Sunday, December 31, 2006

Geek Weekend

We had the first Geek Weekend party yesterday, which consisted of many friends coming over to worship at the Altar of Entertainment for several hours. We watched Firefly; not the whole series (although we feasibly could have), but most of it. Despite the hour-long socializing breaks between discs, we managed to stuff 11 epsiodes down our television-gluttonous gorges. It was freakin' lovely. Good friends came to hang out, sit on our couches, eat our food and watch far too much TV in one sitting. This is pretty much the reason we have the place that we do. Yes, my eyes are tired and my legs are cramped, but it was a successful day of fun geeking.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Dilemma

As many newly married couples find out, our friends don't contact us much anymore. There is the unconscious attitude that the married folks are busy being with each other, and don't so much want to be bothered. I've been that way myself with friends who have gotten married, and even with friends who have had children. I assume they have too much on their plate to get together. In any case, that ends up leading to a dull social life for the newlyweds.

Part of the problem for me is that I'm a suburbanite now, and most of my friends are city folk. It takes an Act of Congress for either of us to get out to each other's location, and it makes for a bit of a problem. I have a lot of suburban Mensa friends, which is freakin' awesome, but since I used to be a city person, I'm not so used to hanging out with them. Time to change the social circle. Heidi has a lot of friends here in the 'burbs, but they are under the "no time" impression.

This is exacerbated by the fact that we don't have a church home yet. When I was at First Free, my social schedule tended to revolve around my serving schedule. I got a lot of interaction through that, and being the inrovert that I am, that was pretty good for me. Admittedly, I was serving 2-3 times a week, but that was good. I like serving, I like getting to know and hang out with people who serve in similar manners, and it just tends to be a lot of fun.

However, since we don't have a church home, we are relegated to one-shot serving opportunities, occasional local dinners, etc. These are good opportunities to get to know people, but it generally is a random assortment of people that are significantly different than us. I have no problem mixing with people that are different than me, but there's not much of an opportunity to really bond with them, and that's what's missing.

So here's the quandry: there are two churches that we're considering, and that makes for some interesting problems. I like to serve, and I like people (usually). At Willow Creek, it's a freakin' monstro church. There are serving opportunities galore, and it's a very art-friendly church. They have great music, great preaching, great drama, even great set design. However, we have attempted serving there, and A) people either don't care to get to know you or they are just difficult to connect; and B) they're REALLY disorganized. Both issues would likely be less of an issue in a production environment (sound or music or drama), but it's a bit of a challenge to get into those groups.

Harvest Bible Chapel is also a great church. It's a lot more organized, and Heidi has a lot of friends there, which would make it easier for me to get friendships going. The music is pretty good, the preaching is freakin' AMAZING, but they're not particularly creativity-friendly. Neither of us have really "served" there, but from what I understand, they are much better at administration and thinking through things before they're implemented. I could certainly do sound at that church, and I'd be pretty good with it (and they do have a really nice sound board). And doing that, I'd probably hook up with some good geeks. Their small groups are much easier to get into, and the church, while still pretty big, is of a much more manageable size. But it's still a church in which creativity is somewhat stifled, and that's a huge bug up my craw.

So that's where we stand right now. It's becoming more of an issue, because, for the first time in my adult life, I find myself sitting around and watching TV because we're bored (as opposed to watching a freakin' fantastic show that I would pay to see). Meh, I'm sure it'll come together eventually, but it's a bit of a quandry.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Brew #3: Dwarven Ale

I just finished brew #3, my admittedly inexperienced take on a Dwarven Ale. Darrick (Heidi's brother) commissioned this brew, and here's hoping it comes together the way we both expected. I chose a base of a Scotch Ale kit, and added spices on my own.

3.5 lbs Plain Amber Malt Extract
2 lbs Plain Amber Dry Malt Extract
8 oz Crushed Crystal Malt 60L (grain)
4 oz Crushed Chocolate (grain)
1 oz Crushed Roasted Barley
1 oz Fuggle Hops (Bittering)
1/2 oz Fuggle Hops (Finsihing)
11g Nottingham's Brewing Yeast

3 tsp Cloves
1 Tsp Allspice
1 handful, Cinnamon bark

This is a kit from Brew & Grow, the local brew store, as opposed to my usual morebeer kit. My concerns are the following: there was no clarifier, so it'll likely be kinda cloudy, and all the spices we used were fresh; they tend to float, and I know some got into the fermenter. This will change the flavor dramatically, and could be a little overpowering. I'm thinking powdered spices are a much better choice in the future, but I'll wait until I've seen how everything comes together. What it boils down to, though, is that I'm not particularly thrilled with the kit I bought at the brew store. It's a great store, just not the greatest place to get a kit. When I get more experienced, I'll probably go with recipes found here and there, and then I'll go to Brew & Grow.

And one other thing that was fun to find out: we have mice in our garage, as evidenced by all the little mousy poo that was all over the brewing stuff. Fortunately, thorough cleaning and sanitization is an essential first step for brewing, otherwise I would have been really pissed off and not done my brew this year (and therefore hosed yet another goal).

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! We've finished with our Christmas festivities, having spent time with my family last weekend and time with Heidi's family yesterday. It's been a kind of stressful Christmas season, but there were two standout high points: The Willow Creek Christmas service was the most spectacular (not necessarily the most moving, but definitely the "biggest") church service I have ever attended. It was like a variety Cirque du Soleil/Comedy/Muscial show, with a Christmas message. People were saying it was going to be huge, and dang were they right! The second wonderful high point was Heidi cooking the bet prime rib I'd ever had just a few hours later.

It's always a pleasure to get together with people I don't normally get together with, and this was no exception. Heidi's brother's fiancee's parents are great people, and we don't really get a lot of chance to spend time with them because they are fairly far removed from our normal daily life. But yesterday was one of the days we got to, and that was freakin' awesome.

So in all, it was a good Christmastime. It had some significant crap to it, but I choose to dwell on the happy things.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Comcastic, craptacular

I've had my issues with Comcast before. They haven't always been very good with the actual service, but their customer service was always top-notch. Please note the use of the past tense in that last sentence.

We have a pretty fancy package with Comcast, but I have a pretty fancy TV. The fancy package does not entitle me to better customer service by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be desirable if Comcast actually cared about retaining their customers. I wanted to switch out my cable box for on with the exact same specifications, just with an HDMI ouput instead of the DVI output. This isn't so much so I can have a super-duper extra crystal clear TV picture, but more so I can plug more things into the TV.

I was told by the Comcast technicians this would not be a problem. I was told by the Comcast 1-800 number this would not be a problem. When you're ready, go to the office and switch it out. When I got to the office, they didn't have the box I needed. If that was the end of it, this post wouldn't be written.

However, this wasn't the end of it. When I got to the office, this was, pretty close to verbatim, the conversation I had.

Me: I know you don't have any DVR's available, but are there any with an HDMI output at any other offices?
Comcast: No.
Me: Okay, is there anybody I can call to figure out when one is available?
Comcast: No.
Me: Can I set up an appointment to have someone bring one out to me?
Comcast: I can set up an appointment, but I can't guarantee they'll have one.
Me: Is there a number I can call, later on down the line, that woud be able to direct me to one?
Comcast: No.
Me: When will they be in this office?
Comcast: We should get a shipment in on the beginning of the year.
Me: Can I call this office in the beginning of the year?
Comcast: No.
Me: If I call the 1-800 number, will they be able to tell me if you have any boxes available at this office?
Comcast: No. The 1-800 number are the ones telling people to come here.
Me: OK, here's what I would like to do. I want to trade out my DVR for one with an HDMI output. How can I do that?
Comcast: There's a list that some customers are on to let them know when our DVR's come in.
Me: Put me on that list.

From there, it was a pretty standard customer exchange, but it was like pulling teeth to get anything from them. Between that and the middlin' levels of service we're receiving, we may end up switching to some other company and/or companies.

The Big Flu

This weekend, I had the worst bout of stomach flu I've had in my adult life. It could have been food poisoning, but everybody I was with came out of it fine, and I was still pretty quivery the next couple days (up to today), so not sure what-all can be made of it.

In any case, I went to a brew at Mattox's place, and hung out with him and some other folks, and had some good chat time. It was my first time witnessing an all-grain brew, and it was certainly fun to watch. It will likely be fun to actually do one of these days, but we'll see what happens. Afterwards, Heidi and I met some other folks (Richard and Libby and a friend of theirs) for dinner at Red Rooster, a fabulous French restaurant in the city (I cannot recommend this place highly enough, even considering the rest of this story). Afterwards, we went to a party that Tracy and Kristin were having at their place, which seemed a lot more fun than I was able to appreciate. About twenty minutes into a good conversation with one of the guys there, I was pretty sure I was going to be sick. I figured we should go, as throwing up in a friend's bathroom during a party... not so good. It was good we went when we did, as we weren't even out of the city before I had to stop to take care of my dirty sinful business in a Jewel bathroom. Before we got home, I needed to puke again in a church parking lot. Over the next five hours, I ended up eliminating pretty much everything that was in me, out of whichever orifice was most convenient. I'm still a little achy from the violence of the sickness, but feeling significantly better.

