activities, music comments edit

Britney Spears - FRONT ROW
TICKET!I didn’t really expect to be where I was last night.

I got an email from a friend of mine that I used to work with. I hadn’t heard from her for a while, so it was good to chat. She mailed me to tell me that her boyfriend had some sort of connection and had gotten them two reasonably decent seats at the Britney Spears “Dream Within A Dream” show, but he had to return to Seattle for some business so she wanted to know if I would go.

A free ticket to a Britney show? Too good to pass up. I accepted.

We met up before the show with some other friends who were going that night, too. They had some great seats just off the floor. I asked my friend where her tickets were, but she didn’t know. They were at the Will Call desk and we needed to pick them up and find out.

We got to the Will Call desk and picked up the tickets. Row 3. Can’t get much better than that. I was stoked.

When we got into the Rose Garden, though, it turns out that, sure, we were in the third row the way the seat numbering went, but by the way the stage was laid out, we were in the front row. I was maybe 10 - 12 feet away from the stage (reads: 10 - 12 feet away from Britney), and the only thing between me and her was the security guard. Holy crap! (You can see where I was sitting in this diagram.)

So I turned to my friend and asked, “So, your boyfriend just ‘knows’ people? Who’s your boyfriend?” Turns out he’s the guitarist for freaking Pearl Jam, Stone Gossard. Apparently they grew up near each other in Seattle and they met at the wedding of a mutual friend. How weird is that?!

Anyway, the show was awesome. Britney played all of her hits (“Baby, One More Time,” “Oops!… I Did It Again,” etc.). The costumes were spectacular. There were pyrotechnics of all natures - columns of fire shooting up, fireworks, sparks… There were lasers all over the place… There was even a part in the show where it rained on stage. Lots of props - Britney came out at one part in a giant music box, popped out of the top, and was the ballerina in the music box. She swung from giant bungee cords, she levitated on platforms. Incredible.

The backup singers rocked, the band rocked, the dancers rocked (one danced for some time right in front of me, lookin’ right at me). My friend even claims she saw Britney wink at me, but I can’t confirm that one. Absolutely unbelieveable. I wish I could have recorded it so I could share it with you all, but, alas, no cameras.

An evening at home watching TV turned into an evening at a really great concert. I feel bad for Jenn, who “got” to stay home and do the TV thing, but she’s not into Britney like I am. I told my friend to give Stone a big high-five for me. That made my day.

Thus ends another three-day holiday weekend that went by all too quickly. A heck of a lot happened, though looking back at it, it doesn’t seem like I really accomplished anything. Hmmm.

My sister, Tori, is back from her mission in Thailand. She brought with her some cool native clothing - beautiful custom suits she got for like $30US. She also had the usual stories of shady marketplace dealings… where you choose what you want from a catalog, the vendor calls someone on a cell phone, and a few minutes later a taxi mysteriously drives up and drops off your “order.” Or, looking at pets, someone will come over and show you that they have a very tiny monkey hidden in their fanny pack and if you want it, they’ll sell it to you and tell you how to smuggle it into the US. Pretty unbelieveable.

I saw Star Wars - Episode II again this weekend since Jenn hadn’t seen it. I thought it was still pretty decent the second time around, but Jenn wasn’t too impressed. She’s not a big sci-fi fan, either, though, so take it with a grain of salt. I was stoked to see the trailer for the new James Bond movie, though, and I look forward to that. Love the Bond.

Sunday was quite the ordeal. Went to church with my parents at 1:00p so I could hear Tori speak (she’s become quite a good speaker, too… I was very impressed). By 3:00p I was at a “barbecue” at Jenn’s cousin’s house, though there wasn’t any [fresh] food, so I didn’t actually get to eat lunch until 4:00p when I went to Burgerville. Much as I love Jenn, the all-too-frequent family gatherings are a little much for me. I’m not a big-crowd-people-person. Anyway, by 5:00p Jenn and I were back at my parents’ house for Tori’s “welcome back” open house. I think three people showed up by 7:00p, so we left. Rented American Beauty since Jenn hadn’t seen it (and, might I add, Mena Suvari’s hot), then went to bed.

Monday was errand day. Did the laundry, yadda, yadda, yadda. Rented Vanilla Sky and… not sure what to say about that one. I suppose I didn’t guess the ending, but it played out so confusing that it was hard to stay focused and watch the movie. You have to see it to understand it. (I can’t figure out why Tom Cruise would take Penelope Cruz over the way hotter and classier Nicole Kidman, but that’s another discussion entirely.)

That’s about it. Woke up this morning way too exhausted and haven’t really been able to concentrate on work all day. I’ve got stuff to do, I just don’t wanna do it.

Oh, I saw the latest InStyle has my girl, Sarah Michelle Gellar, on the cover. She’s pretty great, but she’s ruining her career with movies like Simply Irresistable and Scooby Doo. If she could pick a decent role, I think she could make something out of herself. Then again, she is dating Freddie Prinze, Jr., so I can’t say much for her taste in guys, either.

movies comments edit


Let me begin by saying I thought this latest installment of Star Wars was (pardon the bad space humor) light years better than Episode I. Episode I was not one of those movies where I could plant my butt on the sofa one Sunday afternoon and just feel the need to watch it. It takes a mood. Episode I was not a “stand-alone” movie - if you hadn’t seen any other Star Wars movie, it would probably not make a lot of sense because it requires the context of the original trilogy.

