Friday, October 31, 2008

The Battle of 33 Weeks

My wife finally relented and allowed the midwife office to schedule her for a sonogram. So Wednesday morning we dutifully showed up at the hospital imaging suite for our (completely unnecessary) 33 week sonogram. All did not go as planned.

After waiting for 30 minutes, we overheard the imaging secretary on the phone with our midwife office requesting our records be faxed over. At this point I'm completely done, we've got our 2 y/o with us and we've just heard that we're going to wait at least another 15 minutes for our chart to show. I went to the window and let the secretary know that we're just going to go on to our midwife appointment, and that we won't be having a sonogram today. Of course the sono-tech just 'happens' to be standing right there also, (shouldn't she be back doing sonograms so that her patients won't have to wait 30 minutes?)

She tells us that since my wife has a previa (she doesn't) it's "REALLY IMPORTANT" that we monitor her placenta. Not in the mood at this point (SHE DOESN'T HAVE A PREVIA,) I just tell her we'll take that up with the ordering practitioner, and we head to the midwife office.

Before the midwife makes it into the room, my wife has convinced me to let her talk first, probably a good idea.

The midwife comes in and immediately starts in on my wife, won't let her get a word in edgewise. I'm biting my tongue but after the midwife starts laying the guilt trip on my wife and my wife is about to start crying, I had had enough. ENOUGH.

I will spare you the grisly details, but I will tell you that I kept my head and my voice even and low, (much to my wife's utter shock.)

When I was done the midwife pulls the oldest trick in the book, "if you're not comfortable maybe you should find another provider."

To which I replied that, "no, we'd just like the provider we've chosen to start collaborating with us, and to start thinking about our baby first, rather than trying minimize her own risk."


I remind her that my wife and I are both well-educated health care professionals, and we only expect from her what we'd expect from ourselves in the same situation.

More silence.

Finally she relents, making us promise that if we experience symptoms that we'll seek treatment right away. (As if we'd have done any less!?!?) And then wanted us to acknowledge that without the sonogram now, if my wife starts bleeding, she couldn't control the outcome as well. (Uh....what? How?) So we acknowledge that.

Then all was right in the world as she happily prattled on about their routine come delivery time.


I just don't understand why it has to be a battle!?!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Drofen's sister!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flowers In Black & White

Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 85mm 1.8
1/400s f/8.0 at 85.0mm iso400

(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Good Night

Our small group from church threw us a diaper and wipe shower this evening. We ended up hosting it at our house as we are the most centrally located, and really the only ones with a house big enough to hold everyone. Our small group has grown so much and so quickly that we've had to divide twice already, so of course all previous group members were invited as well.

We had a good turnout, especially for a Tuesday night. I even scrubbed the grill down since burgers were on the menu.

It was nice to have a house full of happy people, just hanging out and chilling. Kids running everywhere, chasing each other around the living, through the kitchen and down the hall.

We really are fortunate to have such great friends. What difference a year makes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enemy At The Gates

I rented this movie on the recommendation of several guys that I know through precision shooting. It was brought up as one of the all time great sniper movies, so I thought I'd give it a shot (haha). The nice thing about this film is there are no Hollywood movie magic 1500 yard rifle shots, which is greatly appreciated. In fact from a shooting standpoint, this film is on the mark.

Set in the closing days of World War II, the movie follows the life and times of Russian infantryman Vassili Zaitsev played by Jude Law. Sent into battle without a rifle, a chance encounter with a propaganda officer and a sensational sniper style shooting demonstration, Zaitsev is soon elevated to hero status as the entire Russian war effort is rallied around him. The Germans respond by bringing in a storied sniper (played almost believably by Ed Harris) of their own, and the rest of the movie plays out as they stalk one another.

I have to say, the opening sequences of this film are absolutely stunning cinematography. It had to have been a difficult thing to even begin to capture the absolute massive scale of destruction in World War II Stalingrad, but this film does it beautifully. Even as the cinematography is stunningly beautiful, it is in the same moment devastatingly bleak. The sheer hopelessness of the pitched battle for Stalingrad fairly oozes from the screen.

As the movie progresses, and we learn more about Jude Law's character, both from current events and flashbacks to his childhood, one begins to get a sense for him. He is no ordinary man, but borne of ordinary circumstances. He is thrust into celebrity and hero-dom, but reluctant at best. He worries about measuring up, but comes through in clutch moment after moment.
Jude Law is an exceptional actor, and movies like Cold Mountain and AI showcase his ability to play so many varied roles effortlessly well.