As we were heading home from my mom's last night, Heidi said, "Well, except for the puking and the vomiting and the nausea and the explosive diarrhea, it was a pretty good weekend." I couldn't agree more.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I recently learned of the genocide of Black Africans in Darfur from Jake's blog. I will post his post in it's entirety (updating it to include hotlinks). Please spread the word. Please contact someone. Please do something.
In about ten years people are going to go see a movie about Darfur, Sudan and they are going to ask why did the world let it happen?

When Hotel Rwanda came out three years ago people were asking how could the world let that happen? The world watched that movie and got angry, just like when Schindler's List came out and everyone asked, "How could that happen?" Why did the world let that happen?

Well, right now in Darfur, Sudan the Sudanese government is allowing (encouraging) a militia group called the Janjaweed to track down and kill Black Africans. The Janjaweed are Arab Africans, which constitutes this as an ethnic cleansing. The low estimate for number of people killed is 200,000 but the number could be as high as 400,000. However, because the Sudanese government is in control and won't let anybody in for any kind of official count, nobody really knows.

The methods of the Janjaweed are fairly simple. When it comes to men they kill them. When it comes to women rape is the preferred method. More specifically, gang rape. Militia will track down young women and literally bite their flesh to mark them as rape victims then rape them. If there is a group of soldiers then it is likely that the young women will be gang raped. The bite marks are designed to bring shame to the woman and her family. There are stories of older sisters sacrificing themselves to rape in order to save their little sisters. Children and Senior Citizens are beaten and killed. Villages are burned while people are still in their homes.

The refugees try to make it to safety in Chad but the Janjaweed have begun to travel to Chad to continue the pursuit. There is no way of efficiently protecting the borders so the Janjaweed can more or less do whatever they want.

I'm writing this blog post in response to a conversation I had with my friend Erin. We were talking about this subject and she said, " I don't think people know about it." Well I know a handful of people read this post, maybe they will tell others.

After Rwanda, Senator Paul Simon of said, " If a hundred people in every district would have written their congressman and demanded action things would have been done." We as a world community have a chance to stop this; the world has been destroying Africa for thousands of years. We use them for slaves, diamonds, and so many other resources. We ignore their cries for help in AIDS and other tragedies. It is time to start doing something for them.

When pressure has been applied to Sudan they have backed off, they don't stop but they back off. When the world takes their eyes off it strikes up again. Put pressure on them.

Here are some resources

Find your congressman at

Contact the White House at

Please visit and learn about this.

If you have iTunes go to the store and go to NBC's section and download a free news report with Ann Curry. It is under video but you don't need a video iPod to play it.

In the mean time please keep Darfur in your prayers. Please pray for God's justice in this land. Please pray for the ears of the world's leaders to be open to the cries of the refugees.

It is hard for one person to change the world, I would even say impossible. But if enough people care and if enough people do something about evil then the world will respond.

Please Don't Wait For The Movie

Proverbs 24:11-12 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, " But we knew nothing about this," Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Feet

Warning: this post contains spoilers. If you wish to be surprised about the movie Happy Feet, read no more. But seriously, who reading this would desire to be surprised by this movie?

Heidi and I saw Happy Feet recently, being that we were near a movie theatre, and the next show of the seven or eight films I wanted to see was this one. It's clearly the oddest animated movie I've ever seen that got a major release (I've seen some really odd animated movies in my time, but they didn't get much of a release). Heidi likened it to "March of the Penguins: The Musical," and it's pretty darn close for the early part of the show. Here's the crux of the story, which is pretty obvious from the trailers. All emporer penguin have a heart song, which is how they attract a mate. Mumbles is born without the ability to sing, but instead the ability to dance. And he can dance well. But here's the thing: if you're going to have a movie about dancing animals, are penguins really the best choice? Penguins have some really stumpy legs, especially the young penguins. Dancing loses some of it's charm if you can't see anything but the most broad movements.

In this show, Mumbles gets the whole penguin community dancing, except the elders. The elders are focused on their penguin god, and his call to sing and his resultant bounty of fish. There's a drought of fish recently, and the right-wing conservative religious elders assume his sin of dancing is the cause. They force Mumbles to leave, for the heresy of dancing instead of singing. Mumbles seeks out the source of the fish drought, which turns out to be Antarctic fishing by humans (or "aliens" as he and the other Antarctic birds call them), and eventually learns to communicate with humans through his dancing (it's not interpretive dance by any means, it's more of a tap dance, usually to Stevie Wonder). Ultimately, the humans stop fishing in Antarctica, and the fish are restored to their former bounty (it makes marginally more sense in the movie).

But here's the thing. Mumbles can't attract a mate the same way most penguins can, and is forced out of the community by the religious leaders for it. His mother loves him, but his father continues to suggest that he should conform to society's standards. This style of attracting a mate ends up being the way to get in touch with the aliens, who restore the source of nourishment to the community. So, here's what the movie is really about: his sexually deviant behaviour saves the community.

I have to say that this is an interesting movie, but I can't really call it a good one. There's a lot of cool music in it, and the dance scenes are amazing, and Robin Williams leads a group of smaller penguins that are freakin' hysterical. It's incredibly strange, though, and not really in an eye-opening, fresh way; it's more like a "what the hell" way.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm not old... I'm 37

The first person to get the reference and post it in the reply wins; I don't know what you will win (it will depend on my relationship with you), but you win.

So I'm a day older than I was yesterday, but I tack another year on the roster today. 36 was a good year, as I predicted, and I'm expecting just as cool stuff to happen in my 37th year here. Admittedly, different cool stuff, but big things nonetheless. Tonight, to start 37 off, I'm actually preparing Christmas presents for the "less fortunate" at church. I figure a good way to spend my birthday is to prepare gifts for someone else. That just feels right for some reason.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Clothe Our Naked Tree Day

We had our first party in our new place yesterday, and it was a raging success. Heidi traditionally throws really good Christmas parties, and I'm good with supplementary planning, so between the two of us, we had the place decked out for a good party. But the proof is not in our hands. The people at the party had a fantastic time, many of them staying for about a half hour after they said, "We have to go." We have a few Chicago friends who showed up, and they get the A for effort; driving from Chicago to Schaumburg in weekend traffic to Capitalism-land before Christmas is a trip not to be undertaken lightly. The bulk of the party were Heidi's friends for church/school/whatever and my Mensa friends.

Heidi's traditional centerpiece for her parties is the undending supply of cookies, and her wassail (apple cider with cinnamon, allspice, orange, orange peel, cranberry juice, red wine, and a few other bits n peices in there). Matt brough over the remains of the champagne he made for the wedding, and we had the chocolate fountain out for the first time. We're good with a spread individually; together we are nigh unstoppable.

We started with a relatively naked tree. It had a few lights up, and a ribbon, and three ornaments. Most people brought an ornament (really nice ones, too!) and put them on. This is awesome, because now we have a lot of ornaments to use year after year, but also we have memories that will be with us decades from now, with each ornament we put up. It's humbling to have a tree with so much love and care on it.

So yeah, first party, a heck of an accomplishment.

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

It's slow at work because of the obscene amount of snow we're having right now (fewer people in the office, fewer people asking for stuff). As a result, I have a lot of time to blog.

In any case, today is World AIDS Day. The AIDS epidemic is really something most Americans choose to ignore or minimize, but it is among the worst global plagues the world has ever seen. Sub-Saharan Africa is by far the worst hit by AIDS, with 64% of the infected people in the world residing there (please note, that DOES NOT mean 64% of Africans are HIV positive, but rather that of all the AIDS cases in the world, most of them are in Africa).

Now, what does this mean to us? Well, there are remarkably few people reading this that are sexually promiscuous or like to share needles, so personally, not a lot. Yet that is the attitude of a lot of America, and I think future generation will look upon our apathy with disgust, if not horror. And honestly, I'm not sure what World AIDS Day is trying to accomplish, other than awareness.

If you have the opportunity during this holiday gift-giving orgy, buy some (RED) products, which will help towards AIDS research or support for AIDS victims. You can find more information here.

Goal Update 10

Aaaaaaand the last goal update for this year (at the end of the month I'll do a goal recap... I'm hoping December will be a busy month).

1. Get Married: Done
2. Move to a new place: Done
3. Get a different job: I actually will need to quit this job on December 6th (more on that later). The new job is in the works, but it's been in the works since September. We're actually on the schedule I expected, so should see this one done before the end of the year.
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: We'll get to a gym before the end of the year (or at least work out at home when the schedule is a little easier), but I won't be able to say that the regular routine has been established by the end of the year. Two weeks doesn't establish crap.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: I'm auditioning pretty regularly these days, but nothing happening legitimately. Such is the way of acting professionally. December is a slow month traditionally, but all hope is not lost.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Brew #2 is OK. I'm not incredibly thrilled with it, but I haven't gotten anybody else's opinion of it. Brew #3 (an attempt at what should be a Dwarven Ale) is scheduled for Christmas Day.
7. Travel at least four times: Done. I actually did five, but there's nothing wrong with exceeding your goals.
8. Write a script: No progress. This is no longer an active goal. There's no freakin' way.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: No significant progress. This is no longer an active goal for this year. There's no freakin' way(next year, however...).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey, I bet you thought I forgot about the holiday. It's been a busy weekend so far, but I did want to wish anyone reading a very happy Thanksgiving. It's traditional to tell everyone that for which you're thankful, but I've never been one for tradition, and I don't want the post to go as long as my list would make it. A short and vague list would be friends, family, home, and opportunities. Yes, I'm missing a lot even in those huge generalizations, but you get the picture. I have a lot of thanks to give.

