I've been known to let my house get a bit messy. Especially when things are busy at work.
At work things are historically much worse than that. I believe the last time the surface of my desk at work has been seen was 1997 - when I had an employee who was on a cleaning spree one Saturday and I when he had cleaned every other surface in the office that could be cleaned I facetiously suggested he clean up my desk. And he did.
But now that home and work are the same place, my tolerance level has dropped significantly. Because there's something strange about sitting 20 feet away from a kitchen full of dirty dishes. And a basket full of laundry that needs to be put away.
This bodes well for the cleanliness of my home, especially in the long-term. Who knew this would be the secret to my success?
I always feel most connected to my spirituality during the Lenten season. I think it started with the sense of moral superiority I felt when the fundamentalist type folks I knew did not even know what Lent was, much less celebrate it. I like the fact that the calendar gives us time to step back and make sure everything's in good shape before we get to the big event of the year. I like the fact that there's a community celebration of excess just prior to the fasting and penitance because hey, we're only human.
Traditionally I have followed the practice of giving something up for Lent - it helps me focus on what's important and where my priorities stand. My freshman year of college I gave up swearing. My sophomore year my roommate and I both gave up Diet Coke.
This year I'm not giving anything up. I'm already in the midst of making some changes to my diet and lifestyle for health considerations, and to add additional responsibility on top of that seemed a bit much. And, although the changes SORT OF coincide with Lent, because I was not prepared to start them on Ash Wednesday I wanted to do something else to mark the occasion.
Instead, I've decided to focus on the reflection and preparation aspects of the season, and am knitting myself a pair of socks.
I selected a purple-ish yarn, to reflect the traditional color of Lent. And I'm trying to use my time knitting as a time for reflection and contemplation. Frequently Lent is a time when you focus on helping those around you who may be in need, but this year I'm focusing on myself. Between job changes and preparing for a move, and the various other life issues that have been poppoing up over the last several months things have become a bit chaotic, and I need to take care of myself before I can take care of others.
The rate I'm going I'll be done with the pair before Easter rolls around, but I do plan to wear the pair Easter Sunday.
I am sorry to see Kevin and Drew gone from the race, although Drew was really in no shape to continue on, so it's probably for the best that they are gone.
I am also to see Rob and Amber win again, although I am encouraged by the fact that Cha Cha Cha came in second once again. These are our two power teams. From first to last (thanks to a delayed flight) and back up to first again all in the course of a single leg.
This was a challenging leg for teams. A mentally tough detour, that really took its toll on a couple of teams, some physically challenging road block activities, and tough but beautiful driving. However, from a commentary standpoint it was pretty unspectacular.
Funny teams continued to amuse, annoying teams continued to grate, and this really just showed teams for all they were worth.
Perhaps a bit more excitement will ensue next week.
As of yesterday morning Sweetie and I had seen two of the five nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards this year. He suggested we do a double feature to catch a couple more last night. The only ones left were depressing ones, and that seemed a bit of a downer for me, so we decided to do a double feature of the two most nominated films (Babel and Dreamgirls). Except I lost track of time and didn't get dinner started soon enough, so we decided to see Babel and call it good. When we got to the theater the line was REALLY long, so we decided to head to a different theater and see something else. Ended up seeing The Last King of Scotland, which was an excellent movie, and featured a nominee for best actor.
Which is my roundabout way of saying I have absolutely no authority to make any decisions on who should win Academy Awards tonight, but I'm going to make picks anyhow:
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland I have little to compare to how well he nailed Idi Amin, but he sure nailed crazy ass mofo who would go from your best friend to your worst enemy in the blink of an eye. The only performance I've seen, but it gets my vote.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond Alan Arkin is the only one I've seen. He did a fine job, but not award-worthy in my opinion. Eddie Murphy seems to be the favorite, but I cannot in good faith give an award to the man responsible for Norbitt. Hounsou is a good actor, and I'm sure gave a powerful performance, so why the hell not.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Helen Mirren - The Queen Again, the only one I've seen. Worthy of an award, although theoretically someone could have done better. However, there's something about Penelope Cruz that annoys me, and Meryl Streep just seemed to play uber bitch in a comedy. And Kate Winslet and Judi Dench don't really need the award, so we'll keep it with Mirren.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Abigail Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine Still, the only one I've seen, but damn if this little girl can't act. On a non-acting level I also like the fact that in an interview on NPR shortly after the nominees were announced she was equally excited by the fact that she'd get to go to Disneyland while she was out there. I know Jennifer Hudson in the popular choice, and having not seen the movie perhaps she is even better, but we already know she can sing and I wonder how much of the role is acting and how much is being impressed with her singing.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Happy Feet Haven't seen any of the movies, but I love Savion Glover, and he provided the tap dancing feet for the movie.
