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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Doom (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

This is a very fun movie. It's not the greatest movie, but it stars the Rock as the Sarge and Karl Urban as Reaper. It's a fun shooter. It's rather like the video games, but considering that I only played the Original Doom and Doom II: Hell On Earth, the creatures all looked different -- well, except the zombies. It's hard to make a zombie look like much else...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Muppet Movie

This was a very clever movie. I am very impressed with the Muppets every time I see them. The amount of humor that they can pack into a show is simply amazing! I love it! The cool thing is that the jokes are made for all ages. Adults will pick up the subtle jokes, while the kids will be laughing at the surface level or even slapstick comedy.

I still get a kick out of the fork in the road. That was great!

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

WOW! This was an awesome movie! I can't say much aside from that it was a great movie! It was very realistic, and to a landlubber such as myself, it was also very technically accurate. Wow!

I highly recommend it. If you didn't like The Patriot because of the violence, then you may not like this one either. A number of people die, you get to see medical procedures as they would have done them on the open sea, with only a gag and a tourniquet as anesthesia. Yes, I was cringing during most of the medical scenes -- very much so. There was even one where I went completely tense, and even cold. {shudders again}

Street Fighter, the Movie

Wow. This movie departed so far from the video games. I was hoping to see a lot more of the skillz from the games. I was sadly disappointed. There was one Hadouken, one. I found it a fun movie, but very disappointing because I was a huge fan of the games. The creation of Blanka was a particularly large let down for me. In the games, he was lost in the wild as a very young boy and he learned to fend for himself. He is entirely a beast, not a reprogrammed soldier. Oh well, I'm not a director...

Ernest Goes To Camp

Not a bad movie. It's probably one of the better Ernest movies. It's fun if you're bored. Aside from that, what else can I say?

Birthday singing for Lizzie

That was fun. I sped from the apartment to campus to practice with the guys again, especially considering it was our last time to practice before the main event. With the newest addition of Can't Buy me Love, I had Francis and myself on bass, M.C. on tenor, Draper on alto, and Paul on soprano. In two hours, we went from most of us not knowing it to almost performance perfect. That is some mad skill there! Sadly, we ran through it one more time right beforehand, and we decided that it couldn't be done well enough, so we scrapped it last minute. She requested it anyway, so she got the original Beatles version... :-D

The Longest Time went over really well (from my humble perspective) in practice. Ryan and I took leads, Paul and Draper had the high tenor, AJ and M.C. had the low tenor, Matt and TJ had the baritone, and Michael B. and Francis had the bass. it made for a nice balance and blend -- at least, I thought. I still get all the verses mixed up in my head, so I kept throwing Ryan off. Too all parties involved and otherwise affected and/or offended, my apologies!

The rest of the birthday singing went along pretty well, I guess. I wouldn't be the final judge of that, though...

And now that I'm back in the apartment, it's after 4:00 AM. I've fallen asleep so many times writing this post. I am going to bed.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The weekend and the Royal Rumble

This Saturday, I went to choir practice on Saturday morning.

After choir practice, I practiced with a few of the guys on Billy Joel's The Longest Time for Lizzie's birthday. We also made a last minute addition: Can't Buy Me Love.

Later in the day, I noticed that I messed a call from Eric and one from Carissa. Eric invited me to come watch the Royal Rumble on Sunday. Also, congratulations are in order to MikeE and Carissa for getting engaged! I haven't heard the story, so I can't relate it.

M.C. and I went back to Herndon, where I got him two French cuff shirts, and some cufflinks. The poor guy owned cufflinks but no French cuffs, and that just won't do...

I picked up Alex from the airport, after he landed. He had just returned from visiting Ashley.

M.C. and I drove back to Front Royal, and we practiced The Longest Time again with more of the guys. It seemed to be coming together pretty well.

On Sunday, I sang with the choir, then Dr. P., Draper, Andy and I went to the Tridentine Mass and chanted there.

The Palestrina choir rehearsal followed that.

After that, I stuck around until about 6PM, and practiced The Longest Time again with almost everyone.

On the way back to the apartment, I called Lizzie, and asked what time she wanted us there. In that conversation, I found out that I can't do math. Her half-birthday is the 30th of January, which I knew, but for some reason, I thought that we would sing on the night of the 30th, thus confusing myself into thinking that her birthday was on the 31st. I tell you what, the things I do to confuse the heck out of myself...