It's been a busy weekend. We're getting stuff ready for our big tree trimming party next weekend, and we have two families with which to celebrate (both of which like to eat). Getting Christmas gifts is also a high priority, but we need to make sure our house is in order first. So, it's been a busy but fun weekend.

Hope yours was just as good, if not better!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thoughts on brew #2

I recently had a bottle of brew #2, ostensibly my "Christmas Ale." It's a decent ale, but needs to sit in the bottles for a bit longer, to smooth out the taste a bit. But here's the thing: it's not very Christmasy. The spices (which were wrong to begin with) didn't do a whole lot for the brew, and it's still a bit more hoppy than I'd like, but I'm guessing that I can figure that out eventually.

The last bottle of the Irish Red got taken over to a friend's house yesterday, although I have two large bottles of it still in the fridge. Now here's the thing, and perhaps other brewers can help me out with this: The most recent bottle of it I had was slightly more fizzy, and significantly smoother than any of the others I had. It almost tasted like a different beer. It was in a thinner bottle, and had been sitting there longer than any others I had drunk, but not that much longer. My thought is A) more oxygen had gotten into this bottle than usual, therefore mellowing it a bit more, B) the bottle was thinner than usual, and therefore aged differently than bottles with more depth to them, C) I had a bottle of the sorta-Christmas-ale that hadn't been marked, and I just didn't realize it. The more I think about it, the more I think it's C, but does anybody more knowledgeable in brewing have any insights into the other possibilities?

Also, I tend to prefer less bitter and more mellow or smooth beers. So far, I've made somewhat bitter beers, that taste a little harsh. Any input on what I might be doing wrong?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

On being a hero

I saved two kittens last night. Heidi's mother saw some kittens in their storm window (a window in the basement that looks out at the bottom of a four-foot pit). They had only recently gotten there, probably in the late afternoon. Heidi's mom saw an adult cat (presumably their mother) in the window, presumably attempting to save them, but couldn't, and jumped out on its own. The window doesn't open (or at least hasn't in Heidi's lifetime), so it was up to someone going into the storm window on the outside to go get them. I stepped up to that challenge. There was a bush in front of the storm window pit, one that had some pretty sizeable branches right up next to the house. It took me about five minutes to be able to squeeze past it. I lowered a foot down into the pit, and the kittens were well and truly terrified, trying to find a way to avoid me in their little square foot of space. As most kittens are, these were impossibly cute. I nabbed the tabby one first, but it squirmed out of my hand, and I had to go back for it. The second (calico?) was a lot easier, because I picked it up from the back of the neck, like a mother cat would. It tried to squirm, but that didn't do much. Both were set down on the ground just out of the stormwindow, and ran off, but not out of the bushes. I'm guessing that their mother was somewhere in there, and they ran to her safety.

Now, I realize I'm building this up a lot more than it should be. I pulled two cats out of a stormwindow, not two children out of a well. But I don't care.I'm proud of my accomplishment. It makes me feel as though I accomplished something great in a week of relative mediocrity. I'm a hero!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Vegas, Baby!

We're in Vegas right now. Heidi has a conference for work, and I decided to tag along. We're staying at The Belaggio, and it's pretty nice. We're on the 26th floor, so we have a lovely view. From high up, however, the city of Las Vegas looks a bit like a giant strip-mall-cum-trailer-park with a few giant neon buildings scattered around, all of which is in a scenic desert valley. Our room is lovely, however we miss our bed at home; this one is comfortable, but not as much as ours (we have a really nice bed at home). Also, the elevators are the fastest and smoothest I think I've ever ridden on. We get to the 26th floor in just under 20 seconds, and you barely feel like you're moving.

So far, there hasn't been a lot to note. Walking up and down the strip has been the bulk of our time here, although I'm taking a lot of opportunities to relax, because I can. Today, we're taking more advantage of what Vegas has to offer; tonight, we're seeing Penn & Teller, and might do a buffet if we have the time, inclination and stomach capacity.

Yes, I've gambled a little bit. I had earmarked $40 for gambling, and I've only had a net loss of $30. I've only done slots, because I don't know much about the table games. Maybe I'll read up on those before I come out here next. I have had the challenge of changing some of my perspectives here; when I came here before (moderately frequently when I lived in LA), I was single. I could do pretty much as I pleased, within the bounds of my morals. Now I'm married, and I have to curtail a lot of my habits. When you're married, what happens in Vegas stays in your relationship. So I've been good. No late night carousing, and very limited gambling. We're going to be gluttons, though.

Today, I aslo went to a firing range and, for the first time (and possibly the last), I emptied a clip of an AK-47 into a target that looked like Saddam Hussein. If/when we come back here, I'll try other fully automatic weapons, as they have quite a few there. Really, firing an AK-47 is not much different than some of the more realistic video games. The only significant difference (other than the fact that I was holding a real, loaded assault rifle), was that a casing came up and hit me on the cheek, and those things are really hot! I have a small burn just below my eye from it.

Other observations: the strip is all about soaking as much money from you as they can. In the bigger casinos, most things are roughly twice as expensive as they should be. They're nice, but they're pricey. Also, I was on the bus on the way back from the firing range, and looking around at people. Admittedly, these are people who are taking the bus instead of a car, but I was shocked at the high percentage of people who appeared hopeless and desperate. Lastly, this place is an adult theme park. Nothing is real; it all appears kind of plastic. It's obscenely opulent, and there are a lot of opportunities you wouldn't have elsewhere, and a lot of very cool shows you couldn't see elsewhere, but it seems to be unreal. What it boils down to is that it's a nice place to visit, but not very often.

Monday, November 06, 2006


We saw Borat on Saturday, and I've been trying to formulate a way to write about it since then. I didn't put much effort into it yesterday, as it was an otherwise busy day, but also because I didn't really have words to describe it. In any case, it's intended to appear like a Kazhakstani documentary about America. Borat, the character, is based off a Russian doctor the Sascha Cohen met once, and was the most unintentionally funny person he'd ever met. And now he's made a movie.

I can see why the Kazhakstani government had a problem with this movie. It paints all Kazhakstanis as impossibly anti-semitic misogynists. It is an apalling, crass, crude, obscene and horribly, horribly funny movie.

There's few films which can successfully walk the narrow line of unrepentantly obscene humor. Either they completely turn me off, or their really not that obscene. In this move, I laughed as hard as I've laughed at any movie, even while my stomach was turning. It's primarily sexual and racial humor, which is offensive, but not as bad as it could be.

It seems as if the entire movie was improvised, usually without the people involved being aware of what was going on (they clearly saw the camera, but it appears as if they thought it was actually a Kazhakstani documentary about America, and not the comedy intended). Borat manages to offend innumerable people, most of the time with the interviewees feeling uncomfortable without wanting to show how uncomfortable they actually are. And he really goes out of his way to find easily offended people, and stick it to them.

A fair number of scenes were very likely staged, otherwise the filmmakers would probably have been arrested. And it is a comedy that's pretty much about watching other people be offended, confused or both. At the same time, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

I can't say I recommend this film, as it does put South Park to shame, both on the humor and offensiveness scale. So be warned, but if you choose to go, prepare to laugh until you cry.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Brew #2 Bottled

We just bottled Brew #2. I filled the bottles, and Heidi capped them. It moved a lot quicker this time, and it looks (and smells) like it will work out quite well. If there's anything I'm concerned about, it's that the corn suger didn't fully mix in with the finished beer. This shouldn't be a big problem (I think); it should just be a little flat, if there's anything wrong at all. I'm learning that homebrewing is a forgiving activity, so I'm not all that worried.

Approximate final gravity: 1.017
Estimated alcohol content: 6.6%

Lost vs. Battlestar Galactica

I've had the question in my mind which of the shows currently on right now are my favorite, as both Lost and Battlestar Galactica are among the best shows I've ever seen. Both are in their third season, and both have captivated me for a long time (I caught on to Lost late in the game, but spent a 3-day period catching up on it). Both of them have all the aspects that make TV shows addictive: Compelling characters, fascinating plotlines, continuing multiple story arcs for different characters, and mystery and intrigue. Up until very recently, I have been stunned by both, and each time thought that each show must be my favorite. And then the holding patterns started showing up.

In Battlestar Galactica, humanity is stranded on a crappy planet, surrounded by cylons. In the season finale, they jumped forward a year in time in the middle of the episode, in a very "what the hell was that?" fashion. The second season of BSG was split into two separate DVD sets, and you can't even buy them in a single set... and they're $40 each. The people of Battlestar Galactica did get off the planet, and got caught up in some crazy crap, and I'll get to that later.

