Saturday, September 30, 2006

Netflix and Grey's Anatomy

Reverse that, because I'm going to blog about Grey's Anatomy first. I missed it Thursday, so I had to download the torrent (which took forever). I could have paid $1.99 on iTunes, but I've been feeling thrifty. I finally watched the show in bed this morning.

So... wow. First, I can't believe they are letting Izzey back in the surgical program. That is so unrealistic. For Heaven's sakes she practically killed a man. I like the character and all, but really. Second, Alex slept with a patient. OMG. And he seemed so amused by it. Third, Meredith is dating a surgeon AND a veterinarian? How is she so lucky? How is that even possible? Lastly, what happened to the dog???

Netflix this afternoon was Til There Was You with Sarah Jessica Parker, Dylan McDermott, and Jeanne Triplehorn. I'd try to explain the story, but it was kind of twisted... very much a romantic comedy about fate and destiny with a lot of pieces intertwining and looping. To be honest, some parts were completely cheesy... but there were some sweet scenes which saved it from being mediocre. Definite chick flick. Three stars.

'Bags In Trees' Wins An Award!

BIT staffers rejoice! Bags In trees has won the "Homer Simpson Transmundanity Award" from blogger Matthew Caverhill. Matthew has honored Bags In Trees with this award "for being one of the freakiest (in a funny way) things I've seen or read during a 7 day period." Click HERE to read his kind words.

I'm sure Brian will post some form of appreciation on the BIT website (Geisha already posted something HERE), but I just couldn't help myself. :)

Power Plant Live

The Wes McDonough Band (AKA "Westminster Anaconda") played at Power Plant Live on Friday. I've included a few nice band shots below.

Also, my girl, Angie and I have been recording videos of the band and uploading them to Google Video. Click HERE to look at everything available, or search Google Video for "Wes McDonough."

Full Band

Wes McDonough

Drew Yount


Good news! My parents' house is sold! This is huge feat for them because the Ohio housing market is not very hot these days. They put a lot of work into our house over the years, from hardwood and ceramic floors, to renovated rooms and a new gorgeous deck... and it paid off. Some homes in their neighborhood have been on the market for a year or more, and theirs was off the market in just a few months.

It was certainly sad being home last week, knowing that those days and nights would be my last in that house. That house has been my "home" for 22 years, and it became even more of a beacon after I moved to Baltimore on my own. It was rough to say goodbye. I definitely teared up pulling out of the driveway for the last time.

I am so happy for my parents because they are moving into their dream home — a beautiful house on the West (and classier) side of town with a view and access to the Metroparks. They will be happy there, and closer to my sister's family and my grandpa. Those are the most important things.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad! :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wes and Drew Videos

Here is the long awaited Dave Matthews medley by Wes and Drew performed on Tuesday. The quality is relatively mediocre because Claddagh was so loud. This is 210 MB and over 11 minutes long. Enjoy!

Blessed Be The Happy Meal

Thank you, CJ, for your gift of french fries, burger, soda and Ariel toy. My stomach liked the food, but Antonio especially liked playing with Ariel.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I Heart Lill Bags

For those of you that have known me for any considerable length of time, you know how much I love Lill bags. For those of you that don't know about Lill, it's a handbag company (HQ in Chicago) that manufactures and sells custom bags.

The cool part about Lill bags is that the company designs the type or shape of bag, and the customer chooses all of the fabric. (I am currently carrying a 'Katie' style bag.) Their fabric choices change every few weeks as they run out of a fabric or get new designs in stock, so your personally designed bag may very well be one of a kind.

So why am I posting? Although you've always been able to design a bag and order it online, 1154 Lill (their real name) has just improved their site. Choosing fabrics by looking only at swatches is no more. You can see the fabric on your bag as you design it. It is the coolest thing. Go try it out!

Note: A gift certificate to 1154 Lill would be an ideal Christmas gift for someone, let's say... like me. Take note.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Foreign Foods Update

I tried that turkey sausage in pasta sauce over thin spaghetti today (not over regular spaghetti because I happen to think it's too thick)... and it was okay. I was not as disappointed as I thought I would be. It's totally edible. I still miss the meaty, greasiness of authentic Italian sausage... but at least in a pasta sauce, I can handle this substitution for awhile.

On a side note... would you consider Triscuits:
a) Good for you?
b) Bad for you?
c) Nutritionally blah?

I've always loved Triscuits, especially with cheese, but lately I've been fighting a Triscuit addiction. I eat them all day long. I have a box at home and at work. I realize they are a better snack, than say, FRITOS, but do you think I could lose weight on an all Triscuit diet? Just curious.

Wes and Drew Videos

Here are a few videos of Wes and Drew from last night. It was really crowded and loud at Claddagh so the audio/video quality isn't as good as I would have liked, but I'll take what I can get.

The first is a short clip of Wes and Drew performing 'Hands Open' by Snow Patrol.

