30 June 2008


OK, so these are the top 100 movies from 1983-2008. The tiome period denotes them as "new classics." I've been interested in some of these. I've thought of watching some of these. I just never get to it. I'd be interested in seeing iPastor's list of this, with remarks.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)(Does sleeping through half count?)
3. Titanic (1997)(Does it count if I didn't care about Jack or Rose)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)(Does halfway through count?)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)(Does sitting on the shelf waiting to be watched count?)

29 June 2008


If I wasn't working this weekend, I was at MIL's, except for a brief stint at church.
Thing 1 and her great-auntie returned from their mission trip tuckered out and happy. Auntie relieved us with MIL, then we were off to supper at FIL's. Finally got home to discover the sewer backed up again. The drain was empty and dry, but evidence on the floor proves that there is still a slowdown. Now it is time to go rent something longer than 25 feet, 'cuz I've had it cleaned out and running twice, so the problem must be farther out. Not what I wanted to be doing when I got home tonight. If you want some real entertainment before bed, though, try googling "sore cat nipples." (Neosporin and bitter apple, in case you were wondering)

28 June 2008


Two jobs today. Recliner time with MIL in between. ZZZZzzzzzzz.

27 June 2008


Lifted from a friend...
The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. 1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

(edit: although I did this in a cut/paste, some ambiguity in the source I got it from (ie "they" who?) led me to do some backtracking. It seems as if this top 100 was compiled by the popular vote by the BBC. Certaily subjective, and subject to taste, and imperfect (both Complete Works... and Hamlet? Likewise The Lion... and Chronicles...?--They're all inclusive.) Imperfect though it may be, there's merit in every selection, and it's fun. So there.)
Entire List:

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
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 Traveller'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 - listened to it
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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
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
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

26 June 2008

Running in circles

Some days I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

25 June 2008

Time sink

iPastor bought me a new toy. iRemember. It is seriously addicting.

24 June 2008

Fewer days like this, please...

Holy cow. I had to snake out the basement drain again. I accomplished that successfully, but when I was rewinding the snake, I pinched the heck out of the underside of my arm in the spring-loaded feeder.
Now for a bit of a flashback. One day at Job 1 I was visiting with a regular customer, when I bobbled a dish I was carrying, but made an impressive save. When she commented on it, I remarked that I had dropped many dishes over the course of my 23 years hauling food, but I had never dropped anyone's order before they got it. Not two weeks later, I flipped an order of nachos with an impressive spin that rivaled the coin toss at the superbowl. We fast forward back to tonight, when Murphy must have decided I was due to make up for lost time. As I came into the dining room at job 2 with two plates, my right shoe caught the loop of my left shoelace. I had on some real speed, and as I felt the solid tug of my dignity being yanked dead in its tracks, one thought had time to flit through my brain before I hit the ground: this cannot be happening. I did a rather impressive belly flop. I was carrying mexican, which is huge and double plated on heavy duty platters. The ridge under the plates landed solidly on my inner knuckles, sandwiching one firmly in bruises and slicing the other open. The other side of that platter fell across my other forearm and left a bruise under a minor burn. I have rugburn on my elbows, and every time I turn around I notice a new battle scar. My back is already stiff and I must have jarred my jaw to give myself a lovely headache. I will be so sore in the morning. My almost-40-year-old body is not meant to carpet dive. For all the comments I suffered about being so generously endowed that if I ever fell forward I would bounce back up, I was sadly let down. I hauled myself up and made sure no customers were in the blast radius, then hobbled off to bandage my finger and my pride. I guess I should look on the bright side. The sympathy tip bounced up to 25% for a while and at least I wasn't carrying cast-iron fajita skillets.

23 June 2008

Off and running...

...into a new week. Two jobs, then MIL duty.
A friend of mine wrote something interesting:

...'stress' is an over-used word that we as a society have chunked up to escape feeling and being with our uncomfortable feelings.

Stress is a result of interacting with and experiencing life, a process. What we have done with it is make it a noun, a thing that can be acted upon. Can you put stress in a bucket and show me what it looks like? No, because the only way we know it is there is as a byproduct of what we experience.

