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Well we had a string of some really nice spring weather, even having a good weekend to take out the visiting [ profile] bigmacbear to a party and then the Eagle. Overnight it turned rainy and cold. We had gotten rid of the comforter on the bed but Chris had to wake up and haul it out early this morning as the temperature dropped.

Here's a few more questions that I need to answer:

1. [ profile] deanosota asks: Will you be seeing The Watchmen this weekend?

Well, that was a yes. I saw it at the midnight showing on Friday. It was a theater filled with nerds and geeks, so an audience that would know the material. I thought it was good, but didn't have the spark to really be considered great. Many scenes looked like they were taken directly from the comic, and that was good, but the movie lacks something as an adaptation.

Let's face it, Watchmen is a character study. Who are costumed heroes? What makes them tick? If we put them in a really desperate situation, would they really come out as heroic as comic books make out? Only Dr. Manhattan is really a superhero, per se, and his powers make him so different that he no longer connects with humanity. It's a cynical, but likely realistic thought.

The ending in the comic book is more there to finish the plot than it is to give a big action sequence, so it doesn't really translate well in a superhero move where people are looking for the big fight. I'm sure that will disappoint many casual viewers who are expecting something more.

Luckily the audience knew the story and knew what to expect. They expected penis. You could tell who in the audience didn't expect that coming. Frankly we really need to get over this whole "you can't show male full frontal". It's really silly. No one made a big deal of the breasts in the film. In many of the negative reviews of the movie the reviewers were more shocked by the big blue than they were the graphic violence and blood. Personally I'm squeamish, and I can't watch horror movies - this was coming pretty close for me as far as gore goes. I say less violence, more penis.

Oh, and the soundtrack. Yikes. i understand using poplar songs to evoke a time is to help the viewer, but man, could you try to find songs that were less clich├ęd. When I heard "Hallelujah" and "All Along the Watchtower" it really took me out of the scene. In fact "Hallelujah" got many unintentional laughs from the audience.

Lastly, since it is a character move, and the reasons for the heroes motivations are really deep in the book, it's sad that the Silk Specter wasn't really given as much depth. She's the whole reason for Dr. Manhattan's actions in the present, but it doesn't really connect on screen how she was pushed into the superhero life by her mother and how she's the last connection to humanity for Dr. Manhattan. Part of it is because her mother didn't seem like the sad character she was in the book. Nite-Owl and Rorschach were handled pretty well.

Worth seeing, but I think that more adaptation and less cribbing from the comic could have made the experience a lot richer in the end.

2. An Anonymous reader named Curious and Alone writes: How did you meet your husband?

We met right here on LJ. About six years ago I had just started here on LJ. Chris had been on for a while. In connecting with friends of friends here, Chris commented on a post or two and eventually wanted to meet with me.

Chris was supposed to surprise me and come down to the Dallas Diablos and Houston Roughnecks Rugby game where I said I was going to go. I instead responded to an invite to go to Austin that weekend and meet [ profile] cristalskye, [ profile] lostncove, and [ profile] mattycub, who were there to see one of Randy's plays at the fringe festival.

So we missed each other that weekend, but Chris then messaged me about meeting for lunch one day before he would go back to Dallas, and we met. It was over chicken fingers at Skeeter's near my office in Greenway Plaza. I talked - a lot - because I was so nervous. I remember a hug and how I walked away back to the office in a bit of a cloud of excitement!

Chris and then met a few more times when I would visit my sister who was living in Dallas at the time. Eventually the visits to Dallas were to visit Chris rather than my sister, then eventually I moved in. The rest is history.

3. Another anonymous questioner asks: Why aren't you on Facebook?

I go back and forth on this, but really, I'm not too crazy about another site. I'm on Linked In, Flickr, and Twitter and sadly on MySpace (there's nothing to see there, really). I'm not sure I really want something else to look at. Besides, remember Friendster? Yeah, well MySpace is already going the way of Friendster and I think we can all say that Live journal is less vibrant than it once was (sadly - it was the one place you could find people who could write a whole sentence). I'm worried that Twitter and Facebook will be yesterdays news pretty quickly.

