The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) . . .

Blah! I'm almost done, and you are too. You just don't realize it yet. As if it weren't bad enough that the networks cram reality programming down our collective throats in order to cut costs, they're going to take it to a whole new level in the near future.

Many of the prime shows historically broadcast by the entertainment division of the major networks ended up broadcast in the 10pm Eastern/9pm Central time slot. Things like ER, Lost, CSI, Law and Order, Boston Legal, The Practice, Dynasty, Starsky and Hutch, Dallas, etc. etc. Now the networks are filling this time slot with things like My Own Worst Enemy, Lipstick Jungle, Dirty Sexy Money, Without a Trace, and Eleventh Hour.

Well, NBC has just decided to throw in the towel and to altogether stop competing in the scripted field of entertainment. In a move to cut costs and to eliminate the need for FIVE hour long television shows, NBC has decided that they are going to move Jay Leno to the 10pm/9pm time slot five days a week. This is such a great, grand idea that you know the other networks will not be far behind. It will not be long before your evening lineup will consist of 8pm/7pm Whose Fart Was That Anyway?, 8:30pm/7:30pm Cooking with Power Tools, 9pm/8pm Uninteresting People With Overinflated Egos Standing Around and finishing up with 10pm/9pm Talk Show/Variety Hour Extravaganza.

I hate the networks. This really is the chance for the cable channels to step up and steal away the rest of the network TV audience. FX, SciFi, USA, TLC, and other channels have been siphoning off viewers for years now. This should just give them another boost.

Link to press release: Notice from NBC - WE SURRENDER!!!

Remember Sammy Jankis!


The Parent Trap (1961) . . .

Bah, these photos always get cut off on this blog. If you click on the photo it will open in a separate window so you can see them better.

Kristy posted some photos on her blog on October 16th asking which of our two boys most resembled her. Everyone has been saying that Loki favors Kristy and Ander myself. I went back to compare some photos of the boys at the same age to see how different they are.

Coming home from the hospital:



The following photos are of both boys at the same gestational age. Since Ander was born 6 weeks early and Loki 3 weeks, these photos are taken when they are approximately two weeks past their original due dates, and wearing the same exact outfit.






Idiocracy (2006) . . .

I'm an idiot, he's an idiot,
she's an idiot, we're an idiot,
wouldn't you like to be an idiot too?

So, Ander has a new favorite word. And he likes to use it . . . A LOT. I'm getting really tired of explaining the distinction that we do not call people idiots, while allowing him to call inanimate objects idiot. Somewhere in here Kristy convinced me that the word in itself is not inherently bad so we shouldn't try to extinguish its use in Ander. We have to teach him that it is inappropriate to call people an idiot. Grrrrr, easier said than done.

And to what bastion of depravity can we thank for my son's recent word acquisition? Why none other than the Walt Disney Company, that is who. I grew up a big fan of Disney films and always intended to nurture a healthy respect of the films in any of my offspring. I just never realized how much bad behavior is exhibited in these films marketed to children. The older ones are really bad, including smoking, incessant name-calling, degrading and other vices. But the newer ones aren't really that much better if you actually sit down and view them from the eyes of a 2 1/2 year old.

Anyway, the culprit in this particular instance is Disney's 101 Dalmations. Cruella DeVille calls practically everybody in the movie idiot at one point or another, and I don't think the film goes 5 minutes without her addressing someone in this manner. She calls the dog's owner Roger an idiot. She calls the bumbling buffoons Horace and Jasper idiot, idiot, idiot every time she speaks to them.

I wonder if it is the prevelance of the word (in terms of number of times used) or the feelings of happiness it produces which causes Ander to have latched onto the word? Bleh, and 101 Dalmations has become his favorite movie. He wants to watch it all the time. He was totally disinterested in Halloween and picking a costume until we came across the dalmation one.

And thus goes life.

Remember Sammy Jankis


Good Will Hunting (1997) . . .

Matt Damon asks the questions that I've been wondering about Sarah Palin, and in an oh-so-elegant way.


Born Yesterday (1993) . . .

On Friday, September 19, 2008, Kristy woke up at 1:30 am with a jolt of labor pain. Over the next few hours the contractions grew stronger and stronger, so since our plan was to try to go into labor on Friday anyway as our OB said he would "meddle" if she was able to achieve contractions that show up on the monitor and she would be at 37 weeks and considered full term and the baby was already estimated at 8lbs. 4 oz. We knew that the OB wasn't on call Thursday night/Friday morning but his office hours start at 8am. So, we attempted to delay long enough so that we wouldn't be in assessment long enough for the contractions to stop and result in a discharge.

At 4:30am, we attempted to go to Waffle House as it was the only non-fast food place that Kristy felt she could scarf some grub before being deprived of food for 24 to 36 hours. We should have seen the foreshadowing of the majority of the rest of our day as when we walked in we were greeted with, "the grill is down, sorry".

So, we scooted down the road to the International House of Pancakes as it was the other non-fast food place that was open (Harvest Grain Pancakes, mmmmmmm). Kristy was having pretty regular contractions during the meal and a gentleman across the restaurant kept smiling at us. As we were preparing to leave, Kristy made a quick trip to the restroom. I then took Ander in to the restroom to wash his hands as he was coated in syrup. During this time, the aforementioned gentleman approached Kristy and asked if she was going into labor soon. Kristy told him we were on the way to the hospital. He then smiled, walked over to our waitress, asked for our check, and paid for it, saying "tell the baby happy birthday for me". The wait staff was all abuzz after this, "that never happens at the IHOP". Hmmm, I think there is a potential radio jingle in there somewhere.