Over the past two generations or so we seem to have lost the language for what we are feeling. We go to extremes, I'm angry or I'm happy, with no middle ground. In that either/or, we've managed to dissociate and not feel anything or label it as stress.
What happened to being miffed, pissed, annoyed, frustrated, spiteful, all the degrees of feeling unhappy before you hit anger and rage? What about being pleased, amused, joy-full, peace-full, happy before you hit bliss, passion, love, joy and peace?

This works on both an emotional and grammatical level. Not only do people miss all those in-between feelings, we ignore the vocabulary for shades of grey, as it were. Indeed, something to ponder. How specifically can you name what you are feeling right now?

22 June 2008

More days like this, please...

Recharged at church today: good discussion, good friends, and good fellowship. We came home and hopped onto a couple basement projects and made some progress, then cleaned up and went to MIL's for supper with B&SIL. The juggling of schedules and responsibilities is starting to wear on us, but this afternoon it was pleasant just to be together in the sunshine in the back yard.

21 June 2008

Big Day in a small town...

We doubled the population in town today as folks gathered for our pastor/neighbor/friend's auction.
You may remember me mentioning here that Alex went to Florida with some friends, Roland and Jeannie from church. These folks raised their own three kids, and frequently hosted exchange students in the same program we do. They were also foster parents. They travelled to Florida every year over Christmas break, taking along whichever exchange student or foster kid they had at the time, and usually a few extra friends. While they were there this year, they started sniffing around for jobs and got themselves hired at a boy's ranch. When they got back, they invited their children home to pack up some family heirlooms, filled the van with bare essentials, sold their house lock, stock and barrel to our pastor, and followed their calling to Florida. They spend 8 days on duty and 4 off; we get email updates on the off days that its going fine, but its a brand new world, even for a guy who knows everything...
We have a small church in a small conference, and our pastor is expected to be bi-vocational. Bob has been a carpenter/handyman for many years, and so has Roland. Bob also has a couple rental properties. The auction cleaned out years of accumulated tools bought for one project, duplicates, and other stuff a couple inching closer to retirement can afford to do without. There was also a real lesson in what can be left behind. Rol and Jeannie spent years acquiring beautiful collectibles, but they left them all behind in a heartbeat, and really don't seem to miss any of it (except Rol has found a couple projects around the ranch he wishes he had his tools for; I hear they have Home Depot in Florida, too...) Oh well, if you can't take it with you when you leave this life, you might as well not pack it along to Florida, either.
I made it home spending only $63, which is good for me at an auction. I got some trunks for my international travel-themed entryway/piano/no useful purpose room. I paid $5 for a bridal shower's worth of corningware and cut glass. I paid $4 for two baskets of stuffed animals to get the two brand new laundry baskets. I made the kids give most of the stuffies away, but they had just as much fun with that as they did with the stuffies. I bid $3 for a floor fan, but got a really ugly footstool and some carpet squares lumped in with them. I'll put the footstool out by the firepit to use until its old and rotten enough to throw into the pit. It's all good.
Off to work again, then hopefully get something done around the house.

20 June 2008

Rolling into the weekend...

Starting out mellow with MIL, then it's a two-job day. Tomorrow I help out with neighbor's auction, then off to job#2. Sunday I hope to get some stuff caught up at home, then back on duty with MIL. Whew! That being said, I'd better get off my butt. I brought along some laundry, and I need a shower! TTFN!

19 June 2008

Happy Trails

We got Alex to the airport to find her flight had been cancelled, but they had already booked her through on a better flight that skipped a transfer in Chicago. So with a few tears and lots of hugs we sent her on her way.

Our family in the city is not unlike the Beverly Hillbillies. Any trip through the metro is punctuated with exclamations about the stores and restaurants we don't have at home. This leads to conversations like this one:

"Look, a Barnes and Noble."
"Even better, there's a Northwestern Books across the street."
What's the difference?"
"NW is like B&N with more Jesus."

18 June 2008

The Time has Come...

We packed into the van and headed for the NW metro suburbs today. After a lovely day at Grand Rios, and supper at Famous Dave's, we wound down around a lovely fire at iPastor's auntie's house, and tomorrow we will awaken at the butt crack of dawn to see Alex off on her trip back home. As an added bonus(???), Thing 1 is staying with auntie to go on a mission trip for 10 days to SW Colorado. It will be very quiet around our house...

