January 24, 2006

24, Season 5 Review

Continuing last year's trend, 24 has kicked off amid rave reviews with two 2-hour segments and will air weekly without the standard re-run interruptions until it concludes.

What would I consider the best feature of season 5? Is it the heart stopping pride arguments between "professionals" back at the CTU ranch, the soap opera camera freezes substituting for actual acting, or perhaps the gratuitous cleavage shots of the emotionally troubled (the camera freezes prove it) first lady?

We've already seen the action sequences played out virtually in their entirety on the national news over the past two years, minus the guy who'll sell out 30 hostages to delay the death of the kid of his love interest. Then again, he's known her for 6 months, so he's probably following CTU policies. Part of me wonders what the families of actual Iraq hostage victims think about all of it, but I will admit this consideration only popped up well after actually viewing.

24 this year is definitely my "I have nothing better to do and am too tired to consider options" show, but if it continues "on course" it may soon fall into the "oh look, they're talking about twizzlers on the Food Network, I'd better switch" show.

Bah humbug!

Posted by Andy at 11:27 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (5)

January 23, 2006

Mouse Wheel

Does anyone know how to clean the mouse wheel on a modern mouse. Note - I do not mean the mouse ball underneath the mouse. I mean the scroll wheel on top that lets you avoid using the side bar to navigate through a page. My mouse works great, but now the wheel sticks and causes other pages to open without my consent. I'd blame communism, but I'm pretty sure it's the mouse wheel.

Posted by Andy at 10:41 PM to the Computers category | Comments (4)

Another Day, Another Lesson

I had another voice lesson today, as I do most every Monday at 3. I'm really starting to notice a substantial difference over the past two months. I can handle more demanding music without intervention, and I'm getting a feel for specific practices that don't seem like much but amount to a whole lot.

For instance, I'm getting more and more accustomed to forming the "ah" sound with a brighter quality essentially by thinking of moving the sound toward the front of my mouth. That isn't exactly what happens, but adding a "toothy" quality makes the vowel much more effortless, which translates into a great many words suddenly falling into place, which translates into being able to think about something else, like actual musicality. I'm still not at the point where I can just sing difficult music in a fully musical way without having to concentrate on technique issues, but I get a bit closer each week.

I'll be able to break that glass any day now.

Posted by Andy at 10:19 PM to the Music category | Comments (0)

January 19, 2006

The Stature of Fantasy Literature

I encourage fantasy genre lovers and fantasty genre haters alike to read Fantasy and The Believing Reader, by Orson Scott Card. I can't say I have much else to add - just that I find this to be a fantastic take on the stature of fantasy literature within the literary world at large. It's a good read.

Posted by Andy at 10:42 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Ender's Game - the Movie

I just read some extremely distressing news about the film while searching for an article on Orson Scott Card's website. If I may quote a bit...

David Benioff, the writer of the screenplay for Wolfgang Petersen's 2004 epic Troy, has been signed by Warner Bros. to pen the script for the movie Ender's Game...

...Says Card, "Mr. Benioff proved with Troy that he could adapt a long work to fit the brevity of film, while preserving what is most powerful and effective in the original."

Do I really need to say anything else? The director of Troy to direct Ender's Game?


Posted by Andy at 08:49 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

I Return, Haggard but Alive

My appointment today with Dr. Shor was about what I expected, with perhaps a little more emphasis on tests and a little less on in-depth conversation. I now have lab work to get done of course, and have to return for a morning appointment in a few weeks, which will just trash me utterly if history is any judge.

Today's appointment raised to a head an issue I have been wrestling with for a while now. I really don't believe that doctors consider the stresses on their patients when engaging in the business of medicine. Using today as an example, had Dr. Shor's office had the foresight and put forth a little effort, I could have had this lab work already completed locally and had it shipped to the specific destinations specified by the office. I could have had the EKG anywhere, and had physical results done at Hopkins even and sent to Reston, VA without my ever showing up in Reston. Not surprisingly, Dr. Shor had little to discuss today given that he only passingly knows anything about me, so why not schedule an appointment with all of the data readily available? I do not write this with the intent to call any particular attention to Dr. Shor or his office, but rather to illustrate the pervasive attitude towards CFS and similar conditions by the health community at large. With a modicum of effort and likely no monetary cost (let's face it, they don't take insurance anyway - today was $474 I believe), most if not any office could make the entire process a great deal easier on those of us suffering from fatiguing illnesses.

