December 3rd, 2006


Big weekend ...

This was Daughter #1's 11th birthday, and we're in the midst of quite the weekend. She had 3 friends over a sleep-over (and party at A.G.P.) last night, while I took Daughter #2 out of the mix and up to Chuck E. Cheese. Then today, we got the visitors out the door, had some present opening time, grabbed some lunch, and headed out to see a movie. Tonight she wanted to have dinner at Dave&Busters, so we did that, and tomorrow morning she and her sister, and a different friend (one who doesn't get along well with the three from Friday), go back over to A.G.P. for a show and having their dolls' "hair done" (whatever that involves). Being of the fastaff persuasion, I get out of the A.G.P. adventures, and The Wife has nervous tics from this already. I have a feeling that if she could figure out a way to make it happen, she'd opt to watch the Bears game tomorrow rather going off on Birthday Adventure Part 3!

Anyway, the movie. I'd managed to miss out on going to see the latest Santa Clause movie last week, but got coralled into going to see Deck The Halls this afternoon. It wasn't a horrible movie, but it certainly wasn't the sort of thing that I would, on my own, likely seek out to spend time watching. Starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito, it's a fairly predictable "suburban comedy" about holiday displays, etc. As if often the case with these things, an R-rated version would have been much more fun, especially with Kristin Cheoweth as DeVito's character's wife, and the Aldridge twins (the statuesque Sabrina and Kelly) as their daughters. As DeVito's character would no doubt had said: "hubba-hubba!".

Now, I live in the downtown of a major urban center ... generally speaking, I've always lived downtown in a major urban center (except for my 3 years up at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI) ... so these "suburban / small town" comedies probably mean less to me than they might to folks who have actually spent some time in these environments. I'm sure that there are "subtle comedic cues" woven through this that I miss because of my lack of familiarity with the great "out there". As such, the stuff that this reminds me of tends to be more like Natonal Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, than any experience that I might have had myself.

Danny DeVito doesn't exactly stretch himself here, he plays pretty much the same character (but with a softer heart) as he did in Matilda (one of my kids' much-watched videos), a car salesman with a sort of sleazy wife. Broderick is typecast as a small-town eye doctor with a rather vanilla family (I don't know if Kristin Davis who plays his wife's part was brilliant or horrible, but was so irritating that I kept wanting some bad slapstick to happen to her all through the movie), which lives across the street from the house that DeVito's character rents (and then get the inspiration to have Xmas decor that can be seen from space).

All sorts of unfortunate hilarity ensues as DeVito's character works toward his display goals (there is an interesting tech note about the lighting set-up he ends up with over on the IMDB site), totally destroying Broderick's character's Xmas routine, and ultimately causing havoc in both families. After a few highly implasible events, everybody gets back together, sings some Xmas carols, an ultimately gets seen by something like the Google satellite center. Just feel the sugar rush. Bleh. Anyway, everytime it veered into being insufferable, it did pull back from the abyss with something genuinely comedic, so was not agonizing to watch, but it teased one! Needless to say, I can't really recommend this, but if you're itching for something PG and holiday-themed, "it could be worse".

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Whew ...

Man, the first half of that game sure looked like my Bears were going to find some way to screw up and make the rest of the season interesting, but the boys on the D seemed to think they had a better idea. Heck, they should have had two TDs instead of a TD and a Safety, but the zebras were in the pocket of the Vikes all day.

  BEARS            23  
  VIKINGS        13  

With the win, the Bears' record climbs to 10-2 and so, with 1/4 of the season yet to go, the Bears are already the NFC North division champions, an achievement made sweeter by the game being at home against a bitter division rival. I just hope they're able to fix whatever is wrong with Grossman (who was pretty bad again today) over the next four games. I mean, it's great to have a Defense that scores points, and Special Teams that score points, but it would be nice to get back to having an Offense that was scoring most of the points, ya know?

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Exorcism ...

Ya know, how a song gets stuck in your head, and you just can't get it out? Well, I've found that if I post the lyrics in my journal it will sometimes nudge the soundtrack a bit ... this is an oldie, from Jefferson Airplane's 1971 album Bark.


Sometimes I feel like i am leaving life behind
My hands are moving faster than the movement of my mind
Thoughts and generations of my dreams are yet unborn
I hope that I will find them 'fore my moving gets too worn
If only I could live to see the dawning of the dawn

So we go on moving trying to make this image real
Straining every nerve not knowing what we really feel
Straining every nerve and making everybody see
That what they read in the Rolling Stone has really come to be
And trying to avoid a taste of that reality

On an early New York mornin' a mirror in the hall
Showed to me a face I didn't know at all
Lines were drawn around a pair of eyes that opened wide
When I looked into the mouth there was nothing left inside
So I walked into the little room and whistled like a sigh

As dawn light closed around me my head was still in gear
Thinking thoughts of playing more and singing loud and clear
Trying to reach a friend somewhere and make that person smile
Maybe pull myself away from that old lonesome mile
That often comes to haunt me in the morning

All my friends keep telling me that it would be a shame
To break up such a grand success and tear apart a name
But all I know is what I feel whenever I'm not playin'
Emptiness ain't where it's at and neither's feeling pain

Well now what is going to happen now is anybody's guess
If I can't spend my time with love I guess I need a rest
Time is getting late now and the sun is getting low
My body's getting tired of carryin' another's load
And sunshine's waiting for me a little further down the road

- Jorma Kaukonen

I think the key part of why this has been in my head is this bit:
Straining every nerve and making everybody see
That what they read in the Rolling Stone has really come to be
And trying to avoid a taste of that reality
... but that may just be my politics talkin'!

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Sometimes ...

When I listening to some of the old tunes, I get in a strange place of absolute terror, because it's like "tomorrow" is sometime in the 1970's, and that everything that I've known for the past 30+ years is some twisted nightmare ... like I've been in a coma or something and have hallucinated Life As I Know It ... and that if I wake up, I'll be lost in a world I don't know at all.

This could explain why everything I've ever tried has failed, of course ... it would be like running in a dream.

If I do suddenly wake up in 1972 or something, I hope that I'll remember the names "Microsoft" and "Cisco" and a few other key stocks (and Superbowl outcomes)!

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