17 June 2008


Lately if I am not at work I am with MIL. Nothing is getting done at home. It's summer. My kids want to go hang out with their friends. I don't blame them, but we need to strike a happy medium somewhere. I am completely frustrated with the situation, and to top it off my sewer backed up in my basement. Yuck.

16 June 2008

I love a parade?

Yesterday was the "grand finale" of the local celebration, Fiesta Days. As we were returning from the next town south, where the wedding reception was held at the local casino, there were people everywhere. In recent years there has been a move to bring more of the celebration back downtown. The park has undergone renovation and the local railroad history club has revitalized the depot, turntable and yards. All of those were in full swing with music, activities and people as we made our way back home. I settled in with MIL, completely content with the prospect of an afternoon spent snugly in a recliner, or perhaps on the deck in the sun. In the background, I could hear occasional sirens, horns and bass drums reminding me of the festivities a few blocks away. I was surprised to find myself wishing I was there. Usually about halfway through viewing a parade I find myself reflecting on the inanity of watching a procession of cars and people go by. It is a bit odd, when you stop to think about it too much. Despite that, parades draw people together. No matter how big a homebody one might be, I believe there is a certain aspect of human nature that is drawn to a crowd. Whether it is simple curiosity, a deeply embedded seed of desire to be part of a larger whole, or a fear of missing out, something makes a person want to join a group of others. As I sat comfortably settled in a sunbeam, the occasional rumble from downtown tugged quietly at the back of my mind. It was a curious sensation, but the comfy chair prevailed.

15 June 2008


The wedding went off without a hitch, MIL did awesome and had a terrific time. After teasing my SIL mercilessly about her waterworks (she cries at supermarket openings) I lost it as I watched BIL and an usher walk MIL to her seat. She looked beautiful and she was so proud of her grandson. I was so glad she made it, and sad to think she probably will not be there for my kids' weddings. I managed to compose myself in time for the ceremony itself, and the duet with step-bro-IL went well. We partied 'til the cows came home; the Things had a blast with all their cousins and new friends. Hard to drag 'em away, especially when the DJ saved the classic rock for the end of the night. The couple was adorable, and life is good here. Back to the rat race tomorrow. For now I'm glad to be on duty with MIL, 'cuz we can have some lovely mutual nap time in the matching recliners.

14 June 2008

Away we go...

Rehearsal and dinner went fine, now I am trying to get my wits about me with a little internet/coffee time, then get the ball rolling on getting the family out the door and ready. Should be a fun, if hectic, day.

13 June 2008

And the winner is...

I took the closer one.
Now I have to go get ready for nephew's wedding rehearsal tonight and big festivities tomorrow.

12 June 2008


At about 9:15 this morning, interview #1 came through with an offer. Half-time. This did not make things easier. Poop. It's much closer and less hassle, but after factoring in commute, etc., the pay is $10k less. Chewing on it...

11 June 2008

Big fun

Job interview #2 took place across the border in SD where my brother lives. They have an awesome swimming pool there, so the kids came along and hit the mall while I interviewed, then we went to the pool. The weather was not as nice as promised, so half of us opted to go across the street to the putt-putt place where we enjoyed a game of Klingon mini-golf. We came out with a net loss of one ball in the water hazards, recovering one of someone else's after we lost two of ours. The sign board at the putt -putt said it all: Summer here?
The local landfill had a "clean-up" sale the past two days, with big discounts on expensive items to dump like tires and appliances. iPastor hauled two washers and a dryer out of our basement, and had the kids load the tires from our shed into the truck. I grabbed the dehumidifier when I got home and hauled it with the tires. The weather here was crappy. I guess it was violent and dangerous in other parts of the state, so I'll deal with crappy. Got home to a power outage, followed by a brownout. All our condensers and compressors seem to be working just fine, so I guess its all good. Now I seem to have acquired a herd of OPK (other people's kids) downstairs, and there is raucousness ensuing. Off to herd the cats.

10 June 2008


Job interview #1 seemed to go fine, but I haven't heard anything yet. Job interview #2 started out feeling really great, becoming a little awkward, warmed up, and ended with an offer. Yay. Involves a long commute/possible move, slightly less base pay with slightly more extracurricular bonus. I am hoping to hear back from #1 before I accept. A job in the hand...etc. It could be a logistical nightmare, but the second job has more drama and theatre stuff. Coolness. Everyone there was really friendly, but during the admin interview, he "went to script" and feedback shut down from that side. As soon as he put the clipboard down, it was all good again, and when I went for the next part of the interview with the principal team, it was very casual and comfortable. So I think it's a go, but waiting just a little longer to hear from the other school. It's a difference of 50 miles, so it's worth a wait, I think.
Now to stop pacing...