In the end I found much to like about this movie, and cared for the characters of the film. I had a hard time with the hopelessness that seemed to crop up at every turn. In this current world it seems there's plenty of that to go around. So if you're in a dour mood, this may just be the salve for your soul.

I give the movie a B+.

Code Brown

So, we've been gently prompting our 2 y/o to start potty training. She's definitely advanced enough to figure it out, but we're letting her take it at her own pace. (Meanwhile the $80 a month in diapers is KILLING us, and in a few short months, add another diaper monster to the mix.) We've got her a potty, (the BabyBjorn one--it's much better you see, it looks like the real thing.) We allow her to play with it, as recommended. And she absolutely adores it. She loves to sit on it...

...fully clothed. Other than that, she'll have nothing to do with it. Until this morning.

She comes to me in the middle of Curious George with the most desperate and pleading look in her eyes.

"Poopoo in the potty?"

"Yes booger, we go poopoo in the potty."

"POOPOO in the POTTY!?!"

"Do you need your diaper changed?" Quick check shows we're all clear.


"Wha...OH! NOW!?!?"

So I scoop her up and we go charging for the potty. Except it's in the master bathroom--where there is actually floor space enough for it--and my wife is asleep, recovering from the latest round of working nights.

Luckily I only scrape the skin off the top of my right foot vaulting over the baby gate in the hall--bones still intact. We go crashing through the bedroom door and into the pitch dark beyond, promptly getting entangled in the floor fan--going full blast for white noise--but who needs kneecaps anyway.

Now the dog is barking frantically because he can't get past the baby gate to protect us from the floor fan and my wife sits straight up in bed freaking out. She's completely convinced the Boogeyman has finally come to have his way with her. Meanwhile I'm trying to muscle open the pocket doors to the bathroom which have recently (the last year and half) started sticking (note to self, must fix doors!) I finally get the doors open and strip down 2 y/o's pants... discover she's now filled her diaper. And in our hasty exodus, I've apparently applied a good deal of pressure to her backside, because it is now oozing out of the diaper and onto my arm. (Laundry list: my shirt--poop, her pants--poop.)


Back over the baby gate and step on the dog in the process--nasty nip on my ankle for the trouble, (Laundry list: my shirt--poop, her pants--poop, my pants--blood.) We make it to the safety of the changing pad where she's now twisting and writhing in her attempt to help by reaching the wipes for me. (Laundry list: my shirt--poop, her pants--poop, my pants--blood, changing pad cover--poop.) I finally managed to get everything cleaned up, and a fresh diaper and clothes on 2 y/o.

"Poop in the potty," she says with a knowing smile.

(Laundry list: my shirt--poop, her pants--poop, my pants--blood, changing pad cover--poop, my bruised daddy-ego--indignity.)

Anyone know a good stain remover for indignity soaked daddy ego?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flowers In Black & White

Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 85mm 1.8
1/640s f/5.6 at 85.0mm iso200

(Click to enlarge)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sam Adams Black Lager

The Black Lager is one of 3 distinctly different beers that make up Sam Adam's Brewmaster's Variety Pack. Also packaged are the Honey Porter and Irish Red which I will be writing about in upcoming reviews. I love that Sam Adams is a local US brewery. Located in Boston, Sam Adams seems to take pride in being unapologetically American--something I can identify with.

Starting with the name, Black Lager, one has a pretty good idea of what to expect opening this beer. And it does not disappoint--what a beautiful pour. Smooth and effortless as it runs into the glass, this beer is jet black with the faintest of red when held to the light. Expect a moderate amount of head, and lovely lacing.

The nose is immediately engulfed with warm, soft roasted goodness. Toasted malt leaps to the forefront, with a lager tang rounding out the bouquet. The first mouthful only continues the suppleness with roasted nuts and coffee essences dancing on the tongue. This beer is an after dinner cigar smoked in the favorite leather arm chair in front of a fire made from snow-wet wood on a cold winter's evening. Yes, it is that comfortable. My only regret is that this is a one glass beer for me.

I give this beer an A-.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Little White Envelope

It came today.

A little white envelope from UTA School of Nursing.

I set it on the counter and just looked at it for a couple minutes.

