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Monday, July 31, 2006

Not-as-busy weekend

Saturday was the last day of the Summer Institute, and Cardinal Arinze was saying the Mass. Dr. Poterack, Draper, Josh, and I were going to be singing there.

Practice was about an hour before Mass, and after practice, the Suspicious Cheese Lords showed up. This is an all-male acapella group who does (from my limited experience with them) entirely sacred polyphony. They are also really good.

That day was just an off day for them...

On Sunday, I went to Holy Transfiguration and sang with the choir there. There was nothing special going on that day, so I went home. On the way back, I decided to stop by Koon's Toyota and test drive two vehicles: the Toyota Prius, and Toyota FJ Cruiser. I test drove the FJ Cruiser first -- it was an amazing vehicle. It handled like a dream, on top of the fact that it felt like I owned the road. The Prius was also a very sweet little car: it had pickup that almost rivaled the FJ Cruiser, and a lot of space. Space is a huge issue for me (no pun intended)...

I learned something quite a while later. The Prius may be a really sweet little car, but Toyota reports that its batteries are not made to last over 100K miles (the batteries are warrantied for 80K miles). That just simply won't do. With this knowledge, of the two, I'd buy the FJ any day over the Prius. The FJ has more room (overall), plus it's not scheduled to die at 100K miles. The FJ's starting price is about $21K, whereas the Prius' starting price is about $20K. However, at the time that this post was begun, I did not know that little fact, and so I was really excited about both vehicles...

I went back to the apartment. Pat and Laura were there, so I told them of the test drives, all the while trying to control my excitement over the two vehicles. After they left, I fired up the watched She-Ra movie, and then continued with the He-Man episodes. That lasted me for a while...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monster House

I saw the preview for it, and I didn't like it. I watched it anyway, and I really liked it. Watch it. I dare you. You'll be surprised. I actually jumped a couple times.

Yeah, it's a kid's movie -- I just wasn't expecting anything...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

U.N. B.S.

This should upset every tax paying legal citizen with voting eligibility of the United States:

How they vote in the United Nations:

Below are the actual voting records of various Arabic/Islamic States which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:

Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time.
Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time.
Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time.
United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.
Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.
Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.
Yemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Oman votes against the United States 74% of the time.
Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.
Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.
Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.
India votes against the United States 81% of the time.
Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.
Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.

U S Foreign Aid to those that hate us:
Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against the United States, still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.
Jordan votes 71% against the United States and receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
Pakistan votes 75% against the United States and receives $6,721,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
India votes 81% against the United States and receives $143,699,000 annually.

Could we use this money at home? You bet we could!! Perhaps it is time to get out of the UN and give the tax and foreign aid savings back to the American workers who have to skimp and sacrifice to pay their taxes and buy gasoline; or perhaps apply it to one or more of the social problems we have right here in this country.

Disgusting isn't it?

You may wish to pass this along to every taxpaying citizen you know.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Richmond weekend

Alaina's birthday party was on Friday. I went down and had a fun time with a good group of people. No, I didn't get Alaina any "gifts", just in case you're wondering. I think three nightgowns is plenty in the way of that!

Dr. Poterack, Draper and I practiced some chants for the first Tridentine Mass at St. John's in town, as well as for the Institute happening next weekend. Practice went pretty smoothly. I can't complain. Dr. Poterack mentioned to me that he was going to Richmond the next day, and asked if I wanted to go. He told me that he was going to the Tridentine Mass out there at their church. I'd heard good things about it, so I decided that I'd go.

That evening, we fired up Nanny McPhee at Dane's apartment. John and Paul E., Ryan, Maria, Jon, Sarah, and (I think) one more person watched it with us. Just as before, it was a riot. It was a movie that everyone seemed to love.

...I still can't believe that he would almost marry such a woman...

The next morning, Dr. Poterack and I drove out to Richmond, VA, and went to St. Joseph's FSSP parish for Mass. Their choir was good, but I've heard better. For a parish choir, you can't really complain!

We stopped at a friend of Dr. Poterack's house, and had coffee and coffee cake. Woah! I haven't had the combination of the two ever. I love coffee, and I love coffee cake. Up until then, I knew there was a reason why the cake had the name "coffee" attached to it, but I'd never mixed the two. Call me silly if you will, but it was really good!