In Lost, the season ended with the hatch exploding with three of our heroes in it. Three more were captured by the Others. The rest were back at the camp, which is "OK," because they tend to be minor characters. The three primary people are imprisoned, and we get to start a holding pattern here. What will happen this episode with Jack and Kate and Sawyer? Oh, they're still stuck in their cells. The first two episodes, which would have been great as one two-hour premier episode, were weak and flat. Last episode (an episode which seemed like a "hm, this guy is breaking his contract" episode), was about half commercials, and not a whole lot happened, except that it's clear they're introducing new characters, because they're busy killing off old ones. The "Fall Season Finale" is supposed to show next week, and to that I say "Wha? Did the season start?"

There lies the crux of the issue. Both shows started the season out in a holding pattern. Neither of them started out all that interesting, with our heroes being dominated by their respective captors. In both cases, we have a separated cast, each in their own little problem world (to some degree).

In Battlestar Galactica, most of humanity was on the planet, hosed, but fighting back. It ends up being a lose-lose situation, until they manage to break a message through to the people on the ships, who are on a skeleton crew, and soft from a year of doing nothing. But they do something. The two battlestars come back and rescue everybody in a rather spectacular fashion, destroying one of them, but also a lot of cylon ships. New alliances and new rifts are created in the cast, and new storylines and plot devices are created, with all the castmembers that we know and love. We do have a somewhat split cast, but for a very different (and quite intriguing) reason.

In Lost, our three primary heroes are captive to the Others, and they stay that way. They try to get out now and again, but they go back to their cells. Nothing much happens. Some folks try to mount an offensive against the Others, but nothing happens. Other folks try to seek out our heroes, but nothing much happens. Our heroes try to psychologically manipulate the Others, but everybdy's playing everybody else, so effectively nothing happens. J.J. Abrams has a talent for creating these fascinating shows that pull America in for two seasons, and then flush it down the toilet in the third season. I still have hope for Lost, but it seems like it's kind of winding down. I'll watch it for a while, because it has a lot of potential, but Lost is losing me.

So there ya have it. How to screw your characters up with examples of what to do and what not to do. You can hose your characters, but move the plot along. If there is the opportunity for change, take it. Make your characters fight against the odds and accomplish something. Maybe not end the oppression by the bad guys, but let them accomplish something. A lot of us are stuck in situations that we don't feel we can change, and it's inspiring to see people who are in similar situations, but do something, and do it to some result. I'm getting that from Battlestar Galactica, even in the last show, where someone makes a positive change, and someone else in the same place intentionally slides into their own personal hellhole. They made decisions that are going to impact them, but it was obvious that they made decisions, and those decisions changed their situations. Lost is (right now) all about people who are powerless to change their situations. So there ya have it. Battlestar Galactica maintains it's high quality, Lost is slipping.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Goal Update 9

Sorry, I realized that yesterday I should have posted about this, but I'm sure my readers will overcome their anxiety and grief over not knowing about how my goals have progressed. Not much progress in anything. But see for yourself:

1. Get Married: Done
2. Move to a new place: Done
3. Get a different job: Incredibly frustrated with the current one right now, but that's a temporary, today-sucks kind of thing. I have a good job, but this is still an active goal.
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: No progress. Working on it.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: Had a couple more auditions, and I think I did pretty darn well with them. Still, working on it.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Brew #2 is almost done with the fermentation. Bottling will happen on Saturday, to be consumable just before Thanksgiving.
7. Travel at least four times: Done
8. Write a script: No progress.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: No significant progress. Jane gave me some good advice, which should make next year an easier time of it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ass Effects

I've been having heartburn regularly, like every day regularly. Recently I had an additional development that if I've eaten within 3-4 hours of going to bed, I'm going to upchuck a little of it. Same if I lie on my stomach at any time in the night. So naturally, I chose to go to the doctor.

He understood the problem, and was checking to see if I increased my usage of alcohol, chocolate, mints, spicy foods, caffeine and a few others which escaped me. None of these changed significantly, but he mentioned that any of them could be triggers. Hm. Good to know. He also gave me a sample of a "proton pump inhibitor" (which is not as science-fictiony as it sounds), called Aciphex. It's supposed to reduce the acid production in my stomach, and we'll see where we go from there. But look at that name again: Aciphex. Say it out loud, and listen to yourself. Sounds kinda odd, doesn't it? I thought I already had enough of that.

But anyway, despite the hilariously sick name, it seems to be working OK. I think it's too early to tell, but so far so good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Burnout: Revenge

Y'know, I don't post a whole lot about games. I do mention that I'm a gamer, but really, in order for me to post about something, it has to make a big impact. Not many games do that anymore. But that has changed recently, as I discovered Burnout: Revenge.

The first "race" I played, it wasn't about getting first in line with the other guy, there weren't even any other racers on the track. Just traffic. Rush hour traffic. The timer gives you forty seconds to wreak as much havoc on the streets (designated in property damage costs) as you can. Each time you ram another car, you get a boost in time, so you can ram more traffic. I first played that after a mean commute, and it was a magnificent release.

The next "race" was a crash. That's it. Nothing else. Your goal in this one is to run at top speed into a busy intersection and cause as much property damage as you can. You get a massive pileup pretty quickly and can rack up millions of dollars of damage (primarily because cars keep ramming the pileup, and then you can explode your car which is hopefully in the middle of the junk heap).

They do have actual races, but even though the goal is to get across the finish line first, the methods are frequently to ram the other car off the road and see him crash spectacularly in slow motion. It's also fun to bounce another car into your opponent, causing him to crash and burn in the same manner.

The locations are beautiful as well. They aren't exact depictions of actual cities, but they clearly evoke the city you're supposed to be visiting. The first one is in "Sunshine Keys," a very Miami-ish setting. The next one is "Motor City," a very Detroitesque city. I've also gone through something that completely resembles northern LA (complete with going over the Hollywood hills at speeds exceeding 100mph), a Roman-ish city and some Swiss mountain area.

No other game in recent memory has given me such sustained glee. I found myself laughing frequently, not so much because something was funny, but because it was just an insane amount of fun. Heidi even played two sessions (the beat-down-traffic one and a crash), looked over to me and said, "Great, just what I need; crack."

This is a great game for anybody who hates traffic (and who of us doesn't). Right now it's a rental, but I've already decided to save up enough to buy it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brew #2: A Christmas Adventure!

Yesterday Mattox was over and we brewed a Christmas Ale. It was a good time to hang out and the first time we had seen Matt since the wedding. It was a bit of an adventure, though. This was the first time I brewed in the new place, and the brewing in the new environment thing seems to be an interesting experience. Schaumburg water tends to taste a bit like chlorine, so I had to buy a gallon of water and then fill that jug with filtered water, but that was a small matter. I think the biggest thing that made it an adventure was the fact that the kit was improperly packed, and didn't include hops or the right spices. The spices aren't much of an issue, the lack of hops is a pretty big one. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the hops thing until we were almost to boiling. Fortunately, there's a brew shop in Schaumburg, unfortunately they had just closed when I called. Here's where you rely on the kindness of strangers, at least strangers who brew. I explained that I was right in the middle of a brew and needed to get hops. They asked how soon I could get there, and we were off. Not only did I find the place, but it was a nice one. They had already won a new customer when they let me buy stuff after closing time, but they would have won a new customer just by being the shop that they are. Neato!

We also figured out a new heat transfer tool. I have a copper-coil "heat sink" (not sure what it's actually called) that goes into the pot for a quick heat transfer to cool the wort down after the boil, but it requires hooking it up to a nozzle, which I don't have in my kitchen (the sink doesn't have that kind of faucet). In my old place, we used this by holding the nozzle over the faucet, and that's what I expected to do for the 15-20 minute cooldown process this time. However, Matt, being the ever-resourceful guy that he is, looked around the immediate area and saw the right kind of nozzle coming off the washing machine. We managed to pull the pot over to the dryer, and started the flow, and the tube connecting to the copper coils promptly popped right off, spraying water all over the place. A little screw tightening later (combined with turning on the water a little slower), and we were transferring heat quickly, cleanly and with little fuss.

I have a good feeling about this brew. The last one was a hit with friends, and there's still plenty of it left, but I think this one is going to be even better. I'm not sure if I'll have enough bottles to do the third brew this year, but we'll see what-all comes of it.

And now, the details:
8 lbs, Ultralight Malt

8 oz, Crystal 120L
8 oz, Caravienne
4 oz, Honey Malt
2 oz, Special B
2 oz, Black Roasted

1 oz, Northern Brewer Hops (bittering)
1 oz, Willamette (aroma)

2 tsp, Cinnamon
2 tsp, Pumpkin
1 tsp, Ginger

White Labs California Ale yeast

And Whirfloc as a clarifier.

Original Gravity, approximately 1.068

Friday, October 20, 2006

Officially a Suburbanite

I like the city. I miss being in the city. Whenever I go into the city, I want to be there for a while. It's the vibe, the closeness, the depth of the place. Moving out to the suburbs was a change of pace, one that was not particularly welcome, but made a lot of sense at the time. I do love the home we've created, one that we couldn't have created in the city for twice what we're paying now, but it's in the 'burbs.

I figured I'd be able to maintain a tie to the city by staying at First Free, my church in the city. But the sense of community was difficult to maintain when I was living there, and being this far out, it would be borderline impossible. As if to say a semi-permanent "goodbye" to the city, we've officially decided to go to Willow Creek, a much more local-to-us church (and I believe it to be the largest church in the world as far a building square footage). It's a great church for creative people, but small group community is practically essential with a population greater than some towns. I'm hoping it will be less of a challenge to maintain friendships here; meh, we'll see what happens.