That evening, I went to Eric and MikeE's and watched the WWE Royal Rumble. That was fun. I haven't watched wrestling in years. Carissa was there with MikeE, and she really started getting into it! It was really awesome!

And now it's time to go to bed. I have a long day tomorrow, what with birthday singing for Lizzie and all...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ernest Slam Dunk

This got low ratings, but I disagree. I found it to be amusing, although very predictable, and extremely unrealistic. but then again, it's Ernest. What do you expect?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ocean's Twelve

This was fun! All of the robberies are quite fascinating, not that I ever would or could do any of that. The stylized crime is very cool, though. :)

In a certain sense, I enjoyed this movie more than Ocean's Eleven. There wasn't as much flair, considering the first one was in a casino, but the ending of this one was just as fulfilling. All throughout the movie, I was wondering if they really were just that out of it...

Demolition Man

Sylvester Stallone stars in a film as the good guy against Wesley Snipes. It's a fun "beat 'em up" movie. Very weird. I put it on so that I could feel more masculine after Titanic, but when the movie opened, I found myself tearing it apart for realism. A bad thing, because I pride myself on the ability to watch a movie just for its entertainment value. I'm becoming too analytical...

But it was a really cool movie. :-D

Titanic

Very interesting movie. I have to admit, it grabbed me. I'm not a huge fan of chick flicks, but this one was well worth seeing once.

You're probably asking, "Why would he even bother?" Simply put, because it was only one of the biggest blockbusters ever, winner of two Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and since I'm behind in watching movies anyway, why not?

I cannot recommend it for mixed company, simply because there are two scenes of nudity, whether implied or not. One is when the Rose (Kate Winslet) asks Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) to draw her, and the other is when they ... uh, well, if you can't figure it out, good for you.

One thing that I really liked about the movie is the fact that it's based on a true story. Yes, it's an artist's conception of one, but that makes a movie so much more likeable, in my opinion. Overall, I'll rate it as a very good movie, and probably one of the best chick flicks out there.

It's up to you if you want to watch it. Like I said before, I can't recommend it for mixed audiences, but if you're going for completeness in your movie library (actual or seen), it can't be complete without it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Top Gun

This is a fun, fun, fun movie. I love planes and flying! I can see how this would make becoming a pilot that much more attractive... :)

Tom Cruise isn't my favorite, nor was the movie my favorite, but it's a must see. Quite seriously. There is one sex scene, and it also makes no real sense to the movie. Some people could argue that it does make sense, but I think it's pointless.

The weekend, the proposal, the story, and the March For Life

On Friday evening, Ashley flew into Dulles on a surprise visit for Alex. I drove her out to Paul H.'s house in DC, where Alex was practicing a song for the Coffee House for Life that Paul and his housemates were hosting. He was surprised to see Ashley.

On Saturday, I woke up and went to the gym. After this, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning. The apartment now looks pretty good.

I drove to Front Royal and delivered Josh's mail to him. After that, I went to Christendom, where Lizzie and I chatted for a while. Then I went to St. Kevin's, and chilled with Matt and TJ for a while. The three of us went to the store and then back to St. Kevin's. Matt and I hung out for a while, and TJ went to the welcome back dance. After that, I fell asleep on the couch.

I woke up the next morning to Francis's saying that choir practice was beginning right then. I changed quickly, and drove us to campus. The bass section was rather small, sadly, but Francis and I helped boost it up. Mass was as normal, and then I showed a few of the guys the music for Billy Joel's The Longest Time. The Palestrina Choir met and looked at/learned a new piece rather quickly. It was an Alleluia, but I can't recall by whom...

It was snowing outside. Lizzie, Emma, Emma's mother, and Sarah F. (Emma's sister), as well as a family friend were in town, and they were going to go into Washington, D.C.: Lizzie for an interview, and the rest for fun. But the weather was so bad that they turned around.

After choir practice, I drove back to the apartment. On the way back, I saw four or five overturned cars, five to ten cars that had slid off the road, a broken guardrail that looked like a car had broken it and slid down the embankment, a few wrecks, and several trucks driving around with their snowplows up. Driving wasn't difficult, but it was slow. It took almost two hours to get back to the apartment.