The second is the full version of 'Fallen,' an original song by Wes.

Lastly, here is a full version of 'Corner of the Room,' another Wes original.

My Apologies on the Delayed Post

I'm sorry that I didn't post anything from last night sooner. Being the responsible person that I am, I went to bed as soon as I got home... so there was no time to post.

I am ashamed to say that I came away from last night with only two good pictures. We spent a lot of my 1 GB card (and all of my battery life) recording videos of Wes and Drew. I'm not exactly sure what we'll do with the videos though, because they are FAR too large to post to any free video hosting site like YouTube or Goodle Video. The largest one is a whopping 210 MB, but I'd wager to bet that it's the video of the Dave Matthews medley, which was very much worth recording. I'll look through them later tonight and see if there is anything that I can share.

Here's an adorable photo of Jess and I - I love this girl!

Here is one of the BEST photos ever taken of CJ, although I had to censor it due to the graphic nature of her cleavage. :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Foreign Foods

In my quest to live healthier, I purchased "hot Italian" turkey sausage rather than regular sausage. Fewer grams of fat. Fewer calories. But I cooked it and I miss the greasy deliciousness of the sausage cooking in the pan. Now my apartment has this "foreign foods" smell; and not 'foreign' in a good way, but 'foreign' in a "I can eat that?" kind of way.

I am going out for dinner tonight, so I haven't tasted the turkey sausage yet. But if it tastes anything like it smells, I think I am going to be very disappointed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pain In The Neck

I don't know what I did to myself Saturday night, but I woke up Sunday with this odd neck pain. I think I must have reversed all of the work the chiropractor did. It's like a shooting pain at the base of my skull, but not a sharp pain, more like a pinched nerve. I've used ibprophen, heat and massage, but it comes and goes every few minutes or hours. I can't figure out what movement makes it hurt, so I don't know what I am supposed to do about it. I guess I'll just OD on pain relievers for a few days, unless there's a good-looking man out there that wants to give me a neck rub. No? Damn. Fine.

In related news, my doorbell rung while I was writing this entry. The Democrats visited my house and explained to me how I can vote by absentee. How convenient is that? I'm all over it! I told her, "We're gonna WIN!" I think I made her day. I heart Democrats...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Back in Baltimore

I'm back in B-more now after spending the weekend in Ohio with my family. I'm not feeling especially witty tonight, so I'll leave you with some family photos.

Me and my sweet grandpa... isn't he adorable?

Calista-monkey, Zavier-monkey, Aunt Rissa & Jude posing with Big Boy!

Jude the "dude"

Jude and his Aunt Rissa... isn't he killer cute?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Holly & Scott's Wedding

What a beautiful wedding. I haven't seen two people so in love in a long, long time. Watching Holly and Scott reminds me of what some of us are still looking for... that kind of love, trust, and comfort that is so rare to find in another person. They are sinfully adorable and so utterly comfortable with each other. I told her I was jealous. :)

One of the highlights of my night was dancing the jitterbug with Bob S. Apparently we stole the show, but I was too busy trying to keep up with him that I barely noticed the dance floor cleared. Mom and I also performed a great rendition of Dancing Queen, but I have to admit that I have some previous experience karaoke-ing that song, so it wasn't much of a challenge.

Here are a few quick photos from tonight's festivities...

My Mom and I

My Dad and I

My Dad and I dancing ("He's got one squiggy eye...")

Scott and Holly

J is for Jessie

I had breakfast (oh so early) with Jessie this morning. For those that don't know, Jessie is my ex-coworker/ex-roommate when I lived in Ohio. There were four girls, including myself, in one house... and I still keep in touch with two of the girls — Jessie and Lindsey.

Jessie is now happily married and a whopping 5 1/2 months pregnant. Aaaaaah! Can you believe it? Guess what? WITH TWINS! Aaaaaaah! Amazing, right? Ready again? With twin BOYS! Aaaaaah! (We are all very excited. :)

Anyway, we had yummy breakfast at Bob Evans and chatted for a long time, until she had to run off and pick up her sister. So fun. I miss you, Jess. I can hardly believe that the next time I see you, you will have two tiny babies.

Friday, September 22, 2006

And Another Pretty Flower

This is another flower in my series of random pretty flowers. The first is here. The second is here. My mom says this is a "Chicory Flower."

I like having a blog... because I enjoy calling the random things I do "series." So far, I have the Photo Schmoto series, the Pretty Flower series, and my Pet Peeve series. This is so fun.

C is for Chiropractor

I went to my chiropractor early this morning. For those of you that think chiropractors are quacks, turn away now because I love my chiropractor. I have been going to him for almost twenty years — my entire family goes to this guy. I will defend my chiropractor until the end of time because he can fix things no one else can fix.