Fortunately, like most suburbanites, both Heidi and I like going into the city. Unfortunately, it's going to be a challenge to maintain the city-relationships I do have, as city folk tend to fear the suburbs. Two of the most adventurous people I know in the city both said, on separate occasions, "Here there be dragons" about areas pretty darn close to where I now live.

Sure, the best relationships will stay, because that what good friends do, but I expect to lose touch with a lot of people whose company I really enjoy. Admittedly, I'll be creating new relationships at the new place, but I guess I'm just not ready to let go of the old ones.

So my last real tie to the city is gone, one that I've had since I moved to the Chicago area. I'll miss it. A lot. Might as well buy an SUV now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back to the schedule

Yes, I know, I haven't posted anything in a while. Let me 'splain. I like being married. It's a good relationship that has developed a lot over the past month-and-a-week, and I see our lives developing into something bigger than our individual parts. The byproduct of that is that I want to spend a lot of time with my wife. This is a good thing.

However, the new TV season is upon us. Of course, Heidi and I can watch TV together, so that's good. But it does suck up a lot of time. So far, Heroes is a maybe, but this week's episode gave it a one-episode credit. Lost, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica are gimmes (Doctor Who primarily because of its history... by itself it's a good, but not great, show). Most other shows I've seen are catch them if I can. I might include The Office into the must-haves, but that will wait. In any case, that's a lot right there.

However, there's still a lot to do with the post-wedding crap. Family wants a lot of time. Friends want slightly less time. We still need to decide on our pictures (you can see a lot of them at We still need to get the house in order. We still need to do thank-you cards.

However, I'm a gamer. It's what I do. I've prayed about it, and felt God say, "No, it's cool." I need a good bout of gaming on a moderately regular basis to keep myself relaxed and sane. I can do that with friends or by myself... doesn't really matter. But that is a rather large time sink in which I'm not socializing with my wife. She's OK with it, but it's a time sink.

However, we also have little bits n pieces that suck up our time. There are movies we want to see. There are plays we want to see. There is an art show we want to hit. We want to carve a pumpkin. I want to brew some beer. We want to have parties.

All this is to say that finding time to blog is moderately low on my priority list. Work is pretty active, so I don't have a lot of time to sit and blog, and it ends up getting pushed by the wayside when I'm home, as I have other things vying for my attention.

This isn't an excuse, it's an explanation. I'll post more shortly. There's more to muse upon very soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Goal Update 8

Continuing on with the goal postiness, I'm going to inform you of where I am with the goals.

1. Get Married: Done
2. Move to a new place: Done
3. Get a different job: Still an active goal, but doing OK with the job I currently have.
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: We've determined that the Schaumburg Park District has a couple gyms that, while very reasonably priced, we really wouldn't continue working out at. Still working on it.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: Working on it.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Brew #1 worked out pretty well. Two more will happen shortly. There's a brewing store here in Schaumburg that I want to check out. Otherwise, there's always
7. Travel at least four times: Done
8. Write a script: Nothing. This goal probably won't get done this year.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: I didn't develop the discipline like I should have. I've got way too much to read in the next few months. This goal probably won't get done, but the year ain't over yet.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


We got our pictures a couple days ago. All 1567 of them. We went through a few on the computer, but the system was responding poorly, and ultimately froze up. Then we got the idea to show them on the Xbox. Wow, what a difference. First off, it seems to have a better DVD drive, and can read the pictures quicker, second, they're on a 56" screen. Dang! That's the way to look at pictures!

Anyway, it'll take us a while to get through all the shots, but I've already found several that I want to put up on Flickr. They should be there by the middle of next week or so. Meanwhile, if you haven't checked out the honeymoon pictures, they're there now. Click on the picture link on the right.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Illusionist

We saw The Illusionist last night. This will likely be an Oscar contender. The story is brilliant, but it's really the acting that sets it apart. The film is about a great stage magician, who does amazing tricks that can't be explained through any natural means. Considering The Prestige is coming out shortly, I didn't expect him to be an actual, true magician, but the film has you guessing until the end. Whether or not he is, I'll let you see the movie. Anyway, he has a duchess as a childhood friend, and as children, they fall in love. They are forceably parted, and he travels, eventually coming back to Vienna to do his truly incredible show.They meet up again, unfortunately now, she's almost-engaged to be married to the Crown Prince. They quickly acknowledge that they've been thinking about one another ever since they were parted, and drama ensues.

It's a complex and excellent story, but the acting was freakin' amazing. Paul Giamatti plays the detective inspector who is in the employ of the Crown Prince, and it's one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen him do, possibly one of the more amazing I've seen anybody do. He was entirely different from his usual persona, and displayed his thoughts and feelings with a subtlety I haven't seen in a long time. Edward Norton, in the title role, developed a complex and dynamic character, portraying an exceptional showman with a depth that is pretty impressive. Edward Norton typically portrays deep characters, and is an impressive actor, but his performance was pretty much par for the course. This doesn't mean it wasn't good, just not exceptional. Another brilliant, but probably underrated, performance was Rufus Sewell, as the Crown Prince. I like Rufus Sewell, I think he's an interesting presence, but I never really considered him a great actor. I'm glad to see this show, because, much like Giamatti, he had a subtle performance and was completely unlike his usual role. Jessica Beil, as the duchess in question, was even pretty impressive, based off her usual performance. It was a moderately generic character, but she played it well.

I highly recommend this film. See it as soon as you can.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The 23rd anniversary of the world not being destroyed

Wikipedia is one of my favorite sites. In its pages are an impossible wealth of information about darn near anything. For instance, on September 26th, 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet soldier monitoring his country's satellite early warning system, averted a fullscale nuclear war.

A few weeks before, their air force had shot down a Korean airliner that had strayed too far into Soviet airspace. 269 passengers had died onboard that plane, many of them American. The KGB at that time sent out a message to all their operatives, telling them to prepare for a nuclear attack. The entire government was on edge, preparing for a quick retaliation from an attack, and had a hairtrigger mentality. At 12:40 in the morning, Stanislov Petrov saw on his early warning system an American missile (which was a glitch in the computer). He had a few moments to inform his superiors of an imminent nuclear attack, but figured that if America was going to launch a nuclear attack, they'd send a lot of missiles all at once, not just one lone missile. He saw another one, and another, a total of five missiles being launched, all of which were computer glitches. He chose to trust his intuition and his instincts over his training, and saved the world from a nuclear cataclysm.

For disobeying orders and avoiding Armageddon, he was not rewarded, but neither was he severely punished. He was given a reprimand for improper filing of paperwork and reassigned to a less sensitive post, as his superiors found him to be unreliable. He now is retired in a small Russian town, and does not consider himself the hero that he is.

This information was made public in 1996, but very few people know about it. In 2004, he was awarded the World Citizen Award and given US$1000. In early 2006, he recived another World Citizen Award in a trip to the United Nations. A documentary will be realeased shortly (late 2006), called The Man Who Saved the World.

Incidentally, three months before was the movie WarGames, in which American missile command was given over to a computer, and through a series of apparent glitches in the program, a nuclear disaster almost happened. A few months after the event, ABC released the miniseries The Day After, in which people were suffering from the aftermath of a American/Soviet nuclear war.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I just finished my first audition in my "home studio." It's somewhat limited, but between the equipment Heidi already had, and her skill in figuring out what exactly else we need, we now have a limited home studio. Since my current job isn't flexible enough for me to duck out and audition in the traditional sense, and I'm sending my voice around, I'm able to do my auditions via email. Here's the thing, though. I did a good job with it, I think, but not a great job. I really need to regularly doing my vocal warmups, and that's where our schedule is kind of a challenge. We both are somewhat in-demand at this stage in our lives, and having an evening to ourselves is a bit of a luxury. Evening is pretty much my one available time to do my warmups, and frankly, I'd prefer to spend time with my wife when I'm home.

I know, I know, sucks to be me in a very microscopic way, but life hasn't really slowed down much from when we were planning our wedding. Now, between our various auditions and our general lack of social downtime, we're pretty much as busy as most of our wedding-planning time was (not so much the couple weeks leading up to the wedding, but most of the rest). Meh, I'll cope with it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Well, Blow Me Down!

Shiver me timbers! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I didn't even remember it until about 3 o'clock today. I had been plannin' a whole mess of promotions ahead of time, but with the nuptials and bein' away and all, I plumb fergot. Ah well, can't win em all, and this next year will be one to remember!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

We're home, and we're both pretty heavily jet-lagged. I was up at one, unsuccessfully tried to sleep for an hour and a half, and then decided to get up and take care of dishes and laundry, and finish up the massive blog post. Our thorough honeymoon post (in five chapters) is here. We were both glad to be gone, but we're glad to be back. Now the marriage starts for real. Rock on!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Honeymoon Update 3: Roman Holiday

We've just gotten to Rome, which is exciting but has been a bit of a chore. I'm getting moderately good with my Italian (I can now order breakfast and pay for it without speaking a word of English). Unfortunately, my camera battery has been dying since we left our place in Tuscany, so I've only gotten a few pictures of Cinque Terre (which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, but really had to be seen to be believed... I'll write more elsewhere when we get home). Today I'm hoping to find a camera store that can help me charge my battery, but we may not have much of an option beyond a disposable camera. In any case, by the beginning of next week, flickr will have a lot of pictures of Tuscany, hopefully we'll get a sizeable amount of Rome, but we'll see what happens. At least we'll have a whole heap of loot to remember the trip by.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Honeymoon Update 2: Driving in Italy

I don't have a great deal of time, and punctuation is difficult on an Italian keyboard, so I'll just discuss a facet of my time here: driving. I'll start with a brief summation: aw hell, it's fun!

