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Archive for January, 2007

Sicky icky

January 30, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Claire’s been sick for a week. She has a propensity to stick her finger up her nose until she tickles her brain, she then wiggles her little digit around and yanks it out. She then sticks her hand in her mouth and licks her finger like it’s a TEN COURSE Turkey Dinner! Yummy! Ugh.

One day last week she had this chunky boogie smeared across her face, but that day wasn’t today. Today was the day we finally decided to keep her home. My kiddies were taking a test today, so I figured it was now or never. Some kids were sick at day care, so we decided we’d go see our favorite nurse practioner, Nikki. We love Nikki. She’s fun and cool, and like her as much as Claire’s pediatrician who’s in the same office.

It was a little odd. Claire is having some breathing/coughing problems this week and they put her on a breathing machine. They hooked her up and did a test run in the office, and it was like de ja vu. My grandmother had Emphysema from smoking & hairdressing for decades. She used a breathing machine that looked just like the one my daughter was now chewing on. That was odd. Grandma died in 1993, and it was like some surrealistic flashback.

Anyway, we visited Laura’s blog earlier today and she talked about being a stay at home mom and everything; I don’t think I could handle it (the staying home part, I mean. The mom part is near impossible.) Anyway, I give her true props for all ‘dat. I enjoyed spending all day with Claire, but it sure is tough doing that all day.

DadBloggers: Jan post

January 28, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Want to read my recent DadBloggers post? Go here.

The Oscar’s & Cars

January 28, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Movies, Parenthood, Reviews

Ok maybe you can say, "but Devon, this isn’t a REAL Oscar movie!". If you think that, go tell John Lasseter. Part of Lasseter’s vision for Pixar is to make sure each and every movie he makes has a PLOT. And CARS does. Little Lightning McQueen (better known as "Stickers" by his love interest due to the sponsor ship logos all over him) is a hotshot race car who becomes lost and stuck in a small po-dunk town somewhere in the Southwest Desert (New Mexico? Arizona? Who knows…). He has to learn humility and what selflessness really is before he can get back on track (yeah, yeah pun intended).

The movie’s cute. Yes, cute. I know I cringe when I hear my Creative Writing students use this word about someone’s work. All of the hype of the year was worth it for this one, and I know I’ve not see Happy Feet or Haunted House, but it’s Pixar AND Disney. How can it lose next month? Best Animated is usually a shoo-in, but I’ll hold that card until after Happy Feet whose reviews definitely aren’t as good. I even cried during Cars when the older race car is shoved off the track and wrecks. Oh my! An Oscar contender makes me a shed a tear. Good job, Lasseter.

The Oscar’s & Half Nelson

January 27, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Ok so we saw Half Nelson tonight. I am sort of tired and it’s late. This was interesting since I too am a teacher, but I sure don’t smoke crack all night long. Ryan Gosling is up for Actor in a Leading role, and I am afraid to say that his nomination may be his reward. This isn’t because I don’t want him to win, because he was good. The best I’ve ever seen him, but he’s up against DiCaprio and Whitaker (and a few others who won’t win.)

Gosling plays David Dunne a crack smoking history teacher/basketball coach who wants to write a children’s book on dialectics, but instead he smokes too much crack and tries to screw a colleague. His ex is getting married and his parents wish he’d visit more often.

His beard bothered me, since it was all scraggily until the end. Shareeka Epps, his student, befriends him, and she does a fine job. This is her second role, a role she reprised from the short film of the same story line she did two years ago. She has a chance to be good, and she shows it in an understated muted role in this film where she attempts to juggle education and drug dealing on the inner city streets.

This film was good, but I felt it was slow. Forty-five minutes in felt like an hour fifteen. Early in the film Gosling tells another character that he’s a teacher to touch just one life. To change just one person, but it’s his character who needs touched, needs to be saved, and, by the end, Epps does just that. Nice ending.

