Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Apparently, There's Nothing That Cannot Happen Today." -- Mark Twain

Greetings, y'all! I have to take you to task on something for a moment... you were all so silent last post! Not a single comment! What's an insecure blogger supposed to think!? Don't you love me anymore? You know that my sense of self worth is based in large part on the number of comments I receive!

OK, fine, I'm over-reacting... still, one wonders if one offended one, doesn't one? Was it the blood puddle pillow? Was it that off-putting? But what about the glacier calving video!? Come on, that was awesome! Wasn't it?

Wait... you mean your life doesn't revolve around my blog? Really? Sheesh! Some people!

OK, enough nonsense. Time to get down to business! Where to start?

Well, we got a new car... meet Daisy, our new Nissan Sentra SV!

Yes, I know it's red. Wifey has always wanted a red car...

And it came with a cute 7-year-old in the back seat!

So here's the scoop. We had two paid-off Hyundai Elantras. Then my brother gave me his Subaru WRX. And now we have a Sentra. Wifey's 02 Elantra has seen its better day. I wanted to get her into something more reliable. So I got her the Sentra and we're fixing up her Elantra to give to Eldest Daughter. Plus I'm going to sell my brother's WRX. That will leave us with the new Nissan and my old 05 Elantra.

So, yeah, we're a four-car family at this very moment, which is CRAZY. But it won't last long.

We're leasing the Sentra, not buying it. Never leased a car before. But, really, it's the only way I could afford to get a new vehicle. I can't afford $400+/mo. car payment... but zero down and $199/mo? I can do that... Plus, anything that could go wrong with it is covered... all we do is change the oil, basically. And I get the peace of mind of knowing Wifey's is on safe wheels. Not that the Elantra wasn't safe, per se... but it has seen it's better day. With the zero-down lease, we didn't have to trade the Elantra in, which allowed us to give it to my Sweet Chris...

So it's a win-win.

Rant Time:

OK, I have one question, for the writer(s) of Downton Abbey. WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?!?!

Yes, I know it may seem odd for me to be so into this show... but it really is a terrific show. And it's one of the very few things that Wifey and I have in common and can do together. That having been said, the Season 3 finale just aired this past sunday, and it was a terrific episode. Lots of great stuff happened. And then in the final 90 seconds or so, they blew it BIG TIME! I won't say who (to avoid potential spoilers), but a certain main character very suddenly and (IMO) stupidly dies. It made me so angry, because it was so unnecessary. Personally, I needed no bombshell to keep me on the hook for Season 4... I'll watch it the second it airs, whenever that is. But I suppose they felt "we" would need a crazy event to keep "us" on pins and needles until the new season... NO! You didn't need to do that! That character did not need to die, you jerks!

And then, immediately after the bombshell, they have the nerve to transition to two KPBS talking heads, and pitch viewers for donations! Are you nuts? Talk about awful timing! I hadn't even caught my breath from the bombshell death, much less transitioned into full-blown anger yet, and you want me to give you money? lol...

It reminded me of that scene in Silver Linings Playbook (which I saw last Sunday - review to follow), where Bradley Cooper finishes reading A Farewell To Arms, and gets so angry that he throws the book through his window and then storms into his parent's room and wakes them up (at 4am) to rant and rave about how angry the ending made him... I wanted to chuck my TV out the window and rant and rave for a bit... glad I didn't, since I know that's a silly reaction... but still... they didn't need to do that.

Silver Linings Playbook: A Sort-of Review

So I did it... I made it to the theater to see Silver Linings Playbook before it got pulled. It's the only Best Picture nominee that I've seen this year. I thought for a while that, if it won the Big Award, it would be the only Best Picture winner I'd have seen in the theater before it won... but that's not true. I saw The King's Speech, Return of the King, Titanic, and Driving Miss Daisy in the theaters on their initial pre-nomination runs as well... although in this case, it was nominated before I saw it... but I WANTED to see it before it was nominated... so that almost counts...

Anyway, this movie was great, but I'd say a bit over-rated. Don't get me wrong, I liked it a lot... but other than Jennifer Lawrence, I'm not sure anyone else actually gave a nomination-worthy performance. All due respect to DeNiro... and I'm a huge Bradley Cooper fan as well. Still, I enjoyed it. It had a Hollywood ending, for sure. In fact, I read an article that said this movie is the only nominee that "leaves a lump in your throat", and that's why this person believes it will win the Big Award. Who knows? As I said, I haven't seen any of the other nominees, so I don't really know if there's anything better.

Cooper's character is bi-polar, and has just been released from a mental hospital, after serving 8 months by order of the Court, having beaten a man nearly to death. Granted, Bradley found the man in the shower with his wife, so in a sense, the attack seemed justifiable... still, he is unhinged. After returning home to his parent's house, to his OCD dad (DeNiro) and his comparatively stable mother, he sets about trying to resume a normal life, and win back the love of his estranged wife (who has a restraining order against him). His best friend's wife has a sister named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is dealing with her own set of mental issues after the death of her husband. They are both unhinged people, trying to regroup and set their lives straight, and end up helping each other.

