Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #5 - 11/30/06

Thirteen Things about Michael

Unique Things About Members of My Familiy

1. My father served in the Army and achieved the rank of Major before retiring.

2. My mother who was PTA President and supermom in the 1970's went on to be a Founder with USA Today, opening the Atlanta market as the original Circulation Director in 1982.

3. My Aunt Elaine (Mom's older sister) is a nationally recognized corporate attorney. Both she and mom started out as teachers.

4. My Great-Uncle George still owns and runs a horse farm in SE Pennsylvania where he breeds and trains harness-racing horses.

5. My Great-Grandfather Costantino Giannaris was recognized by the King of Greece for his work in supporting other immigrants in the USA.

6. My younger brother Tim was a high school rowing team member and continued rowing for the Men's Crew Club at the University of Central Florida.

7. My older brother Peter graduated high school when he was 16 years old. He began his college that summer at Georgia Tech and did not turn 17 until late that July.

8. My brother-in-law Wes (Amy's little brother) is an internationally known DJ touring as Diplo. His girlfriend (M.I.A.) is a club singer from Sri Lanka.

9. My Cousin Hope Allen was Miss Teen Georgia in the late 1980's. She has worked as a model and actress in NY and LA and has appeared on NBC's Friends and got to slap Jim Carrey in the playground scene in Liar Liar.

10. My Uncle Philip produces and performs music in the Indianapolis area. He also writes and is a Shotakan karate Sensei.

11. My wife Amy is a pediatric nurse and has worked for one of the nation's most prestigious non-profit children's hospitals for the past five years.

12. My Paternal grandmother, my mother, and I all attended the same elementary school in Coatesville, PA. It was demolished the summer after my third grade year, which was the last year we lived in Coatesville.

13. I worked as a freelance photographer while in college and shot many bands in Orlando in the early 2000's including work published by or for Deborah "Debbie" Gibson, Vonray, Deroot, and The David Rankin Band.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Makes Ya Wonder

Ever stop to think about what other people around you are doing in their cars as you drive down the road jamming to your favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas CD?

This afternoon I got out of work early. We had too many people scheduled and my Amy was off from work so it was a good thing. On the way home I stopped at a local gas station to redeem a winning lotto ticket and play the winnings on other scratchoffs. While I was there, chatting with the clerk, a woman came in to buy some beer and cogarettes. It was roughly 12:45 so I guess this was lunch.

I had dropped a coin and the beer lady was nice enough to pick it up and said something as she handed it back. I don't remember what she said because I was overwhelmed by the alcohol on her breath. She was buying two 24oz Budweisers and had taken two styrofoam cups from the soda fountain. Apparently the plan was to transfer the beer to the cup so it would not be obvious what she was drinking.

What makes it better is while being rung up, the clerk answered the phone and was trying to talk and ring the beer at the same time and the customer lady said she needed to hurry up because SHE HAD TO GET BACK TO WORK!

So she is driving after drinking by noon. She's buying more beer to drink surreptitiously, and she's heading back to work some more today!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fun Sunday

I woke up this morning at about 8 and found Amy was not home yet. I then remembered she was going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

She arrived a short while later and together we set about final preperation for our guests. You see, we were going to be visited by her sister Kelly, Kelly's husband Monte, and their three kids, our niece Janie, and our nephews Seth and Owen.

Part of my responsibility was getting the Christmas tree set up so they could help decorate it which we did after a lunch of hama and cheese sandwiches. Kelly and Monte were both very complimentary of the changes we have made to the house in the past year, painting rooms, installing hardwood downstairs, installing bookcases around the fireplace, some new furniture. We are definitely making the house our own now.

After the kids left Amy and I set in to watch some movies we got from Netflix, including Click which we both liked but found a bit different from our expectations. Amy recognized the cameo by Rob Schneider as Prince Habibu. Then we watched Disney's The Wild which we saw on our cruise back in May.

We went out to an unimpressive dinner at Buffalo Wild Wing Cafe and returned to start another movie from our collection of "Christmas" movies. As Amy made it my choice it was The Family Man with Nick Cage and Tea Leoni. I made the statement that Jeremy Piven is one of the most under-appreciated actors today, and though he will never carry the lead in a major film, I'm glad he was recognized with the Emmy for The Entourage this year.

And the quote of the day, from the Koala in The Wild. "I can't imagine starting a day and NOT licking myself"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

It's an All 80's Christmas Charlie Brown!

Band Aid

U2 - It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Hall & Oates - Jingle Bell Rock

Run DMC- Christmas In Hollis

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This one's for my Wife!

She sings the chorus so much, I had to post this in Amy's honor. Just don't go into sacherine sweetness or cheese overdose while watching it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

About Last Night

No pun intended, but the title of this post is the same as the title of a movie and that is what it's all about.

At 5pm yesterday, Amy and I braved the rush hour traffic to venture to Kennesaw Town Center Mall where, upon arriveing in the food court, we met the collective conscience of Valfrey.

We hung out for about an hour talking about all sorts of things including the fashion sense (or lack thereof) of our other mall-goers as we people-watched.

