May 2006 Archives
Jen and I saw two movies this weekend, one on Video on Demand and one in the actual theater. Brief reviews follow.
Napoleon Dynamite is the worst movie I've seen in at least six years (the benchmark being used there is The Velocity of Gary which, if you haven't seen it, I am tempted to recommend just so we're all using the same "absolute zero" mark). Honestly. People apparently love this movie; I cannot fathom why. Jen and I kept watching it, hoping against hope that there would be some brilliant reveal at the end to explain it. Let me save you two hours of excruciating, confused boredom: there is not.
By contrast, X-Men 3 is merely awful. Badly written, badly directed, badly acted, badly FX'ed, and--to top it all off--badly viewed, because there was something casting a shadow on the screen at the theater throughout the movie, and the world's most ADD child seated directly behind us. (The last scene in the movie involves Magneto, the major antagonist for the entire 3-movie arc: the child's question? "Who's that?" If the kid isn't old enough to remember the major villain, they may not be getting much out of the movie--just a thought.) And the "so secret the theater employees tell you about it on the way in" secret ending after the credits? Bad. If you haven't seen this film yet, pull a Highlander 2 and pretend it never existed. On the plus side, complaining about the shadow to a manager netted Jenny a pair of free movie passes, and I snuck in an absolutely delicious rice krispy treat from Whole Foods. Unfortunately the previews (Ghost Rider, Snakes on a Plane, The Omen, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, etc) were nearly as bad as the movie.
We also saw Mirrormask recently. It was visually fascinating, but the story was remarkably passive and the ending was flat as a freshly baked crepe, which is too bad since I like most of Neil Gaiman's stuff. I think the problem is that the passive type of story (where things happen to the protagonist, rather than the protagonist doing things) works better as a book (Jenny would say "as a short story") than it does as a movie, at least for me.
However, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 comes out soon. Hopefully Johnny Depp doesn't let me down.
Sadly, my life is not a Mighty Ducks movie, and so, though we are indeed a plucky ragtag band which has had our problems, my hockey team did not win the championship game. In fact, we pretty much sucked for the entire game. :-P The final score was 2-1, but that was only because our goaltender had an amazing game. The other team was working us over like crazy, making good passes, frustrating our rush, getting off good shots all over the place. We just couldn't seem to get our flow going, start connecting on passes.
On the plus side, I did have two very solid slapshots, both on net, and I did have fun (although I took a slapshot off my thumb that left it swollen and sore for two days), so I can't really complain. There was an after-party, with barbecue (it's Texas) and beer (apparently my defensive partner's dad is a brewer for Shiner Bock, and procured a keg of what will be next year's Anniversary Special). I partook of neither, since we don't eat meat and I'm not drinking until/unless Jenny does (it only seemed fair), but I did spend about 15 minutes swapping hockey stories with a 14-year-old. :)
Anyway, it was a great season and I can't wait for the summer season to start.
180, 9, and 6 (or 3) are today's important numbers. 180 is beats per minute. 9 is weeks. And 6 (or 3) is people, depending on whether you only count homo sapiens or not.
More specifically, 180 beats per minute is the rate of the heartbeat Jenny and I listened to today. It's the heart rate of our now 9-week-old fetus, who will make six (or 3) people in this family. Yes, Jenny and I are going to have a baby, on or about December 27th. Jenny believes it will be a boy, though of course there's no way to know for another 2-3 months at least.
The prospect of being a parent is a bit tremendous. Partially this is because Jenny and I have been reading scads of books about pregnancy and parenthood. In some ways this is a terrible idea, because these books are largely very scary. :) Still, I have definite ideas about the kind of parent I want to be, and the kind of parent I think I will be, and Jenny will be, and overall I'm optimistic. I'm generally optimistic about things, so I guess that's par for the course.
I don't mean to be melodramatic or anything; clearly we're not the first people to have a baby in this world. :) It's just a bit personally overwhelming at times. I think it will be quite the adventure.
So the season has ended; my team finished in third place. The final stats for the season are available online here. If you drill down into the stats, you'll note I got no goals, no penalty minutes, and a single assist. Go me. ;) Still, I feel like I had a great first season and a lot of fun. The handful of pictures Jenny was able to get before the camera battery died are up in the gallery. I'm in black with a white helmet, #79. (I would have been #13, but someone else on the team already had it).
Being in the top 4 teams meant we got to enter the playoffs, which are a simple single-elimination tournament. Our first-round game was last night, against the 2nd-place team. Of our 4 regular defensemen, one was recovering from salmonella and the other had just gotten new skates (and isn't really comfortable in them yet) since the steel runner in his old ones shattered during a game earlier in the season (seriously). The referees seemed to kind of have it in for our team; we took 7 penalties to I think 2 for the other team, although I honestly think there were an equal number of offenses on either side. We did score first, one goal in the first period, but the second period kind of fell apart on us and we gave up two power play goals.
Fortunately, one of the things this team is very good at is coming back from a deficit, and we really went to work in the third period. My defensive partner scored a beauty of a wrist shot off a faceoff during a 4-on-4, leaving us tied. We had several more great opportunities, including one where I cut off a clearing pass, passed to a forward at the side of the net, and ended up with the rebound and a wide open net. My shot was a little off balance and someone got in the way of it, and we ended up with about 8 players involved in a scrum in front of the net--most of us laying on the ice. The puck ended up right in front of me, and I saw our center about three feet away, standing up. I very carefully used my stick to push the puck towards him, but as soon as he touched it the ref whistled us for a hand pass (which was nonsense).
Time wound down and ran out; unlike the regular season, there are no ties in the playoffs, so we went to a 5-minute 4-on-4 sudden death overtime. We played for about 3-1/2 minutes, with some good chances on both sides, until a miscommunication ended up with us apparently having too many men on the ice. (I'm not completely sure there actually were too many men, but that's what was called.) One of our centers, my defensive partner, and I ended up as the 3 in a 4-on-3. I was really excited to get tapped for the 4-on-3, since it indicated a lot of trust from my captain and teammates. Less than a minute later my partner got the puck in our zone. He had some time, so he held it, and the center started yelling for him to ice it all the way down. Instead, he very calmly passed it straight up the middle to the center, who fought off the lone defense in his way, broke in on the goalie, and beat him 5-hole. It was an amazing goal shorthanded in overtime, and the crowd (friends and family as well as the teams waiting to play the next game) started yelling. It was great. :)
So we're into the championship game, which will be played next Monday. We've played our opponents three times: beaten them twice and tied once, so we feel like if we play well we have a great chance. Either way, I've had an amazing time this season and I'm really glad I got to play.
In other news, yesterday and today my company held the annual conference for our independent resellers, consultants, and other developers. This year it was held here in Austin. I was scheduled to judge an annual competition yesterday, but I had to bow out at the last minute because I needed to make it to my playoff game. Today I gave a 25-minute presentation on recent improvements to one of the tools we sell. It was very well received, although I have several notes on things I can do better next time I get the opportunity. It was very interesting to me to meet all these people who build an entire ecosystem of software based on our stuff, and hear their perspectives on how things are and should be. Being an insider was a new experience for me too; all these developers wanted to know what's coming down the pipe, and how things work, and I have to keep in mind what I am and am not allowed to state publicly. It was very cool taking questions and being able to give good answers. Hopefully I'll get to participate in the conference in years to come as well.
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