On the drive back, we took an accidental 60 mile detour. We headed south on 95 instead of North. For a few miles I was wondering why we were never getting any closer to our destination, and, in fact, North Carolina cities were showing up on the distance boards. I finally realized that we were, in fact, going the wrong way. We got some gas, and drove back the way we came. About two hours later, we made it back to Front Royal.

There was a barbecue at the girl's house which I went to. But I was really tired, so I didn't really participate in much of anything aside from the food. I know, I know, I'm a bum...

Before I left for home, I hung out at Guardian Angel for a little bit and talked to John and Paul E. I finally left much later than I had intended...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Chorus" article

The Northern Virginia Daily ran an article about Mirandum Picture's newest film, Chorus. Read the article here. It's gonna be sweeeet...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Christendom Online

To all who don't know -- and I assume it's most of you, because this is practically hot off the press...

Draper W., a good friend of mine from Christendom College and one of the founders of Boredonline, is at it again! He has created a new website, http://ChristendomOnline.com. For now, it's simply a forum for Christendom people. If you're an incoming frehman, there is already a place for you. If you're coming in a few years, there's still a place for you. If you're currently enrolled or even an alum, please join! If you went to Christendom but are no attending another college, feel free to sign up! If you don't plan on coming to Christendom, but you know one person there, feel free to sign up. Professors, Doctors, staff, faculty, students, potential students, friends, benefactors, rival colleges -- get the picture?

Draper's experience in creating and running Boredonline was inspiration for him to build Christendom Online. Using this website, a person could keep in touch with Christendom folks from anywhere. The friendships that he formed from boredonline was motivation for him to find another way to stay in touch with Christendom folks, wherever they are, and for Christendom folks to stay in touch with other Christendom folks. He really wants to extend the invitation to people coming to Christendom, so that they do not feel like they are the new ones, the outcasts, scared of everyone, etc., and that when they come they'll at least know a few people.

Currently, he has plans to make the website much more expansive, but for now it's simply a forum. I should point out to the alumni that this is not meant to replace the Grapevine, but instead to compliment it.

I've rambled enough. Take care, and God Bless!

Anthony Smitha

P.S. If you're already a member, mad props to you.
P.P.S. If you received this e-mail from someone else, I apologize. Mea culpa.
P.P.P.S. If you received this e-mail from someone else and you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for?
P.P.P.P.S. If you received this e-mail from someone else -- darn, I can't think of anything snappy to say. Just sign up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Third wedding & weekend stuff

On Friday afternoon, Ken, Alaina, Mike P. and I drove out to Delaware for the wedding of Mike (not P.) and Maria B. The drive was about two hours, and we were there in time for choir practice.

Christine C. directed the choir. Christine, Jacinta S., and Alaina F. were the soprano section, Christina D., Lydia T., and Clare F. were the alto section, Mike P. and David R. were the tenor section, and Tom C., Chris L. and I were the basses. We practiced before the reception dinner, and then again after that. The dinner was great. I wish I could cook like that.

After the second practice, Grant F., Mike P., and I had a couple beers with the soon-to-be groom around midnight. It was fun. I didn't ever drink with Grant while he was at Christendom, and I hadn't really met Mike (not P.), so this was a first for me, pretty much all around.

The next day, Saturday, the wedding took place at St. Thomas Church in Wilmington, DE. It was an awesome wedding, followed by a really fun reception. At the reception, there was a lot of singing and dancing, including the Virginia Reel (of course). When the songs began, Grant, Brendan M., Chris, Mike P., and a crowd of people joined in. Good old Irish songs -- everyone knows them all. Well, almost everyone. I don't... :)

After the reception, Ken, Alaina, Mike and I drove back to Virginia. I fixed dinner for them when they dropped me off at the apartment.

On Sunday, I went to Holy Transfiguration. This was the first time that I sang with their choir. I had a lot of fun singing -- who wouldn't? After Divine Liturgy, I headed back to the apartment, and from there, I drove to Front Royal.

On the way to Ken and Alaina's house, I got into a small wreck. When I was driving along 55, the car two cars in front of me stopped to turn left -- he had to wait for oncoming traffic. I didn't see him stop, nor the guy in front of me. In an instant, I weighed all my options: slamming on the brakes didn't work, because the wheels just locked, and since I was going downhill, I skidded. My other options were to turn left or right. Left led me into oncoming traffic -- equally as bad as slamming into the guy in front of me. Rigth led me into a mountain. Right was the safest option. The mountain tore up my bumper and threw off my car's alignment, but that's about it.