At 5:45am we checked into the Woman's Hospital Assessment Center. Kristy's sister-in-law Sunny showed up to sit with Ander in the waiting area. After a quick check, she was pronounced to be at 3cm and the contractions were coming every 2 to 6 minutes for 40 to 100 seconds in duration. At 8am when the doctor came into his office, he ordered that she should be moved up to Labor and Delivery for monitoring.

At 8:15, the L&D nurse informed us that looking at Kristy's progress (still at 3 cm), she was pretty sure the doc would discharge her and send her home. The doctor came by at 8:50, did a check, and we believe lied declaring that she was at 4cm and progressing nicely (thanks doc!). He said that we would definitely have the baby today and that he would watch her for awhile, see how she progressed on her own and break her water or introduce pitocin to get things moving.

[Editor note: You can click photos anywhere to maximize, it is getting cut off for some reason.]

[Ander is very excited about this new adventure] Photobucket
[I think I hear that baby!] Photobucket
[I'm hungry Mommy! Gimme some hand!] Photobucket

At noon, the contractions were getting strong enough that Kristy asked for an epidural. At 1:20 pm, the doctor came by again to check progress. Kristy was at 4cm so he decided to go ahead and break the water. At that point, Kristy announced that she had started gushing, which she humorously pronounces at gooshing.

At 3:30, Kristy had progressed to 7cm dilated. They gave her a low dose of pitocin to keep things progressing.

At 5:45, they checked and she was dilated to 9.5cm. The nurse came back at 6:00, checked again, asked Kristy to push a few times, and announced she was at 10cm.

[Getting ready to push!] Photobucket

At 6:15, Kristy started pushing. She struggled valiantly, turning red, blue then purple but at 6:50 the baby wasn't moving much so they called a break. At 7:05 she started again and pushed until near 8:00. They thought the baby was face up, rather than face down, a harder position to deliver from. But they couldn't get enough of the head through to get an accurate feeling for the baby's positioning. At 8:00 the doctor talked to us and we were pretty much already resigned to the c-section. Kristy pushed for a bit more with him monitoring. He said Kristy was pushing great and the baby would descend a little bit but the second she stopped he popped back up. He could also tell from Kristy's lopsided belly that the baby was likely engaged sideways in the pelvis.

At 8:15 they started prep for the c-section.

[Quite the fashion statement, I'd say!] Photobucket
[And look, non-skid strips on the bottom of my boots!] Photobucket

At 9:18pm, the baby came into the world with a small cry and a lot of grunting. I was able to watch the baby get cleaned up and checked out while Kristy was sewn up. He scored an 8/9 on the APGAR (much better than Ander's initial 2). He looks a lot like Ander did at birth (though a little plumper but a bit less puffy). He was 7 lbs. 14.2 oz. He measured at 21 inches long (they said he'll lose half an inch today after the swelling on his head goes down). From the bulge on the side of his head, the nurses said that it looked like he was trying to come through with his head sideways (the cone is kind of on the side of his head, halfway between his ear the the crown if his head).

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
[I'm in love!] Photobucket Photobucket

After cleanup, they let Kristy hold the baby on the stretcher and took him down to meet the family. A few minutes visit there and Kristy was off to recovery and the baby was off to the transition nursery. I met the family outside the transition nursery and we watched them give the baby a bath and coninue monitoring his vitals. I picked Ander up to let him watch the baby through the window, "they're giving him a bath Daddy", and then "that baby has a penis!!!".

At around midnight the nurse in transition asked me to pick up the phone outside the nursery. She informed me that the baby was breathing way too fast, they had called the pediatrician and been ordered to do some lab work and monitor him for several more hours. Kristy got back to the room at around the same time and I let her know it would probably be about 4 hours at the earliest before the baby came back to the room. We tried to get some sleep. I was more successful at getting sleep because the nurses were still checking on Kristy pretty frequently.

At 1:30 I woke up to hear Kristy crying. The transition nursery had just called to say the baby was being moved to NICU. This, of course, being Kristy's worst nightmare and the ONE THING we didn't want to happen. They reported that the baby had tested positive for Group B Strep, despite them giving Kristy three bags of antibiotics to prevent the transmission of GBS AND despite the fact that it is much more rare for GBS to be transferred to a baby delivered through c-section.

Kristy made the nurses get her out of bed so we could go down to visit. The baby seemed to be quite calm and not having much problem outside of breathing rapidly. He has to have a consistent respiratory rate of 70 or under but he is currently reading 90 to 110. They were feeding him through a gavage (tube) down his mouth and throat because he can't suckle while breathing that rapidly.

At that point, we came back to the room and grabbed 3 hours of sleep. We went back down to the NICU this morning at 7:15. He now has a gavage inserted through the nose. We're certain that he'll be fed this way long enough to cause him to lose his urge to suckle, thus requiring him to have occupational therapy to learn how to breastfeed or suck a bottle (just like happened with Ander). We once again have the largest, healthiest baby in the NICU. A honking almost 8 pounder surrounded by preemies weighing 2 to 4 pounds.

On the way out we ran into his pediatrician and spoke with her briefly. She pretty much confirmed we're just going to be in a wait and see mode. We're hoping his breathing gets under control by the time the neonatologists make rounds at 4pm this afternoon but we're resigned to another long stay in the NICU/Special Care Nursery. sigh

Just now at 11:30 the neonatologist called and informed us that the xrays were inconclusive for pneumonia and that they will be starting the baby on a 7 day treatment of antibiotics in case so he will definitely not be leaving the hospital for a week. If he gets out of NICU because his breathing improves before Kristy is discharged, they will put the baby in our room and let us stay. If Kristy is discharged first, we will not be able to room-in with him. Argh!