I finally got the intestinal fortitude to open it,




Kona Longboard Lager

I've taken to researching the breweries of all the beers I post about after my Blue Moon experience. Kona Brewing Co. is a microbrewery in Hawaii, and continues to produce all Kona beers. They have however, joined the Anheuser Busch distribution network, which is quite likely why I'm able to select this beer from my local Kroger beer aisle.

This lager pours thinly (as a lager should in my understanding,) with very little head and moderate lacing. The color is definitely amber tending toward orange--rather unique from what I've seen.

The nose of this beer is on the disappointing side, there just isn't much to it. I pick up the malt almost immediately with a mild yeast aroma. On the back end there is a small but noticable citrus, mostly orange, bouquet.

In the mouth the malty lager-ness presents itself up front as any respectable lager should. There is a zesty spice that I'm not familiar yet that comes through after the malt. The finish is actually quite delicate, tasting again of citrus. The finish alone defines this as a lager for those that aren't big fans of lagers. Many lagers don't let you forget you are drinking a lager--which is pretty much lager personality. But this finishes so quietly that I could envision myself drinking several bottles of this--which is not my norm for lagers.

I paired this beer with Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato sandwiches on toasted Italian country bread and thick sliced kettle roasted potato chips.

I enjoyed this beer and I will certainly be checking out the offerings that Kona has on the market. Had the nose been a little more assertive I would have scored the beer a little higher.

Overall I give this beer a B-.

Sushi & Fetal Pigs

Meeting up for lunch with my best friend today. (Are 33 year old guys allowed to have best friends? Maybe I've been hanging out with my 9 y/o daughter too much?)

Anyway, we found a little hole-in-the-wall sushi bar that has a lunch special buffet. The first day we tried it the server spilled an entire glass of ice water on my friends wife and 18 mo daughter which was really special. The buffet was $10.95 all you can eat, but they have since lowered it to $9.99. Don't get me wrong this isn't great sushi we're talking about. It's not even good sushi. It's OK sushi. Actually to be honest it isn't even sushi, it's fake sushi--all that's on the buffet are rolls. But that's just fine. For 10 bucks, I can eat a lot of OK fake sushi sushi rolls.

After sushi it's off to anatomy lab, (yes I got stuck with the Friday afternoon 2-4 lab,) where we are in the process of dissecting a fetal pig. My group has affectionately named our pig "Porkchop" which is kind of catchy. (I voted for "Wilbur" but one of the girls in my group is named Charlotte, so that hit a little too close to home for her and she vetoed.) It's kind of funny to watch my classmates--first time to do something like this--get all squeamish. For me, after spending 8 hours a week for an entire year with cadaver in gross anatomy in chiropractic school, my tolerance for dead things has definitely gone up. Little pigs don't scare me. (Yeesh I feel like the big bad wolf.)

It will however, be interesting going directly from a sushi bar to dissection lab...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flowers In Black & White

Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 85mm 1.8
1/320s f/5.6 85.0mm iso200


As I wallow in my self pity induced by a lousy market for chiropractors, my fellow classmate and his wife lost their baby boy 18 weeks into the pregnancy.

Clearly my situation could be much, much worse.

Friend, you, your wife, and your son are in my prayers.

Mailbox Wars

The chatter about acceptance letters on the class web discussion boards is increasing. I've heard from several different places that they would be going out this week, and some claim to know people that have received them already.

So once again, I'm at the mercy of our mail person, who incidentally, has been leaving nasty diagrams in our mailbox. We have three vehicles, and a garage full of stuff. Unfortunately the size of our driveway limits the number of vehicles to two, leaving one vehicle out in the cold parked on the street. Apparently this upsets our mail person. If it were parked in front of the mailbox, I could understand. If it were blocking vehicular ingress or egress to the front of our mailbox at all, I could be sympathetic. But the poor thing is parked 15 feet from the mailbox if it's an inch. We've gotten two such diagrams now, the demonstrate the proper allowances for vehicles parked in the street--which we have been compliant with since the beginning--and threatening to stop delivering our mail. I mean really? So much for: "Neither snow nor rain not heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Apparently parked cars well away from the mailbox are, however, an issue. Maybe the mail person just doesn't like Toyota's? Toyotaphobia. It's got a nice ring.

So I will hope that the mail person can continue delivering our mail. At least until my acceptance letter arrives.

