Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who's Up and Who's Down

Let's see what we've got this week...

Who's Up? :)

1. Ichiro Suzuki, who reached 3,000 hits this week, a feat he accomplished over 951 games with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan's Pacific League and 1,224 games with the Seattle Mariners. The achievement itself, and the relative rapidity with which he accomplished it, speak to his consistency, strength and longevity. And I'm relieved that the feat is being celebrated as an interesting and unique accomplishment because it occured over two leagues on two different continents, rather than being minimized because the first half of it didn't happen in the Majors. I think that North American sporting leagues are starting to realize, finally, that there is true legitimacy in many of the leagues elsewhere. (Side note: The NBA is starting to learn this lesson too.)

2. Chez Reavie. Who?? That's what I asked, anyway, when we heard that Reavie was leading the Canadian Open after 36 holes. I made the cardinal mistake of allowing the fact that I'd never heard of the guy to cloud my judgement about whether he could win or not, and I bet my husband a dollar that Reavie wouldn't be at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the weekend. Well, of course, he proved me wrong, hoisting the trophy for his first PGA win. It's ok though, I took the dollar off my husband's dresser...

3. Toronto and Edmonton, which were just announced as the only two stops on next year's Indy Racing tour. Canada has a lot of knowledgeable racing fans, so it's good to hear that those fans will continue to be rewarded with races on Canadian soil.

Who's Down? :(

1. Michelle Wie, who is skipping this week's major tournament (the British Open) on the LPGA tour to play yet another men's event, at which she has only the bare minimum of chances of making the cut. Let me be clear that I have no problems with women playing against the men, and a number of women have done it very successfully (a certain Billie-Jean comes to mind...). But I think that you should prove yourself on your own turf first. Wie has yet to win an LPGA event, and was disqualified at her last event for failing to sign her scorecard. She has, with astonishing rapidity, gone from becoming a young, exciting golf prodigy to an embarassing punchline. And I can't understand how she doesn't see it, how she doesn't see that working hard to qualify and play at the LPGA level is the only way for her to get her reputation back on track. And that it's really, really time for her parents to get out the picture, as far as her career management is concerned.

2. Anybody involved in the ugly fiasco of Brett Favre's "un-retirement," up to and including the star quarterback himself. I hate it when this happens, when a great career gets over-shadowed by stupid and selfish behaviour. My bottom line is that if he wants to play, he should show up at training camp and earn it, like everyone else. And if that means that he plays back-up, then he should embrace that opportunity, mentor Aaron Rodgers, and keep his mouth shut about it. And the Packers should really stop this ridiculous trade talk, because I don't think any good comes from Brett Favre playing in anything but Packer colours. I think we may be too far gone for either of those options to still be possible, which is so sad.

3. Baseball's mid-season trade deadline, which should really be a very exciting week, dominated by stories like the Braves' trade of Mark Teixera to the Angels. But instead, we get more of Manny Ramirez, more of Barry Bonds (no, seriously). In other words, rather than the pages being full of interesting and strategic moves intended to set teams up for the rest of the year or for next season, we get stories about disgruntled stars wanting out of their teams, or disgruntled former stars wanting on to any team... and I find it all distracting to the onset of serious playoff races, especially when those stories are the SAME stories we read last year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Three Movie Reviews

WH and I saw three movies this weekend, so I thought I'd provide some reviews!

The Dark Knight: No question about it, this is a great movie, and one of the best of the franchise. I did find that the movie took a little while to get where it was going, but once it got there, it was worth the wait. Heath Ledger's interpretation of The Joker is eerie, and effortless, and funny, and frightening all at the same time, and the rest of the cast seems content to let him be the center of attention. Michael Caine is a truly excellent Alfred.

The Bank Job: My husband rented this for us on Saturday night and it made for a very enjoyable evening at home! I like heist movies and this one is great - very British in its feel (prepare for football jokes), a highly likeable cast of protagonists, and a highly hate-able cast of villains. The loose ends all get tied up in very satisfying ways.

Juno: I've wanted to see this movie since it came out, and for some reason, the movie and I didn't get together until last night. Juno really is a beautifully-told story, with wonderful and funny flawed characters. Allison Janney is the highlight of this one for me, as the dog-loving, nail technician, full-of-sass, stepmother of the titular character. Of the three movies we saw this weekend, this is the most likely to be added to our own library, with The Dark Knight in a close second.

What have you seen recently?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kitchen Conversation

WH (on perceiving the bag of untouched peaches in the refrigerator): So, um, how's that peach cobbler coming, honey?

Me: Oh, shut up. ... ... ... How's that home-made wine rack coming?

