Friday, December 29, 2006

Eragon - 30 seconds of your time, to save you 2 hours of your time

Sigh. I went into this movie with fairly low expectations, based on the trailer I saw, and the fact that I'm always disappointed by book adaptations. Yet I was still disappointed.

I'm willing to accept that the film version will not always be an exact replica. It took me quite some time to accept Harry Potter - Prisoner of Azkaban as a really good movie, simply because I was annoyed that it wasn't always true to the book. I don't entirely know who was fully responsible for the disaster, but I would have been able to forgive the poor screenplay, if the acting, directing, and/ or photography had been decent. But the acting was overdone and lacked any subtlety or emotion. The scenes were choppy and hacked together. Worst of all, the photography was bland. An epic dragon movie has a world of potential for great visual effects. Saphira the dragon could have been beautiful. Fly over shots could have been breathtaking. Battle scenes could have left the audience on the edge of their seats. None of this happened.

I've been trying to determine who would enjoy this movie. It seems like the mother of two small children in front of us liked it. No one else in the theater seemed to. Perhaps the simple minded who fall for the cute little dragon and the unnecessary romance between Eragon and Aria. Sigh.

Getting Healthy Is Hard

Today was my first day at the gym in at least a few years. I started jogging a few months ago, but gave that up quickly, so this is my new plan to get in shape. Cardinal Fitness is a nice place to be. not too crowded (though I'm sure that will change after the first of the year), lots of new machines (that I have no clue how to work), and incredibly polite, helpful staff (not so much). I had my Rio Chiba with me for music, but even if I didn't, their system was playing fun, energetic tunes.

Now I just need to work on my endurance/ attention span.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breakfast, A Beagle, and Cute Babies

Well, it turns out that I was extra good this year, because Santa surprised me with a brand new digital camera! My Canon point and shoot has made the past several days infinitely more exciting! Hopefully, as I learn how to use my new toy to its fullest potential, it will make this blog infinitely more exciting, too!

Some pictures...

My cousin Jack (before the projectile vomiting incident)

"Who is that?" "Jenna!"

Baby Evan, the sweetest, tiniest addition to the family

I did promise a beagle...

...and some breakfast.

More photoblogging to come, when I get better at it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best of 2006: My Writing

One day a week or so ago, I discovered that someone had gone through my entire xanga blog and read all of my old posts, dating back to last December. Sort of curious as to what exactly they were reading, I've spent some time doing the exact same thing. I just finished a little while ago, and I've come to some conclusions.
  • I used to be a better writer. Plain and simple. I know that I am not a good writer by any means, but I used to be better. This can probably be credited to the following observations:
  • My life was more interesting. Maybe not more interesting, but more fun. I think I was way less stressed, and that had a lot to do with things being more interesting and fun. I was also a little boy crazy and not frustrated with boys, so that helped too.
  • I read a whole lot more. I had a lot more free time as a sub, which meant I got to read kids books, teacher books books on religion, psychology, you name it!
  • My life really is good. Even when things have been rough, I've had great friends and great opportunities, and God has ben very present all the time.
All of that said, I've made some realizations. I need to be more deliberate about my decision making, my words, and my actions. When I say I will do something, I need to do it. I need to be less self-focused, and spend more energy caring for others. And I need to be oh so very mindful about how my words affect others.

So now, for some highlights! Read!
  • December 23, 2005: I was new to xanga, and I blogged a lot. About everything. Fun times!
  • December 25, 2005: Last Christmas sure was a lot of fun. I really hope that this one can measure up. I worry that I'll get mopey if it doesn't.
  • January 1, 2006: I failed my New Year's resolution within a week of making it. I'll just have to repeat it this year and try again.
  • January 18, 2006: I need to do more photo blogs like this one. I don't know if this is a favorite because of how it's presented, or because it was such a memorable weekend, or both.
  • January 24, 2006: I could be teaching in Yuma, AZ right now. I'm so glad I'm not. But I do wish I was teaching somewhere. Resumes over break!
  • February 23, 2006: None of these great plans that I had for my summer actually happened. lots of reasons for that, mostly no money. This summer, perhaps? Hopefully there'll be someone who will be adventurous with me!
  • April 3, 2006: I love my friends. I nearly cried again just reading about how they were there for me when my grandma was dying.
  • September 17, 2006: Boys. Boo.
  • October 4, 2006: I've learned a lot about myself and the nature of relationships in the past few months. I'm glad. I think I'm a better person because of it. But man, becoming a better person sure isn't easy.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for the new and improved Jessie. I'm going to read more, reflect more, and stick to my word more.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Have a Reader in Canada!