Winter Hat

My wife ordered matching hat and mittens from Old Navy for my girls and they arrived Monday. My youngest daughter loves hers, in fact wearing them for hours at a time since then, regardless of the fact that it's been in the middle 80s. The weather finally turned cool yesterday as a front blew through bringing a cold misting rain and dropping high temperatures down into the low 50s, so she was in full winter wear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby's World

I wish I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby's very own world.

I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops down to his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.

Those that make believe to be dumb, and look as if they never could move, come creeping to his window with their stories and with trays crowded with bright toys.

I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby's mind, and out beyond all bounds;

Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms of kings of no history;

Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, the Truth sets Fact free from its fetters.

50 points to the person that can name the author of this poem without googling.

I love this poem. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day As a CRNA

Yesterday morning I met a classmate of mine at a surgery center where she works. She had graciously arranged for me to follow a CRNA around so I could get a feel for the position.

CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) is an advanced practice nursing position that functions essentially as an anesthesiologist administering drugs for surgical procedures--whether conscious or unconscious sedation.

The position is attractive to me because it is both well respected and well paid. If I were to secure a position as a CRNA it would allow my wife to severely cut her hours, if not quit altogether. I'd be able to work days as well, as the salary would be enough that I wouldn't need the night shift differential.

It's not an easy road though, 2 years of nursing school, then 2 years of work experience in a critical care setting. Then 2 years of CRNA school. I am fortunate as there are two CRNA programs here in the metroplex, Texas Wesleyan University and Texas Christian University both have programs. This is unusual as there are entire states without CRNA programs.

The CRNA I followed yesterday, Jessica, was wonderful and answered my many questions, as well as pointing me to good places to do my own research about the profession.

I left excited about the possibility of working in a position with high demand, good pay, and decent hours.

But then I felt a big let down because I was excited before I started chiropractic school also, having been told almost that exact formula as benefits of being a chiropractor--high demand--not, good pay--NOT, decent hours--NOT!! I mentioned this fear to my wife, and she said that this time we have plenty of time to make a good decision, unlike chiropractic school where I was admitted within 3 weeks of the first time of hearing of the program and was attending classes 45 days later.

If all goes smoothly I would be graduating from CRNA school in 6 years, a month before my 40th birthday. That's a very disheartening thought. If I hadn't messed around with thoughts of medical school and then going to chiropractic school and had instead immediately started nursing school after I graduated with my first bachelor's I would have graduated from CRNA school this past May...

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Am Legend

I'd been looking forward to this movie since we saw a trailer in the theater, but I was doomed to wait for DVD release. My wife doesn't do scary movies, and the bad guys were just a little too creepy for her. Netflix deposited the DVD in my mailbox last week, and I could hardly wait for my wife to go to work this weekend so I could pop it into the player. Last night I hurried the girls to bed, poured myself the last of the Coors (Blue Moon) Pumpkin Ale, and settled in.

For those that may have missed the multi-million dollar advertising campaign surrounding this film, Will Smith plays a military scientist who is the sole human survivor in New York after a mutated virus sweeps through the city, infected 90% of the population and turning them essentially into zombies. Smith works diligently to develop a treatment for the virus using his own naturally immune blood as a starting point. For three long years he's tried variant after variant of vaccine before he gets a glimmer of hope--but is it to late? Will humankind survive? Or will all be lost in a mutant surge of voracious zombie creatures?

I like Will Smith. I grew up watching Fresh Prince, and listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince albums. I've enjoyed watching him come of age from that dorky teenager, to heroic superstar in Independence day, to more thoughtful roles like those in Legend of Bagger Vance and Pursuit of Happyness. I was expecting a lot of Smith in this film, because as far as characters go, he's it. He has to carry the film because there are sparingly few other humans in the film.

Unfortunately, I wasn't blown away by this film like I was hoping. Smith does a really good job of portraying what it must be like if a man were thrust into the situation described. But I never connected with his character. In fact I cared more for the dog than any other character in the film. Which is kind of scary since the point of the film was that the entire human race was hanging in the balance. The ending was just a little too tidy for me. While I felt the movie was trying to build to a capitulation using flashbacks and prior events intersecting on one climatic scene--much like the film Signs with Mel Gibson or Dragonfly with Kevin Costner--the end fell flat on its face. It just didn't work.

