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Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

This is a new movie featuring the father/son combo of Will and Jaden Smith as a father and son in the early 80's. This story is about their struggle together to survive and get somewhere in the world when it seems like the everything has turned against them, even the world itself. It's a good movie. I'd recommend it to viewers who like Will Smith and who like a good story. It's got a very heavy feel for most of the movie. For the bulk of it, I felt very badly for Will Smith, because even his wife had no faith in him and walked out on him. The only person who stayed with him was his son, and even that relationship needed to be worked at.

It's a great movie in particular, because it demonstrates that all relationships need work, love and trust to last. It also shows the inherent weakness of just walking away from problems instead of trying to fix them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend

This was a great weekend. I slept in on Saturday until about 11:00 AM, worked on my blog, watched Desperado, and called Emma later on in the day. I wrapped up the day watching Returners, and went to bed about midnight.

On Sunday, Eric P. and I went to Old St. Mary's for the Tridentine High Mass at 9:00 AM, and then went to breakfast at Amphora's. After that, I changed into my regular clothes and took it easy all day.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Returner

This is a weird movie, and it's all in Japanese with subtitles. It's not a bad movie, it's just weird. About half-way through, I began to enjoy it. Until then, though, it was a very hard movie to make myself continue watching. The action sequences are beautifully done, the bad guy is so over-the-top that you just want to hate him, and the girl is ... well, really girly. Like 16-year-old really girly. Not a great combination with a bad guy who portrays the basest of men, and a good guy that you can only tell is the good guy because he's opposed to the bad guy. Anyway, so yeah. It finished up wonderfully. I predicted a good chuck of it, but the ending I did not predict. It finished strong, but began horribly...

Desperado

This was the second in the El Mariachi Trilogy, and a great movie. I recommend it as it is a fun movie, but it is not exactly a family movie...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Kiss Me Kate

This is a really fun movie! I very much recommend it for any fan of classic musical! My absolute favorite characters in the movie are the mobsters. They are hilarious!!

"Brush up your Shakespeare!
Start quoting him now!
Brush up your Shakespeare
and the women you will wow!"

...And speaking of this song, I found lyrics and chords for it here. I think that this is the original stage version, because the two middle verses aren't in the movie...

Although I love the costumes in the play, I'm so glad that they are not standard fare anymore.

I'm also really impressed by the dancing in the classic musicals. The pure talent and the hours of practicing -- wow...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Graduation Weekend

This was a bittersweet weekend, as graduation always is. I made plans to get down there early on Friday, circa 1:00 PM, but it didn't work out that way. I didn't manage to leave the office until 3:00 PM. Fortunately, it actually did work out, because Sylvia called me to ask for directions, and since I was still in the office at the time she called, I was able to pull up Google Maps and give her directions.

Anyway, so yeah, traffic was fun. I got to sit in "rush" hour traffic for about two hours. I made it to Christendom with only a few minutes to spare. The Mass was very nicely done, with several priests concelebrating. It was kind of odd seeing Emma, Lizzie, Laurel, Angela, Katherine, Emily, and Michael (I'm missing someone, aren't I?) all in graduation gowns. The reality of the situation came to smack me in the head. Soon, I would not see half of these people for a very long time, if not ever again...

That evening, I went to Sarah's apartment at Guardian Angel with Eric P., Draper, John E., Breanna, Chrissie, JD, Sarah (obviously), Freddo, Kyle, AJ (and I know I'm missing people in this list), and we all had dinner (thank you, Sarah!) and a general good time.

The next day, I saw many people (among whom I would classify several as my best friends) walk across the stage, receive their diplomas, and essentially cross over into a new life. They were no longer students. There was no more fun times to be had after Sunday brunch, singing, or beating out strange rhythms on tables (much to the chagrin of those surrounding us), or anything with these people. Some would indeed be around during the summer, but seeing them again as alumni is entirely different then seeing them as fellow students, even though we were only students together for two years.

After the graduation ceremony on Saturday, Emma F. and Claire O. held a music recital for their families. They both sang a few pieces that meant a lot to them and their families. It was a very nice thought -- very moving.

The next day, after Mass, there was a tearful goodbye with Lizzie, and then she was gone shortly after that. I went to brunch with Emma, her family, John E., and Breanna. That was a very interesting time. It was fun, but I had never met a few of the people present, so I was quiet -- well, quiet in comparison to how I usually am.