For those of you who are local, I would ask that you not come by to visit unless we call or notify here that we're ready for visitors. We've only slept about four to six hours in the last 50. The baby isn't with us anyway and we're just exhausted. Plus Kristy has SOOOO many family members that we're already going to be stretched trying to take care of "mandatory" visitors.

Okay, so I guess that brings everything up to date. We'll be back later with additional information . . .

Oh, that's right . . . the name. Well, since he was born on National Talk Like a Pirate Day, we changed our minds and narrowed it down to Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard), Barbarossa (aka Redbeard) or Henry Morgan.

Then we came to our senses and went with our originally chosen name. So without further ado, introducing, Lochlan Reilly. He'll be called Loch or Loki, depending on which of us you speak to.

And yes, we've ALREADY been hit with jokes about Loch Ness, Lock Box, etc. etc. etc.


No Country for Old Men (2007) . . .

The list of cultural references for college professors to familiarize themselves with as the college class of 2012 (or 2013, 2014, 2015) begin as freshmen has been updated. Oi.

Beloit College Mindset List
A snapshot of the world view of the Class of 2012
1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax revenue increases."
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative — or known about a friend's relative - who died comfortably at home with hospice.
12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been "Home Alone."
42. Their parents may have watched "The American Gladiators" on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask "Want me to check under the hood?"
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."
51. The Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Moscow residents have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Offshore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.

I'm pretty sure that many students aren't aware of many things on this list, Michael Milken? Club Med resorts? Maybe they are polling a different social strata than I'm familiar with.

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Secret Window (2004) . . .

So, a few moments ago my boss walked up to my door with one of those uncomfortbale looks that makes your butt clench and you ponder what you did wrong. "Uhm, Alan, what would you think of moving to a different office?"

. . .

"Uhm, I don't know?"

Seems they are hiring a new person to replace an attorney who left here last month and the new person apparently really wants access to a window. The office they're asking me to move to has no window, but it is approximately double the size of my current office. And the desk alone is probably the same size as the desk I have currently and the two small computer tables I have in the office. I was assured that if I want to stay in my office I can, but they would appreciate if I would consider moving.

So, I started to contemplate. Hmmm, it is pretty nice to be able to look out my window at the capitol lakes. I would miss my window. Hmmmm, in the summer the sun is awfully bright and beats on my window and makes my office hot so I keep the blinds closed anyway. Hmmm, a bigger office would be nice for spreading out my junk. Hmmm, do I really want more space in which to cover with junk? etc. etc. And why are they first asking the most junior analyst in the office if he wants to move into the big office? Is there something wrong with it that I don't know about?

Anyway, before I had finished contemplating the secretary in our office decided on my behalf that I am moving because she wants to go ahead and schedule everything (I guess Kristy may have mentioned to her my inability to make a decision at some point?). So, I guess I'll be moving into a new office in the next few weeks. I am going to have them paint it, though. I need to create some difficulty for someone else in this, right?

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) . . .

Man, if only someone had gotten around to this before three prequels and the fourth Indiana Jones movie, huh?

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2008) . . .

Oh, and the trailer is not up on-line as well. The kid doesn't come across as creepy as I expected from his photo. I also read that they recast the teenage voldemort to a new actor from the one that appeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (second film).

Link to trailer: I can speak to snakes, too.

I'm still not sold on David Yates as a director . . .

Remember Sammy Jankis!

The Princess and the Frog (2009) . . .

Disney is returning to traditional, hand drawn and cell-shaded animation with next year's release of The Princess and the Frog. And they've set it in the far away, magical land of . . . New Orleans???

This just doesn't look good. And how can they stretch this into a feature length film?

Link to trailer: How about a nice firm handshake?

Also, the whackos are apparently coming out of the woodwork over this film because Disney would dare to feature its first African American princess. Some are complaining that she's black. Some are complaining at the way she is portrayed as a black female. Some are complaining that the southern setting harkens back to slavery. I haven't seen or heard anyone complaining yet about the toothless firefly who speaks with a horrible cajun accent.

Remember Sammy Jankis!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2008) . . .

Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes, will be played by that actor's 10 year old nephew, Hero, in the flash-back-to-childhood scenes.

And Michael Gambon, Dumbledore, channels Gandalf to battle the Inferi.

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Day of the Dead (1985) . . .

Just a little dating site . . . for zombies.

Link: ZombieHarmony.com

Remember Sammy Jankis!

Bride & Prejudice (2004)

So, there is some dude named Devendra Banhart who is really into indie, folk, weird stuff. He somehow convinced Natalie Portman to star in a music video. I'm just sitting here scratching my bald spot saying WTF? Why would any A-List celebrity agree to be in something like this? But, you gotta hand it to the lyrics, they are gold.

"Grandma! I love you in a salad way."

"That will teach Rajah for waving his snake at my princess."

And I think I've found a new tagline, "Crystal bubbles will cremate our troubles".

Link to music video: Carmensita

Remember Sammy Jankis!

Boiling Point (1993) . . .

A video to teach you how to peel a boiled egg without peeling it.

Link: No peeling involved

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) . . .