I guess I'm trying not to join Facebook because I know that will be the moment that Facebook will have become totally uncool. Not that I'm worried that much about cool, but I know that the parade would have moved on somewhere else. I just wish I knew where it was moving to.

Oh, and I love Twitter, but it's already reached the point where it is now being marketed to, and then it fills up with more folks trying to advertise than actually trying to connect. It's like when MySpace became more marketing tool for bands and media companies than an actual community. It's the one thing LiveJournal hasn't become. I guess it comes down to the fact that people want community, but don't really want to be bothered by what would actually make the site a sucessful ommercial venture.

That being said, I'll probably give in and join Facebook sometime soon, but I hate those little "sell your friends" games.

I'm out of questions. This may be a good thing, but we'll see. I'll still take them. If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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It's been a pretty busy weekend here. I guess I did get a little jump start on being more social. We saw Hairspray on Friday night which was good. much better than I thought it would be. Travolta seems to be in another movie, or doesn't get the joke, but he does OK. The new Tracy, Nicole Blonsky, does a really good job with the whole thing, but it seems, thinking back to my recollection of the original movie Tracy get's the spotlight. in the new film they turn the attention away from her at the very end, and highlight her more famous co-stars. The new Tracy is so good, I wish they would have let it play out as it once did.

I just finished Michael Tolliver Lives which is a good book. Not high literature or anything, but a good solid read. It has much to do with getting older and the changes your relationships with people take, so it resonated a lot with me, even though the character is 15 years my senior.

I finished that book so I can now get on to reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yes, I'm one of those people as well, but I tend to read at a more leisurely pace, so I probably won't be finished with it for a couple of weeks or so. I don't think I could - or even would like to devour the book like some have done this weekend. I fully expect to have the ending spoiled for me by the time I get through, if not by LJ (and some of you have already come close...) probably by Chris.

Chris bought me a copy of the book when he got his on Saturday morning. we bought two because I didn't want to wait on him to finish before I got started, and I thought he would take it on his trip to Miami coming up. Well, Chris is already half way through it, only slowed down by some training he needed to do and my desire to pick up comic books. I guess I could have waited and would have had it in my hands by Tuesday. oh well, we can always give a copy to a library or something when we're done.

We went to Zeus because their 7th anniversary sale included discounts on the new titles, so it was a good deal. Richard ([ profile] dedagda) was very excited about his upcoming trip to Comicon. I know it will be cool for him because he goes in as the reigning champ of store owners after last year's Eisner win. We talked a lot about what new TV shows they might introduce at the con. I mentioned The Bionic Woman, Chuck and New Amsterdam (which I think has been retitled). Perhaps they will talk about the upcoming plans for a Shazam! movie, or the long awaited Watchmen flick.

One of these days I should go out to Comicon. It sounds like a total nerdy blast!

Chris and I finished the weekend going out to Dave and Busters for their dinner and tokens special where we earned a lot of those yellow tickets at things like skeeball and those strange coin drop games. Unlike say Chuck E Cheese, the food is pretty good and you don't feel like a dork playing skeeball next to a 10 year old. Still, most of the prizes you can win for those tickets are made for those much younger than us, though I don't know anyone who needs a set of clip on dolls of the Blue Collar comedians.

I also picked up some new music, including the new Magic Numbers album, which is good. We did miss Entourage tonight, so we haven't totally gotten our fill of pop culture this weekend.
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After lunch, Skye, Todd, Chris and I took a little field trip down to the Kwik-E-Mart here in Dallas. As a part of the Simpsons movie tie-in, a 7-11 store in dallas, and a few others around the country were changed into a Springfield convenience store. Since 7-11 started in Dallas, it's only natural one would be here.

As it was July 4th, many other people decided to come gawk at the store as well, causing a full parking lot and a long line to get an official Squishee drink, or some Buzz cola. They were already sold out of Krusty O's cereal. All in all it was fun seeing the signs that were replacing the usual 7-11 signs, like "Special Offer, Buy 3 for the Price of 3!" They had several character stand ups as well, so everyone was taking pictures. Skye mentioned that everything was being sold, and se saw people even buying the hot dogs on the rotisserie.