Ashley and Alex came back from the store. I was busy doing the dishes, and I had my headphones on. I was completely oblivious to the fact that Ashley was wearing Alex's engagement ring. She did everything except shove it in my face to get me to notice, but I was in a different world, doing my own thing. Finally, when I was done with the dishes, and I was just standing there talking to them, they threw me one final hint, and then, laughing at my density, they just flat out told me that they were engaged. I wasn't sure what to make of it. I stood there stunned.

One thing that I try to do is too keep an eye on a girl's finger, especially when I know that she and her boyfriend are getting along well. I knew that Alex was going to propose to Ashley quite soon. I knew he had a plan. He even told me when this plan was going to go into effect. This is why I didn't look, nay, didn't even think to look at Ashley's finger. This also explains my complete surprise.

The story is quite good. I don't know if I should tell it or not. It's not my story to tell to the world. Oh, what the heck...

I shoudl forewarn you that I heard this story from Ashley, Alex, and Paul. I may be getting some details mixed up. If any of the three afore-mentioned people read this, or if anyone reads this who was there, please provide comments and correct any mistakes I will probably make.

At the Coffee House for Life, Alex sang One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer by George Thorogood & The Destroyers. It's a fun song, and he'd been practicing for a couple weeks, making sure that he knew all the words. He'd even gone to Paul's house twice in this past week to practice with the band. So, on Saturday, he was ready to go. Everyone else was performing some sort of life-affirming song. At the end of his song, people asked him what his song had to do with life. Alex began some sort of hammed up explanation of how alcohol in itself affirms life, and how it's a natural good, and all that. At the end of this, he said, "But I can't stick with that, because that's just wierd. The only way that I can make this song life-affirming is if I ask Ashley to marry me."

The house had about 40 people in it, all chit-chatting and socializing, and several listening to the song. After Alex said that, the entire place went quiet, shocked that he had actually just said that, all thinking, "He can't be serious. Is he serious? Really?" This includes Ashley. She had been watching the performance, and was listening to the hammed speech, and then she just froze. Alex pulled the ring from his pocket, dropped down to one knee, and formally asked her to be his bride. Shaking and crying, she went up to the front of the room, unsure what to do. She managed to squeak out a "yes" from her shocked state of mind. She held out her right hand, still shocked, still uncertain about what to do, and still crying and shaking. Alex took her left hand, and placed the ring on her finger.

I'm sure that excitement flows freely through the veins of a newly-engaged girl. After the shock wore off, Ashley and Alex became the most popular couple in the house. Congratulations came from all directions, and when they finally got a break, Ashley went outside and called the important people. While she was outside talking, the guests all wanted to hear the story of how Alex met Ashley. Someone who knew the story, asked him, "Alex, have you ever punched out a girl's tooth?"

"Well, actually..."

It requires little-to-no prompting to get Alex to relate this very unique story. Oddly enough, he had. It was Ashley. And now they were getting married.

This happened our freshman year at Christendom. Ashley, Alex, and I were all classmates. The story, in short, is that there was a small confrontation that went kind of along the lines of this -- paraphrased, of course:

Ashley: "I like kids."
Alex: "I hate kids."
Ashley: "I know Taekwondo."
Alex: "I don't."
Ashley: "I can beat you up. See? I'll kick as high as your head."

What follows next all happened within seconds, and there are differing versions of the story. Ashley proceeded to kick as high as his head. Alex naturally deflected the blow, possibly uncertain as to whether or not she actually would kick him in the head, or possibly just to show her that she did not have the upper hand after all. After the deflect, he punched out with his fist, stopping it in time so that he wouldn't hit her, but close enough to prove that he did, in fact, have the upper hand. Ashley landed forward, bringing her face into contact with his fist. I know, I know, it sounds like a story a five-year-old would say, but I saw it.

An instant later, Ashley was cradling her face, and Alex was apologetically asking her to please open her mouth so that he could see the damage. He saw that he had punched her tooth out and we rushed her out to the hospital. Jimbo, who had been hanging out and studying with us, came as well.