Italy has much narrower roads, and Italians tend to drive quickly over windy mountain roads. I haven't had such an exciting experience driving since I left California, and even that has a tough battle to match this. Again, everywhere you look is a postcard, and it makes for an incredibly cool experience. In a lot of places, you can keep the car in neutral and just coast down the mountain roads (this is actually how we get to our place, most of the time). Street signs don't mention any road numbers or directions, just that you go this way, you get to this town. It makes it crazy easy to navigate, if you know what is on the way, and you really never have to look at a map unless you've made a mistake. Driving in a city is a crazy trip, because you have all those experiences, plus trying desperately to avoid other cars and the innumerable scooters around the way.

For this reason, cars tend to be in good shape. It's pretty rare to see a beater car, as you need great brakes and a smooth clutch in order to get anywhere safely. We rented a little Fiat Punto, which has both in spades.

More to come...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Honeymoon Update 1: Under the Tuscan Sun

Right now, I'm sitting in an Internet Cafe in Firenze (Florence), Italy. I have pictures aplenty so far, but I don't think I'll be able to get them uploaded till I come home. In any case, our flight in was long and torturous. We mentioned to the guy at the counter in O'Hare that it was our honeymoon, and asked if that would get us any special treatment. It looks like it did, but it was all negative. We ended up in the middle seats right by the bathroom on both flights (so if someone wanted to go to the bathroom, they'd have to come right by us and squeeze past anybody else waiting for it, leaning into me). Once we arrived in Italy, however, things went unusually well. We got a car quickly, found our place with no problem, and were able to get a lovely meal from the local market. Our place is in the Chianti hills, near Castellina in Chianti (a gorgeous old fortress town that's been updated to cope with tourists), so there's fabulous wine to be had at the drop of a hat, and almost anywhere we look, we see something that should be on a postcard. Last night we sat by the pool, looking at the stars (yes, actual stars), drinking our fantastic wine, and listening to the complete silence (with the exception of a small woodland creature here n' there).

We decided to hit Firenze today, and have been bargaining with the local merchants, seeing the gorgeous sights (there are a lot of pictures of the Duomo, but you won't see those for a couple weeks), and eating wondrous food. We're about to do a bit of haggling, a bit more eating, and then take in the stars again tonight.

Internet points are pretty common here, so I'll post more later. I'm not sure I've ever taken a vacation like this, but I could really get used to it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Big Day

I just posted about the Big Day on the wedding blog. Go here to read it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Goal Update 7

Here's the goal update for this month. I don't have anything clever to say about it right now, as pretty much all my creativity is going into wedding stuff.

1. Get Married:
Happening tomorrow. Bout damn time.
2. Move to a new place: Done
3. Get a different job: I have a job, but it's insufficient for my needs. Still an active goal.
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: Haven't done anything with it. Right now, it's as much a time thing as laziness.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: I have one agent, I'd like to get more, but right now I don't really have time to think about it all.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Brew #1 worked out pretty well. Two more will happen after the wedding.
7. Travel at least four times: 3 down, 1 to go (and that fourth one will be a doozy)
8. Write a script: Thought about it.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: It's been kind of an odd month. In any case, I haven't been reading much. My prayer life has flourished, but mot so much with the reading.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bachelor Party #2

I'm putting this post here, because it will eventually come with pictures. The first bachelor party is posted here, but the wedding blog shouldn't have any pictures but those having to do with the wedding or honeymoon.

In any case, some of the Mensa guys were sorry that they had to miss my actual bachelor party for various reasons, so a couple guys took me out to Buddy Guy's legends for some good blues, decent beer, and pretty good food. Schmutzy's cousin's husband is Nick Moss of Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, and they (among other bands) were playing there that night. The "warm-up" act was pretty lame, but at least they were loud to make up for it. The act prior to Nick Moss was quite good, but they didn't quite have the spirit you need for great blues. Nick Moss and the Flip Tops were freakin' awesome.

This was more of a "let's go out for a couple drinks and listen to some good blues" thing than a "you're getting married" thing, but both elements were there. Schmutzy and Chris insisted on toasting "John and Heidi" with every drink. They were much more in the mood to drink than I was, so after a while, during the toast, they would clink glasses with my head.

Another good time with good people that I really value.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I now have my first agent, interested in representing me for voiceover. The biggest in the city, Stewart Talent, didn't want me (meh), but Lori Lins agency in Milwaukee did. The one in Milwaukee is supposedly really good in terms of caring for their people, but we'll see just how everything comes together. It is kind of interesting that they both got back to me on the same day, though. The best thing I can do for myself now is to promote myself to casting directors, but that costs a lot of time and money I don't have. Meh, we'll figure it all out when I get back from Italy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the weekend

I've been trying to figure out how to write about the weekend, yet it's difficult as this weekend had a lot of stuff going on, and not much time to write. I'll hit some pertinent points. I'd like to expand on them, but there's that time thing.

I watched Cinderella Man while I was working on the Reception party favors. I remember a theatre was offering a refund of the ticket price if you didn't like the movie. It was that good, and that unnoticed. I still didn't see it in the theatres (more for time reasons than anything else), but thought it was funny that Russell Crowe was playing a boxer (due to the stories that he beat up paparazzi). But here's the thing about Russell Crowe: he's a phenomenal actor. I have never seen a Russell Crowe movie that I didn't like, and most of the ones I've seen, I love. This is one of them. It's the true story of Jim Braddock, a boxer in the depression. It's really about his struggle from one of the rising stars of boxing to complete failure at almost everything, to his struggle back into a lucrative, if dangerous, profession. I might write more about it later, we'll see.

Anyway, Heidi's bridal shower was Saturday, and I wasn't planning on going (as it's a chick thing), but it became expected of me. We got a good haul from the loot, and we ate a good meal. But it ended up being freakin' exhausting, which led to a nap.

In the evening we wanted to relax, so we sat down to watch Everything is Illuminated. I didn't even hear about this movie until it was on DVD, but it was really good. It's about Elijah Wood (wearing glasses that magnify is already freakin' enormous eyes), as Jonathan Somethingorother (not his actual name, but I can't remember it), a Jewish man who collects everything around him. He has a wall in his room where all the personal effects of his relatives are posted, but he doesn't really have anything of his grandfather (who passed away when Jonathan was very young) but an amber necklace. His grandmother, on her deathbed, gives him a picture of his grandfather, and another woman, who evidently helped them leave the Ukraine to come to America. He goes on a quest to the Ukraine to find out who this woman is, and is guided around by a very quirky grandfather and grandson. I can't go into much detail, but it's a brilliant film.

Went to church, our outdoor baptism service at Foster beach. The weather was the most beautiful I've seen in probably four years. The temperature was perfect, the sky had all these fluffy clouds where it wasn't pure blue, and there was a lot of wind. I like wind, a lot. I can't tell you why, but I love it. Eventually the wind died down, but it remained a perfect day. I had to stay down in the city, as we were playing D&D that evening, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I took an hour plus long walk along the Evanston path by the lake, and then went to see Little Miss Sunshine. I wanted to see The Illusionist, but it was playing an hour later.

Little Miss Sunshine was another fantastic movie, filled with unique and wonderful characters. There's a lot about this movie that I'm still processing, and I'll likely see it again several times, as there's a lot of depth that doesn't quite come across with the firt viewing, but most of the acting in it was complex and deep (Greg Kinnear doesn't do complex so well, but he's still a really charismatic presence). The evnts in the show are pretty predictable, once you understand what kind of movie it is, but the show isn't really about the events, it's more about the daughter in the show being the binding force in an otherwise dreadfully dysfunctional family.

D&D was a good time, hanging with some people that I don't get enough of a chance to be with. I really value my time with them, and we had some good fun times. A good D&D game should read like a good novel, and I think we're on a good plotline, which would read well.

So it was a successful, if busy, weekend.

Friday, August 18, 2006

World Trade Center

I just saw World Trade Center, Oliver Stone's new movie about 9/11. As regualr readers may have noticed, I don't write about a movie unless it make a big impact, good or bad. This one wasn't bad.

It's hard to put into words, much like the feeling you got when the attacks happened. It was just sort of a heaviness. This movie did a good job of returning the feelings of five years ago. Shoot, even in the beginning few shots, when you see the main characters heading to work, and see the twin towers on the skyline, you get a weird feeling. A lot of people don't want to remember those feelings, and those people shouldn't see this movie. I think it would be obscene to forget the impact of that day, but that's just me.

