Monday, November 23, 2009

Take a deep breath...ah - now, back to work

Been a while since I really had the time post anything resembling a real update. Considering the price paid to read the content here, I'm hoping no one wants a refund. Har, har, I jest.

A little while ago I posted a picture of the hospital I work at, at night. Yeah, getting out of work has been an issue, it just seems like it's been one big project after the other. No biggie, that's the nature of my job.

But that's not the whole story. There's more to this story and I might just have a few minutes to explain these new adventures in our lives.

I've written before about my quest to loose a few pant sizes before. That quest is moving right along. If you check out my shrinking family blog, it tells all the details. I've been participating in a program through the fitness center at work for men. Two sessions a week plus a few workout sessions. I lost 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Kinda cool. I've got a few dozen more pounds to go, but progress is awesome! Seriously, go check it out! You might even get to be there to watch my progress as I attempt my first could happen!

Let's add the next cool change in our lives. OhCountess and I have been on a quest of late. This quest has been to simplify our lives and home. You know, unclutter.

This all start a couple of months ago. We decided to focus ourselves into getting rid of things like, debt. That's been going great. In our desire to become more organized run a smoother household, I did some research into things like "Getting Things Done" and other systems for whipping your to do lists into shape.

That system was more about organizing just tasks and to-do's. Nice, but not exactly what we were looking for at home. We wanted to make sure we were using are space and things correctly. You see, we felt like we had too much crap and it was really stressing us out. We got sick of not finding things and wondering where they were. Well, that, and OhCountess and I had vastly different opinions about how to accomplish our organizing goals. That's until I found a new book on a blog I had been reading, Unclutter. There was some really cool ideas there for organizing things, all kinds of things.

The editor in chief of the blog even had a new book coming out, "Unclutter Your Life in One Week". I loved the blog so I bought the book. Our lives have been too busy to accomplish all of this book in the week prescribed, but we've been using our free time working very hard on this. Sorting, making piles, filling boxes, giving away stuff to friends and family, and making trips to Goodwill. All in all, we are making progress.

You've got to experience this book and blog for yourself. Good stuff.

But if that's not enough, we got the next fly swimming in our ointment. OhCountess is going in for a bit of medical work. Nothing super scary and major, she's just joining the ranks of the tonsilless. The day after Thanksgiving is the big day. No biggie, right? Well, traditionally, the weekend after Thanksgiving is our big deck the halls weekend. OhCountess is not going to be interested in decorating the house for the holidays immediately after having her tonsils removed, so we've been busy getting all of our holiday ducks in a row. That's right, by Thursday, we'll have all of Christmas ready to go. Scary, idn't it?

It hasn't always been loads of fun, but so far, it's been worth it. We've got new closet space we never knew we'd have again and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Soon, very soon, I hope to be back on track. I've been writing down topics and keeping them in safe storage. Any questions? Thanks for hangin with me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ah. It's a night to relax

Home game poker. Nothing better. Whiskey club is at my house this month. Thankfully the cash game after the first tournament is helping to fund the night. I learned a game called 3 Card Monty. Not the street hustle but something else. Definitely -EV.

More on the whiskey layer. Time to play some cards, listen to music, rate the cartoons of the 1980's and drink tasty beverages.

Hope your Friday rocked too!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You now it's been a rough few weeks

Here's a shot I just took of the outside of one of the older sections of the hospital I work at. Notice the lighting and the sky. Even for this time of year, I'm getting home far too late.

I miss you all. This schedule can't go on forever, can it?

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Movie review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

I know, I get out almost every Tuesday for poker league and once a month on most months to go to my whiskey club, but every now and then, a guy just wants to see a guy movie with the guys and maybe tip a few cold, tasty, bubbling beverages.

I had beers with the guys in a bar on a Friday night!

The occasion was the new movie "The Men Who Stare At Goats."

I often wonder how I should write movie reviews. Several people had tweeted messages to me that I needed to write one for this movie. Have you seen the trailer??? It's HILARIOUS! But trailers are sometimes just compilations of the funniest scenes and when you get to theater, you realize...yep, the trailer was pretty much it. Just for reference, here's the trailer again:

Amongst my guy friends, this movie was a must see. That doesn't happen all that often any more. Most of the movies we see are rated G or at best PG-13. I mean, holy cow, this was an R rated movie...and the trailer basically promises that there's not one second of romance or "chick flick" anything. It's all dude.

3 of us made a plan to meet at a bar, have a couple of brews, listen to some horrifically bad female singer butcher songs we hated when they were new. I mean they did a cover of "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers. Who does this in public? why would you torture us this way? I mean, for the love of Pete...that song sucked the first time, now, you sing it different keys? Ok, the singing sucked big giant rocks, but the beers were awesome (I should review beers more often, a good excuse to drink them, don't ya think?). Nummy good independent breweries. Mmmm.

We left the sounds of sing death behind and moved to the theater. Did you know that the theater we went to serves tap beer in a 32 ounce cup? Holy shit! I got a bottle cuz it was smaller. Someone needed to be a grown up. Of course the other 2 guys got the 32 oz. cup (seems like there must be a bigger word then cup)...never drink beer at a bar, then go to the theater and order one that big. Once the seal was broken, guys our age will need to get up and run a few times...just sayin'.