Deciding we were hungry (though Valfrey had a moderatley late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory), we coordinated our vehicles and the newlyweds follwed me and Amy to our favorite neighborhood family-owned Italian restaurant, Bergamo. There Jeff and I enjoyed the calamari and Jeff got jealous that Amy and I had bigger and better salads (we had ordered our house salad made Greek for the extra $1.95).

Amy enjoyed her manicotti, and I my veal parm, and both Jeff and Val partook of the lasagne. After dinner we ajourned to the Christopher house for an evening of socializing and game playing. Val spotted our wedding album in the living room and seemed envious of the style and layout. If I remember correctly our photographer put it together for us. We got Jeff some sudafed so he could tolerate a few hours in the house with 4 cats and a dog and we moved to the family room to try a new game.

I bought Amy the DVD game Scene It for Christmas and we'd not had the ocassion to open it until last night. I deceided we'd play every man or woman for his or her self and we began. The game involves answering trivia questions about movies or identifying them based on word questions and video clips. Early on I was lambasted for having a large lead, but things tightened up and in the end Jeff won the night (but not the war). it is a fun game and refill/extra editions include one on Disney movies.

It was very enjoyable to have a some friends, a couple, come over and spend some time. We are making progress at becoming normal!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Friday Flashback - Bad Girls

Here are Two from the 80's (Idol was 1990) featuring girls you might not take home to meet your momma

Billy Idol - Cradle of Love

Loverboy - Notorious

Night Ranger ~ Sister Christian *80s RETRO*

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #4 - 11/16/06

Thirteen Things about Michael

Michael’s Thirteen Favorite Traditional Animated (non-Pixar/CG) Movies

1. The Last Unicorn – thank you HBO fir playing this one so much. I can always watch it

2. The Secret of NIMH – based on the great kid’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – it was the first Don Bluth animated I was aware of his name being attached to.

3. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – Probably Disney’s greatest modern work, and it translated very well to the stage.

4. Disney’s The Little Mermaid – The one that brought Disney animation back into the limelight.

5. Disney’s The Aristocats – among the early works, this was a family favorite. We even had a cat named Tolouise.

6. Anastasia – FOX scored well with this one. I loved the cast of voices and the songs.

7. South Park : Bigger, Longer, and Uncut – they can’t all be family-oriented.

8. Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame – A lot of people considered this one to be a grown-up’s Disney film. As a fan of Les Miserables, I liked Disney’s take on Hugo.

9. Disney’s Tarzan – The Phil Collins soundtrack helped this one a lot, and Mimmie Driver did good voiceover work.

10. Disney’s The Lion King – I saw this one at a matinee and went back the next day to see it again. 

11. The Hobbit – saw this one in school and though the animation is not great, the story enraptured me.

12. Race For Your Life Charlie Brown – A kid’s take on Deliverance? Orientation? We’re not going to China!

13. Snoopy Come Home – Bittersweet, how can you not love the Peanuts gang?

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Awesome Christmas Music

Amy and I bought this CD this week. I listened to it first and thought it was pretty cool. Then today (Sunday) we were driving home form the mall and track 13 came on. I hadn't paid much attention to this original song the first time through, but I caught the lyrics and started to cry today.

Top News of the Day

To all of Jeff and Valerie's Memphis friends... admittedly, neither record is good, but tis better to be 3 and 7 tnan 1 and 9. Go Knights!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bat Out of Hell

What peculiar things you find on YouTube.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Friday Flashback

Creating something new from something old. Starting today I will post a classic music video from my favorite decade, the 1980's. Enjoy and comment at will.

Aha - The Sun Always Shines on TV

The second single from the album that brought us "Take On Me," this video picks up where TOM left off, and was a pretty catchy tune.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Save the World, Sterilize this man

For the most part, I don't care about celebrity news, espoecially in this day and age of manufactured celebrities. This said, I could care less how much or little Lindsay Lohan, Paris H1lton, Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff, eat, don't eat, date, don't date, get chased by paparazzi, wreck cars, get DUI's, make bad sex tapes, etc. There are greater degrees of this with ones like Duff and Lohan who are celebs because Disney says so, or HIlton and Richie who are celebs because of DNA links, and DNA is where I am going with this. We must save the world.

The White Trash Pop Princess (Britney Spears) has filed from her divorce from her wanna-be-rapper (Kevin "K-Fed" Federline), apparently CAN dance, sperminator of a husband. Here's a young lady who married a guy who had fathered two other children with another girl (who was still pregnant with the second kid when Spears. Spears is dumb, but not, she allowed herself to be photgraphed for all the best mom-of-the-year competitions recently by walking into an outdoor-access gas station restroom BAREFOOT, EWW! She has been seen driving with a child in her lap rather than a car seat, and driving with the wrong type or misinstalled car seat. I will support her having SOME intelligence (or her handlers) because she is reported to have an iron-clad pre-nup.

Mr. Federline has recently taken to making appearances on professional wrestling shows in order to promote his dismally selling rap CD (WWE fans are NOT the type to buy such crap). As one report says, Kevin became enraged when Mrs. F laughed at a tape of his wrestling appearance and he became violent with the furniture.

