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2003-05-26

Sick on vacation

My cold's not getting any better. As nice as it is to be home, I'm spending much of my visit in bed. I'm surprised I'm actually still up now.


2003-05-24

Flight to Cleveland

I'm in Cleveland now for the Memorial weekend. My family's coming together to celebrate three upcoming birthdays at once - since our family's spread out across the country, it makes sense to consolidate birthday parties when they're so close.

I'm still fighting off a cold, even though I took off work yesterday to recuperate. I was cramped in the corner of the very last row of the plane that took me to my old hometown. Hopefully I haven't gotten anyone else sick.

The flight wasn't very comfortable, but after the weeks of clouds and rain that DC has been under, it was nice to see sunlight again as my plane rose above the clouds. Much time was spent gazing over the cloudscape. One particular cloud formation resembled a steep cliff that under siege by a horde of ogres - I finished reading the Two Towers on this flight, so I guess I had epic fantasy battles on the brain.


2003-05-23

Just in time for holiday travel...

I stayed home from work yesterday to recover from a cold. Liv had picked up my cold, so we spent the day in, resting and watching the first part of the Mists of Avalon on DVD.

I'm feeling better now, but I wonder if the rigors of travel this weekend will wear me out enough for the cold to make a comeback.


2003-05-22

Will bleed for money

Yesterday, I tried to participate in a nutrition study that was conducted by the Department of Agriculture. It would have been an easy way to earn up to $375: a few blood drawings, a few dietary questionnaires, and so forth.

Unfortunately, my high triglyceride measurement disqualified me. I had been taking something for this, but had fallen out of the habit a few weeks ago.

At least I got a free medical checkup.


2003-05-21

The last Buffy episode

Watched the last ever episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It pretty much had everything I wanted to see.

But now what do I do with the 8 o'clock hour on Tuesday nights? I suppose I could read a book, or take a walk outdoors, or call my mom.

Either that or watch American Idol.


2003-05-20

About a Boy

Last night, I watched the charming movie About a Boy. It stars Hugh Grant as Will, an indolent, solitary, middle-aged man who avoids any kind of lasting entanglements with other people.

Then Marcus, a young boy with a troubled single mother, works his way into Will's life, and heart.

Ultimately, in the movie, you can be an island. Just be part of an archipelago. Preferably one with scenic coastlines and topless beachball.


2003-05-19

I need more empty nights

It's been even more apparent than usual lately why writers tend to be solitary; it's the only way they can get any writing done.

Not that I regret having so much to do. At least my schedule has been loaded with fun stuff...

  • A week ago: A visit to Ohio l for a wedding, graduation party, and Mothers Day

  • Last Monday: Seeing X2 on the massive screen of DC's Uptown Theater

  • Tuesday was TV night: the next-to-last episodes for Buffy and 24

  • Wednesday: Seeing Matrix Reloaded (more on this later)

  • Thursday: A friend's graduation ceremony at George Mason University

  • Friday: The friend's graduation party all the way out in Manassas, VA

  • Saturday: A writing group meeting and another viewing of Matrix Reloaded


Now I need to take care to stay home whenever possible. There are a few calls-for-writing opportunities that I want to pursue, and their deadlines should hopefully encourage time management discipline on my part...


2003-05-06

Thoughts on X2: X-Men United (spoilers)

This is a movie that I can watch over and over. I've been reading the X-Men comic book for years, and the movie really crystallized its heart on the screen.

It had more action than the previous X-Men movie, and the fight scenes are backed up by crisp characterization. Lots of information is conveyed through quick moments, from the way a troubled mutant looks over the family photos of a fellow student to the musical tastes of X-Men field leader Cyclops (this bit nearly had me in tears with laughter). This way, the movie can afford to have so many characters and still give everyone at least some spotlight.

Everyone but Cyclops and Professor X, unfortunately. For a field leader, Cyclops does precious little leading. Also, Professor X is little more than a plot device.

One thing that stood out to me was Sir Ian McKellan's performance. He's less droll and more flamboyant than in the last X-Men, particularly in his operatic prison escape. He also fires off a catty backhanded compliment on the white streak in Rogue's hair (this is pretty vicious, given that she got the streak after Magneto almost killed her). While at moments, Magneto comes off as a spiteful drama queen (no pun intended, given the actor's background), he remains a formidable menace and never descends into Batman-like camp.

There's also a lot of eye candy, and not just from the presence of Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. X2 boasts some evocative imagery, from the last scene of Lady Deathstrike (a name which, thankfully, is never actually spoken) to another character's last stand amidst a threat of biblical proportions.

Like I said before, I wish that the original X-Men comic book creators had gotten some credit for this movie. There's one story in particular that was very much the source of X2's plot.

Still, I must see X2 at least once more, before the Matrix Reloaded captures my imagination.


2003-05-05

Birthday weekend extravaganza

Not my birthday, but Liv's. This was her first birthday that I got to celebrate with her, so I wanted it to be extra special. In fact, it evolved into an entire weekend of festivities.

Starting off with the new X-Men movie. I organized dinner and the movie on Friday night with people that I knew from my high school, my college alumni group, and my writing group.

A dozen of us met at Sawatdee, a very good and reasonably priced Thai restaurant at the Courthouse Plaza in Arlington, VA. Then we waited in line at the AMC Courthouse Theater, which was a minute's walk away. We enjoyed the comfortably warm spring night and debated who would win in a fight between the movie versions of Wolverine and Spider-Man.

I'll save my full review of X2 for another post. I will say that the only thing about the movie that wasn't excellent was the lack of credit given to the comic book writers and artists who produced much of the source material from which the X2 story was derived. At least long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont got to write the movie's novelization.

So that was Friday. Saturday was the actual birthday. Liv and I spent the whole day together, eating out and taking advantage of Free Comic Book Day.

Then we saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In case you aren't familiar, this is a musical presented as a rock concert performance from a washed up German transvestite. In between songs, Hedwig tells the audience about the bizarre turn of events that led to this "tour". The show featured bawdy humor, bitter heartbreak, beer spitting, dry humping on a hapless audience member, and the eternal quest to find one's true self in a haze of rock & roll, gender identity questions, and the end of the Cold War.

On Sunday, one of my DC friends got married in an outdoor Jewish ceremony. The couple looked wonderfully happy together, and the celebration was classy without being stodgy.

All in all, a busy but very enjoyable weekend. This upcoming weekend promises to be twice as busy, so I'll need to catch up on my sleep beforehand.


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