After this, I helped Emma pack up her stuff and load up her family's suburban. i was reluctant to let her go also the same day as my other close friends, so since we were both going to Ken's house for a bonfire, we rode together. After leaving Ken's place, I said goodbye and dropped her off at Blessed Margaret's. I then went to St. Theresa's and hung out at their bonfire for about fifteen minutes, chatted lightly, sang a couple songs, and then drove back to the apartment.

There is something to be said about juniors and freshmen. When I was a junior and I saw this class come in, I wanted to be there for them since they were the newest underdogs, and I wasn't worried about establishing myself in the heirarchy. I got to know this class very well, and I will miss them.

One of my thoughts on graduation is something that Deacon David B. (shares the same last name as my good friend Lizzie) from Holy Transfiguration recently told me. He actually told me this in the context of Pascha, and how good things must end. Many years ago, he and his family were visiting a friend's house, as friends are often found doing. When it was time to leave, his wife told his children to get ready to go. His children asked, "Why do we have to go? Can't we stay here forever?" Mrs. B. replied, "But if we don't leave, we can never come back." The children responded well to this, and prepared to leave.

My thought on the matter is that graduation is a very joyful time, and yet a very hard time for everyone. It involves parting ways with your best friends -- in some cases, forever. But, Deacon David's story plays its part now: "If we don't leave, we can never come back." In the original context, he meant that unless you stop celebrating, you can never again celebrate. Unless there is a parting of ways between friends, there can never be the joy of reunion. With that in mind, I will definitely be offering up my prayers for the class of 2007, that they may quickly find comfort in their graduation and new lives, and that both the good and the bad times that they had together in Christendom will prepare them for an incredible joy upon their eventual reunion. May God bless each and every one of them, and may Our Lady hold them each individually as her favorite son or daughter.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Tuxedo

Jackie Chan's movie is a lot of fun, like most of his movies are. I actually really like it, but I know there are others that would disagree with me. I recommend watching it for yourself and making your own opinion.

Weird Al Yankovic, Live in concert!!!

 

Eric told me about this some time ago, and I had completely forgotten, but hey, I wouldn't miss Weird Al in concert if ... I dunno. I just wouldn't intentionally miss him in concert.

This concert was loads of fun. It was at the Rams Head Tavern in Baltimore. For the record, the acoustics there are absolutely horrible. I've been to a few concerts, but none of them have ever been this bad. When you can't understand a word that Weird Al is saying but you know the song because you've heard it so much, it's OK, but you still want to hear the song. And you couldn't, because the acoustics were simply atrocious. Now that my rant is over, I'll tell you why the concert was so much fun.

Weird Al Yankovic. What isn't fun about that? He parodies everything, and when he's not parodying something he's making fun of people, ideas or trends. It's awesome!

He opened with a few songs from his new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, beginning first with Polkarama!, and then going into You're Pitiful, Close But No Cigar, and I'll Sue Ya. He did more from his new album, but I can't recall what they were off the top of my head. He left the stage and came back on in his music video costumes for several of his music videos, such as the aforementioned You're Pitiful, It's All About The Pentiums, Fat, Couch Potato, White & Nerdy, Smells Like Nirvana and Amish Paradise. He did two long medleys of some of his older songs, mixing them with some of his new ones, including Headline News (which was redone for the concert, making fun of Britney Spears' recent episodes of life), Pretty Fly For A Rabbi, A Complicated Song, Eat It, Trapped In The Drive-Thru, Confessions Part III, and Ebay -- among others. He also sang White & Nerdy, Canadian Idiot, Weasel Stomping Day, Do I Creep You Out, and Wanna B Ur Lovr. Between sessions, there were short breaks where he showed his Weird Al TV interviews (which is basically him "interviewing" stars, and by "interviewing", I mean replacing the interviewer's questions with his own, and placing their answers after his random questions to make them look funny -- an instant classic one is him with Jessica Simpson, or him with Eminem, but he also reworked a number of others), and a few other videos that he modified. He also showed the opening of the music video to Fat before coming out to perform it in his fat suit. Meanwhile, the audience was going nuts, and singing along with everything and dancing appropriately to whatever song was being played. I was singing so loud and so much that I practically shouted my voice out, so towards the end of the concert, I quieted down to help save my voice.

He wrapped up the concert to thunderous applause, and he came back out and did a song about cell phones (which was awesome), and finished with Albuquerque. Yes, Pat S., I completely sang my voice out for you on that one, buddy!

Anyway, so at the end of the concert, I had no voice left. I was extremely hoarse, but it was so worth it. Today, I have my voice back -- kind of. It's not all the way there. My speaking range is there, but don't ask me to sing. That's gone. I'll be giving that a rest for the next couple of days. Hopefully, it'll be better by Friday for my voice lesson.
 

