a pleasantry taste that you can rely on to cut to for a momentary explosion. They matter.

I simply cannot recommend this enough. It's a FUNNY LOOKING taco. With a HEARTFELT taste. Taco Bell loves and it cares about its customers, its employees, EVERYONE. My only regret in writing this is you might go with so high expectations that, slight as the chance is, you could be disappointed. And though it's worth every word I've written, it's a personal taco. People will connect to it in a lot of different ways, just like every kind of food Taco Bell has ever made. This is how I connected.

And that's one point I gotta make...this is not a Crunchwrap for everyone, but not in the same way "Fiesta Potatoes" isn't for everyone. This isn't something you "get" or "don't get." There's not a whole lot to get. It's a matter of if you feel it or not. It's not a bad thing if you don't. I didn't feel an ounce of " The Half Pound Beef and Potato Burrito” the first time I tried it, but when I tuned into it months later, I fell in love with it.

It's not "The Half Pound Beef and Potato Burrito " (my second-favorite food ever). It's not "The Spicy Chicken Soft Taco" (my favorite small taco ever). It's not at ALL "Fiesta Potatoes."

It's its own particular special brand of feel-great food that makes me not for a second want to go back and read over this to make sure I'd said the wrong thing or written too much about it or see if I wrote anything embarrassing in my pure excitement or let it sit for a day and wonder if I really liked it as much as I think I do, because right now it's my favorite food of this year. That includes " The Half Pound Beef and Potato Burrito " or "The Fiesta Potatoes" or "The Spicy Chicken Soft Taco" or "Chicken Ranchero Gordita" or any of the other tacos I've been talking about whenever someone brings up Taco Bell to go see right now. I simply ADORE the Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme.

And what you have just read is the feeling I got coming out of the restaurant. And THAT'S the feeling that matters in reviewing a taco.

Now go out, tell the food critics to go to Hell on this one, and bask in it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

ELIZABETHTOWN

If you haven’t already, you're going to be hearing a lot of negativity from critics across the nation about this movie. And there's good reason for it. Orlando Bloom does a fine job here, but nothing that it could have been given Cameron Crowe's past success with pulling performances out of people who are otherwise not so good. The story isn't particularly original, and even mines some territory Crowe's covered before (but though comparisons are easy, this is NOT "Jerry Maguire"). It's cheesy. It's schmaltz.

But there's a reason I left the theater smiling. There's a reason I boarded the subway and bounded up the stairs to Newbury Comics to pick up not only the soundtrack (called "Elizabethtown: A Collection of Music to Drive and Live By"), but this CD that I don't even know what it is that's just called "Elizabethtown: Songs From the Brown Hotel" (they were out of or never had Nancy Wilson's amazing score). There's a reason I then nearly ran back to the dorm to throw this into my computer to listen to it. There's a reason it now blasts from my computer's speakers.

And it's not just because the music is simply wonderful, though that too is true.

It's because this is a fantastic film. There are a thousand ways critically you can bring it down, and between every article posted to Rotten Tomatoes that contributed to its 31% rating, you'll be able to find all of them.

And yes it's schmaltz. Of COURSE it's schmaltz. Of COURSE it's cheesy. But since when was that necessarily such a bad thing? If it draws you in, if you care about it and you feel every moment of it, bring on the schmaltz. "Jerry Maguire" was pure schmaltz. But it's fantastic.

This is an audience's film. It's one to grab your friends and sit in the middle of a huge crowd. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, this is THE movie to see with them. Or go alone. I grabbed my buddy Ben and went to the 8:00 show knowing full well I'd be sitting with the couples. Just sit down and let yourself be immersed in it. Take in the music that you know Crowe has picked especially so you can enjoy it. Watch small town America drift by as you drive across America. Remember your first love. Remember your last love. Remember the loves you never had but were just as sweet.

And you'll hear comparisons to "Garden State." If anyone tells you that, they never saw the film. Beyond a very BASIC plot structure, you could not find a more different film. It spends no time trying to be hip or weird or cool, but spends every second invested in the humanity of the story.

It's about love finding you when you absolutely need it the most. It's about reconnecting with your family when you'd pretty much written the idea off. It's about making a connection with a total stranger, be it romantic or friendly, and giving them that knowing sign everytime you see them. It's about impossible road trips that are so entirely impossible but so entirely real in their emotion. If you've been on a road trip, no matter its size, you'll feel the road moments in this film as much as you feel the love ones. And you'll know how much you would've killed for one of those cases to start on.