Imagine, if you will, Alex and me. I'm 6'2" -- Alex is taller and broader. We're college men, and it's winter outside. It's cool to wear black trench coats, because they keep us warm. Jimbo is smaller than either of us. Alex and I lead the way into the hospital, with Jimbo and poor bleeding Ashley right behind us. The hospital staff takes one look at three men escorting a bleeding woman into the hospital. It takes them no time at all to assume that we did it, and they removed Ashley from our presence for her protection.

The police walk in shortly afterwards, scouting the place out. They look directly at Alex and me, just sitting there, looking at them. In walks a man bound in chains and in prison attire. They make him sit down across from us, and they remain near him.

In the meantime, Alex calls up the basement of Ben's, shortly before curfew. He tells them the abbreviated story of what happened, and why he will be late for curfew. We also called Ashley's dorm.

That evening, we had invited some people over. Sarah H. and Carissa were the only two to come, though. We chatted for a while, Ashley showed off her ring, told the proposal story,

I wasn't able to make it to the March for Life in DC today -- I had too much to do at work. I did, however, manage to get into DC to meet up with Lizzie, Emma, Laurel, Emily, M.C., Michael P, Francis, Paul E., and several others. Emma's mother and the family friend had also gone to the March.

Alex and I drove in to Union Station. He met up with Ashley, and I met up with Lizzie. She just had an interview from a priest for a job in St. John (right?), MO. I told her the story of Alex's proposal to Ashley, and just as I was finishing, Emma came up. Shortly after that, the rest of the group came up, and we went outside to sing a few minutes later.

Outside, we sang in front of a line of people waiting for taxis. It was loads of fun, especially seeing a few people holding up cell phones to either take pictures or let the person on the other end of the phone hear us. It was very flattering. A few people gave us a few dollars in the hat that we left on the ground. In the middle of our third song, a security guard asked us to move. Sure thing.

We moved, and began singing again. We didn't have that many donaters of monies this time, but the listeners were more around our age, and they seemed to really like us a lot more. One man came up to us and asked if we could sing Amazing Grace. We did. Ah, 'twas fun.

We decided to go back inside. Emily stopped and talked a different security guard about the rules. He said that it was perfectly fine to sing outside, and that he would take care of the misunderstanding. After we started singing, the first security guard came running up to us, yelling that we had disobeyed him, and that singing was against the law. It was all I could do to stop myself from physically dragging him away and making him show me this law. It was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. "Singing is against the law." Really? I think not. I think that he was just on a power-trip...

In any case, we were done anyway, so we went inside. The money went to ordering a pizza, but I was getting kind of tired, so I drove back to the apartment. And now, I'm about to fire up Top Gun. I haven't seen it yet, and it's been recommended to me very highly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My video hard drive!

Noooo! It went the way of the dinosaurs...

This makes the fifth (if not sixth) hard drive I've lost since freshman year at college.

(BLATANT HINT)

Oh, I would love a Terastation! (For all of you people who didn't get me anything for Christmas, that's what I want. And you know who you are.)

(END HINT)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Colin & Sarah's wedding and the rest of the weekend

This has the potential to be a massive post, just so you know. I'll try to keep it entertaining...

Colin and Sarah got married this weekend. I drove to Front Royal straight from work, getting stuck in traffic as I was leaving Manassas, of course. I made it to the church to catch the last few minutes of the rehearsal. From there, I drove to St. John's in town and joined everyone for the rehearsal dinner.

The food was prepared mostly by Mrs. M. (Colin's mother), but she did have some help. At this point, I would normally go on a rampage about how wonderful the food was and how much of it I ate, and how when I was done I was happy, and how I need to get her to teach me how to cook, because I'd be a world-class chef, and all of that. However, in the interest of time, let's not and say I did. Why not? Words can't do it justice. In short, the food was excellent, and thank you to Mrs. M. and Helpers for making my tummy happy.

After the rehearsal dinner, we had a choir practice. Lizzie was conducting the wedding choir, which consisted of her, Emma, Sylvia, Anna, Draper, Paul E. and me. Francis ended up joining us as well, but he had already made a commitment to work as a waiter at the reception, so he could only sing through about half of the wedding.