Episode II, on the other hand, stood alone pretty well. While it helped a lot to know where things were going a la the original trilogy, if you just sat down and watched it, you wouldn’t be disappointed. There was good action, good special effects, and a pretty decent story.

Now, all of that said, Episode II in no way compared to any of the original three; even Return of the Jedi, which I felt was probably the weakest of the bunch, would show up on my list before this one. And here’s why:

In the original three, sure, there was a political battle going on and that’s the whole reason everyone was fighting against the Death Star and all that jazz. But the politics, for the most part, were secondary to the overall general “good-versus-evil” story. A very simple plot, good characters, good script, and everything falls neatly into place. With these recent installments, Lucas seems to be focusing heavily on the politics of things. There’s a lot of discussion about/around/in the Senate, and while that’s interesting for a while, I guess when I come into a Star Wars movie, I wanna see the equivalent of a space-age Western movie, which is exactly what the original three were. These latest seem more like.. like the extended version of Dune. I liked Dune, but I liked it for what it was - I went in expecting politics, and that’s what it was about. Star Wars, that’s not what I expect, but that’s what I’m getting.

It doesn’t help things that, in general, the dialogue was pretty bad and Hayden Christiansen as Anakin was the most wooden acting I’ve seen since Pinocchio. I don’t know if that’s the script’s fault, the director’s fault, or Christiansen’s, but I blame Lucas (seeing as how he’s writer and director).

That was the bad stuff.

The good stuff: Natalie Portman, always a pleasure to watch onscreen, finally starts taking on a Leia-like presence. We start to see the relationship development between Amidala and Anakin, which is cool. We get to see Anakin getting arrogant and impatient, getting his hate on and taking on his Darth Vader airs. We get to see how Boba Fett came about, which I thought was very cool. Samuel L. Jackson - ‘nuff said on that. I think his lightsaber was the one that said “Bad Mother Fucker” on it. And last, but very certainly not least (in fact, probably best in my mind), we get to see Yoda really throw down and show us what being a Jedi Master is all about. I could probably watch the Yoda scene over and over and never get tired of it.

Oh, and Episode II moves along way faster than Episode I, which is an exceptionally good thing.

Does the good outweigh the bad? Mostly. I think they could have done way better with it, especially given that almost every actor in the world would love to be in a Star Wars movie and they pick this Christiansen kid I’ve never heard of. I mean, for example, the kid they chose to play Harry Potter looks like Harry should look, sounds like Harry should sound and acts like Harry should act. Christiansen did none of those things for Anakin. But this one does fill in a lot of gaps in the Star Wars saga and you do get to see a lot of the cool Jedi stuff that we haven’t seen before, and it did move along fairly well and keep me entertained.

So I’d say, uh, 7.5 out of 10. I liked it, but given the choice between seeing this one or Spider-Man again, I’d probably go Spider-Man.

auto, home comments edit

Okay, maybe not California Highway Patrol. More like “paint chips.” As in, “I found yet another chip out of the paint on my car that needs to be touched up.” This totals three. I did the touch up on two of them, and I think I need to give a little more attention to one of those (it looks… okay… but not the best). I found the third yesterday, and it’s about the size of a pencil eraser. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?!

I called the body shop I usually go to in these cases and they said they’d just be doing the same thing I’m going to be doing - touch up by hand - unless I want them to actually repaint the whole panel. Which I don’t. It’d cost me roughly $45 to get them to fix it, so I may as well do it myself, since it sounds pretty hit-and-miss anyway. And, if all else fails, I can always go in and have them touch up my touch up.

What a big pain. How come they don’t make, like, indestructible paint? Or, better yet, cast the car in the appropriate color metal to begin with, so that the color is actually part of the body? Or at least mold the plastic bumpers in the proper color so they don’t chip. (I haven’t had any bumper problems, but that’s still a good idea.) Maybe I’ll call someone and suggest that.


I’ve found a place that carries my cocktail table and will sell it to me and ship it out here for a grand total of about $565, which is cheaper than the base price anywhere else has offered it at. I’m going to do some last minute calling and we’ll see if someone out here can price match that. I doubt it. I talked to a local dealer and the problem is twofold: First, they don’t normally carry that table, which means it’s a special order; Second, the table weighs 90 pounds, so it’s going to kill me in freight. I don’t know how this other place is doing it, but if I can save the $100+, I’m going to do it.

home comments edit

While on the flight to Vegas, I found, in the Skymall catalog, this really cool cocktail table with a clock face under the glass top.

Now, I’ve had quite a time trying to find a table that I like enough to buy and put in my living room. I did, once, a long time ago at The Bombay Company, but it was on clearance (presumedly because it was discontinued) and I have never seen it since. Now that I’ve found this one, I’m latching on, and I’m gonna buy it. The problem is price.

See, Skymall’s got it for $599, which I don’t think includes shipping. I’ve called around locally and I’ve heard prices that range from $670 to $800. I’m pretty sure the Skymall price doesn’t count shipping, which I’m sure is what’s going to kill me off since the table weighs like 90 pounds. We’ll see what happens.

On another note, I’ve got tickets via my work to see the new Star Wars movie. I’ll be going on Thursday at 10. Seems the company has rented out two theater rooms to see this thing, which is cool. I’m doing my best not to get my hopes up. Folks have said it’s better than Episode I, but I’ll wait to pass judgment.