One aspect I would have liked to have seen developed a tad bit more was the fact that the virus was man made, created to cure all ills. And when humankind thought they'd conquered God, it all came tumbling down around them.

Rated PG-13, the film is bloody, and full of creepy, very cranky subhumans. Lots of people die. The main character contemplates suicide, (wouldn't you?). All this is really run of the mill though, given what we're force fed by media today. I think the biggest concern with this film is the sense of utter hopelessness and isolation.

I'm sad to say, after high hopes, I give this film a C.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home At Last

Friends of ours have spent the last two years traversing the perilous road of an international adoption. Yesterday was the culmination of all their hard work, prayers, sleepless nights, etc, as they stepped foot back in the USA after travelling to China to pick up their son.

There were so many things about this adoption that can only be attributed to God moving as only He can. Things that weren't supposed to be possible, were. Things that could have happened to derail the entire process never materialized. Things were delayed, allowing other pieces to fall into place. Really it's a fantastic story, you should go read.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to be a part of this amazing story. Below is a picture from the airport.

Welcome home son.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

So yeah, I got suckered in by the clever advertising. It's almost Halloween, and this morning was almost chilly, 48*. So when I was cruising through my favorite Kroger beer aisle, I found the end cap display of pumpkin ales.

I passed over one that was clearly labeled as an Anheuser Busch product in favor of a microbrew. However now it turns out that may not have been fair, because when I picked up the Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, I was actually picking up a macrobrew Coors product. Finding that out has kind of soured my palate a bit, if only psychologically. I found this quote during my research:

Coors does not actively advertise the fact that the brew is owned by Coors on the belief that being associated with a major national brewery would diminish its credibility among aficionados. Blue Moon is instead branded as being brewed by the "Blue Moon Brewing Company."


Well, on to the review.

This beer pours smoothly with a thin fizzy head that dissipates almost immediately. As a result there is only a small amount of lacing on the sides of the glass as it is consumed. It is a beautiful dark amber tending towards red and orange--the coloring definitely speaks of autumn so points given there. On the nose the sweetness of the pumpkin flesh is almost immediately evident, followed quickly by spice, (not sure which, Allspice maybe?) and then the woodiness of something roasting.

First sip and the flavors of fire-roasted vegetables muscles it's way to the front, not letting you forget for a second that it's a seasonal pumpkin ale. It lacks subtlety I think is what I'm trying to say. Let's put it this way--my 9 y/o daughter found the pumpkin scent quickly, and with no prompting. Once your tongue gets past being smacked over the head with a large orange gourd, the spices become evident and the ale finishes quickly and dryly.

After trying a bottle, I decided to pair this beer with a warm vegetable beef stew heavy with onion slices. The beer actually complemented the meal well, but I was done after one. For me that usually means I'm not crazy about the overall presentation. If I've enjoyed them, even the most filling beers leave me wanting another glass, if only to spend some time working with my nose.

Overall I was mildly disappointed in the beer, especially after it was such a beautiful pour. Now that I found out Coors tried to dupe me, it's only deepened my disappointment. (It's probably important to note that I discovered the Coors link after I tasted the beer, so I'm fairly confident it hasn't completely colored my review.) I think I'll be moving on to try other pumpkin ales, maybe even the AB offerings.

I give this beer a C.

Friday, October 17, 2008

31 Weeks

We had our 31 week midwife appointment this morning. (Have I mentioned my wife is pregnant?) It was a quick in and out appointment. Weight, BP, UA, fundal height measurement, doppler the HR, and we were out of there. My wife said it only went so smoothly because I was there to corral our younger daughter. (Sometimes it's just the two of them, which can be trying. I mean who really likes to wait in a doctor's office? Not to mention she's 2.) Everything was normal of course.

At our 20 week sonogram the placenta was a little low, which is not surprising considering we actually had a placenta previa with our younger daughter. The previa didn't move until 36 weeks, but she was born naturally--which was a huge blessing, and a direct answer to prayer. Anyway, the midwives (and overseeing OB) are concerned and want us to get sonograms with every visit. Which is ridiculous. There is nothing to be done to correct a previa in utero, (and we don't have a previa this time.) My wife never experienced any bleeding last time with a previa, or this time without a previa. So we have politely refused any further sonograms until much later in the pregnancy.

My goodness you would think we'd accused the Pope of being a Baptist.