ART DIRECTION: Pan's Labyrinth Again, haven't seen any of the movies, but from what I've seen and heard of Pan's Labyrinth this one deserves it.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Pan's Labyrinth I don't know that I've even HEARD of any of the other movies, so we'll let this win cinematography, too
COSTUME DESIGN: Marie Antoinette The Queen is the only one of these movies I've seen, and there wasn't much in the way of costume design here. The Devil Wears Prada doesn't seem that difficult to design, as it's all about clothes other people have designed. I refused to see Marie Antoinette because I hate Kirsten Dunst, but the costumes looked pretty killer, so it gets the win.
DIRECTING: United 93 Again, only seen The Queen. The directing was fine there, and I wouldn't be upset if it won. However, I think directing people to actually recreate events that happened (which, as I understand, is what United 93 is) rather than a fictional recreation, or totally fictional account, seems a lot harder to me.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: An Inconvenient Truth I want Al Gore to win this. Then I want him to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Then I want him to become President again, because that would be really cool.
FILM EDITING: Babel I haven't seen any of these movies, and so I'm going to throw Babel a bone here. I can't give it any of the big awards without having seen it, because I've heard it's a really great movie and I've also heard it's a bad, international rip-off of Crash. But even if the story sucks the editing can be good.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Pan's Labyrinth. If it's good enough to be nominated in other categories as well, it's good enough to be the best foreign language film.
MAKEUP: Pan's Labyrinth. I cannot give this to Mel Gibson or Adam Sandler. See also the award for Art Direction.
MUSIC (SCORE): The Queen. The score really was strong in this movie. And since I've nothing to compare it to I'll give it the award.
MUSIC (SONG): Cars. I can't give a musical award to Al Gore. And the Dreamgirls vote is split three ways. So Cars gets the award by default.
BEST PICTURE: Little Miss Sunshine. A well written, well acted, very unique movie that left me with some stuff to think about without depressing the hell out of me.
SOUND EDITING: Blood Diamond. Can't give it to Johnny Depp or Mel Gibson. Can't decide which Clint Eastwood to give it to.
SOUND MIXING: Dreamgirls. Given that it's a movie about music the sound mixing has to be good.
VISUAL EFFECTS: Superman Returns. The only one I've seen, and it's a stupid movie, but the effects were good. Have to be better than a pirate movie, and I've no clue on Poseidon.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): The Departed. Borat CANNOT win this. A) because the movie was bad and b) there was no screenplay, it was improvised. The Departed was nominated for a bunch of stuff, so I'll let it win this award.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Little Miss Sunshine. This is the closest race of the bunch, but the writing in Little Miss Sunshine truly was original.
They're ba-ack! And I'm surprised on how un-All-Star-ish several of them are acting.
So the first thing they have to do is go to the airport to fly to Ecuador. There are two flights. You will be on one of the flights. It's better if you're on the first flight, but you're going to be with about half the teams if you make it on the second flight, so it shouldn't be the end of the world. One flight leaves 30 minutes later than the other, and arrives in Ecuador 2 hours earlier. Because it is a direct flight. Something similar happens every damn season on the race, so I am surprised by how many teams said, "Oh, this flight leaves earlier, let's take it!" I do like the alternate approach several teams took, which was to ask the shuttle driver which terminal he arrived at first.
For the most part the teams are the same as they ever were, for both good and bad. Although I think Amber may have gotten a nose job, which makes no sense to me, since she looked pretty good before.
I do have one request of the producers of the show, and that is if they could please cast just ONE season (family season doesn't count) which DOESN'T include "dating couple testing their relationship." Not only is there the couple that hooked up courtesy of a past episode of the race, but then there's the couple that was dating last time around, testing their relationship, who have since broken up, but now that they're going back on the race she's hoping that maybe this will bring them back together again. Sadly, we'll never know, as John Vito and Jill were eliminated this leg of the race. There's still something about Jill that rubs me the wrong way, but John Vito grew a lot in my esteem when he basically said he was sick of Rob and Amber, and thinks the rest of America is, too.
