Tag: entertainment

Super Bowl Champion New York Giants!

I wasn’t planning on watching the Super Bowl but I kept in on the background this evening and then really started watching during the second half. And I must admit, during the last 2 minutes, it was almost as exciting as watching the Yankees and Red Sox in the World Series. I was elated when the Giants won, jumping up and down, screaming and hollering. It was a great game!

A night of jazz hosted by Bill Cosby, himself

First, Saturday afternoon: sometime after noon, Jen, Jason, Kelly and I headed over to Central Park to walk around the reservoir. It was cold. We made it about 2/3rds of the way around when Jen simply couldn’t stand the cold anymore and insisted we more to someplace warmer. Initially, “someplace warmer” was Central Park West, but eventually we made our way down to 81st street, cut over to Columbus (passing right by the Galaxy, where Jon and Hollie live), and into Patagonia, where we spent some time browsing around the store and warming up. Afterward, we walked two doors down to Pizzaria Uno to get something into our stomachs. I’d only been to this particular place once before, four years ago, with kevnyc. We then caught a cab back to Jen and Jason’s place. We crowded into the living room, Kelly and I mashed-up on the couch, Jen and Jason on the floor. They put on an episode of the BBC miniseries Planet Earth, and we all promptly fell asleep.

Hours later, we got ready to head to Manhattan Center for an evening of jazz on 34th street. Specifically: “A Tribute to Thelonious Monk: 90th Birthday Celebration”, hosted by Bill Cosby. We left around 7 PM and caught a cab. The show didn’t start until 8 PM, but there is only 1 elevator and or 7 flights of stairs and on the advice of kevnyc; (who has been to every venue in NYC, and quite possibly North America), we arrived a little early. It worked out well. It was not crowded when we got there, we got upstairs to the ballroom in a jiff, and we had second-row seats, left of center which presented us with a good view of everything.

‘Round Midnight…

The Bucket List and more

Kelly and I went to see The Bucket List this afternoon, even after reading reviews that were, in general, not good. But you know what, screw the reviewers and let us make our own judgments. And a good thing that, because we both liked the movie quite a bit.

Roger Ebert, with whom I usually agree, gave the movie a D, saying “‘The Bucket List’ thinks dying of cancer is a laff riot followed by a dime-store epiphany.” But that it not at all what I got out of the movie, and it makes me thing that Ebert saw a very different movie than I did, which is unusual. Yes, there are funny moments. But it seems to me that when dealing with a terminal illness, one can allow it to ruin what’s left of their lives, or one can embrace it. This movie is an example of fighting the former in favor of the latter.

I’m spending the evening reading and trying to ignore the football games going on, although I did see that New England won (big surprise) and that the Giants were winning at the beginning of the second quarter. I’m about 550 pages through Our Oriental Heritage and hoping to make some more progress in the next hour or so before I turn out the lights.

I just finished reading what was perhaps the most difficult portion of the book for me to understand thus far–on some of the more in depth aspects of Indian philosophy. The parts on yoga make enough sense but some of the latter philosophies had me straining at the edge of my comprehension–and even so I’m not sure that I understood what I was reading. I’m always anxious when I don’t understand something, and certainly I cannot fault Durant, who has thus far been a brilliant writer. Which leaves me with the uncomfortable feeling that I have reached one of those mental barriers (like economics and music) through which I will likely ever make much more progress.

Coldest day of the year today, thus far. And I mean bitter cold. The high never broke out of the low 20s and with the wind chill, we were down around 10 or 11 degrees. I realize that’s not Minneapolis cold, but it’s plenty cold for here. My cheeks were stinging when exposed to that cold earlier today.

National Gallery of Art

Will Durant’s The Story of Civilization is comprehensive in it’s coverage. Be it religion, literature, science and art, it’s all in there. One can’t live in the D.C. area, read about ancient art, and not build up a craving to see some art. And since there are plenty of museums around, there are plenty to take advantage of.

Today, Kelly and I headed downtown to the National Gallery of Art. It’s a huge place (though the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dwarfs it) and we only had time for a small fraction of it. But what we saw was great. I got to see some British landscapes. We saw some ancient sculptures. But perhaps the best part was the opportunity we had to the see the Edward Hopper exhibit, which is only around for a few more days. For those who don’t know, Hopper was an American painter, perhaps most famous for “Nighthawks”. We were both surprised, however, with just how vast the exhibit was (taking up two floors) and how varied the subjects were. And while I was really excited to see “Nighthawks”, I think that my favorite painting turned out to be the very last one in the exhibit, called something like “Sun in an Empty Room”.
It had the eerie quality of looking as though something was actually physically removed from the painting. It looked as if a desk or chair or even a person should have been there but was lost, missing. It was quite moving.