We literally left the nurse speechless. And then they called us mid-week to try and schedule it again. When we politely explained why we wouldn't be having another sonogram until much later, the nurse said she'd call us back to let us know if that was OK. The whole time I'm thinking, "I don't need you to call us back and give us permission to make our own health care decisions..." But whatever.

My wife of course is concerned about offending them all. I think that's just silly. There is definitely a time and place for bending your behavior as social graces demand, but when it comes to the health and welfare of you and your family, one makes the best choices with the available information. Who cares if someone gets miffed? Now don't get me wrong--there is no reason to be rude, and we've been completely polite, but we're not going to let 'getting along' be the driving forces in our health care choices.

Silly people. It's like they think modern medicine invented having babies.

Boat House

I mentioned in my profile that photography is one of my hobbies. So I thought I'd post an image every now and again. Hope you enjoy.This image was taken in Central Park in NYC. While this isn't the famous Loeb Boathouse, I felt the title Boat House still fit. This was taken on a trip in May 2008 with a Canon 20d w/ kit lense 18-55mm. 1/200sec, f/8, 55mm, ISO200.

(Click on the image for a larger view if you like.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe The Plumber For President!

Ugh--this is my second post as of late concerning politics. I really need to be careful here, I may end up with a social conscience--eek! Regardless, I'm certainly not the savvy political blogger that so VERY many of my fellow bloggers are. In fact, if you're looking for partisan eloquence or thinly veiled venom--er, cynicism, you should probably just move along. I'm just a regular ole American, trying to make sense of WTF is going on in this election, and how my lonely little vote can make the biggest difference.

I'm not afraid to admit I've always voted straight Republican. This is hardly a surprise I'm sure, especially if you know anything about me. I grew up on a farm. I'm a Christian, Baptist in fact. I'm male. I live in the South. I love to shoot guns. Not a big shock I have Republican tendencies I would imagine. And in the beginning I was a sure supporter of McCain. In fact I thought the nomination of Palin as VP candidate was brilliant.

And then the wheels fell off the apple cart. I'm not sure exactly when; I can't put my finger on a single event. But the overall tone of the campaign changed for the ugly. I shudder when I hear all the sabre rattling and the personal attacks. More and more McCain/Palin are sounding shrill and nasty. Frankly, I'm embarrassed for the way they are acting.

But lest you think I've flip-flopped and am supporting Obama, that simply isn't the case. The Democrat's campaign has been undeniably ugly, and from the start. I mean really. Accusing Palin's husband of incest? Or suggesting that McCain gave up vital military secrets while being tortured as a POW? What the hell kind of people have the audacity to say things like that? So really I guess this issue for is expecting MY candidates' campaign be held to a higher standard.

I think what America could really use right now is a young, confident President that is polished and well-spoken. In my opinion, the USA has some major relationship mending to do with the other countries of the world. We've acted like a head-strong petulant child for quite long enough I think. So of the the two Presidential candidates, obviously McCain comes up short here compared to Obama.

I wish I could get a feel for who Obama is. But I'm having a hard time finding that. It's like he's created this nebulous persona that everyone is high on. I mean talk about drinking the Kool-aid--the vast majority of those who claim to be Obama supporters that I've actually spoken with really can't tell me why they'll be voting for him. After listening to the man speak, debate, stump, byte sound, I still don't know who he is. And as such, I can't tell how he's going to react when that bump in the road comes along.

The job of running our country is so large and complex I firmly believe that one person cannot do the job adequately. Presidents have long relied on their closest advisers and support staff to do this impossible job. So, the campaign issue becomes just as complex. Now I have to consider which candidate will surround themselves with the best people. And I have absolutely no idea how to even begin to ascertain that...

What's a regular ole American to do?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Martian Child

Let me just say a couple things before I let you know what I think of this movie. Sort of get my biases out in the open so you can appreciate where I'm coming from when I review this film for you.

Important Point #1: I REALLY like John Cusack, and more importantly, I like his later work the best.

Important Point #2: I like quirky movies. Movies like Smart People, Stranger Than Fiction, Reign Over Me all appealed very much to me.

Important Point #3: I can really identify with characters that are a little damaged from their childhoods. Usually these characters are too intelligent, or too creative, or too wise for their own good, and end up ostracized from and by their peers. I'll leave you to guess which one I was.