Lots of great scenes, lots of funny, rapid-fire dialog, lots of very touching, human moments, lots of uproar. It really was a great story, with wonderful performances. Oscar-worthy? You know, as much as I'd like to say yes, I just don't know. Lawrence, yes. Everyone else? Meh.

Summary: (4/5 stars) I'd love to see it again, a few times actually. That's gotta be a good sign. Cooper is turning into quite a star. I've been tracking him since his stint on the TV show Alias. This is a great movie. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

Hmm... I'm going to have to chew on that, Mr. Bukowski...

OK, what else?

Ah, I finished a book...

The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley: A Review

This book took me a while to get through, but it was worth the effort.

Myfanwy Thomas works for a paranormal investigations unit in the UK called The Chequy, which protects the UK from supernatural attacks, and acts as a quick-response team to contain and cover up weirdness as it occurs. Well, Myfanwy (rhymes with "Tiffany") experiences some weirdness of her own, as she 'comes to' one day in a park, in the rain, surrounded by dead bodies (who are wearing latex gloves), without a shred of her memory left. But apparently she knew this was going to happen ahead of time, and prepared a series of letters for herself, for her to find and read to help her rebuild her memory, and to find out who was responsible for the attack and the memory loss.

Overall, the story was very fun, with good characters, interesting events and witty dialog. However, the inserting of the "Dear You" letters really jarred the flow of the story for me. So much so that every other chapter, when one of the "Dear You" letters appears (filling her (and by extension, the reader) in on important details about the people she works with, etc.), it angered me. Imagine repeatedly being hooked and intrigued by a story, and just when you get some momentum going, you hit a wall stopping you completely. Over and over again -- the letters are a constant interruption throughout the book.

I have to think there had to be a better way to handle the info dumps, but perhaps this was the best solution, I don't know. It doesn't seem to bother the myriads of readers who have expressed 5-star love for the book before me -- which is part of the reason I read the book to begin with.

Summary: (3.5/5 Stars) The story was worth the effort. It resolves itself well enough to be a stand-alone tale, while still leaving the door open enough for a sequel if the author wants. Structure flaws aside, it was well worth the read. A supernatural who-done-it, combined with the X-men.

OK, what else? I covered the car, TV, Movies, Books... hmm...

Ah, yes! A cat video!

Here's a cat that has learned to knock on the door when it wants inside...

I have lots of other cool photos and fun videos to share, but I think I've taxed your patience enough for one day.

Leave a comment!

Or don't, it's all good.

Adios for now,

Dave the All Over the Place


Sally said...

A new car, fantastic. Downtown Abbey is quite interesting reading my friends comments from the USA as we saw the last episode in this series a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to the new series.

logankstewart said...

Congrats on the car!

Downton Abbey SPOILERS: Yeah, that was totally unexpected and I really didn't like it one bit at all. I mean, it didn't upset me or make me angry or anything (like it did to Keisha, and apparently millions of others), but it made me curious. Apparently Dan Stevens (Matthew) wanted off the show and that was the reason for his death. My only issue was that his character arc seemed almost pointless in retrospect. The entire first two seasons develop his and Mary's relationship, we get to see it a bit, and then it's suddenly over. The major character is relegated to a mere stepping stone. That break jarred the storyteller in me, mostly cause it just didn't make sense. Ah well. I'll surely watch season 4, though my wife is no longer sure.

Anonymous said...

They're setting the stage for Mary to be a hard, cold, heiress. Oy. I hate predictability.

David Wagner said...

Sally: Part of me wanted to stop watching out of protest... but that lasted about 10 seconds, lol. The show is too good, I can't stop watching...

Logan: Well, if he wanted off the show, I get it... maybe they could have had him go on an extended trip out of the country for a season, and just had letters home, etc. To kill him off? Grr...

Ann: She'll never love again! Gasp! Shudder! Quiver! lol... her character has grown on me since Season 1, and I like her now... she definitely didn't deserve this... wonder who she'll marry now, eh? I know! Mr. Mosely!

Paula Titus said...

Hub leased a new Honda a few months ago, seems logical to me as far as the lesser payments go. He just has to be careful not to go over the mileage limit.
I keep hearing good things about that "Abbey" show. You've convinced me to check it out, as long as it doesn't interfere with "my" show - The Bachelor. You probably watch that one too. (smile)

David Wagner said...

Paula! You watch The Bachelor! Shocking!!

Oh, you must check out Downton Abbey. Season one is on Netflix streaming, if you have a subscription...

Anonymous said...

After snootery and snobbery finally relented I too became lured upon the hook that is Downton Abbey, but still need to finish Season 3 (as a result I have trod carefully 'cross the comment here).

I agree that ludicrous plot twists are not always necessary; nothing more is needed when there are such great characters to keep us interested.