The Oscar’s & Babel

January 26, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Then there’s Babel. Honestly, when I first saw the trailer, I thought it was gonna be some cool Bible movie about the tower, but then it wasn’t. It’s a cool concept I’ve seen done before, and it sort of reminded me of Traffic without the annoying filters and Catherine Zeta Jones play acting. The film intersects three very different places as far from Morocco to Mexico to Japan and the USA. Brad Pitt plays a man whose made some terrible mistake that is never explained and his wife is Cate Blanchett (who I’ve really liked in certain films and hated in others). She is shot in a horrible random situation that the American gov’t way to quickly deams a terrorist action (which it is not) by a gun sold to a man from a hunting guide who received it from a Japanese business man on vacation whose daughter is a deaf-mute who is seeking some affection from anyone by trying to give up her virginity to anyone and everyone. Pitt’s children are being watched by the family’s illegal Mexican nanny who wants to go to her son’s wedding in Mexico. She can’t find a sitter and sneaks the two very white, blond haired children into Mexico. Sounds confusing? It isn’t until Pitt’s side of a conversation towards the end is the same as a conversation from the other end at the very beginning of the film.

Ever see those films that make you really really hope everything turns out ok? This falls into that category, but I honestly feared it wouldn’t. I thought people would die. They didn’t. Some people will be pissed when the nanny is eventually deported. Her comments that she’s made a good life for herself in the US during the past 16 years, and the INS officer’s heartless response was that she should’ve thought about that before she came illegally, gave rise to current Southwestern political issues. (No, she doesn’t get to stay. Oh well.) Some would ask why Blanchett (who can sometimes be awesome) wasn’t nominated (remember when she won for The Aviator? Brilliant), and my response was, why give some chick an Oscar for spending the whole movie writhing in pain and almost dying. The wrinkles around Pitt’s eyes bothered me. I don’t know if it was makeup or all the sun he gets in third world countries with Angelina. So let’s not be too cynical here. Rinko Kikuchi who plays the Japanese deaf-mute was nominated deservingly so. But I think that her nomination is her reward. My God, the girl doesn’t talk and is naked in the film. (This isn’t the porn awards.) Barraza, who plays the nanny, probably did the best acting in the film especially as she hobbled across the desert in her groom-mother gown trying to save Pitt’s kids. (One of whom I must add was played by Elle Fanning, Dakota’s little sister who doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot in this film, but does look like a younger, littler version of her talented bigger sister.)

This film is one of the most nominated with seven nods this year (I do NOT count Dreamgirls since the damn thing was nominated three times in the same category!). I can’t say if they will take Best Supporting Actress, but I sure hope they best lose director (come on, give Scorsese his due!) Should it be the Best Picture? Maybe. It’s up against The Queen (you know my opinion of that one), United 93 (just because it’s about 9/11 and Oliver Stone didn’t make it), a artsy Little Miss Sunshine, Letters from Iwo Jima, and The Departed, which is its biggest contender. The film editing was brilliant (I didn’t see Blood Diamond yet, so no comparison comments here) and the Score was wonderful. It definitely had The Queen beat on this one, but my problem with that was sometimes it was almost too loud, too over the top, and too annoying. Although the scenes when we hear (or don’t hear) the film from Chieko’s (Kikuchi) point of view are done very well! Ok, more later, my movie going maniacs.

The Oscars & Children of Men

January 25, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Next film’s gotta be Children of Men with Clive Owen. Clive was awesome in Closer (as was Portman) and he was pretty good in Children of Men. This one is a sci-fil dystopic film about a world in the near future where women no longer get pregnant (for not apparent reason since they never tell us.)  Owen plays a corporate slug who, it seems, was once a political activist married to Julianne Moore, who disappointingly dies before she can get around to acting. Because Moore trusts him (even though he left her and dissolved their marriage), he is given the task of taking a (surprisingly) pregnant Fujiian woman to the coast where some Green Peacelike, humanitarian group will whisk her and the child away towards some procreative future. After a few bad Mother Mary jokes and what can only be seen as a paycheck role for Michael Caine, several almost unbelievable characters help Owen get the woman to the coast before he dies sitting in a boat as the Green Peace people pull up beside the small dinghy with the dead Owen, the Fujiian and her new baby daughter (supposedly the new Eve, if you’re one to read positivity into a bleak situation.) Then the camera cuts to the title in an artsy-fartsy font to remind you of the name of the half-baked, over reviewed film you’ve just chucked $7 bucks for.