When I got to Ken's house, I was the first one there. Brendan and Susan showed up eventually, followed by Dane, Pat, Mike, and basically everyone else. I stayed relatively late, and just before I left, Ken and Alaina had an announcement to make: "Kids, your mother and I have something to tell you. We're pregnant."

Well, to be accurate, Alaina is pregnant. Even though it can be said that "they are pregnant", don't get me wrong: Ken will not show any indication of being pregnant until after nine months, at which point, it will probably be his turn to carry around the little rascal for nine months...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gizoogle

Want to speak jive, or see something written in jive? Check this link out: http://www.gizoogle.com Here's how it worked the intro to this blog:

Wanna kizzy tha blizzay URL history? To quote a good nigga of mine (there is question as ta gangsta it was Pat or Mike), in reference ta conversizzles wit me . Im crazy, you can't phase me: "Don't git into it wit Smitha . Holla!. He knows exactly where tha line is, but he gleefully hops over it -- n tizzy frolics!"

Well, OK, fine. I got a good laugh out of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Visit to Front Royal

Yesterday, I drove down to Front Royal to visit with John and Paul E., Sarah H., Carissa B., and Christine C. While we were there, Christine showed off dresses for Maria's wedding. Dinner was good, and then we just sat around and chatted for a while -- a while, i.e., midnight, which was way later than I had intended to spend there. I did have to work the next day, after all. On the way back, I discovered a great way to keep myself awake -- will try it again another time, and let you know if it works...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Busy weekend

On Saturday, I went to WalMart, where I was a Tylenol rep for Team Tylenol. This was to promopte their new fast-acting gelcaps. This lasted from 10AM-4PM.

After that, I went to the McG's house and visited with the family for a while. It was Mary's birthday party that day, so I had another good reason to show up there. As usual, I overate. But, hey, that's what you get for visiting an awesome family who makes awesome food. :)

When I left there, I went to Front Royal, having been invited down to see everyone. They were all watching Serenity when I arrived there, so I finished up the movie. Not a bad flick, I guess. I left at almost midnight, and got back to the apartment at 1AM.

I went to Holy Transfiguration for Sabattino and Linda's baby's baptism, confirmation, and reception of First Communion. I was late for the baptism, but I caught the Liturgy. Otherwise, I think I would have been in trouble...

Today, I asked Romanos if I could join the choir. He said that would be fine, in spite of the schedule conflicts that I told him I would have.

I drove back to the apartment and changed clothes into something a bit more outdoorsy. After all, it's only appropriate to have a party after a Baptism, right, and Sabattino does throw one heck of a party.

Pat and I drove down to Front Royal. On the way to Sabattino's, I stopped by Regina Coeli to see Sam P. He wasn't around, so I said I'd swing by later. We helped Sabattino prepare and serve food to all the guests who were there -- and believe me, there were a lot of them! We spent the bulk of the time we were there grilling or doing whatever else we could do to help out. Overall, it was a great cookout and the food was also awesome.

On the way out, we again stopped at Christendom. This time, I caught Sam and a few of hte other counselors. After scandalizing them all with stories of gifts, I took my leave. On the way back to the apartment, I told Pat the stories in greater detail than I had told the guys. I wouldn't want them all to be scandalized forever...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nanny McPhee

Oh my gosh! This movie was one of the funniest that I have seen in a long, long time! Pat and I could not stop laughing, especially at the woman who the man proposes to. She was just awful. I recoiled in horror in the credits when it gave a woman's name for that character. Througout the movie, I comforted myself in the fact that a woman could only be that ugly if she was played by a man. Sure enough, she was a woman...

AAAAAAAAAA!

Aside from that, it was a hilarious movie. The outtakes were gems, too. It was a very well made movie, very funny in the concept and in its accomplishment, as well.

The flight back

The flight back was very uneventful. Mom dropped me off at the airport, and it was very hard for either of us to choke back tears. But I think we did it rather successfully.

Before I took off, I realized that Jane wanted to give me a CD. This CD had pictures of Dad on it, pictures that we had used for his funeral. I'll post them soon. I'll probably create a new blog just for this.

Pat S. came and picked me up at BWI when I landed. When we got back to the apartment, we watched Nanny McPhee. LOL!

Odd mental things

Sometimes, when I am lying in bed, eyes closed, waiting to fall asleep, I get an odd sensation. I get dizzy, and all sense of proportion is lost. If I try to picture anything, be it a living being like a person, or somethin inert like concrete steps, they are abnormally huge, but they are either broad and "stout", or tall and really thin. There is no medium, no sense of normal.