Orlando Bloom is an actor I have despised since "Pirates," and on through "Return of the King" and "Troy" and his presence in "Kingdom of Heaven" was enough for me to not care that the rest of it looked fantastic. And though one could pick apart his performance here, he was GOOD. He did exactly what he should: He was dynamic, exciting to watch, and drew me in at every turn. He made you CARE about Drew Baylor.

And Kirsten Dunst...I love her. I've ALWAYS loved her. From "Spider-Man" on through the first time I saw "The Virgin Suicides" to even "Wimbledon." This is her best performance to date. It's fantastic. Engaging as she always is to watch, Crowe managed to photograph her in a way I'd never seen her before. I have no idea what it was specifically, but it brought her far more down to earth and totally believable as a girl from small-town Kentucky. She has a quality that makes you WANT to watch her, and it was there. And beyond being the girl who rescues the guy from emotional lows, you CARE about Claire Colburn.

The rest of the supporting cast...fantastic. Crowe and his company never for one second lets any one of them just be another character in the film; merely a joke that you can rely on to cut to for a laugh. They matter.

I simply cannot recommend this enough. It's a FUNNY film. It's a HEARTFELT film. It loves and it cares about its audience, its characters, EVERYONE. My only regret in writing this is you might go with so high expectations that, slight as the chance is, you could be disappointed. And though it's worth every word I've written, it's a personal film. People will connect to it in a lot of different ways, just like every film Crowe has ever made. This is how I connected.

And that's one point I gotta make...this is not a film for everyone, but not in the same way "Oldboy" isn't for everyone. This isn't something you "get" or "don't get." There's not a whole lot to get. It's a matter of if you feel it or not. It's not a bad thing if you don't. I didn't feel an ounce of "Almost Famous" the first time I saw it, but when I tuned into it years later, I fell in love with it.

It's not "Almost Famous" (my second-favorite movie ever). It's not "Jerry Maguire" (my favorite romantic comedy ever). It's not at ALL "Garden State."

It's its own particular special brand of feel-great movie that makes me not for a second want to go back and read over this to make sure I'd said the wrong thing or written too much about it or see if I wrote anything embarrassing in my pure excitement or let it sit for a day and wonder if I really liked it as much as I think I do, because right now it's my favorite movie this year. That includes "Oldboy" or "Thumbsucker" or "A History of Violence" or "War of the Worlds" or any of the other movies I've been talking about whenever someone brings up movies to go see right now. I simply ADORE this movie.

And what you have just read is the feeling I got coming out of the movie. And THAT'S the feeling that matters in reviewing it.

Now go out, tell the critics to go to Hell on this one, and bask in it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

For those of you who I didn't tell....

I should have posted this a while ago but I didn't get around to it.

Former Jesuit student files suit, saying a teacher molested him
Petition
Friday, October 07, 2005


The $4 million lawsuit alleges that Rev. John Schwartz abused "J.T." in the '80s

A former Jesuit High School student has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the school, saying that a teacher molested him in the late 1980s.

The former student, identified by the initials "J.T." in the lawsuit, claims that the Rev. John Schwartz engaged in various sex acts with him in 1986 and 1987.

John Kaempf, an attorney for Jesuit High School, issued the following statement:

"First and foremost, the Jesuit High School community condemns sexual abuse. In its nearly 50 years of educating students, Jesuit has never before had a priest accused of sexual abuse of a student. Jesuit's most important priority is the safety of its students.

"Unfortunately, this is the first notice to Jesuit of these claims, which involve alleged events nearly 20 years ago and an anonymous plaintiff. Father John Schwartz was never accused of any wrongdoing when he worked for Jesuit from 1981 to 1987.

"Jesuit will promptly investigate this matter so this case can be fairly resolved," wrote Kaempf, a shareholder in the law firm of Bullivant Houser Bailey.

Schwartz is no longer a member of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. He is now a parish priest in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Kaempf said.

A spokesman for the San Francisco Archdiocese did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

The lawsuit against Jesuit High was filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Jesuit is an Oregon nonprofit and is independent of the Portland Archdiocese, which sought bankruptcy protection last year in the face of millions of dollars in sexual abuse claims. -- Ashbel S. Green