It appears that Hollywood is about to start focusing heavily on creating content for the internet, a means to combat the increasing competition among cable channels and the decreasing attention of a connected world. Notably, science fiction programs seem to be leading the way by creating content that is meant to coexist and complement broadcast television. Battlestar Galactica created webisodes between seasons to keep up the interest of fans and to fill in the gaps of things that happened outside of broadcasts. Heroes is now creating webisodes that will introduce new characters: Going Postal. Some are better done than others.

And now, Joss Whedon has scripted a webcentric creation that will only appear on the internet. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Neil Patrick Harris stars as a socially inept, wannabe super villain, Dr. Horrible, who is long on ideas and short on delivery. Nathan Fillian plays his nemesis, Captain Hammer. Oh, and did I mention that it is a musical?

Link to teaser trailer: Dr. Horrible

The first episode is now up on the web. There will be three episodes posted in total over this week, and then I believe it becomes a feature only downloadable through iTunes. But, you can check out the sheer genious for free this week. If you have an ounce of geek in you, check this out. The episode is about 13 minutes long and really gets going at about the 4 minute mark.

Link to first episode: Act I

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2008) . . .

The film is but four months away.

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Enemy of the State (1998) . . .

Okay, now this is funny! Follow the link below then scroll down to the bottom to see the comments that people have left for this sale item on Amazon.com.

Link to Item: Security Check Point
Remember Sammy Jankis!


Yellow Submarine (1968) . . .

A web site took submissions and ranked the best "pun stores", that is, business establishments with a pun-in-the-name. Some are rather witty.

Link to punny puns: There was a sign on the lawn at a drug re-hab center that said 'Keep off the Grass'.

Remember Sammy Jankis!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) . . .

Yeah, okay, I'm the weird guy who really likes Brad Pitt. I've liked most of the movies he's done. I like that he can be charasmatic. I like that he takes chances with his roles. I like that he can play suave and debonaire in something like Ocean's 11. I like that he can play batsh!t insane in movies like 12 Monkies and Snatch. I like that he can play straight-stiff in movies like Seven and Meet Joe Black. I like his ability to slip into action like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Fight Club. Sure, he's had some missteps such as Troy and The Devil's Own. But it is his willingness to step outside of what he does well that makes him so appealing to me. Heck, I even like his political activism.

Now, I have to admit that his ditching Jennifer Anniston to hook up with Angelina Jolie didn't sit well with me at the time, but he and Jolie seem to be in their own groove and oblivious to the rest of the world. They don't match up as a couple in my mind but they seem to fit together and they actually seem to try to use their celebrity to do good things in the world so I'm even starting to come around on that front a bit.

Anyway, to the point of this post, Pitt's next release will be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button this Christmas. And this film looks beautiful. I just hope that the obvious makeup and effects that are required to pull of the film do not pull me out of it. The story is about a man "born under unusual circumstances". That is, he is born as an ancient, shriveled little man and ages in reverse. Michelle, I particularly think you may enjoy this one. It is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald written in 1922.

Link to trailer: My name is Benjamin Button

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Rescue Dawn (2006) . . .

I don't think I have ever mentioned it before, but my Father-in-Law is astoundingly amazing. I'm not certain that there is a thing I could come up with that he is incapable of figuring out. He did graduate high school, but was disinterested in the affair. He worked for some number of years as a machinist at various chemical plants. He was always interested in computers and sort of dabbled with them off and on, teaching himself and then his daughters to write basic programs back when the first home computers were released. When his union was on a protracted strike, he self-taught himself how to repair computers. As his knowledge grew, he took on bigger and bigger projects for various entities (friends, family, church). He eventually ended up getting a job with the parish school board and is now a network administrator. This is a person who self-taught himself, without the benefit of having computers when he was in school and with no formal training prior to getting this job.

When Kristy mentioned my USB Drive incident, he told her to bring it to him. He disassembled the case, looked at the internal components for a few minutes from various angles. Then he said something to the effect of:
Okay, let's see. The device reads as present when plugged in but the drive is unavailable. So somewhere the connection is broken. It could be that this is burnt out and I could replace that. Oh, I see, this circuit is bent and it isn't connecting so there is no power flowing over it. I just have to solder it back down and it should be good to go.

A USB drive is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long, 3/4 of an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick. He pulled it apart and looked at very small chips and circuits and found the problem. He soldered it, plugged it in, and it worked just long enough for him to copy all of the information onto another drive before it finally died.

WTF? Who can do stuff like that? Without formal training? He is simply an incredible individual. And I'm once again indebted to him as no one else. I've been absolutely sick over losing all of that information for the past almost week now.

Of course, this past week has been particularly bad. I broke the USB drive on Thursday. When I got home that night I mowed the lawn. As I was removing the mower from our outside storage, I was backing it out between the two cars. I was carefully watching the wheels to make sure that I was dead center between the cars so that I didn't hit either one. When I was almost to the back I noticed that the pull chord juts out beyond the wheels on the right side and the metal bracket that holds the chord in place had dug a scratch halfway down the side of the new vehicle. Then as I was mowing some unseen insect stung me on the leg and I kind of lost feeling in it for a while. Then over the weekend Kristy asked me to go into the attic to get down newborn clothes and some maternity clothes that we had stored up there. While I was picking up some boxes, I sort of lost my balance and fell to one side. My foot fell between the rafters and down into the insulation. I wondered why I hadn't broken through the ceiling below but assumed there must be some reinforcement above the sheetrock. Last night Kristy noticed that there is a huge circle of cracks in Ander's ceiling. Lovely.

Remember Sammy Jankis!

I will not go so far as to say that Pixar can do no wrong . . . hrmph, cough, Ratatouille. But, when they knock one out of the ball park, well, if you knock it out of the atmosphere it flies forever.