There are more pictures HERE. Chris' photos (which are better) can be found HERE

Chris and I watched the Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating championship on TV. I kind of wish I hadn't. *burf*

Otherwise, to round out our day, we went to see Transformers. I'm out of the age bracket for the toys and I didn't watch the cartoons (though sadly, I did watch Thundercats, snarf, snarf). This was mostly Chris' movie to be excited about. I know a few days ago I was saying I wasn't really interested in seeing it, but when it started getting decent reviews, my interest piqued.

It got lots of other people interested, too. One theater we tried was sold out for several showings.

Well, the humans are on way too much, and there's some roles that Chris and I wondered if they could be eliminated altogether. There's also a few plot holes that are big enough to drive Optimus Prime through, but when they shut up and really get to FIGHTING, and the explosions go off, then you know why you like this movie. So what if it doesn't make sense. The robots fighting are AMAZING, and the effects, and matching the action to the surrounding real-life areas of Los Angeles are fantastic. I'm sure the action sequences couldn't have been done even 5 years ago.

Character development? Who cares.

It's a bit of a surprising reaction from me, because I can nitpick really well, and when I get on a roll, I really can't let go and enjoy the movie, but there it is.

Yes, i know, I should be writing about Independence Day and how I'm not thrilled with the direction of the country and all, but you know, I can do that anyday. In the long run, I'm not connected to power, I'm not wealthy and I can't change much on my own when it comes to governmental abuses, and stupidity and power games at the expense of the public and those in other countries.

All I can do is raise my voice from time to time, and to get out there and vote, for thankfully in this country they still allow us those rights. As a government made of and for it's people, we should demand better than we have right now, but it will take time. It takes vigilance, and it takes not giving up on the long vision when short term things go awry. We can recover from this disastrous administration, but we need to be thoughtful of what we do next so we don't end up in the same crap with just a different face.

Still, here we are today with good friends, a few bits of entertainment and diversion, stuff that makes life good. All in all, it's not bad living in North America, you know?
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We saw Ratatouille this afternoon. It was a great little story. Brad Bird is certainly a master. I also found the music to be well-suited for the film. For Pixar, not having Randy Newman at all must have been a stretch. This would be one of the best Pixar films if you ask me. Great storytelling, voice actors that don't make you think "oh, it's that guy" and a lovely visual.

I think Pixar has gotten past the need to wow us with the visuals, since computer animation has become so normal to us now, but this one has a realism that was just fantastic. If you took out the characters, which are cartooney, the backgrounds and the kitchen and the food look really realistic. It's quite an accomplishment. Still, it all comes down to the story, which is simple and told, as I said, really well. I think I'd rank the Pixar Movies released so far thusly:

The Incredibles
Toy Story
Finding Nemo
Toy Story 2
Monsters, Inc.
A Bugs Life

The Wall*E teaser trailer makes me want to know more.

Otherwise, on a completely different subject, I've been thinking about the recent terror attacks in Great Britain. they seem simple enough, and British and Scottish officials have done a decent job of pulling everything together and keeping the public safe. The thing is, they've been through this. The IRA attacks over a couple of decades gave them useful training and knowledge on how the police should deal with the small attacks like this.

There was no panic, just a resolve to try to get to the ones involved with the planning and execution of the attacks. I do wonder how they handle the racial profiling there, since it always seems to be such a hot button issue here. the people there do know that these guys are trying to intimidate them, and Britain, having been through WWII and other terrorist attacks does seem to hold their stiff upper lip well.

I'm truly worried though if something similar were to happen here. I'm worried that we've been placed in such a terrorist panic in this country that people would just go batshit crazy. I'm worried that police aren't really trained for this kind of work, even with the SWAT teams and all. I'm worried that just like the threat of Anthrax a few years ago, the media will take hold of a story like that and blow it out of proportion.

The British attacks seem to be on a very low level of car bombs scheduled to go off in relatively similar amounts of time around the country. This doesn't sound to me like the organization that pulled off the September 11th attacks, or the 4/11 attacks in Spain or the 7/7 attacks in London. It sounds like a bunch of hooligans with some sort of grudge trying to make a point and hope the country will kowtow to them.