I also hear the sound of a great fan blowing, but it is in super-slow motion, and my ear is about 1/2 inch from the blades. I can hear each "whoosh" as the blades pass by. I can hear someone shouting at me, but it seems like they are very far away, yet inside my ear all at once.

It happens most often when I am on my back, pillow under my head, and a fan blowing on me, usually from above my head. If I remove one of these elements -- if I lie on my side, place the fan differently, or remove the pillow -- it stops, and I cannot recall it as clearly as I did before. The removal of the fan has the least effect, the removal of the pillow has the second, and my moving around entirely causes it to go away. Oddly enough, if I stand right up from the flat-on-my-back position, my sense of proportion is still out of whack, so everything seems to be too far away to grab, or that I'm right next to it.

Weird, huh?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Star Trek (VII): Generations

As dull as this movie is in comparison with later ones, this is very possibly my favorite of the Picard movies. Kirk even makes a special appearance as the butt whooper that he was, and this completely makes the show. Picard and Kirk together -- wow! It was my favorite movie when it came out, and it's not going to get off my list of favorites for some time.

Soran played his role very well. Freakish, yet genius.

Data with his emotion chip is positively hilarious, especially when he figures out that he hates the drink.

The Day at Emma's

Well, today was loads of fun. Mom and I went to Emma's house, where we spent the afternoon. When we got there it was nearly 100 degrees outside. It opened up and poured half-way through the picnic, so we packed up and moved everything up to their house. Brittany S. was there, as were two McD. girls from where Emma was living over the summer. It made for a very fun time. :)

The food was awesome, of course. Her family can cook like nobody's business, and when they are taking everything outside, you know you're in for a real treat...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Aside from the ending, this movie is awesome. I'm sorry, but Kirk's speech at the end -- it's so ... well, cheesy. Maybe that's what they were going for. But it was really cheesy. Way past mozzarella. More like sharp cheddar, but a lot more so. It's not bad cheese, so it's not American. It's just the principle of the thing. Kirk is a futuristic James Bond. He kicks butt and gets the girl. Hearing him give a "Why can't we all just get along?" speech is just not Kirk.

"Oh, but you should hear it (Shakespeare) in the original Klingon!"

"Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war!" --General Chang, shortly before his untimely demise, quoting Shakespeare (ironically, in English -- had it been in Klingon, we'd not have known what he said...)

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This one, for all of it's wierdness is one of my favorite movies. It shows a conflict within Vulcans which you never see, and you see also what happens when one of them chooses to have feelings. This also proves that Vulcans do have feelings -- they just choose to not show them, making them a lot more human than the original series made you believe.

I guess... I don't know...

The weekend at home

Mom and I spent a lot of time watching movies this weekend. We got some work done, and we went to Mass at Sanger, so I got to meet up with some friends. Dominic, Frank (I think?), Mom and I went to brunch together. Generally, it was a fun time, with a lot of relaxation.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

This one is my favorite Star Trek movie. Yeah, I know, it's the popular favorite. But, hey, I like whales, and hearing Spock insert the word "hell" in every other sentence cracks me up every time.

Plus, I know why Spock acts the way he does. "He did a little too much LDS in the sixties..."

Every time, I tell ya...

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

This movie was good. I like it a lot more than the first movie. The resurrection process was thought out pretty well, as well as the taking over of the Klingon ship. I even enjoyed (as much as one can) the scene where Spock's memories get transferred back from McCoy to Spock. Overall, this was a good movie.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

This is an awesome movie! One of the best. Some argue that it's the best. I would rate it very highly, but, I wouldn't consider it the best. Second, perhaps, out of all the Kirk movies. Ah, good old ear slugs and the power of suggestion.

Kahn is one of my favorite villains. He's just too cool. I'm not sure why, but he is. I haven't seen the original Star Trek series where he showed up, but after this movie, he's still one of my favorite villains. :)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

This is an interesting movie. It has it's moments. I like the concept of V'ger, but at the same time, it's not that cool. It destroys the Klingons without much thought. Plus, why didn't the Klingon's simply jump to warp when the slow-moving energy-ball-thing came their way? They tried to run away at impulse power.

Overall, the movie was very trippy. Not my favorite Star Trek movie ever. It's probably my least favorite of all the Star Trek movies, in fact. But I'll still watch it.