Link to newest trailer: Wall*E

Remember Sammy Jankis!


End of Days (1999) . . .

OMFG! Disaster! What am I going to do?

I just kicked my USB drive by accident. It cracked open and the plug-in part bent. I snapped it back together but I can't get it to register on my computer. A large part of my life is on there. Stuff that I track daily, weekly, monthly. Our finances. Specifically, a five year history of our finances. Spreadsheets detailing when to make payments, how much, when to expect bills. My resume. Writing samples. My SF-10 (state employment application/history). Passwords to every on-line account I have. Argh!

I've got to stop thinking about everything I just lost. And stupid me, just last week, thought to myself that I should really backup the drive onto another one or onto a computer in case something were to happen to it. But I never did it.

remember sammy jankis.


Wordplay (2006) . . .

A meme, using one word for each answer.

1. Where is your cell phone? briefcase
2. Where is your significant other? wandering
3. Your hair? thinning
4. Your mother? waiting
5. Your father? deceased
6. Your favorite thing? xbox
7. Your dream last night? void
8. Your dream/goal? solvency
9. The room you're in? office
10. Your fear? broke
11. Where do you want to be in 6 years? relocated
12. Where were you last night? work
13. Something you're not? fast
14. Muffins? sometimes
15. One of your wish list items? watch
16. Where you grew up? country
17. The last thing you did? meet
18. What are you wearing? tie
19. Your TV? home
20. Your pet? nonexistent
21. Your computer? borrowed
22. Your life? undulating
23. Your mood? bored
24. Missing someone? family
25. Your car/truck? Rondo
26. Something you're not wearing? coat
27. Your summer? anxious
28. Love someone? Giftie
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Morning
31. Last time you cried? weekend
32. Who will resend this? Unknown

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Panic Room (2002) . . .

So, if you know me half at all, you can imagine the sense of panic I felt this morning (or any morning) when a coworker walks in and asks, "so, did you see your name in the paper this morning?". Well, no, I didn't because I haven't gotten around to reading the news yet today. So, she pointed to the article.

Link: Combing through the Budget on a Horse with No Name

I hate being in the paper. At least this time there was no accompanying photograph.

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Night of the Living Dead (1990) . . .

This is the kind of thing I wish I possessed the chutzpah to do. How fun!

Link to article: Man warns city council of emergency preparedness deficiencies

Someone, somewhere, has finally listened to the voice of thousands of electronic consumers everywhere. The packaging industry is finally looking at how to move away from the "oyster pack". You know the pack I'm speaking of. It is that hard plastic case surrounding every small electronic device you purchase. The pack that is hermetically sealed. The pack designed to withstand a nuclear blast while still protecting its contents. Burn, I say. Burn in h$ll!!!

Link to article: Killing the Oyster Pack

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Of Mice and Men (1939) . . .

Disney and Pixar have been busy recently, and will be over the upcoming several years. Combined the companies will be releasing quite a few films over the next four years, some are re-releases in Disney 3-D, some are sequels, and some are new altogether. I am intrigued by quite a few of these. I still can't imagine 3-D ever becoming mainstream, though. The following items are excerpts from AintItCoolNews, link: Disney's Upcoming Slate. I deleted out three or four direct-to-DVD features centering on Tinkerbell.

If you have children, or plan to have children in the next few years,, I just thought I'd give you a preview of the discs that will be wearing out your DVD player in the not too distant future.

As for my comments, I can't wait for WALL•E. Bolt has Travolta, that is enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth, but the story could have potential if done correctly. I don't even know how to conceptualize Up. That could the the coolest thing ever, or it could be Ratatouille. I'll leave it to you to decide my opinion on that film. Oh, wait, no I didn't. I guess The Princess and the Frog is Disney's nod to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina? Oh, and another attempt to add to the evergrowing line of "Disney Princess" merchandise. Toy Story 3? Eh, I loved the first two but I can't imagine they could capture the charm a third time out. Of course, I said that about the second after the first. Rapunzel, see earlier comment about Disney Princess merchandise. Newt will be yet another talking animal movie, but it could have funny moments. Apparently one newt is bred in captivity while the second is wild. The sheltered newt can see a "newt mating ritual" poster on the board that includes nine steps, but the ninth image is covered with a coffee can so he can't figure out how to seal the deal. Is this Disney? The Bear and the Bow, a fairy tale set in Scotland? I'm there. Cars 2, well, the first one grew on me after repeated viewings. King of the Elves sounds fantastic. So, there you go.


WALL•E (Domestic Release Date: June 27th, 2008)Pixar Animation

What if mankind had to leave Earth and somebody forgot to turn off the last robot?
Academy Award®-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) and the inventive storytellers and technical geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios transport moviegoers to a galaxy not so very far away for a new computer-animated cosmic comedy about a determined robot named WALL•E.After hundreds of lonely years doing what he was built for, WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL•E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL•E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most incredible comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen.

BOLT (Domestic Release Date: November 26th, 2008, Disney Digital 3-D™)Walt Disney Animation Studios

For super-dog Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue – at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the canine star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City , he begins his biggest adventure yet – a cross-country journey through the real world. Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and with the help of two unlikely traveling companions – a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), and TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino – Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero.


UP (Domestic Release Date: May 29th, 2009, Disney Digital 3-D™)Pixar Animation

From the Academy Award®-nominated team of director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”) and co-director Bob Peterson comes “Up,” a comedic adventure taking off (and lifting spirits) in summer 2009. Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. “Up” takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures. When seeking adventure next summer – look “Up.”