In this country we have been living longer with the threat, that I'm afraid that we'll snap when the inevitable does come to town. Especially when you mix in politics. we have so many politicians pushing fear and saying how tough they'll be on terrorism, how fast would one of them call out the National Guard (what's left of it)? A car bombing is a crime, and should be treated as such. Now, if it were bigger, say a a repeat of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, that would be a bigger issue, but remember what was first said by the media when it happened - that it must have been caused by muslim extremists? Fear makes us jump to conclusions.

When something like this does happen over here, and it will, I hope we can deal with it as calmly and rationally as the British and Scottish. I hope we won't once again go running to politicians to exchange our freedoms for security and go on misguided attempts for vengeance when all we need is some simple Law and Order.

The fact is, there are terrorists out there, there are fundamentalists out there of several stripes (some blow up abortion clinics, remember?). What we need to do is show that we won't lose our freedom, and we won't turn back the clock to take away freedoms and civil rights that have been earned and fought over. We are stronger than they are when we don't let ourselves be motivated, and subjugated by fear.

The life we have now is far superior to the one they envision for us. We must not allow violence to change who we are.
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Over the weekend Chris and I actually went out and were social. We skipped the True Colors tour on Saturday, though we knew people would would be there. I was a little wary of going out on Saturday night to the Denton County Bears pool party not only because I didn't know too many people who were going to be there, but also because i was a little mad from not being able to get a haircut. Yep, good old vanity. Seems like all the cheap ass haircut places were full of people, and after working yet another saturday morning, I really didn't want to have to wait around reading stale magazines waiting for the one or two people to finally get around to me.

Sadly, our friend the stylist has left the haircutting industry to pursue other interests. Good for his wallet, though. Good for our hair too, because although he's a friendly guy, he gets a little attention-deficit disorder when he's cutting and kind of forgets spots.

We made it out to the pool party fashionably late, but not so late to chow down (are we not bears?). I met some nice folk, didn't freak out once I got warmed up, and had a good time. On sunday our little neighborhood had a get together out by our pool. Again, it was tough to meet people I didn't know. Even after living here a year and a half, I really don't know any of the neighbors. Only one of them recognized me from walking Joey occasionally. Still, it was good to put some faces to townhomes around the area. People started to bring their dogs and eventually the dogs were swimming in the pool - and none of the people were. Joey stayed fascinated by the water, but didn't jump in. I'm not so sure she really cared for the other dogs, except for the big lab puppy who she felt needed to be put in his place.

I think it's both Chris' and my goal to be a little more sociable and get out more often. Over the last few months we've been homebodies and really haven't gotten out much. We do know people, people that haven't moved away, and maybe it's time we started calling a little more often around here.


Otherwise, in one of those looking back themes that will crop up from time to time in these 40 days, I find that I don't watch old movies. Pretty much anything prior to Star Wars (1977) is out, and certainly anything in black and white. I know this leaves a ton of really great films out, heck, most of the AFI top 100 are pre '77, but there's just something about old movies that makes me want to go do something else.

This isn't the same for old television shows. I'll be happy to watch a black and white episode of My Three Sons, or Bewitched. I love watching reruns of The Monkees or Green Acres. Perhaps it's just the timeframe involved, 30 minutes vs. 90.

It's not that I've never seen an old movie, there's plenty of old Disney films I've seen, animated and not, say, the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? There's also Song of the South which I saw on one of Disney's re-releases sometime in the 70's before they pulled the picture for good in the US. I wouldn't make a big effort to go see them again.

that's another part of it, I rarely re-watch movies. I see them once, maybe twice, and that's it. I don't buy many DVD's because I really don't re-watch them. Even my Kevin Smith movies sit in a box, unwatched. The movie I've likely seen the most is either Airplane or Sixteen Candles because they ran on Showtime all the time in the summer during high school. they seemed to show The Wiz a lot, too.

Part of this may be due to my Dad. He's such a fan of John Wayne and WWII movies that he'll re watch them over and over. I don't know how many times I've seen parts of The Fighting SeeBees or The Searchers or Force 10 From Navarone. I never saw Saving Private Ryan because it seemed like it would be the same thing all over again, just with Tom Hanks.