Posted by Andy at 08:42 PM to the Health category | Comments (2)

January 18, 2006

Appointment in VA

Tomorrow is my big appointment with Dr. Shor in Reston, Virginia. That means an hour and a half to two hours in a car both ways, and in the midst of serious back, neck and arm tightness, one of my scariest symptoms. I am hoping Dr. Shor's treatment can do good where others have not, but the trip is worrying me immensely right now.

Posted by Andy at 08:02 PM to the Health category | Comments (7)

January 17, 2006

Cheshire Evening

Joe and Cat invited me to eat with them and a few other friends tonight at the Cheshire Crab. It was a nice evening, not surprisingly, and now I have some leftovers for tomorrow as well. I also got to blow my big birthday gift certificate finally, which helped pay for my rental tux from Joe's wedding at the same time. My only concern - the menu has been changed a bit, and one of my favorites is now missing. I'll have to rely more heavily on specials and the backup seafood platter now.

Somehow I will survive. Probably.

Posted by Andy at 11:51 PM to the Food category & General category | Comments (0)

January 13, 2006

The Hours

Wow, this movie was weird. The acting is excellent on all counts, but the story is so dark as to be almost nonsensical in my estimation. There exists in this film such an extreme look at life that I found it hard to relate.

Posted by Andy at 10:06 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (2)

January 06, 2006

Home Cookin' 9

We pulled out all the stops today, preparing two, count 'em, two recipes in the same day. (That's right, two.) First up, lentil salad with tomato and dill. Though tart, this salad has a pleasant herb flavor and in my estimation could be served hot or cold.

Our main dish this evening was a cajun-style broiled swordfish, which with a good piece of fish would be quite mild despite the many spices that go into the rub. Our swordfish, however, was quite strong, as it was presumably frozen too long at Trader Joe's before our purchase, so this element of our meal was a disappointment. The swordfish recipe is printed below. I strongly recommend adding salt to the spice mix, and honestly, you could double or even triple the amount for all the spices and do ok.

Cajun-Style Broiled Swordfish

1 t paprika
4 swordfish steaks, 3/4" to 1" thick
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t oregano
1/8 t ground red pepper
1/4 c lemon juice

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. For seasoning mixture, in shallow dish, stir together spices. Place lemon juice in bowl. Dip steaks in juice, then coat lightly with seasoning mixture. Preheat broiler. Spray unheated rack of pan with nonstick spray. Arrange seasoned fish on rack. Broil 4 inches from heat until fish flakes easily with fork (4 to 6 minutes per 1/2" thickness). Turn once during broiling time.

Posted by Andy at 07:21 PM to the Food category | Comments (0)

January 04, 2006

Darn Vocabulary

I've been reading blogs a fair amount tonight, and it makes me realize how much my vocabulary has suffered since the onset of CFS. I used to have a word for every situation, but more and more I find myself referring to dictionary.com for a quick definition. I think you can see my lack of word-options in my writing here on the site these days as well. I have to admit, it bothers me every now and again.

Posted by Andy at 11:53 PM to the General category | Comments (5)

January 03, 2006

Finding Neverland

I just saw this movie for the first time. It is a work of genius. The writers of this film and the original play see life on such a beautiful level, a level on which pain in no way diminishes the richness of the world, a level in which the exploration of that pain enriches the mind and frees the spirit. I appreciate this profoundly.

Posted by Andy at 10:00 PM to the TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

Cooking Show Music

Why do cooking shows always have funky music playing when they're chopping or seasoning things? Is this the secret to cooking success? Maybe I need to be dropping a beat every time I chop a bell pepper or season a steak in order to get the flavors to turn out right. If any of you have mouth-guitar skills and would care to join in this experiment, just let me know and we'll get something cooking right away.

Posted by Andy at 03:59 PM to the Food category & TV and Movies category | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006

Ho Ho Ho, Meeerrry New Year!

Ah shoot, I did it again! I'm really going to have to get these holidays straightened out in my head.

Stupid Arbor Day. Augh! New Year's!
Stupid holidays, can't figure out which one is which. They need to have a sign or something or at least a team of gnomes. I mean come on people, show a little respect.
One of these days I'll be in charge and send gnomes to everyone's houses every holiday so they'll know which one it is, and then everyone will say, "that Andy guy sure is nice. He sends gnomes to our houses to remind us of holidays and everything, and he doesn't even ask us to do anything in return." Stupid gnomes...

Posted by Andy at 01:42 AM to the General category | Comments (2)