TOY STORY in 3-D (Domestic Release Date: October 2nd, 2009)Pixar Animation

Originally released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1995, “Toy Story” was the first feature film from Pixar Animation Studios and director John Lasseter. The film went on to receive Oscar® nominations for Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Original Screenplay, and earned Lasseter a Special Achievement Award (Oscar®) “for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film.” The 3-D version of this landmark film is being personally overseen by Lasseter with his acclaimed team of technical wizards handling all the necessary steps in the conversion process.

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2009)Walt Disney Animation Studios

A musical set in the greatest city of them all, New Orleans , “The Princess and the Frog” marks Disney’s return to the timeless art form of traditional animation. The film teams Ron Clements and John Musker, creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” with Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman to tell the most beautiful love story ever told…with frogs, voodoo, and a singing alligator.


TOY STORY 2 in 3-D (Domestic Release Date: February 12th, 2010)Pixar Animation

Originally released in 1999, “Toy Story 2” went on to become one of the most popular animated features of all time. The film picks up as Andy is heading off to Cowboy Camp and the toys are left to their own devices. When an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al’s Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody, and Woody learns that he’s a highly valued collectable from a 1950s TV show called “Woody’s Roundup,” the stage is set for a daring rescue attempt by the gang from Andy’s room. The film introduced such other memorable characters from “Woody’s Roundup” as Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye the horse, and the Prospector.

TOY STORY 3 (Domestic Release Date: June 18th, 2010, Disney Digital 3-D™)Pixar Animation

The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in “Toy Story 3.” Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo”) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings.

RAPUNZEL (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2010, Disney Digital 3-D™)Walt Disney Animation Studios

In this new telling of the classic fairy tale, “Rapunzel,” audiences will be transported to a stunning CG fantasy world complete with the iconic tower, an evil witch, a gallant hero and, of course, the mysterious girl with the long golden tresses. Expect adventure, heart, humor, and hair…lots of hair, when Rapunzel unleashes her locks in theaters for the 2010 holiday.


NEWT (Domestic Release Date: Summer 2011, Disney Digital 3-D™)Pixar Animation

What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? That's the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of ”newt,” the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award® winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar's Oscar nominated short, "Lifted." Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.

THE BEAR AND THE BOW (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2011, Disney Digital 3-D™)Pixar Animation Studios

A rugged and mythic Scotland is the setting for Pixar’s action-adventure "The Bear and the Bow.” The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida , though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father’s kingdom and her mother’s life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right. Director Brenda Chapman (“The Prince of Egypt,” “The Lion King”) and the storytelling wizards of Pixar conjure humor, fantasy and excitement in this rich Highland tale.


CARS 2 (Domestic Release Date: Summer 2012, Disney Digital 3-D™)Pixar Animation

All the world’s a racetrack as racing superstar Lightning McQueen zooms back into action, with his best friend Mater in tow, to take on the globe’s fastest and finest in this thrilling high-octane new installment of the “Cars” saga. Mater and McQueen will need their passports as they find themselves in a new world of intrigue, thrills and fast-paced comedic escapades around the globe. “Cars 2” is being directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film “Ratatouille.”

KING OF THE ELVES (Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2012, Disney Digital 3-D™)Walt Disney Animation Studios

Legendary storyteller Phillip K. Dick’s short story (his only experiment in the fantasy genre) becomes the basis for this fantastic and imaginative tale about an average man living in the Mississippi Delta, whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves leads them to name him their new king. Joining the innocent and endangered elves as they attempt to escape from an evil and menacing troll, their unlikely new leader finds himself caught on a journey filled with unimaginable dangers and a chance to bring real meaning back to his own life.

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Imitation of Life (1959) . . .

I've been tagged by K's book meme thread: The Book Meme.

It is hard to establish what the closest book is to me currently, because I'm not certain what defines a "book".

The Book Meme:
1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I have to exclude House Bill No. 1 of the 2008 Regular Session as it does not contain five sentences on page 123. I have to exclude the phone book because page 123 consists of resident phone listings. Then, I have to use the oh-so-scientific method of reaching out my arms in opposite directions to determine which of two books is closest to me.

So, here we go:

1. Ground Transportation for the 21st Century, Dr. Frank Kreith and Dena Sue Potestio, 1999, The National Conference of State Legislators

2-4. "State governments can actively participate in the state's promotion of telecommuting for part of the work force, as well as implement telecommuting in state governments. An awareness of the advantages of telecommuting and its potential to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and fossil fuel consumption is an important step in the deliberations of state governments as they deal with transportation issues in the next century. [New paragraph] For telecommuting to work effectively as a traffic reduction measure, planning and policy efforts must be coordinated between various departments.

5. I hereby tag Jacob, Doris, EBeth, Steph T. and Big Dave.


Wall*E (2008) . . .

The theatrical trailer for Pixar's upcoming Wall E has been released. At the following link, you can behold more details about the storyline than those discernable through the previous teasers. I do read, however, that this trailer still keeps quite a bit of the film's detail in reserve. I hope this is a move back to some of Pixar's earlier magic and not the dreck like Ratatouille.
By the by, it has been years since I've seen the films, but doesn't Wall E have an uncanny resemblance to Johnny 5 in the Short Circuit films? Just there, around the eyes, can you see it?


Young Einstein (1988) . . .