WH: YOU shut up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Meme-ing Time!

I've been tagged for a meme by Julie at Miss Glass is Half Full!

Here are the rules:

1. List these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
  • I like olives. A LOT. I could eat an entire can of olives as a snack. Yum.
  • If I could enact one major sweeping change at the University at which I work, it would be the elimination of high school academics as a measure by which students are admitted to the University.
  • Until I started dating my husband, I'd never dated anyone taller than me. I'm 5'9" in my sock feet.
  • I watch American Gladiators.
  • I make really good mashed potatoes.
  • I'm probably the only graduate from an English program in the world who took advanced children's literature studies and hasn't read Harry Potter.
  • An XBox was the first thing that my husband and I purchased together.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

And I'm going to tag the next seven people that visit my blog. This means YOU! Go!

Calm again...

We had an early morning thunder storm here today, but as I look out the window of my office, it appears as though the sky has lightened and the torrent has passed. Calm prevails again!

My hope, for the rest of the summer at least, is to devote serious time every day to some project or other in the house or in the yard. Yesterday, for example, WH and I dug up a disgusting old corner garden, including a gigantic ant hill, that we've wanted to tackle for a long time. There's still a little bit of digging to do and then we'll even out the top soil and seed in the fall. We'll probably also have to give a good dose of ant poison to keep them from simply rebuilding. Pesky little buggers.

I think that this afternoon will be for cleaning out our bathroom cupboard, and sorting our ever-growing inventory of hotel-sized shampoo bottles. Yay!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five: What's in a name?

In today's Friday Five from the Revgals, we're talking about our blog names and identities:

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

When I was trying to think about what I wanted my blog to be called, I was struck (ow) one day by how much a blogger is like the Chorus from Greek tragedies. I played Chorus in a production of Antigone in high school, and have always felt attached to that kind of combined observer and participant relationship.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

Most of my blog names are pretty simple and do just enough to protect people's identities. My husband is WonderHusband because he is, indeed Wonderful. My mom and dad are Maternal and Paternal Units, respectively, and my brothers are identified by their relationship to me by age. The cats are Mama and Baby... and on it goes. Maybe I need to be more creative about how I identify people...

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

I like Yeah, but Houdini Didn't Have These Hips, Cowboys for Social Responsibility, oh gosh... there are so many clever titles out there!

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

Oh my... so many blogs to which I'm attached. All the family ones, of course, and those of friends from far away, and then a number of blogs whose writers tell the most beautiful stories.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

MU started blogging a few months before I did, and seemed to be having so much fun that I couldn't resist.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?

Yes! Just this past weekend, MU and I met Sue from InnerDorothy. It was our very first bloggy meet-up, and a most excellent one too! We met up right here in Prairie City.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book List....

Ok now, let's see how we do. The bolded titles are those that I've read, in case you haven't seen this on some other blog already!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I've only read the first... it's a long story)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thirty-seven.... not too bad, all in all!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blogger Meetups!

Yesterday, I took part in my first ever bloggy meet-up and it was WONDERFUL! There was excellent conversation, and many laughs - a very pleasant and invigorating evening. It is so lovely to be able to put a face to her words now!

Today, a bird pooped on my car door.

I guess they can't all be good days...


Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Baseball is democracy in action: In it all men are "free and equal," regardless of race, nationality or creed. Every man is given the rightful opportunity to rise to the top on his own merits... It is the fullest expression of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly in our national life."

~Francis Trevelyan Miller

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back to reality...

Reality being laundry, mostly, and work again on Monday...

But we had an amazing time, and accumulated many, many happy memories, including:
  • many wonderful animals at the San Francisco Zoo, including baby tigers playing together;
  • going to a Giants/Cubs game at San Fran's beautiful new ball park;
  • Alcatraz, which was very powerful to see up close, and hear an award winning audio tour of the cell block, narrated by former prisoners and guards;
  • Pier 39 with it's many beautiful and unique shops and restaurants, where we saw celebrations of July 4th;
  • City Lights Bookstore, where I bought a copy of "Howl"
  • The San Francisco Farmer's Market in the Ferry Terminal - a most amazing gathering of wonderful food and drink;
  • The Golden Gate Bridge, which we wouldn't have seen except for one beautiful clear afternoon;
  • Our rental convertible, which we drove to Sonoma for our trek, and then back to San Francisco via the coastal highway;
  • Incredible trekking through Sonoma valley - this really is the best way to see the California countryside;
  • tasting, talking and learning considerably more about wine than we did before, and meeting many humble and kind people who were eager to share their gift for wine-making;
  • Twelve beautiful bottles of California wine brought back across the border to be the start of our wine cellar.