On the day of the wedding, we had choir practice, and the wedding then began at 1:00 PM. Not quite on the dot, but within 15 minutes. Colin wanted to hear Dr. P.'s self-composed Mass in Honor of St. Anthony, or, commonly known as Missa Smitha, considering the mad cool bass line. Emma soloed the Ave Maria while Lizzie played it on the organ. It was very beautiful, if I may say without making either of them blush. And if either of them is blushing, well, I'm sorry for causing the blush, but I have to stand by my statement.

From my end, the reception was a bit stressful. I got there and found that the system did not like my laptop. I didn't know why, but it didn't. It was particularly frustrating, as I'm sure you can imagine. Whenever I plugged my system into their receiver, it would buzz. This was most certainly not the intended effect. However, there was a gentleman there who helped me get it all fixed. We discovered the problem was the microphone. While the microphone was turned on, the sound would not work properly. This would be a problem, and was going to be annoying, but at least I knew what the problem was and how to deal with it.

I began playing general music: soft Celtic, Irish, a couple ballads, just something to keep the sound going. When the bridal party came, Ryan loaned me his laptop, and I began the task of switching machines, going from my slower computer to his faster one. The bridal party's official entrance came about 15 minutes later. Most of the bridal party entered to Battle Without Honor Or Humanity, by Tomoyasu Hotei, from the Kill Bill: Volume 1 soundtrack. Colin and Sarah entered to Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti, on the Original Rocky Soundtrack.

During dinner, I played a lot of classical (Mozart and Chopin), as well as a couple other random pieces, two of which were from video games. One was an orchestrated version of the Super Mario themes, and the other was a Final Fantasy mix.

Come What May, sung by Ewan MacGregor & Nicole Kidman, from Moulin Rouge was the first dance of the bride and groom. It was very fitting. Your Song, sung by Ewan MacGregor from the same movie, was Sarah's dance with her father. Colin danced to Swinging on a Star by Bing Crosby with his mother.

The rest dances consisted of a lot of swing, some ballroom, and a lot of otherwise freestyle dances. The wedding ended on a remarkable note, with Switchfoot's This Is Your Life. During this dance, Colin and Sarah were surrounded by all the guys carrying the lights from the tables. They started to walk in time to the music, counter-clockwise around them. All the girls joined hands outside of them and walked around them in the opposite direction of the guys. It looked both odd and really cool at the same time.

The pictures from the wedding are also up. Check them out on Snapfish.

After the reception, Lizzie, Emma, Laurel, Krystle, Claire, Sylvia, M.C., Mike P., Draper and I went to a local Exxon station to grab some ice cream. I was, for some oddball reason, rather tired. I didn't get any ice cream because I was afraid that it would put me on a very short-lived sugar high, and then drop me lower than I was then. In any case, just sitting down and relaxing was enough. I drove Draper to his house, and then I drove back to Herndon.

On Sunday, I went to Old St. Mary's for the Solemn High Tridentine Latin Mass in the evening, and sang with the schola out there. Thus began a new-yet-same-old week for me.

Colin and Sarah, on the other hand, began a whole new life with each other. Congrats to them both, and I expect to still see them on at least a semi-regular basis? Hopefully they won't become hermits?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Chill weekend

On Saturday, Eric and I drove up to NY to donate his old Explorer, "Big Blue", to a monastery of Franciscan monks. We left at about 11 AM, and arrived back in VA at almost 10 PM.

I went to Holy Transfiguration on Sunday, and then to Colin's house to discuss music with him and Sarah for their wedding reception. I stayed and had dinner with them, and then went back to the apartment. Aside from that, it was a nice, slow weekend.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's weekend

On New Year's Eve, I went to Ken's house with Alex and Chris L. (who was visiting, staying in our apartment) in the evening for a party. Rachel and Peter were both in town visiting. Eric, MikeE, Carissa, and Sarah also came out to celebrate. We set up a laptop to watch the ball drop in NYC.

Around 1:00 AM, a group of us chanted the Veni Creator Spiritus, in order to gain the indulgence associated with singing it in a group.

At 10:00 AM, I sang at Mass at Old St. John's in Maryland with the Canticum Novum Schola, under Richard Rice. After that, I went back to Front Royal and spent some time there for Ken's birthday, and then sang with John E. in the chapel. After that, it was late, so I went back to the apartment...