Let me just say, that when you worked until 9:30pm the night before, came into work at your normal 7:30am time, have four information requests sitting on your desk unaddressed, feel stressed out, and are exhausted, the last thing you want for the next eight hours is for the theme song of the TV show your two year old asked for this morning to be playing through your head over and over and over and over.

"We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship,
Zooming through the sky... Little Einsteins.
Climb aboard, get ready to explore,
There's so much to find, Little Einsteins.
We're going on a mission, start the countdown
5, 4, 3,2,1
Everyone to rocket, rev it up now
We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship,
Zooming through the sky, Little Einsteins.
Climb aboard, get ready to explore.
There's so much to find, Little Einsteins.
Come On - Let's Go - Little Einsteins.
We need you, Little Einsteins."

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Lonely are the Brave (1962) . . .

Man, it sucks to be hated by your coworkers. The legislative committee we work for is being split into six sub-committees. My sub-chairman asked for some specific information and I provided it to him in the most detailed format I could find (published by my old office). We then began discussing an 82 page document line by line. Well, the other chairmen heard what he is doing and now they all want to do it. So, now my whole office has to do a lot of work they never did before and thus they all hate me.

Sometimes being an overachiever sucks.

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Hamlet 2 . . .

Yes, Hamlet 2 is a film title. And yes, it will be coming to a theater near you in the very near future. This film screened at last year's Sundance, received positive feedback and was picked up for distribution by Focus Films. Now, this likely means it will see one week in the theater and then go to DVD, but it will still be distributed.

The film revolves around Jesus Christ giving Hamlet a time machine so that he can go into the past and save Ophelia. Well, okay, it is about a drama teacher who writes a play with that storyline. I can't do the plot justice, so I will link to a review of someone who has seen it:


I thought Brien might be intrigued.


Toy Story 3

The Wall Street Journal had an article relating how movie studios are beginning to keep video game development in-house as opposed to giving the rights to traditional game developers. As we move forward in the age of computer filmography, I anticipate this trend will grow as the line between film and interactive media continues to blur. However, in the article, the Journal also dropped this nugget:

"In Pixar's coming movie "Toy Story 3," Woody the cowboy and his toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college."

No Andy? And I wonder if the story will revolve around how today's children are all like Sid from Toy Story, abusing toys and not caring for them? Or if the children will all be so ADD that they can't play with a single toy for more than 30 seconds before moving on? Or if the children will just ignore the toys all together and sit in front of the wall-mounted television all day while the toys desparately cry out for attention? Just imagine the possibilities!

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Well, they've released a trailer for the soon to be released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. All I can say is, Dr. Jones, you should have stayed in retirement. This looks B-A-D bad. Way too many one-liners and Lucas's patented over-reliance on special effects. Of course, from what I'm seeing on the internet, many people love it, so form your own opinion.

Link to trailer: "You're a teacher!" "Part-time."


Burn After Reading . . .

Some years ago, in a former life, I worked in a position where I was responsible for contracting famous and semi-famous people to come and speak with college students. Today I stumbled across the wreckage of my endeavors.

Link to blog article: Ray Bradbury Ruined My Childhood


No Country for Old Men . . .

Okay, I'm officially an old fogey. I mean, sure, I've been borderline for some time now, but it is now official. I'm old. It is hard to come to grips with that, but there it is.
For K's birthday, I bought tickets to go see The Bangles in concert at The Varsity. We are not really the "go to a live band performance" sort, but I thought it would be a nice change and we both liked the band back in the 80's. Buying the tickets, I noticed that the doors opened at 7:00pm and the concert was to start at 8:30. Well, that isn't so bad, we could do that on a work night, right?

Flash forward to yesterday. At about 3:30pm, I started feeling rather queasy and nauseous. I knew that I was probably coming down with something as I never feel ill unless I get really sick, but I was hoping it would hold off for awhile. I drove home at 4:00 when I got off, met up with K at the house, took a short nap with A while she got ready to go out, and we set off at 5:45 to take A to his aunt's house for the evening.

Neither of us were feeling very hungry, me because of my newfound queasiness and and K because she's been sick for four months and is hardly ever really hungry any more. By the time we fought through the evening traffic and dropped A off, we didn't really have much time or options for dining so we decided to go and try getting a table at The Chimes. We were seated at about 7:30. I ordered a club sandwich and K ordered crab cakes off the appetizer menu. We also ordered french fries to split. I also unwisely ordered an Ameretto and Pineapple. I was able to finish about 1/4 of the sandwich and maybe ten french fries before I felt like I wanted to die and pushed the food away.

At a few minutes after 8:30, we wandered into The Varsity assuming The Bangles would be coming on at any minute. As I alluded to earlier, we aren't really live band people. I think we've only maybe been to one live concert before and it was an outdoor festival with numerous bands and performers. We knew what time Don McLean would be performing so we showed up in time to get a good seat near the front and were actually right in front of the stage singing along to American Pie. That was very cool. So, anyway, back to my story. I know conceptually that bands generally have an opening act, but I assumed that fact was always printed on the publicity. No, not so much. A solo singer and drummer entered the stage at 8:45 (15 minutes after the scheduled start time) and announced, "The Bangles will be out here in about 45 minutes but until then you are stuck with me". Sigh, lovely, so the band we're here to see won't even be out until 9:30? Well, that is late to start, but we can still handle that.

So, the opening act got started. She was actually pretty good. She had a mixture of a soul/folk/rock sound that was pretty nice. About 15 minutes into her performance, I started feeling much, much worse. We worked our way over to the side so that I could use the wall to hold me up. Okay, still not good, I told K to let the bouncer at the back door know I was about to throw up. He quickly ushered us out back whereupon I immediately lost everything I'd eaten right outside the back entrance. Well, not everything, because I took a few steps trying to get away from the entrance and lost the rest of it. Ick.