Yea! My US bloggers better step it up, before those Canadians take over!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My St. Nick's Day Treat

After a week with the same headache that was making me cry and miss out on fun things (like work!), I called my doctor. After waiting an hour to see her, then crying to her right off the bat ("I've had a headache for a week and I want it to go away now!"), she loaded me up with all kinds of goodies. New migraine meds, some uber strong pain meds, an order for a CT scan, and of course, a shot. Haven't had a shot there in long, long time. It worked, though. By the time I had my pills from Walgreens, I was starting to be conscious of more than just the pain in my head!

However, even 9 good drug induced hours of sleep did not make the headache go away for good. Luckily, I was coherent enough last night to write out my sub plans, so I called in and have spent the whole day sleeping. Sigh.

Tomorrow's my head CT. Maybe I can figure out how to post pictures!

Monday, December 04, 2006

On Staying Healthy

I've often claimed that I have an exemplary immune system. I have hardly ever taken a day off of work or school due to being ill, and when I do get sick lately, it's for about a day, tops. Meanwhile, the people around me catch strep, pneumonia, the flue, you name it. I've often wondered why this is.

I've come to the conclusion that my amazing immunity is due to the fact that I get adequate rest, and pay attention to how my body feels. When I think I'm starting to get sick, I make sure to stay inside and sleep as much as possible, so that I don't end up having to miss work or the things I love to do, because my body can't shake something. This Friday night, I felt the signs of a flu-like cold coming on. So I spent the entirety of Saturday at home, in my pajamas, doing nothing more strenuous than moving from the couch to my bed, and picking up a book or the remote control. As a result, by Sunday morning, I felt ready to skip and dance!

Imagine my distress then, at the fact that headaches have put me out of commission for an entire week. I've missed work, slacked on my ministry duties, canceled social events, and have felt generally awful since last week Tuesday. In addition, migraines give me this odd, confused feeling, so I'm just not as productive or coherent as I go about my activities. Even as I write this, I'm relying heavily on my spell check (more heavily than usual). I don't like being weak! Just make the pain go away, so I can get on with life!

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's Snowing!

I love snow. I love how it falls in big white flakes that you can catch on your tongue. I love picking up a big handful and throwing it at someone, only to have someone else throw one at you while your back is turned. I love walking around in it, holding hands with someone you love. I even love walking around in it by myself, getting hypnotized by the swirling mass of white coming down from above. I love when it stops, and you look out onto a sparkling white back yard, disturbed only by snowsuit clad children and puppies, scampering around with blissful joy. I love the prospect of a snow day from school, and all that an unexpected day off holds in store for young and old.

I love that this particular snow day has fallen on a Friday, on the first of December, when I was just wondering how I was going to get into the Christmas mood now that I don't live at home.

I also love that the snow fell after my family and I got home safely from a wonderful performance of A Fireside Christmas in Fort Atkinson. The singers, dancers, children, and the entire production crew put together an amazing mix of fun and somber numbers, flashy and classy costumes, touching and laughter inducing skits. The Fireside Theater was decorated beautifully for Christmas, and the meal was impeccably put together. I got to spend some time with my brother's girlfriend, who is a very fun girl (I hope he doesn't mess it up!), and was highly amused by her joy every time the lights changed color.

I left the theater last night in complete, perfect anticipation of Christmas, and woke up this morning ready for anything the season has to throw at me.

I pray that the joy of the holiday touches you as much as it has me, and that stress doesn't creep in and ruin your spirit, or that of your loved ones.

Happy December, folks.