The Oscar’s & The Queen

January 23, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Ok so call me crazy, but one the best times of the year is coming up for me! OSCAR Season. Before Claire was born, Donna would typically acquiesce to seeing movies most weekends. But after Claire was born (affectionately known as A.C.) we have seen few movies. More recently we’ve gotten out more, but we still haven’t seen too many movies in the last two years. Last Oscar season I fought myself to go and see most of the Oscar movies (before last year I’d have seen MOST of them), and now this year I find myself behind in the viewing again. So now I have a goal to see MOST of the Oscar movies, even with a daughter. Over the course of the next month I will review the ones I get to see (with or without Donna). I’ve seen three recently. One of them with Donna, and the other two without. Donna doesn’t like certain kinds (e.g. horror), so I sometimes get out myself. Sorry, but there will be SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.

Let’s begin with THE QUEEN. Donna chose to see this one for her birthday, and I didn’t really know what we were getting into. Turns out that a brief summary would be that this film is about QE2’s relationship with Tony Blair and her action (and inaction) the week after Diana’s death in ’97. My cousin Marcy is a huge Diana freak and won’t see it because of the views. I found the film adaptation of history interesting, and there really was a blurred line between what actually happened and what didn’t happen. It was meshed together from what happened publically, interviews with some people (publically and off the record), and fictional creative license.

This was one of the best movies of the year. I honestly don’t think it will win Best Picture (it is nominated) because the entire thing wasn’t great. For example, the cinematography bothered us from time to time. The guy who played Tony Blair was well done, and he, uncanningly, looked like him. I liked the juxtaposition between his family and the royal family. Now onto Helen Mirren. Anyone who votes against her for the Best Actress award is a fool. She’s a shoo-in. She will win. I said it here first. Helen Mirren BECAME QE2 in this film. Sometimes I watch actors or actresses and think "Damn, so and so is doing a job playing so and so" but it wasn’t like that for me here. When Mirren was out driving around and being herself as the vulnerable woman who never wanted to be Queen, this was when she was her best. (No spoiler here, Diana’s dead.)

Online classes

January 21, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Work

I teach adjunct at the local community college, and this semester I started teaching online. I have experience doing so since I’ve TAed classes online, took classes online and have studied asynchronistic online education. Now students sometimes think that online classes are cool since they never have to go. I remember in undergrad when I took grammar online, the class took two years to complete. That was then, and this is now. The kids have deadlines and a set schedule. But it also takes them discipline. On my end of things, I have to set time aside to grade. And that takes discipline from me, as well. I love what I am doing though.

Happy Birthday

January 21, 2007 By: nooccar Category: holidays

Happy Birthday, Donna! Another year, and given that this is her 29th, Donna’s last birthday ever. Her birthday plans began Friday when Claire and I went to Barnes & Noble to buy her Prada lady’s new book, a couple cards, and then lunch. The babysitter spent the evening with Claire, while Donna and I had dinner at Tanked Fish, which was really yummy. Then we saw The Queen with Helen Mirren, which was totally rad. She was so good, and Donna said that the critics are saying that anyone who votes against her next month for the Oscars will be wrong.

Saturday we went to Penney’s where she tried on suits while I drove Claire and the stroller in circles through the store to get her to fall asleep, which she finally did with her face on the drink holder. In the evening several friends came over, and Donna picked the menu.

I thought she was crazy for having sushi, baked brie, and chocolate fondue all together, but her reasoning was that it was her birthday and she could eat whatever the hell she wanted. It actually turned out really well.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.

Bejeweled

January 16, 2007 By: turtlegirl Category: Adams, Leisure, Miscelany, Weblogs

Since Devon mentioned it, I thought that I would elaborate…

Over the holidays, Devon and I watching an ESPN online gaming tournament.  It consisted of three games:  Bejeweled, Solitaire, and Zuma.  We watched as a young, female college student beat the competition to remain in the first seat and win a million dollars.  Again, a million dollars.  For playing online games.  Devon and I were amazed.  And jealous.

When we returned to Phoenix, we decided to download Bejeweled.  In the past week, I’ve put in many hours of play.  I’m on about the 67th board of the Endless game – which I started playing because I thought it would actually have an end.  I have almost made it through all the Puzzle boards, unless the final destination is just a porthole to another dimension of puzzles.  (I hope not).  I have not tried Action games, because the thought of being timed to play a game is not appealing.  And Classic games are OK – mostly appealing because I have a higher High Score than Devon!  Haha.

This is also why I make a habit of not downloading or playing games online.  They are obsessive and time-consuming.  Plus, my laptop burns my thighs.


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