There's something about needing to move forward in movies that's bigger than my need to move forward in music listening. I love to find new music, and listen to what others of you are listening to, but I like to mix that in with favorites across the last 60-70 years. Movies seem to be more of an in-the-moment thing. I caught a few minutes of Deep Impact on cable the other day and I was already thinking that the movie looked dated.

I'm sure I could ask for, and get a hundred different classic movie selections, but really, I'll stick to trying to see new stuff and the movies i've missed over the last few over the weekend watching The Italian Job, which was fun. Of course it's based on a classic Michael Caine movie that I really have no desire to see.

Of course that doesn't mean I want to see every remake, either. At this moment, I'm still thinking of skipping Hairspray.
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Hello LJ Land! Long time no see.

I guess I should just get this off of my chest first, since it seems to be the most important thing that's happened lately. Today, somewhere around 5:30 pm, I became a licensed general securities representative. I still can't sell you anything, because there's a state sales license that I would need, but hey, I'm one step closer.

I'm just going to re-phrase it all and put it into bigger letters: I Passed the NASD Series 7 Exam!

It's a really big relief. Although my current job wouldn't have changed had I failed, many more jobs open up to me now, and that's a good thing...the other good thing is that I shouldn't ever have to take this whole damned thing again. No, it won't be the last license exam I'll ever have to take if I keep going forward, but it is one of the biggest hurdles.

Now I know someone who remembers back to my last post might be saying, "Weren't you supposed to take this test two weeks ago?" The answer is yes, but when I actually got a mentor to teach me most of what I didn't know/understand about options, she looked at me and asked me if I was really ready for this test. I honestly said that i wasn't, and she asked if I still had time in the testing window. The test is scheduled, you have to take it in a certain period of time, or you have to pay to set up another time window. I said I'll look to see if I could postpone. Luckily there was one date left at not the original testing site, but the one off in Ft. Worth. So that's when I moved it.

Since rescheduling, I really finally learned what I was supposed to know. Seriously, two weeks ago I had some knowledge, but I really would have bombed the test. No, I didn't get more mentorship, or help from the company, but I did get to borrow a book that made sense (not the one the company provides) and I got busy with the online trial tests that really did give me the information I needed. Apparently much of the reading I did in the other books was a waste of time, and I plan to tell our training department that.

I feel really good about this, because I did it mostly by myself. I could have done more to look for help, and probably should have, but in the end, I scored a 75, which is two points higher than the national average. You need a 70 or higher to pass. Think about that folks, most of the financial advisors of the world passed with a C- average. Makes you think about your money.

The whole thing is something I've done before when I took the Series 6 eight years ago, you sit in a little cubicle with a monitor and a mouse, and choose the best answer of the four choices given. The difference is that you get a lunch break because the test is just that long. The testing center was next to a Buffalo Wild Wings (BW3) and normally i'd get a trivia box and play, but after punching answers 1-4 for a few hours, I wanted to get away from answering more questions.

The waitress at BW3 asked me if I was taking the Series 7. I said yes, and she said that they get several people for lunch who are taking it. Apparently it's the most common test with a lunch break. She asked why I wasn't huddled over books and papers, trying to cram for the second half. Apparently many of the afternoon patrons are looking for the littlest edge, but I said to her, "I either know it or I don't. A few more minutes of trying to dredge up trivia isn't going to help me much."

I'll admit that the last month or so has really gotten me off my stride as I retreated from the online world a bit, trying to use that time for a better cause, but I didn't stay a total hermit. I have watched the bigger season finale episodes of shows and Chris and I have been out to see Spiderman 3 and Shrek the Third (I could have waited for both - doesn't bode well for Pirates 3), and we saw Better than Ezra at the Wildflower! Festival (click for a blurry photo).

Still, my workout schedule is all screwed up, and my work ours have gotten jostled as I tried to pick up overtime hours and still study, and sleep. I look forward to getting back to normal, and perhaps cooking a little more because our eating out budget has gotten out of hand, and dang it if gas didn't finally hit $3.00 a gallon this past week.

Chris took me out to Texas Land and Cattle tonight to celebrate. I was quite happy to be celebrating, and quite happy to see what comes next. Right now I'm more excited to be able to read a normal book, one that's fiction, and has nothing to do with my job, investments, or anything dealing with the number 7.


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February 2013



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