09 June 2008

08 June 2008

Good times

Tonight was our very casual backyard bonfire "farewell" for Alex. Next Friday is nephew's wedding; the following Wednesday we head in to the metro to spend the day and night, then drop her at the airport at 6am on Thursday. It goes by fast.
Neighbors, church friends and family gathered for a lovely evening outside. We finally burned through most of our branches, etc. Boys being boys however, it was decided that bigger is better:

We'll miss Alex. How can you not miss such a classy lady?

07 June 2008

I just wanna bang on me drum all day...

Had a nice day today. Picked up MIL and went to a shower for nephew's bride to be. It was a lovely time with all my girl Things and friends and family; we had your typical brunch and presents sort of affair. We got MIL home safely, came home and changed into grubbies and started in on housework and supper. The whole family was home for supper for once, and we visited and had a lovely time. The phone rang about 6:30 for me. It was Job 2. I should have been there at 5. I completely spaced off going to work. Luckily, it wasn't very busy and the worst consequence was some serious razzing when I got there. I felt pretty stupid, though. It stayed slow, so I headed to MIL's about 9:45, where iPastor and I had some recliner and TV time before he headed home to tend the kiddies. Now its quiet here, and I have access to Food Network. ALton Brown calls, so I bid you adieu.

06 June 2008

Minnesota's state bird

The kids' group from church had a little campout tonight. My kids are miffed that they can't stay over due to a bridal shower for nephew's wedding, but the park is so close I let them go out for festivities tonight. We've had a week of rain, and the mosquitoes hatched with a vengeance. it was absolutely stupid how thick they were. They kids were coated with OFF and still came home looking like lepers with so many welts on them. Yikes. They had a blast though.
A couple more job interviews next week. Woot!

05 June 2008

Bloggable moments

So the other say I lost my keys. I retraced my steps again and again. I went back to look in the car, where I most likely tossed them. I was now 20 minutes late, and Thing 4 was cranky; if I went to look in the house he'd follow me in and whine, then he'd follow me out to the car when I looked there and whine come more. I was worked up to a pretty good lather when I heard the friendly voice of the Cosmic Junkie greeting Thing 1 from across the lawn where he was retrieving tools from storage in the neighboring shed. "How's it goin'?" he asked, and I blurted "Sh*tty." as I dumped a bag onto the seat to search its contents, and dumped my sad, sorry story on the ol' CJ. "I can't find my keys." "You mean those keys there?" he said, pointing to the keys that absolutely WERE NOT THERE (or in that bag of aforementioned junk) THREE SECONDS PREVIOUSLY. I just gaped at him and shook my head. ""Just here to help." he said, and ambled off. Darndest thing.

04 June 2008

Wordless Wednesday

So what's all this about retirement?

03 June 2008

Lessons learned

We were back at Home Depot this morning. The reel mower we bought last time really does cut like crazy, but we need a new weed whip, too. After hemming and hawing a bit, we decided to forego the $30 electric start. Wrong answer. I can't get the bugger started by myself. Despite the diminutive hausfrau using the tool in the picture on the box, the dang thing needs a harder pull than I have in me to fire up. Maybe a hot, muscular body builder. In my case, it was the old, chain-smoking dad of the neighbor with the Minnesota belly. Once the neighbor got it cranked for me, I whipped like a madwoman until the string broke and I had to turn it off to fix it. Then I couldn't get it going again. Rats. Oh well, guess next time we'll just have to hire me a hot young gardener...

02 June 2008

Monday Again

Funny how it keeps rolling around. Did 2 shifts with MIL, with a bout 10 minutes in between to make supper and shove some laundry through at home. No big changes. More of the same. Bleah.

01 June 2008


For cryin' out loud... Rather than try to explain all this, I will send you here and here to see for yourself. In the comments section of the Tribune, someone asks whether this man would have the same problem if his name were Johnson. They don't know how close to the truth they are. I am not very proud of my city government right now.