Monday, May 07, 2007

A rather long weekend -- kind of...

This weekend wasn't really all that long, it just felt it...

On Saturday, morning, I woke up bright and early to help one of Sarah H's sisters and her family unload a moving van. I got to Front Royal around 10:00 AM, just in time for some big stuff. Anyway, I worked with them until about noon, and then I went to Front Royal. I was scheduled to meet up with Dan D. to give him a haircut, but I didn't see him at brunch.

Alexandria C. was in town, so we went to breakfast in town and got caught up on life. I'm sure that there was more that could have been said, considering that it had been about two years since we'd seen each other, but a lot of stuff happens in two years, and it's hard to remember it all... :)

After that, I went back to Dan's room to see if he was there. Since he wasn't, I decided to go to Manassas. MikeE had invited me to go see Spider-Man 3 for Carissa's birthday. Originally, I didn't think that I could be there on time, but considering that I was done with everything early, I called them and let them know that I was on the way. However, they were in the theater, and the movie was about to start in 15 minutes, so I was going to miss it anyway. Since I missed part 1 of this 2-part get-together, I made tentative plans to meet up with them after the movie for dinner. I also made tentative plans to meet up with Emma in the evening. She had a Student Activities Council dinner to attend, so it probably wouldn't be until much later.

I went back to the apartment and worked for a little while. I had some classic cartoons going on in the background, mostly Popeye. At about 5:00 PM, I called MikeE back to see what the dinner plans were, but they were canceled. With this new change of plans, I went to Vespers at Holy Transfiguration, since I hadn't been there in a few weeks.

After Vespers, I came back to the apartment and watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Emma called me to let me know that she was on her way back from the dinner, but since I was still at the apartment, and it was nearing 10:30 PM, we decided to get together on Sunday.

Anyway, so on Sunday morning, bright and early, I drove to Front Royal, rather unlike what I had wanted to do (I was going to go there the day before so that I wouldn't have to make the drive in the morning). But I made it there. Emma's cold was getting better, and she sang with the choir at the Mass at Christendom.

Today was a big day for the Christendom College Choir because they were scheduled to sing at St. John's in town as well for the Tridentine Latin Mass at 12:30 PM. A couple choir members couldn't make it because of the cold that was going around, several choir members couldn't make it because of studying or other stuff that came up, so we had smaller numbers, but I think we did all right. After that, we went to Dean's Steak House in Front Royal for the choir dinner. Emma and I arm-wrestled. It's embarrassing to say that I won, because it's not cool for a guy to beat a girl in things of the sort, but it would still be embarrassing had I lost. In short, I'm a bad person... :-P

After the choir dinner, we all went back to campus, and I chatted with Emma, Lizzie, Laurel, M.C., Paul, and several other people for a little while. Emma said that she had some pictures for me, so before I left, I drove her back to her dorm and she showed me the pictures, and I got to pick a few. My favorite one is the last one on this post. Oh, and if you want to see bigger versions of the pictures, just click on them.

I went to Christine's house for a party that she was throwing for Josh and Leslie, to celebrate Josh's new beard and their new Corgi puppy, Sweat Pea. I'm fairly certain that she is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi -- I'm just guessing of course, because her tail was docked. All I know is that she was a Corgi and she was cute as a button, and she knew it...

So, after Christine's party, I went back to Christendom and met up with Emma again. We chatted for a little while -- I think until 12:30? I'm not sure, but Emma had a final in about 8 hours, and I was being rude keeping her, so I said my farewells and drove back to the apartment. And now, it's time for a very long and busy week at work...
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

This is the first time that I've seen this movie all the way through. The first time I saw it, I fell asleep in the beginning, and woke up about 75% of the way through it.

This is a really excellent film. I love the music and the action in it! It's violent, and perhaps a bit over-the-top in a couple places for some people, but I think it is well worth watching. :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Casino Royale

The latest in the Bond films has left me stunned. It was an excellent film. At first, I didn't think that I would enjoy it too much, mostly because the actor had changed, but when I saw the first chase of the movie (perhaps 10 minutes into it), I realized that I would enjoy it thoroughly.

As is standard for James Bond movies, there are some things which would scandalize the more innocent people of the world, but James Bond is well-known for seduction. Overall, though, this movie is, I think, the cleanest one yet.

It's also one of the sweetest ones. The action scenes in here are simply amazing. All the people involved put a lot of work into making the movie well, and I'd say that they succeeded quite nicely. It was a great film!