The plot is pretty simple: cops doing their job on 9/11, they go in, the building collapses, they try to keep each other alive while being trapped in rubble, their families try to find out if they're alive or dead, other people try to find and rescue those that they can. I think some of the best parts are when the twin towers are still standing, but after the attacks. Nobody knows what's going on, there's massive confusion, and there are regular sounds above the action, that sound like the place is about to come down. Then it does in a very short but very intense period of time.

The film really isn't all that plot-driven, although it is a high-concept film. It's not really a character-driven film, although we do focus on the reactions and motivations of the people involved. I actually think the film went a bit long (as the emotional impact began to flag a little toward the end), but it was a powerful film. The kind which you don't want to leave your seat afterward.

I measure the impact of a film by how it sticks with you. I have yet to actually determine what the impact will be, but I think this one is going to stay with me for quite a while.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ouch and other musings

I have no real focus for this post today, but want to say something, if for no other reason than to get me out of my funk.

1: The job is coming along, slowly. I haven't really been trained much, because of the perpetual need to put out fires. Tomorrow, the boss is out fishing, and the senior tech might be home sick (his back is seriosly bugging him, and I saw in him a posture I saw in the mirror not too long ago), so I'll be alone, with exceptionally limited training, and a barely functional network ID.

2: I was chewing a piece of gum today and damn near bit through my tongue. I'm glad I was in a secluded room, verifying that the equipment in there was working, because I let out a very loud not-to-be-spoken-at-work word.

3: Heidi's dad has been diagnosed with agressive lymphoma. He's not showing any symptoms, but he's starting chemo. Psychologically, he's not helping his condition, as he's expecting the worst, and effectively waiting to die. This would be difficult to deal with normally, but we're getting married in about two weeks, and he has to be fully there, or it'll be a ceremony with a dark cloud over it.

4: My work has an insanely strange firewall. I can access wikipedia, I can access my blog, but I can't access my gmail account. I think tomorrow I'll try to check out if I can access my voicover website.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A new gig

So my new job starts today. I'll be doing PC Support for Bosch tools, down in Broadview. It doesn't pay very well, but it's better than unemployment. It's not as flexible as I'd like (read: no acting till I get a different job), but it is work, and that's important. So, I can't necessarily say my "get a new job" goal is done, but I'm no longer a non-contributing member in the upcoming nuptials. So woo-kinda-hoo.

Friday, August 11, 2006

On brewing mead

I don't really have much to say right now, but I figure it's been too long since I've posted. I'm healing from the seizure.

But I did want to post about a rockin' walkthrough of brewing mead at Mattox's blog. For those of you interested in brewing, read this.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I had a seizure this morning. I was at home, so it wasn't such a bad issue. I jave a carpet burn on my face, and it looks like I scratched myself with my toenail, but other than that, I'm pretty OK. This is good, because frequently, seizures end up with me getting a new scar due to falling at an inconvenient location. I don't think it's a big deal so much, as I average a seizure every seven years or so, and this one was eight years since my last one. So crap, but not so crappy as it could be.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Goal Update 6

Things have been moving along, sort of. I didn't post a goal update last month because I was pissy about being laid off, and didn't want to face it again. I'm still a little pissy about being laid off (the yes-man who made the decision to lay me off ended up moving on to another job, and the people who were in support of me staying moved up a notch... not sure why that couldn't have happened a month earlier). Anyway, here's the goals:

1. Get Married: 32 days is just too damn far away.
2. Move to a new place: Done
3. Get a different job: Suddenly much more important. There are stirrings and echoes, but nothing solid. Seems people aren't too keen on hiring someone who's committed to being unavailable for two-and-a-half weeks at the end of the month. I'm going to call the temp agencies today.
4. Get back in the gym, and establish a regular routine: Haven't done anything with it. Right now, it's as much a financial decision as laziness.
5. Get at least one Voice-over gig: Moving along as best it can. I have my demo, I have my website, I have my postcards and such, and right now is the best time to get an agent, so as long as I'm not working, I'll be heading downtown to pester some folks tomorrow.
6. Brew at least three batches of beer: Brew #1 worked out pretty well. Two more will happen after the wedding.
7. Travel at least four times: 3 down, 1 to go (and that fourth one will be a doozy)
8. Write a script: Thought about it.
9. Read the Bible from beginning to end: After a long stretch of nothing, I'm getting back into this. I have a long way to go to catch up, but I'm plugging along.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Heidi just recently finished my voiceover website, and Sound Advice is hosting it for the next nearly-a-year. It's really professionally done, and I quite dig it. It's also a step in the right direction for me to promote myself. 'Course, I need to be able to pay for my own promotion, but again, it's a step in the right direction. Go, listen to my dulcet tones. I, if I do say so myself, rock.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Amazing Screw-on Head

I just watched the pilot for a work of genius. The Amazing Screw-on Head is an animated pilot that may or may not be used on the scifi channel. The animation is a little clumsy, but the ideas presented and the performances and the writing were all freakin' crazy hilarious.

Screw-on Head is a mechanical head that works for President Lincoln to discover strange and unusual phenonmena (like a vaguely Lovecraftian and Steampunk comic X-Files). The show starts with a voice-over by Abraham Lincoln telling us that there are two histories; the public one, and the other one (the one with all the strange stuff that Screw-on Head investigates). At the end of the show, they hint at old civilizations across the North American continent with strange and unusual technology, and Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act (to disguise the exploration to the Confederates). In any case, Paul Giamatti voices Screw-on Head, and David Hyde Pierce does a fantastic job voicing Screw-on Head's arch-nemesis, Emporer Zombie. Screw-on Head has his companions: Mr. Groin (his faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (who seems to be a dog who's sole purpose is to distract the bag guys, die, and then come back again). Emporer Zombie has his companions: two unnamed old ladies, a machine-gun toting monkey, and the vampire ex-lover of Screw-on Head (whose name escapes me).

This show has some of the oddest and most unusual twists I've ever seen. Emporer Zombie needs to know the information that someone he captured has, so he smokes him in a giant hookah. The evil Cthulhoid demigod who intends to devastate the world has been imprisoned for thousands of years in a turnip. All of these seem to be OK and could be handled well or poorly, but because the dialogue is so witty and brilliant, it ends up being a quirky work of genius.

See it online, fill out the survey, and pray that it gets picked up fo broadcast.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

AHA and Goose Island

Heidi and I have had a relatively crappy day. It's too damn hot, we've had car troubles, and we just went to Wal-Mart. For that last part, you need to understand what a large Wal-Mart in the suburbs is like on a hot weekend day. It ain't pretty. We were planning on hitting Ravinia tonight, but because of the heat and the car problems, we were unable to make it.

But one thing we were able to do was go to an American Homebrewer's Association event at Goose Island. That was a lot of fun. I was able to chat briefly with way more experienced brewers, and hang out with Heidi and Matt for a while, and even tour the brewery part of Goose Island. It was way cool, and more educational than I think I understand just yet. And it was air-conditioned. And, for $33, I got four beers (one of them in a bottle to take home), a $5 off token for a future visit to Goose Island and a new membership into the AHA. So that's a heck of a discount. So the part of the day that worked well worked really well. The rest of the day was kinda bleah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The move

The vast majority of my stuff is moved to Schaumburg. I'm actually kinda glad I wasn't working the past couple days, as I had a lot of stuff to move, and not a lot of space in which to move it (VW Beetles have a fair amount of passenger space, but they really aren't cargo vehicles). But the movers came and took all my furniture to the new place, and voila! I'm now sitting on my couch, but with a remarkable amount of space between me and the rest of our stuff. I have yet to unpack the electronics for the Altar of Entertainment, but that'll happen shortly.

In any case, the new place is beginning to look like a home, and the old place looks hollow (albeit still pretty messy).

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

We finally saw Dead Man's Chest yesterday, and I have to say this was one of the most purely entertaining films I've seen in about a year (and that one was among the most entertaining I've ever seen). Easily the most enjoyable of this season.

The story has a few subplots in it: Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) are due to be married, but on their wedding day, they're both arrested for helping Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escape (in the previous movie). The big goal of the arrest is for the East India Company representative who made the arrest to get the magic compass that Jack carries with him, and Will is supposed to do that while Elizabeth is stuck in prison. Elizabeth is, of course, not long for prison, and ends up on a ship, attemping to find Will. Meanwhile, Jack has some problems with Davy Jones (the captain of the Flying Dutchman, not the lead singer for the Monkees), as he made a deal with Jones 13 years ago to be able to captain the Black Pearl. That was the terms of the contract, now Jones wants Jack to join his crew of underwater not-quite-undead-but-close sailors for 100 years in repayment for his debt. Jones releases the Kraken to find Sparrow, and heaps of fun ensues.

This was such a kick in the pants. This show had some of the better action sequences I've ever seen. Not so hyperkinetic as kung-fu movies, but grandiose and just freakin' fun. Pretty much every action sequence, you think it can't get more impressive, and then it does at least once. The Kraken was a legitimately monstrous sea monster, and the scenes of it attacking boats were freakin' amazing. The swordfight on the waterwheel that's all over the previews, freakin' stunning. I was laughing, not so much becaue it was funny (although parts of it were), but rather out of pure joy from the staging and choreography. The whole scene with the cannibals (there's a lot of that in the previews as well), fan-freakin'-tastic from start to finish.