That exhibit was, of course, the most crowded of all of them and there were lines to wait in, but it was well worth seeing, especially since January 21 is the last day of the exhibit.

We saw some other impressive art while there. There were sculptures by Rodin, for instance, my favorite of which was “The Sirens”, which of course was taken from the Odyssey. We saw a few Van Gogh’s, and a Gauguin, which was impressive. There were a few Picasso’s as well.

We spent about 2-1/2 hours there (and that included a light lunch in the courtyard) and it was time very well-spent. Afterward, we headed up to my place, stopped on the way to do some grocery shopping, and finally got home. Kelly has been doing laundry and I have been working (yes, I had to do some work from home this weekend), but I’ve wrapped that up now. We’re watching Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

It’s supposed to be really cold here tomorrow. In the teens and even down into the single digits in the suburbs.

Poker night

Last night was poker night at Todd and Jenn’s. We arrived there at about 7:45 PM. Karl and Lee arrived shortly after us. It was a lot of fun. For a while, Kelly, who was a newcomer to the game, was kicking everyone else’s butt. She had amassed a massive pile of chips, but ultimately went all-in and lost. There were a total of 7 of us playing. I played fairly well and lasted quite a long time. I was the 4th one out, and I went out with a bang. I was set up to get a straight, which I got on the river card. I went all-in. Turns out Jenn had a straight as well and hers was higher than mine. Ah, well!

I ended up with one of the worst stomach aches I’d had in a very long time. Kelly also said her stomach wasn’t feeling great. Could it have been the brownies we made? I’m not certain. The only other thing we ate in common yesterday was the salsa at Baja Fresh. In any event, I felt much better when I woke up this morning.

I’m sticking with you

I was listening to the Juno soundtrack yesterday and today. There are some great songs on that soundtrack. I had “I’m Sticking with You” in my head all evening. One can’t listen to that song without an instant craving for more Velvet Underground. So today I was also listening to Velvet Underground which is about my favorite VU album.

Juno soundtrack

As I mentioned earlier, I saw Juno on Saturday and thought it was a good movie. I was particularly fond of the soundtrack. Today, I took a look at the soundtrack on the iTunes store and discovered one of those strange, small-world coincidences that we sometimes come across. The lead song on the soundtrack is “All I Want Is You”. The song played during the animation sequence at the beginning of the movie. It’s a good song, catchy, worked well in the movie, and it just so happens to be written and performed by none other than my landlord, Barry Louis Polisar.

Chalk another one up for the “small world” theory.

Mount Vernon

Saturday morning, after some usual lazing around, Kelly and I headed down to Mount Vernon to visit the home of George Washington. It was a lot of fun. I’d never been down along the Potomac river in that direction and the drive itself was very pleasant, especially the farther south we got. A bike path follows the highway down and despite the cold temperatures, people were out biking and walking.

I’ve read numerous presidential biographies, but George Washington’s is one I have not yet read. That made it more interesting, because I was able to learn quite a bit about the man by wandering the grounds, the home, and the museums and education center.

The home itself is quite large, and much of it stands as it stood on the day Washington died back in 1799. During the 12 days of Christmas, they even open up the third floor of the home and so we got an opportunity to see that too, including the bedroom in which Martha Washington slept after George Washington died.

Both Kelly and I got very hungry wandering around the house and the grounds. We wandered past the old tomb and the new tomb of Washington. We passed by a tent which was providing warm apple cider and ginger crackers. Since we were famished, they were delicious. We made our way back to the food court and ate lunch there. Then we returned to the museum area and proceeded to make our way through the education center, including a rather cool movie about 3 of the battles of the Revolutionary War. The seats rattled when the cannons fired and snow fell from the ceiling when Washington crossed the Delaware river.

In the museum, I was fascinated by some of the letters they had, written by Washington. His handwriting was incredibly neat and legible!

We headed home late in the afternoon, making our way up to my house where we relaxed for a several hours, before deciding to go see a movie. We went to see the 7 PM showing of Juno, which turned out to be quite a good movie, funny and moving.

Rescue me

Slept in late, all things considered. The big morning accomplishment was that we actually finished watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I think it took us 5 attempts or something like that to finally get through the whole thing.