I don't know that either member of this couple has anything to contribute to society as far as the gene pool is considered. She has nice looks, but that's about it. Kevin is only good at impregnating women, so let's call a cease and desist on that one. All in favor of forced chemical sterilization?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blah, blah, blah

Saturday - College Football

My UCF Golden Knights are far from golden with a 2 and 7 record. What happened to that team of last year that ended the then longest current losing streak in Div I-A college football and went on to a conference division championship, hosted the championship game, and played an awesome bowl game on Christmas Eve in Hawaii? Primarily the defense has let us down and we have switched starting quarterbacks. Though predicted to win the conference division again, it will not happen, nor will we make a bowl game. Let us simply hope that a new year opening our on-campus stadium will bring better things in 2007.

Georgia lost to Kentucky and have at minimum 2 more loses coming (Auburn and Geaorgia Tech) and may not make a bowl, at least not one that is played AFTER Dec. 25th. I picked Georgia to go 8-4 this year, looks a lot more like 6-6 and they sure tried hard to lose to Miss. State too.

Georgia Tech won a great one that saw the only threat from defense and special teams as the minority of NC State's points were scored on offensive team play. Special Teams and Defense contributed for two touchdowns.

Now I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3 (11/2/2006)

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen Favorite Music Videos from the 1980's, when MTV SHOWED music videos!

1. The J. Geils Band - "Centerfold" - Okay, I was a teenage guy and there were lots of girls in negliges and sweaters and stuff.

2. Men at Work - "Down Under" - Probably the most famous video by these Aussies, I once heard that the scene at the end with the guys dressed alike carrying the box was an omage to a slavery issue in Australia's past. Never could figure out Greg Hamm's teddy bear on the rope though.

3. Hall & Oates - "Family Man" - Darryl and John never really broke past the performance video to do concept videos in the 80's, but Family Man had this cool animation running across the screen while they were shown being beat on by lots of little kids.

4. Michael Jackson - "Thriller" - Okay, despite the fact he has proven to be nuttier than a goo-goo cluster, it was and is still a landmark music video. John Landis directed.

5. The Hooters - "And we Danced" - the first hit single for this Philadelphia-based band. The drive-in theater that the video was shot at is now a strip mall, but in the 70's my family would go there, in Exton, PA.

6. Huey Lewis & the News - "If this is It" - these guys always had fun with their videos and this was no difference with the whole beach thing while Huey obsessed over the chick in the white one-piece and the guys were buried up to their heads in the sand.

7. Paul McCartney - "Pipes of Peace" - This video did not get a great deal of play, it was from the same album that had "No More Lonely Nights." The video was set in WW I, and depicted a Christmas Day armistace that lead to the English and German troops coming out of the trenchs to play soccer, exchange well-wishes, drinks, and smokes, eventually disrupted by artillery and McCartney returning to his trench with a German's girlfriend's picture instead of his own.

8. BandAid - "Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed the world)" - Still my favorite contemporary Christmas song. I love watching the video and seeing all the singers so young. There's a longer version that either shows and/or reads a letter about the production night.

9. Duran Duran - "New Moon on Monday" - The lyrics are kind of hard to make out at times, but I always liked the video depicting a resistance movement to an oppressive government and there are a lot of fireworks at the end.

10. Glen Frey - "Sexy Girl" - It wasn't a big hit, the second or third song from his solo album "The Allnighter," but it had a really pretty girl that moved into his neighborhood and got every guy's attention.

11. ZZ Top - "Sleeping Bag" - from the album "Afterburner" - it continued the rebellious neature of the guys and their keys to the magic car that changed lives in all their 80's videos.

12. Twisted Sister - "We're not gonna take it" - Glam Metal and the reappearance of Actor Mark Metcalf spoofing his role of Niedermeyer from Animal House as a drill-sergeant father.

13. U2 - "Where the Streets Have No Name" - In an omage to the Beatles rooftop performance, the boys in U2 staged and filmed a performance on a roof in LA that drew so many fans the police came and shut them down.

There are many other great ones, but these were the first 13 I thought of. Other suggestions are encouraged in the comment section.

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Game On!

Trivia is back in swing! Tonight (without Peter who was downtown watching the Thrashers get thumped by the Hurricanes) Amy and I went to Winston's to play Head Games Trivia at 8pm. Winston's is a neighborhood pub kinda place where Pete's longtime friend, the psychotic Matt D is the bartender. (Did you hear the one about the termite? He walks into a pub and says, "Hey, where's the bar tender?")

We played very well, with Amy and I each contributing good answers. We were in 4th most of the time, but moved up to a tie for 2nd going into the final bonus. We tied for second after correctly identifying Subway as the fast food company with the most franchises in the USA (over 17000, more than 2000 more than McDonald's) but we lost the closest to the pin style tie-breaker as to how much domestic revenue Titanic made. We said 433mil, it was over 600. BUT we came in third winning $15 house cash and because the first place team had won last time, we qualified as one of the top two teams and get to come back to the invitation only Dec. 6th monthly tournament of champions!