Bill Nighy plays Davy Jones, and is easily the best performance in the show (it seems the Pirates of the Carribean movies have fantastic bad guys). But this film is really Elizabeth's film. Whereas she doesn't really own the action sequences (Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp are both big "owners" of those), she's the most active in moving the plot along and getting things accomplished.

I think if I had to complain about anything (and I like to do that), I'd say that Johnny Depp's performance wasn't as inspired as the first film. It was still good, just not as good as it had been. I'm also a little miffed that they have a cliffhanger, "to be continued" ending. It wasn't one of those Battlestar Galactica type cliffhanger endings (where you scream profanities at the screen, hoping the producers will hear it); it did cap the movie, but it was also clearly "To be continued." I want to see three movies, not one and a two-parter. Still, the final scene (hell, the final shot), is so manipluative and provides a twist that is so unexpected that you leave the theatre wanting more, more more! I knew I had just been manipluated by what I saw on the screen, but I loved it and I want more of it.

So do I recommend this film? Only if you have a pulse. I heartily recommend it if you meet that prerequisite.

Friday, July 07, 2006


OK, I'm really looking forward to the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Heidi and I have been discussing whether I should go in full pirate regalia or some mock-up of it (it'll be hot this weekend, so I'll probably just wear the pirate T-Shirt and maybe an eyepatch). But something intriguing is on the horizon, something which I find interesting but frightening at the same time: Pirates of the Carribean Online. Yep, you heard me, a MMORPG based of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, at first glance, you would think this would be a wet dream of mine. However, Star Wars Galaxies, arguably the easiest MMOG setting you could possibly imagine to do right, was a steaming pile of donkey poo with a good character creation system. Now, this was before World of Warcraft came out, and really, pretty much every MMOG these days is modeled in some way off that system, because game designers (or rather the companies they work for) don't like risk, and that's a well-crafted and violently successful game. So, PoCO could very well end up being a fun game in its own right, but in a much cooler setting and with freakin' pirate ships! However, movie-based games tend to suckalot, so hopes aren't rising too high. I'll look forward to it, I'll try to sign up for the Beta (read: free test-run), but I'm not going to hold my breath for the year it takes to come out (and, being an MMO, it'll get pushed back and/or released earlier than it should have been).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! For those coming here from outside the United States, this is the American Independence Day. What this means is an opportunity to set off fireworks, and usually a barbeque. Nothing more (of course, it's been 230 years since we secured our status as a nation, and much like the prodigal son, we now like our "parent" again).

In any case, I'm showing the apartment a bit today, and then going to Heidi's folks for the aforementioned barbeque. I think we're even having satay (mmmmmmm), because nothing says "America" like a meal that originated in Thailand. After dinner, we may do some suburban fireworks, maybe not. In any case, there will be much eating of meat, and much relaxation, and my last batch of laundry before the move into the new place.

Monday, July 03, 2006


This weekend, Heidi and I went up to a resort in northwestern Michigan that was owned by old college friends of my grandparents. This resort, called Watervale, has been around since 1917, and really hasn't changed a whole lot since then. It's not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's charming and has a lot of family history there. I've been going there a few times a decade for my entire life, as have my mom and uncle. This weekend, we went up there to hang out with the entire extended family, and Heidi got to meet those she hasn't already met (and they got to meet her). It was quite successful.

One of the nice things about Watervale is how incredibly relaxing the place is. I left, stressed about work (or lack thereof), and didn't think about it for more than a few minutes over the weekend (By the way, this morning I found out my gig was extended for a week, so I still have work this week). The place is a short walk to Lake Michigan, but is on a much smaller lake (Lower Herring Lake) which has an outlet to Lake Michigan. Much of our time not hanging out with family and lounging around involved rowing across the small lake to the outlet and keeping a casual eye on the family kids.

This place is part of the family history, and will continue to be so, as Heidi found it just as charming and relaxing as I have, even without her having the extended history behind it.

FYI, this is our third trip, if you're linking here from a goal update. Our second can be found here, where you can see a link to #1.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Last, Best Hope for Net Neutrality

The telecommunications bill has passed, allowing the telco companies more freedom in getting us our TV, but also allowing Net Discrimination. Senator Ron Wyden has put a hold on the bill, effectively filibustering it until it has a clear policy preserving the neutrality of the Internet.

Here's what you can do right now (I expect it to take a maximum of five minutes).

Put your zip code in here. It will automatically look up who your Senators are.

Call the Washington number of your Senators.

Say this (or something like it): "I would like Sentor ____ to support Senator Ron Wyden’s hold on the telecommunications bill, and support his proposed amendments to the Net Neutrality issue. "

This could potentially screw you, personally, up if you have any particular preference for any website at all, or would like to discover new favorites in the future. I have never been concerned with politics at all until this issue came up, and we have the capability to do something that will keep us not-screwed (at least on this issue) for the rest of our natural lives.

FYI: When I called, it took about 3 minutes, most of which was on hold with Barack Obama's office. The workers were friendly and pleasant to talk to.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

Last night I and a few freinds saw Superman Returns at Navy Pier's 3D IMAX theatre. This was the first live-action movie to be done in 3D IMAX, and actually, only 20 minutes (four scenes) were in 3D. We were a little too close to the screen, and I think some of the 3D was focused a little too close for comfort, but it was impressive. I'm not really sure if the 3D did much for the movie (it kind of did, and I'd like to see it again regularly to see if those scene are as heart-pounding as they were comin' atcha), but the IMAX definitely was a good choice for this film.

From the beginning credits, which were done in a very similar style to the first two Superman films, I felt transported back to being a kid. It's a rare movie that can do that, and perhaps seeing it on a screen bigger than my apartment helped the process. Brandon Routh plays the character admirably, and gives great tribute to Christopher Reeve's performance, adopting some of his mannerisms. The story is pretty simple, but with complex undertones: Astronomers found out where Krypton was, and Superman went back to try to see if anybody had survived. In the intervening five years, Lois Lane, the jilted lover, moved on, got a long-term relationship and a kid. Lex Luthor got out of jail, because Superman failed to appear at his appeal as a material witness. Lex, having been to the Fortress of Solitude in Superman 2, finds it again and steals all the crystals in the console thing. He realizes quickly that he can make a new continent with them, thereby creating a brand-spankin new Real Estate market, owned solely by Lex. Yes, the new continent will displace the United States, but it's a small matter to him.

The movie is equally about Superman dealing with Lex and Superman dealing with his heartbreak from Lois moving on with her life. He clearly regrets his decision to leave, and loses himself in "work" for a little bit (y'know, saving people, being Superman). They completely ignore that Superman 3 and 4 existed (which is as it should be), and assumed that Superman 2 was just five years ago. There are some issues that purists will have problems with (y'know, like the introduction of the kid), but it really treats the new elements well, and handles them as they should be. Also, I think the film overstates the power of Superman in a couple instances. Still, given who Superman is, it's really difficult to give him a challenge, and I like how they did that in this film.

I highly recommend this film. It's not a perfect film, and will never be a favorite, but it's a faithful representation of the hero, and it is an exciting ride, with very little to disappoint.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Training the Replacement

I just trained my replacement in the functions of my job. Wow, that's awkward. You want to teach him to do things right, but you also are a little miffed that things aren't working out for yourself. Don't get me wrong, the guy's qualified, but I'm training him to take over the job that I'd still like to have. It would be totally unprofessional to take it out on him or any of the other team by not giving him the training he deserves, but at the same time, I keep wondering if he's going to be the worker I was.

Owell, it would be less awkward if I had some reason to leave, like if I found a better job, but next week I'll be unemployed. This is annoying.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Woohoo! I finally have a name and treatment for my persistent ailment! Fortunately, it's not strep, because that would suck. A lot. But I'm on yet another set of antibiotics, which should do an effective job at beating down the illness, and I can continue to live my life, sans pain (sorry, if you really took that entire last clause as French, it would mean "without bread;" I actually meant "without pain," but decided to keep it as such because this aside is kind of funny).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I got the fever!

Actually, I guess the correct title for this would be I had the fever. Yesterday I ended up with a nasty fever. Now, this could be from two things: It could be an allergic reaction to a new seizure medication my neurologist has been ramping me up on (which would suck, because this is the only one I've ever had that doesn't include the side effect of perpetual fatigue), or it could simply be that I've been fighting an ear infection. The anecdotal evidence points to to it being the medication because last night I didn't take my evening dose (on tuesday I ramped up to two doses daily instead of the one), and last night my fever broke. So I woke up, drenched in sweat, but feeling a heck of a lot better. Will I continue with the medication? Heck yeah! This stuff is awesome! I may call the neurologist today (she's probably sick of hearing from me by now), just to be safe, but I'm hoping I don't need to switch over to another drug, or worse, stick with what I've already been on. That would be wrong.

Update: Under the suggestion of my neurologist, I saw my regular doctor. He was familiar with the allergic reaction to my seizure medication, and he thinks it's just a viral infection, which is good. I still had some fever when I was in his office (101), but Thursday night Heidi surprised me by coming over and bringing me food, drink, cloraseptic, and a thermometer. That night there was no fever. I'm not 100% right now (still have a slightly sore throat and inflamed lymph node), but I'm a lot better than I was.