In the early afternoon, we went to Target and I bought a few more items for the kitchen, in particular, an 8 quart pot in which to attempt (at some point) to make the chili that Casey gave me a recipe for. We’ll see how that goes. Afterward, we went to the movies. It was actually the first time that Kelly and I had been to the movies together, and we went to the new movie theaters they put in right by my house. We saw Charlie Wilson’s War, which was entertaining. Not outstanding, but definitely worth the matinée prices we paid.

After Kelly went home, I spent the rest of the day doing chores, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, sweeping, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, all kinds of fun stuff like that. I cleaned the shower, using Lime-Away and some bleach. The bathroom wreaked of bleach, but the cleaning helped, some.

Later in the evening, I headed back out to Target for a few more items and ended up buying seasons 1 and 2 of Rescue Me. Both were on sale for $19.99. I started watching a few episodes and it’s really good. It’s the firefighters equivalent of The Shield.

Raining tonight. Took out the trash, packed my lunch and I’m ready for bed.


Kelly got us tickets to see Spamalot at the National Theater and last night, we went to see the show.

First, let me say that we had amazing seats. And when I say amazing, I mean orchestra-level, front row, left. If I leaned forward at any time during the program, I was looking down into the orchestra pit. We were close enough to the actors on the stage to see them spit as they sang. It was incredible!

And so was the show! It was funny, hysterical at times, and the music was terrific. Some of my favorite parts of the show were the recursive elements, as when, for instance, the quest morphs from finding the holy grail into producing a broadway show. The actors and actresses were extremely talented. I absolutely loved the show.

Now, I haven’t been to very many big production shows like this, perhaps four or five in my life. (I am not, like kevnyc, one who sees a show on average every 15 minutes of my life.) But of the four or five shows that I have seen, this one was the best. For anyone who is a fan of Monty Python, of funny music, of intentional overacting, this show is for you!

Before the show, we had dinner at Clyde’s at Gallery Place, which is sort of famous around the D.C. area. It was threatening rain and so I brought along my trustee umbrella. It came in handy, for it was raining pretty hard when the show let out and we had to walk 7 blocks or so back to the metro station. But it was wonderful evening, a terrific show, and a prime example of the luck Kelly typically has in getting excellent seats.

We’re in Florida!

We got into Ft. Myers, yesterday, maybe half an hour late. Kelly’s parents picked us up from the airport and took us back to their house. The weather here is outstanding! It was in the 70s when we got here. Before dinner, Kelly and I went for a bike ride around the community and I got a tour of the recreation area, the gym, pools, spa, etc.

After that, I helped decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments. Kelly actually did most of the work, with her dad helping out too. I just handed them ornaments to place on the tree.

We had an outstanding caesar salad for dinner with salmon and chicken and garlic bread. I even tried a couple of olives in my salad for the heck of it. (I don’t really like olives, but I figured I’d give them a second chance. They weren’t as terrible as I remember them, nor were they delicious. We sat around chatting until almost 10 PM when we finally went to bed. Kelly and I watched more of the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks and still haven’t finished it. I keep falling asleep during our attempts to watch the film and the movie is something like 2-1/2 hours long!

After 8 days, still no TV

I just finished about 2,000 words of a story that I’m working on, entered that work into my log, and then compared the last several weeks. First let, me explain that I keep a log of my writing, both in hour and in words. I do this for several reasons which make sense to me, but generally, it is because I am trying to treat my writing more and more like another job that I do regularly. I keep track of hours on projects at my “day” job, so why not my avocation as well?

Anyway, it has been just over a week since I gave up TV. In the 8 days or so since making that proclamation, I don’t think I watched a single bit of live television. When Kelly was over Friday evening, we did watch a few episodes of The Office still on my Tivo. And we also started to watch one or two movies on DVD. But that was it. Did the time freed up by giving up TV have an impact on my writing?

From Sunday, December 3 through today, Saturday, December 9, I spent a total of 5.6 hours writing, producing a hair under 5,000 words. The week prior that, I spent 3.2 hours at the keyboard, doing 3,200 words. So my writing has, in fact, increased since giving up television, though not by huge amounts. However, giving up TV has also freed up some time for me to do some additional reading as well, and I have been trying to take advantage of that.

The writers’ strike has no end in sight. There’s signs that if the strike continues much longer, it will begin to effect production for next season’s pilots. I think I picked the right time to give up on TV.