That being said, this is a quirky John Cusack film whose main characters have all been damaged, (some more than others,) growing up as free spirits. So yeah, of course I'm going to like it. And I did.

The film is an endearing tale of a widower science fiction writer (Cusack) that chooses to adopt a troubled young boy. Kids deal with the trauma in their lives in many different ways, but suffice it say most don't create an alternate life for themselves on another planet. The young boy, (played by Bobby Coleman,) is so messed up the only way he can deal with reality is through an elaborate fantasy world in which he's actually an alien visiting from Mars.

I honestly don't think there is any other actor that could have pulled off this character besides Cusack. Cusack's often distracted, and at times frantic acting style fits perfectly here. And honestly I believe Cusack's personal views of the world come shining through, from what I've read of his life away from the wide screen. One has to wonder if maybe that isn't the hallmark of a character played so genuinely well--that no other actor can be imagined playing the role.

To round out the cast Amanda Peet provides an appropriately quirky love interest, and Joan Cusack reprises her over-zealous mother-figure role from Raising Helen to perfection. Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, and even Anjelica Huston make their appearances.

The movie is rated PG, and I let my 9 y/o watch it with us. There is only mild cursing, and in appropriate situations. This is life, not gratuitous debauchery.

All in all this is a really sweet story that will leave the viewer pondering the true meaning of family and unconditional love.

I give the film an A-.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I watched this movie a long time ago and really enjoyed it. I've taken up precision shooting since I saw it, so when I ordered it up on Netflix to watch again, seeing it was a different experience. I am very much a beginner to precision shooting, but I've learned a great deal, and there were several miscues in the movie. Overall though it wasn't so bad as to distract me.

The movie has a pretty good story and the plot, although predictable, marches right along. Mark Wahlberg plays a retired scout-sniper accused of an assassination attempt on the President. But all is not as it seems. Wahlberg has been set up, and even the true target of the assassination attempt is in question. Wahlberg manages to escape, and the action is set in motion as he attempts to clear his name. I've actually enjoyed watching Mark Wahlberg, he's a much better actor than many give him credit for. I'm not sure we'll see an Oscar in his future, but he's no Ahnawld either.

Danny Glover appears as a character we're not used to seeing him play. the movie doesn't really allow as much development of his character as I'd like to see, but the parts we do see, he's a downright creepy bad guy.

The stunning Kate Mara provides the female love interest, and most male viewers will agree that we could do with seeing a whole lot more of her!

This film is rated R, but it's honestly a very tame R in my opinion. There is some graphic violence as one might expect in a movie about a sniper, but certainly not to the degree of Saving Private Ryan or Gladiator. No sex scenes, but as beautiful as Kate Mara is, I'll leave that up to you as being a plus or a minus.

I give this movie a B+.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Sunday, October 12, 2008

School Days

So far things are going well. I've made it through the first round of exams, save one, and I've got straight A's. Hope that holds.

We had a mentor come talk to our Nursing Concepts class. He's just a year ahead of us, started nursing school in January 2008. Nursing is his second career after retiring from the USMC after 21 years. His plan of attack was to start networking by becoming involved in some of the nursing professional organizations. I think that's a great idea, and most have student memberships that are cheaper. I think I am going to join the AACN--the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Since that is the field I'd really like to go into, it's a good fit I think. They also offer a scholarship that rarely gets awarded because no one applies for it!! The membership requirements state that for a student membership one must be currently enrolled in a nursing program. I think I'm going to wait for my acceptance letter, (assuming I get one,) and enroll then. My wife is already a member, so the biggest challenge I think is to get only one newsletter sent to the house each month.

For my online pharmacology class we're required to put together a 'hot-topic blog' as a group assignment. The topics are assigned and my group got 'antibiotic resistance' as our topic. Luckily for me this meshes well with my anti-drug-unless-it's-really-really-necessary beliefs. You can visit our blog at The Antibiotic Rebellion. Leave some comments please! And just ignore the fact it looks exactly like this blog--it turns out that blue and orange are the school colors! Hahah!