K suggested that we should call it a night, but I was feeling somewhat better at that point so I insisted that we stay and at least see the band we paid to see. I cleaned up, got some sprite, and we listened until the performer finished her set at about 9:30. Woohoo! Here come The Bangles! Right? Erm, no, the stage hands had to strike the stage and set up new equipment. Grrrr. That took half an hour. Seriously? Is there no way to expedite or automate this process?

I was concerned there would be a lot of people smoking at The Varsity, as K and I haven't really been around smokers in quite a while ever since La changed the law and banned smoking in restaurants and public places. I also get irrationally angry at smokers. I understand it is their right to do whatever they want, I just get really p!ssed off when they do it around me or my child. Like, I want to hit them angry. It wasn't actually that bad last night, there were smokers there early on, but there were very few. K and I actually commented to each other that we were surprised so few people were smoking and wondered if the population was dropping the habit.

Well, no, not so much. Being the magnets that we are, and just as we finished commenting on the lack of smokers, five or six women pushed their way in front of where we were standing and proceeded to be generally obnoxious. They were all chain smoking. Question to readers, why is it that when smokers get together and stand in a circle (everyone smoking), they each feel the need to hold their cigarette off to the side outside of the circle and to turn their head away from the group to blow their smoke out? Thus, even though the people around them are not smoking and ALL of them are, they funnel the smoke toward those people and away from themselves, who apparently like smoke.

One girl who was practicaly falling out of her shirt took it upon herself to constantly dance in circles through her group. She then stopped, bent over and stuck her butt into the middle of the circle, and proceeded to gyrate it around and around while shouting "whoo hoo!" over and over. Of course, I was standing directly in front of her while she did this so her face is basically in my crotch while she grinds her butt around and continues her efforts to make sure she falls out of her blouse. Uhm, yeah, uncomfortable. We decided to relocate about twenty feet away as the band was about to start.

So, at 10:05, the Bangles finally come out and get started. Only the stage hands didn't have the feedback monitor set up correctly so the band stopped singing and did a five minute guitar improvisation until the roadies got their act together. At this point, K and I were about to turn into pumpkins. Then the same obnoxious women from above pushed their way right in front of us again. Sigh. We only made it until 10:45 before we decided to call it a night. We did hear them perform Hero Takes a Fall, Manic Monday and Walking Down Your Street. I'm sure they performed some of their other hits, like Walk Like an Egyption, Hazy Shade of Winter and Eternal Flame after we left, but we just couldn't hang around any more.

Yes, we're sad and pathetic. We only lasted until 10:45 before we had to run home to our beds. And we were absolutely dying the last thirty minutes we were there and only hung around because we actually wanted to see the band.

And lest I sound too much like this was entirely a negative experience, it really wasn't. It was a nice experience and we got to do something we don't normally do. I enjoyed listening to the music with K held close to me. I just wish it would have started early enough for us to actually be able to stay awake, like, 5:00pm maybe?

Oh, and on a tertiary cool (gross) note, I'm pretty sure The Bangles had to walk through/around my vomit when they came in the back door. Blech!

And a second oh, Susanna Hoffs is still ridiculously hot for a 49 year old (and on a related trivia note has the same birthday as K, well, the date, not the year).


How to Marry a Millionaire

I stumbled across an article about Melinda Gates, wife of Bill, this morning. I found it very engaging and interesting to read about the philanthropy efforts in which they both engage and how they choose very specific causes to address. Now I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, a billionaire philanthropist.

Link to article: Melinda Gates Goes Public


Room at the Top

Heh! The Onion did an article about LSU's National Championship! I like where they started, but it kind of fell flat.

Link to article: We're Going Out on Top!

Remember Sammy Jankis!


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

There is a nice piece by Vanity Fair up on the web that goes into the history of getting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made and onto the screen, a process 15 years plus in the making. There is a lot of very interesting information about Spielberg, Lucas and Harrison Ford as well as their collaborations over the years. There are also a few mild spoilers about the film's plot.

I have to say one thing about Lucas, he absolutely doesn't care that his script ideas and writing are beyond lame. He knows that the iconic characters he has created draw hundreds of millions into studio bank accounts and he could care less if the product he produces could have been better told by someone else. The one saving grace on this is that Spielberg was closely involved throughout and both he and Harrison Ford turned down script after script over the years until they found one they could agree on. I just hope they made Lucas hit pay dirt. I'm not convinced reading his plot device but I'll still be checking this one out eager for a home run.

Keys to the Kingdom

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The Score

Sorting through the mail yesterday afternoon I got quite nervous when I saw a piece from my mortgage company with a big red "Statement Enclosed" stamp on the outside. Mental check, "Did we pay the mortgage this month?", "Yes", "Did we pay the mortgage last month?", "Yes", "Is there some kind of fee associated with the account that I'm supposed to pay?", "Not that I'm aware of.". So, with some bit of trepidation, I opened the envelope and scanned its contents.

Woohoo! Escrow refund to the tune of $1,000! I mean, shame on them for holding so much extra of my money in escrow for the past year but woohoo unexpected cash! And, they are reducing my mortgage payment by about $78 a month to account for the lower amount needed in escrow. We will continue paying what we were before, which was greater than the amount due, but this means we'll be paying off an additional $934 a year of principal with no additional out of pocket! Score!

I'm out.

Remember Sammy Jankis!