Speaking of messed up teams - Uchenna and Joyce need to use whatever money the earn on the race (because every team gets a little something-something) and go hire a counselor IMMEDIATELY. Actually, Phil should probably have one waiting for them the leg when they get eliminated. Last time around they were having difficulties because IVF treatments had failed them, their relationship was in a rough patch, and they wanted to work through that. So they went and won a million dollars, and while on the race had an experience at an African orphanage that opened their eyes to adoption. But, according to their intro this time they're STILL facing a rough patch in their relationship, and STILL struggling with infertility issues. Because apparently a million bucks isn't enough to help get your life on track.
Drew and Kevin, one of the teams I liked, are doomed, as Drew couldn't outrun a little person at the starting line of the race. THEN he falls in Ecuador and injures his knee and shoulder. But he does get about a billion bonus points for deciding to drive on a flat tire, because stopping to change it would certainly push them into last place. He drove so far on the flat, on such rough roads, that when they got to the end of the road the tire was gone. Literally. Not there any more. Just driving on the wheel. May have eaten away some of that as well. Very glad they didn't get eliminated, because that was a cool move. I just worry that they won't be so fortunate next week.
Which means my team-of-teams, who I love so much I want to become a gay man so that I can marry them and live happily ever after, is team Cha-Cha-Cha. They just have SUCH a sense of humor and joy in running the race. Have to rope a wild horse, cut it's nasty-ass hooves, trim it's tale and mane? "I've always wanted to be a beautician! I'll love giving it a new hairdo and a manicure!" THAT'S the way to run the race!
My least favorite team du jour is Charla and Mirna. I remembered how much I disliked Mirna. I had forgotten how whiny Mirna is when things aren't going their way. Mistakes happened, you just have to collect yourself, move on, and try to compensate. Whining about how the guy you hijacked in Quito took you to the wrong place (65 miles out of town) isn't going to help you any. Just suck it up and get back to racing.
And so it goes, another season, and the fun has just gotten started.
For quite some time my brother-in-law has suggested that rather than the NFL Pro-Bowl they should get all the players together to compete in a Battle of the Network Stars type event, where none of the activities has the potential of injuring a player. You still get to reward the star athletes, and they might actually participate without the potential of career ending injuries hanging over their head.
This week in Sports Illustrated there was an article about the pitiful ratings All Star games for all sports get, and how they should get all of the All Stars together for one big extravaganza.
I'm combining the two ideas, and proposing the Battle of the Sports Stars. Based of Battle of the Network Stars, but instead of ABC vs CBS vs NBC it's NFL vs NBA vs MLB vs NHL. They can play croquet and darts and do the race with the raw egg on a spoon, and all kinds of other wacky stuff.
The one thing that might kind of be missed from sports-specific All Star festivities are the ancillary events like the Home Run Derby, Slam Dunk contest, and whatever it is football and hockey may have. So you still have them, but the basketball guys can't participate in the Slam Dunk contest. They can, however, coach the baseball, football and hockey guys. How cool would it be to see David Ortiz coaching Yao Ming on how to hit a home run?
There can also be an opportunity for pure wackiness. Who can come up with the greatest touchdown endzone celebration?
I would not only watch such a thing on TV, but would probably also want to see it live and in person.
Since my grocery store offers a decent selection of bulk herbs and spices, when time to refill something I generally go bulk and just use the container I've got at home. (For something new to the spice rack I generally go pre-packaged, simply because that's easier than buying an appropriate container).
Whenever I do this I always check the bulk price vs. the pre-packaged price, because there's some short-circuit in my brain that thinks there's one spice which is cheaper to be pre-packaged than it is to buy in bulk. Logically, I know this is not the case, but I still take the minute to compare the prices.
Today's herb of choice was parsley. It was $16.75/pound in the bulk section. I went to the pre-packaged section. $16.70/pound. See, that short-circuit paid off... I had found the magic herb that was cheaper to buy pre-packaged.
Then I looked again. Apparently I had moved the decimal point.
Wait, I was looking at the wrong thing. That was the Italian parsley, and I just wanted the generic version.
Needless to say, instead of that $3.95 jar of parsley, I spent 34 cents. And ended up throwing a bit away because I misjudged how much was needed to refill the jar.