September 2008


I met him about two years ago. He and Joanne Woodward came into the store on a Friday night. They were very nice. When they went to the register our cashier noticed his card wasn’t signed (good job, Milo!), then asked him for ID because she didn’t know who he was (you’re embarrassing me, Milo!), which was made worse two minutes later after they had left and another cashier, said “You know, from the salad dressing!” (I’m gonna kill you, Rebecca).

I reduce so much in life to a point system. My point system on actors is based on how good a performance is, weighted slightly higher for a lead. Among male actors, he is fourth all-time, behind Nicholson, De Niro and Hoffman. He is so high, both for his amazing ability and for his longevity. I had him as the third best actor of the sixties (behind Richard Burton and Sidney Poitier), but also the fifth best actor of the eighties (behind Nicholson, William Hurt, Daniel Day-Lewis and Michael Caine).

He made 55 films. I have seen 34 of them. He was always good. Usually brilliant. The best follows.

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24 Tintin movies made to order!

24 Tintin movies made to order!

I write. That is what I do. And while I write my own material, there are certain stories that I would love to see end up on the big screen, and that I firmly believe can be done correctly. Just because a book is brilliant, doesn’t mean I think I can make it work on screen (I would never attempt Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Wind Up Bird Chronicle or One Hundred Years of Solitude). Here’s a sample of a few works that really need to become films and could easily be made into excellent films. I’ve had a list like this for years. Unfortunately for me, though fortunately for moviegoers, some of the items from previous lists have been made (Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, the forthcoming Watchmen, which better not suck). Some of these might get made, others seem likely to never be made unless someone makes my script into a film. I’ve been waiting for some of these my entire life. Anyway, if you have any clout, give me a call. I can write the script. You just get it made. (more…)

Things have been crazy busy since our return from vacation. It turns out that then you work in academia, it is really bad to be gone the week before school starts and the first week of classes. It makes you feel like you’ve had no transition whatsoever from summer to fall.

Anyways, we were very glad we got home on Saturday and not Sunday. We really needed Sunday to recover. Thomas started school the following Monday. He is in a new classroom this year that is specifically designed for kids on the autism spectrum and have multiple specialists as teachers. Unfortunately we also missed the Open House for his classroom due to our vacation, so we didn’t get to meet the teachers or see the classroom in advance (I still haven’t been in to see the classroom). The restructuring of the preschool classes also led to a change that we initially thought would be good, but is not: Thomas gets done at 2:30 instead of 2pm. The problem is that the high school (which shares a building with the preschool) also gets out at 2:30 and its a madhouse of cars and kids and parents and all in all a very unsafe environment for the little ones like Thomas (who if given the opportunity would run all over with no concern for safety or the word “stop”). So Erik and I have made our first foray into school politics; we attended the 1st school committee meeting of the year to voice our concerns. It seems to have helped in that Erik saw a few of the committee members out observing the situation with the preschool program coordinator on Friday. We’ve been assured that some sort of solution will be found.

Thomas is loving school, as always, and is charming his new teachers. Even better, he is also getting to see his teachers from last year, Miss Jean and Miss Phyllis, on a regular basis. Unfortunately he is also exposed to lots of other germy little kids and he has his first cold of the school year. We took him to the doctor on Wednesday and he has croup (again). He went to school today, but they sent him home a little early with a fever. He went to bed early and I’m hoping he doesn’t spend the night coughing again since he really needs the sleep (and so do I).

Erik’s started back at Borders a few nights a week. He was able to get back into the same store and department he was in before. Other than that, he’s plugging away at A New Nation Votes on Ohio data. It’s been a bit of a rough patch due to death of the  parent of one of his college friends and the illness/hospitalization and impending surgery of a co-worker, but he’s muddling through.

I’m glad to be back to work and I’m almost feeling caught up (although staying home Wednesday with Thomas threw me off a bit). I’ve turned in the first draft of the introduction to my history thesis and I met with me adviser today. We set up the schedule for the next chapter and I’m optimistic about finishing on time.

Those are the high and low lights of the last week and a half. Now that things are settling a little bit I hope to able to write in a bit more regularly again.

My travels as a driver (pre-trip).

My travels as a driver (pre-trip).

So, we got back on Saturday, driving through the remnants of Hanna, completing our journey of 7641 miles.

At one point on day 4 (day 2 of driving), we were in Nebraska (me having said we just got 2000 miles into the trip and seeing birds above and V saying “And here come the scavenger birds”) and we were trying to decide if we had just passed the same car for a second time, and we realized: We’re in a green Civic with a badly dented bumper, an Ernie bumper sticker, an Obama bumper sticker and Red Sox license plates.  We’re the ones that people are pointing at and saying, “I know they passed us before.”

The road I have driven (through 10 Sep 2008).

The road I have driven (through 10 Sep 2008).

Well, we were gone fifteen and a half days.  We left very early on the 22nd of August (3:45 AM) because we were determined to make it the 1178 miles to Winchester, WI in one day (and we did).

In the time we were gone we went through 19 states, covering the majority of I-80 headed west and I-70, headed east.  I have now driven over 43% of the 41,000+ miles of the Eisenhower Interstate System and I must say: the most boring, ugliest, stretch of land in the country and the most beautiful, wondrous area are in the same state: Utah.  There’ll be more in depth on the trip itself after the jump.

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