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MovieLog: Shaun of the Dead


Shaun of the Dead is funny, but in the end the movie gives itself too much credit. Oooh, people with crappy customer service jobs are like zombies. Zombies, get it!? Ha ha. Clever, but not that clever. 6/10.

Posted in MovieLog at 10:00 pm

BookLog: A Short History of Nearly Everything


What a fantastic gift Bill Bryson has given us with A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is, quite simply, one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Bryson has pulled off a number of amazing feats with this book. For one, he’s taken a wide number of intimidating subjects–the origins of our universe, the rise of life, geology, biology, particle physics, and a bunch of other stuff you didn’t pay full attention to in high school–and made them accessible, understandable, and really, really interesting. Better yet, his work is detailed enough that even those who are occassionally prone to geeking out over long, staid pieces of scientific writing (a group I would incidentally consider myself a member) can find plenty to sink their teeth into.

But the tasty frosting–and, really, the thing that so sets the book apart from others like it–are Bryson’s wonderful descriptions of how we came to know everything we do. The book is awash in stories about brilliant minds stymied in their efforts to get their ideas and findings published, only to be forced to retreat into obscurity and then later suffer the added indignity of watching others get all the credit. Bryson lays out plenty of stories where people were given due credit, of course, but from looking at how petty and backstabbing the greater scientific community has been from time to time, it’s kind of amazing that we actually know anything at all.

In a way, that’s kind of in line with the greatest theme of A Short History: We are remarkably lucky to be here. To paraphrase Bryson, when we look at our history, we’re looking at a knife edge. Every single one of us is the product of an unbelievably long chain of ridiculously improbable events. But here we are, and we get to use our oversized brains to enjoy things like Bryson’s book.

Yay for us. Highly recommended.

Posted in BookLog at 7:41 pm

MovieLog: Thank You For Smoking


Its ending didn’t quite match the great ride leading up to it, but overall Thank You For Smoking was a hilarious and enjoyable film. Aaron Eckhart was perfect for the role of Nick Taylor, who summed up his philosophy of life while helping his son with a speech assignment: “That’s the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.”

I can’t wait to see Jason Reitman’s next movie. 8/10.

Posted in MovieLog at 9:04 pm

Journal for 17 Feb 2007


Woke up this morning to some guy from IHOP showing Belinda Jensen how to make pancakes. The IHOP guy was accompanied by IHOP’s feminine-looking pancake mascot.

“Look,” said Lisa, “he’s dressed as a giant flapjack!”

“That’s supposed to be a girl.”


“Men don’t have flapjacks. Only women can have flapjacks.”

And with that, we put on our coats and headed to the New Uptown Diner for pancakes.

Posted in FoodLog,Journal at 11:28 am

Journal for 15 Feb 2007


I felt our baby for the first time tonight.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 9:56 pm

Journal for 14 Feb 2007


Valentine’s Day. During a rare listen to The Current this evening I found myself thinking, huh, how many people requested Magnetic Fields tonight? And how many were drinking PBR as they did so? In this town, probably way too many.

As noted earlier, I took Lisa out on a Valentine’s Day-ish date over the weekend. My main reason for not planning something for today was because of GMAT studying commitments, but at the same time a small part of me didn’t want to do anything on the holiday itself. I’m kind of offended by the idea of needing an excuse to go out and be romantic, and I’m saying that as one of the most dreadfully unromantic people on the planet.

I hated the holiday when I was single. Somewhat to my surprise, I find myself disliking it even more now.

Posted in Journal at 11:55 pm

Items Noted Elsewhere, Al Franken Edition

Posted in Items Noted Elsewhere at 6:48 pm

FoodLog: Dinner at Duplex


Knowing that my Wednesday evening would have to be dedicated to studying, I took Lisa out to an early Valentine’s Day dinner at Duplex on Saturday. Overall, it was pretty good. We weren’t blown away, but enjoyed dinner all the same.

I had curried chicken, Lisa potato gnocchi. Both dishes were quite tasty, as was the appetizer of tamales and Lisa’s dish of squash soup. (Lisa really liked her chai as well, making me wonder if ghosts of Pandora’s were haunting the place.) The environment was both romantic and pleasantly funky, and the service was very good. It was relatively inexpensive, too: Our meal came in under $75, including tip. (Neither of us had any alcohol.)

Because of all that, I kind of hate to say I don’t see us rushing back. For the price, we could probably get a better dinner at Town Talk or, dare I say it, Figlio. (Yes, I’m a heathen.) But it was good, and I don’t think either of us would hesitate to recommend giving it a try.

Posted in FoodLog at 9:19 pm

Journal for 11 Feb 2007


Well, it’s a few minutes to Monday, and I’m still recovering from a cold. I’ve transitioned to the hacking cough phase, which I guess is progress.

It was a busy weekend. I spent a lot of time studying for the GMAT (my practice test this weekend netted me a score of 620, which is decent but not quite where I need to be) and, well, working. That’s kind of what the coming week looks like as well: GMAT classes Tuesday and Thursday nights, with studying and my job covering just about everything else. Lisa and I may be putting an offer on a south Minneapolis condo this week, too, although we’ll have to wait and see about that.

Aside from all the the working and studying, Lisa and I headed out to do a little stroller research earlier today. We’re trying to find a quality stroller that’ll be versatile enough to last as long as we’ll need one without resorting to one of those SUV-style behemoths currently found plaguing shopping malls all across America. I also embarked on my first round of diaper pricing. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the price of diapers, but, really, the prices didn’t seem that bad. As long as the baby stays under 10-12 diapers a day, a month’s worth of disposables should cost less than a dinner and a movie.

And I’m not even talking about a nice dinner. I’m talking about, you know, Applebee’s. Not that Lisa and I will be eating out much once the baby arrives.

Note to self: Start researching babysitters.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 11:54 pm

MovieLog: Air Force One


Air Force One is, without a doubt, one of the most offensively stupid movies ever made. It spends the bulk of its two hours trying to insult its viewers’ intelligence in every way possible, be it by ridiculous storyline, horrible special effects or catastrophically bad acting. Worse, the bad acting comes from some truly talented actors one would think would know better, namely Harrison Ford, Glenn Close, Gary Oldman, and William H. Macy. My guess is there must have been a lot of money involved. A lot of money.

In retrospect, Childstar was exceedingly gracious in its spoof of this film. Air Force One deserved a much more brutal handling. Seriously, I can’t believe how fucking bad a movie it is. 1/10.

~ ~ ~

I’ve now seen three films by Wolfgang Petersen. One, Das Boot, was a fantastic work of art. The other two, Poseidon and the piece of shit referenced above, would have been better off aborted than forced upon an unsuspecting public. I have The Perfect Storm sitting in my Netflix queue, but now eye it with an unusual amount of suspicion. I don’t know how it could be any worse than Air Force One, but am not sure I want to risk it.

Posted in MovieLog at 1:41 am
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