It's going to be a tough thing to balance my holistic beliefs with the allopathic concepts that will be presented in nursing school. For example one of the hot-topic blogs I mentioned above discusses childhood vaccinations. After doing a great deal of research, (objective research, not propaganda research,) my kids are not vaccinated. It is a frustrating thing to read a student blog like that and see how much misinformation is out there that people accept as truth. It's really unfortunate. Not to mention it can be really inflammatory--some of the information that particular blog presents paints those parents who choose not to vaccinate their children as endangering them, and as such are bad parents. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I have to be careful. There is really no need to tip my hand. I hope to keep my mouth shut unless someone directly asks me my views on the subject. We'll see how that goes. Got to stay under the radar. Grr.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

I thought I'd start recording my thoughts about different beers as I drink them. I never drank beer growing up--my first drink of any type of alcohol was well after my 21st birthday. Even then, girlie drinks like wine coolers and rum and vodka diluted with sodas were the flavors of the day--what can I say, I was uncultured.

I didn't like beer at all, but that had a lot more to do with the fact that I was just drinking bad beer--think ice brews... A summer working for the US Forest Service with evenings spent in hole in the wall bars in nostalgic little towns like Mancos, Rico, Telluride, and Dolores at 9 and 10 thousand feet above sea level in the mighty Colorado Rockies cultured my palate. I am by no means an expert, and would never claim to be one, but I've tasted enough to know what I like, and why.

Which brings me to the beer for today, Sam Adams Summer Ale. For a long time I have tried to like Sam Adams--I mean what's not to like? The company gives of that micro-brew homey feeling with many different seasonal ales. I tried the original Sam Adams Boston Lager several times early in my drinking career. And I just didn't like it. For me it has a thick raspy aftertaste. It just didn't go down smoothly.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years, and you'll find me standing in front of the beer cooler at Kroger looking for something not as light as a hefeweisen, but definitely lighter than a lager. I saw the Summer Ale, and I thought, why not?

Pop the top on a bottle and the bouquet smells of the tang of citrus and the warmth of pepper and summer wheat intermingle. My guess is the peppery scent comes from the grains of paradise used during spicing. The ale pours smoothly into a glass, and the color is warmly golden--darker than I expected from a 'summer' ale.

At first sip I'm struck by the crispness of this ale. The citrus zest bites quickly announcing the arrival to the tongue, followed quickly by the warmth of pepper. Only then does the smoothness of the wheat follow, and it makes for a great finish. And most importantly, none of the thick raspy aftertaste I have previously found with Sam Adams.

The beer pairs well with lighter fare. Over the course of the six pack I paired it with salads and grilled fish. I particularly enjoyed this ale with fresh rosemary bread straight out of the oven. The face of this particular beer is easily overwhelmed by strong tomato-y Italian dishes however.

Over all I'd have to say I was greatly impressed. This is a lively ale that I enjoyed very much. I'll definitely be back, and may even venture into other Sam Adams selections.

I give it a solid B.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Ridiculousness Of It All

(**Disclaimer** I rarely if ever discuss politics. I simply don't know enough to intelligently speak on most topics regarding politics. I certainly don't claim any premeditated knowledge here, only gut basic reaction.)

As a common everyday American, I have to say it's an interesting time. And by interesting I mean downright farking INSANE. I mean seriously, WTF is going on?!?

Quite frankly, I'm aghast at the situation we're in. We, the common everyday Americans have been asleep at the wheel far too long. While we were so cozily napping amidst dreams of sugar plum fairies and immortally burgeoning stock markets, we've steadily and hungrily accepted the steaming piles of bullshit the financial community and our politicians have fed us.

People that we elected, and trusted, to have our best interests at heart have shown otherwise. They have instead lined their own pockets, and padding their bank accounts--and at the expense of you and me.

And to you, Corporate America, and Mr. & Mrs. Politician, I hear you getting worked up in righteous indignation and limbering up your "I didn't do it, I'm part of the solution not the problem" rubber pointing fingers. And if you would, ever so kindly, shut the FUCK up!

I am tired of the excuses. I am tired of the posturing. I am tired of the measures. I am tired of speeches. I am tired of the pathologically rich and greedy deciding what happens to the rest of us.

I want some action. Real, credible, thought-out, hard-work, roll-up-our-sleeves and FIX THIS ACTION.

Because so help me GOD, I, and all the other common everyday Americans you have systematically and smilingly DICKED over, will vote your sorry asses out of office.

I've read several articles and blog posts about Main Street backlash to what's been happening on Wall Street. Let me just say, back lash doesn't even approach the anger I'm feeling.

I am seriously fed up.

And I don't think I'm alone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom.

Happy Birthday Drofen's Mom.