Monthly Archives: December 2007


I was reading this article about Tim Burton’s film version of Sweeney Todd, with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter when I was struck by this line:

Bonham Carter has happily ruled out acting projects for the near future (though she’ll return briefly as quirky prof Bellatrix Lestrange in next year’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”).

First, of course, is that everybody in those movies returns “briefly,” or not at all. Snape had like 2 minutes in HP5, Hagrid a little less, and McGonnagal had about 15 seconds.

But second and more to the point: “quirky?” Huh?


How about “demented,” or maybe “psychotic,” or “criminally insane?”

To call Bellatrix Lestrange “quirky” shows how the news media is incapable of calling a spade a spade. Good grief.

The Gym

I joined a gym a couple of months ago. As a result, I’ve become very buff, but I don’t want to talk about that now. Instead, I want to make a few observations.

First: It takes all kinds. One guy I see there occasionally is simply amazingly fat; he’ll have the treadmill on the lowest setting and be taking a nice, leisurely stroll. Another guy is incredibly pumped-up; I mostly see him giving advice to his acolytes or doing something impossible with free weights.

Probably 3/4 of the customers are men. The women don’t appear to occupy quite as wide a span of the in- to out-of-shape dimension, and they aren’t as likely to have tattoos as the men. (A clear majority of the men have a few tattoos, but a handful of biker/lifer types are basically covered with them.)

Second: XM Radio has a whole channel devoted to Led Zeppelin. And they play it at the gym. Incessantly. To my regret. When I see people grimacing as they work out, I don’t know if they’re straining their muscles, or if they’ve just had enough of Robert Plant’s singing. Also, the other day they played Kashmir, and it drove me crazy trying to remember what it was called. Was it Marrakech? No, that’s Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Katmandu? No, that’s that horrible thing by Bob Seeger. Singapore? Casablanca? Muscat and Oman? Finally I figured it out, but it took like 2 days. The thing with Led-Zep is they had like three or four songs I don’t hate, and only one I like: Fool in the Rain. (Okay, Hot Dog makes two.)

Third: The gym’s staff is very patriotic. They even have a poster-sized photograph of the governor on the wall.

Moved Office

I spent the day (with two helpers) swapping offices at church with the secretary. (Boy, will she be surprised! 🙂 Everything is done now except … well, actually a whole bunch of things.

But the main thing still to be done is reorganizing the shelves.

No. That’s not true. Realistically, the main thing is getting my phone to work. The FAX line (which is also the DSL line) works fine, but something went wrong when we moved handsets and now only one phone will work. For the time being, the secretary’s is “it”.

But ignore all that. Who phones the pastor, anyway? And more to the point, I don’t know how to fix phones. Rearranging bookshelves is more my speed. And now I have room to get things off the floor and onto shelves.

Anyway, here’s my new office:

New Office

Now compare that with the old office:

Old Office


Years and years ago, I saw a fraction of the Nutcracker on TV. Nobody else wanted to watch it, so I had to use the black and white TV in my parents’ bedroom. I don’t remember much about it, except that it was sponsored by somebody who wanted to show how classy they were by not interrupting the performance with ads. (They used to do that, sometimes, back in the day.) Now, of course, I’ve heard the music a million times since then. But that was my sum-total experience of the ballet itself. Until today.

Today we went to see the Inland Pacific Ballet performance of the Nutcracker. (I should say, portions of the Nutcracker. It was some kind of teach-the-kiddies something cultural day. I went as a chaperone, I guess. We got only the tiniest fraction of Act I (10 minutes?) and a great swath of Act II (about an hour?).)

My evaluation: very colorful. Despite tutoring on the subject of ballet by one or more members of my household, I’m still pretty ignorant about all those grand batmans and nest-ce-pas‘s they do. But clearly they meant well. On the other hand, if I had a dream like Clara and there were 100 people leaping around like there were in the finale, I’d call that a nightmare. I understand that Peter Ilyich said it was worse than even Sleeping Beauty, so I will defer to him on that score.

Oddly, upon returning home, I have discovered that my CD of Tchaikovsky’s Greatest Hits seems to be missing. (Why I never ripped it into iTunes I don’t know. Possibly it was missing back when I was ripping everything?)

New Show

I’ve been casting around for some new (old) series Television to watch when I exercise, now that I’m all done with Buffy. (There’s Angel, I suppose.) Anyway, I tried StarGate and Babylon 5 and they both were, uh, not things I wish to pursue. Battlestar Galactica was only slightly better.

Then I decided to try Star Trek: Enterprise.

ST:E Credits

It’s not half bad. It’s certainly better than the Star Trek: TNG and its sequels (but that’s not saying much). (When I lived in New Jersey, I actually met someone who not only thought TNG was better than TOS, but he wrote a book arguing that proposition. Is this a great country, or what?)