So, how does one write a review of this movie without basically giving away the movie? I have no idea. Let me just start with saying I really enjoyed it. It was very funny. All of the actors were great and I think there's a good chance I might just go again. Now, if you don't want to read any further, that's fine, at least you know where I stand and can judge for yourself the movie but please stop back later and compare notes, kay?

I'm removing my spoiler filter now. Quit reading if you don't want to know anything...

The movie starts by looking at the life of Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor). He's kind of a loser. He's a journalist in a small town along with his wife. In the course of his journalistic pursuits, he interviews a local man, Gus Lacey (Stephen Root). Gus lives with his mother. He's also pretty much a loser and a crack pot. He claims to be a remote viewer and has been watching the Lock Ness monster from his home here in Michigan. Yeah. When asked about these abilities, he goes on to tell the story of his time in the army. He was in an elite group of psychic warriors trained by our government, the best of which was a soldier named Lyn Cassidy. Um...kay.

Bob's pretty sure that he wants something more from his life. His wife, figures out she wants to be a tramp and shack up with another guy. So Bob does what any loser does that wants to prove his manliness, he travels to Iraq to be an embedded journalist.

When he gets there, he quickly realizes that being in Kuwait, living in a hotel is not really all that much adventure. Of course, he's calling the Mrs back home and trying to impress (or scare her) with all the great danger he's in. Not sure, but since the call we here is interrupted by her boyfriend she really doesn't care.

The movie takes a turn when Bob is getting some English lessons from a waiter, he notices that the guy at the table next him reading the newspaper has the name Lyn Cassidy (George Clooney) embroidered on his shirt. Hm...

Bob quickly springs into action and finds out that this is indeed the Lyn Cassidy he's heard about. Lyn goes on to start telling him about the First Earth Battalion. Lyn says he's been reactivated and is on a special mission into Iraq. Bob can't wait! He's gotta know more! He'll tag along with Lyn and Lyn will be his big story.

What happens from here on out explains the whole First Earth Battalion, the members, it's founding, it's philosophy, all while these two men travel in a hostile country. The hi jinx and stories are hysterical but the joy I got from this movie was it just wasn't a slapstick funny thing after funny thing ha ha. There's something more here.

This movie is really a story about men becoming disillusioned with the foundation of what they thought made them who they are and finding a new, more insightful understanding of who they are and why they are here.

*Spoiler Alert! One thing you notice about Lyn is that most of the time, he's never really demonstrating any psychic ability. Sure, he does a cloud burst (he stares at a cloud until it magically disappears...over a desert), but almost all instances of "Jedi powers" are easily explained and coincidences abound. Giving everyone around you LSD can sure make you seem special.

In the end, they accomplish their mission: they find out who. They find their own inner strengths. Lyn flies off into the sunset and Bob gets his big story...which of course is dismissed by everyone in the news biz, but who cares. He doesn't really because he's not got the inner strength of know who he really is to himself.

It was this deeper story that made the movie so entertaining for me. I love movies that show great personal journeys of discovery.

Would I see it again? Absolutely. Will I watch it at home? Absolutely. Will I drink to tall glasses of beer in a bar, head to the theater and drink a 32 oz glass of some domestic mass produced beer? Maybe. I guy gets thirsty.

Have you seen this movie yet? Are you planning on it? What did you think??? If you write a review on your blog, let me know, link it here, I'd love to read it! You think 32 oz glasses of beer are too big to serve...well, I don't know what you can do about that. Just let me know about this movie!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Google Wave Invitations: this thing is boring without friends

Looking at the top of this blog, it says, "The life and thoughts of a Midwest geek." I'm a geek and pretty damn proud of it I might add.

It's very rare for me to not have heard of some new tech thingy. I like tech thingies.

A while back Google announce this great new invention that was going to revolutionize the way we communicate and collaborate. It was basically a reboot of email. What they set out to accomplish was " reinvent email as we see and use it today," because less face it, email ain't perfect. And thus Google Wave was born.

Here's a cute video that attempts to explain it in a way most of us could understand:

Well, who wouldn't want in to that nugget of techie goodness? I promptly signed up to be apart of it and wait for my invitation to join the party. I waited, waited, waited, gave up and forgot about it for a while, thought maybe I didn't really sign up, waited, gave up and forgot and finally, I got my invitation a couple of days ago.

Yeah! I clicked the link, signed up and wham! I'm in! I'm using Google Wave!

So, now what? I'm using it. It looks cool. I created a wave but I'll be perfectly honest, no one is really there. I have 3 contacts in my contact list. 2 of them are people that don't seem to be around and the other one is a SEO I've had conversations with about advertising on my poker blog. Not really someone I'm looking to Wave with, if you know what I mean.

So, my first impression of Google Wave was, "I don't get it," and "OK, now what?" I found a website that has some really good reading material on the subject, The Complete Guide To Google Wave. I think I get it, but the problem is, I'm lonely in there. I have no contacts.

When you get signed up, they give you 20 invitations to give out to people. I've given one to a few of the people I figured would beg me if they knew I had them to give out. Cool. I'm also looking for volunteers to get some of the other ones. You want one? Let me know. Leave me a note in the comments. I think you need to have a Google account to do this, so if you still think that AOL is the Internet, don't bother.

I have a very limited number of invitations, so don't get mad if I don't have one to give you.

Are you already on Wave? Let me know! I'd like to try this thing out by adding you to my Contacts...again...comments people...put this in the comments.

I'm so far behind on writing about stuff lately. I guess I really don't need another geeky distraction but then again, what would I be without them?