(For the record, he doesn't do traction or any of that weird stuff. He does what is called 'diversified adjustment,' which is just realigning the bones manually. No electric shocks, no machines. Just me, the special chiropractor table, and him.)

Since he's in Ohio, I see him very rarely, so he always cracks as much of me as he can because he knows I may not be back for a long time. This morning he said I was pretty bad. Apparently sitting on one leg at my desk isn't so good for my back, nor is holding the phone between my cheek and shoulder, nor are about ten other things that I do regularly.

This was by far the best/worst visit ever. Best - because he realigned my spine, from my waist up into my neck. I was so far out of line I'm surprised I could walk straight. Worst - because about twenty minutes after he was done, my body went into complete shock and I couldn't stay awake. I slept most of the day away. My eyelids were so heavy. Even now my back and neck muscles are sore. I hope that my body adjusts to the manipulation by tomorrow. Shock + wedding + wine = not so good.

Later in the afternoon my mom and I went shopping, then we met the whole family for dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse (a family pasta place in downtown Akron). My niece and nephews are so cute , and they are growing up so fast. Calista (7) has lost one of her two front teeth, Zavier (5) is fascinated by everything, and Jude (2) is a smart little booger that flirts with his Aunt Rissa (that's me). Here's a photo of Calista and I. Photos of the boys to come on Sunday when I see them at breakfast. There's no sleeping in for me this weekend.

Flashback Fridays

I recently came across these photos of my sister and I as small children. From the studio backdrop, it appears that these were probably taken in the autumn, which made this an appropriate flashback since I am home in Ohio this weekend in September. It's very cool here, maybe in the 60s for highs... and although I slept well last night (I like it cool, but with blankets), being outside reminds me of the chilly school days growing up here.

In these photos, Melanie and I are likely 6 and 3 years old, respectively. Look at the bruises on my knees! What a brute!

Grey's Anatomy & Survivor: Cook Islands

I am a happy girl. Grey's Anatomy is back. First, am I the only one that thinks that everyone looks different? I realize that it's been a few months, but the actor's haircuts are different, especially Bailey's. It was just odd to me.

Anyway, I forgot how much I loved this show. It never occurred to me that they wouldn't show Meredith choosing, but instead showed her running out of the hospital. I have no idea what she should do... it's the ongoing struggle of being a woman — do you choose the better man? Or the one you love more? They are so rarely the same person when there is a choice to be made. Most of us have made the wrong decision before (sometimes more than once), so it's difficult to watch Meredith go through it. McDreamy is so hot and likely has a good soul, but even a hot guy with a good soul can be an asshole. Poor girl. We feel you.

What else? I am liking Callie more and more. She's become more likeable in the last few episodes and she seems good for George. I think we all want what's good for George. Finn is still hot; Poor, poor Izzy; and what-the-heck-is-Addison-gonna-do-I-can't-believe-she-posted-Meredith's-panties-to-the-board?

Can't wait until next week.

Survivor this week was disappointing for me. The whole episode centered around the Hispanic tribe throwing a challenge to get Billy kicked off at tribal council. Stupid. They succeeded, of course, but it was a boring episode. Oh, and someone found the immunity idol. Oh, and cute white boy is crabby because he's too lazy to work. Oh, and.... wait, nevermind. That's all there is to say. It wasn't worth my time, and I almost never say that about reality TV, unless I am talking about Flavor of Love...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blogging From Ohio

I reached Ohio safe and sound, although the drive seemed so very long today. (The) one thing that I like about driving for 5 to 6 hours is that it gives me time to make phone calls. I'm terrible about returning phone calls sometimes, because I'm not a phone person at all. But during a long drive like today's drive, I can catch up with people that I've been meaning to reconnect with. I needed that anyway... the last few weeks have been rough.

That all said, I will blog later once I watch Grey's Anatomy and Survivor (my parents have TVO), but I leave you with a few photos from my drive.

Driving off into the sunset...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Mom, Can I Come?"

In the morning, I'm headed back home to my hometown for an extended weekend. I'll be visiting with friends as well as attending the wedding of a childhood friend.

Antonio, the dog, always comes along on my trips home — but Elliott, the cat, doesn't travel so well. Most cats don't travel very well. So unfortunately for us all, he'll be alone for 3-4 days. I've made sure that he'll have plenty of food and water, and my landlord may check in on him to make sure he's not going buggy.

I spent a lot of time packing up tonight, and while I was packing, Elliott decided to test out his stowaway skills. He's 12 hours early, but this just might work if he has good timing in the morning.

Poor L'elly...

The Spork Is Back!

Hat tip to Jill for locating this Breaking News article.

"A Spork With an Added Edge"
The New York Times reports that Swedish inventor, Joachim Nordwall, has redesigned the beloved American spork into a "two-headed utensil" with spoon, fork and knife components. This baby has been around since August 2005, but I've still never seen it in a cafeteria or carry out joint. At $3 a pop, maybe it's too expensive to be disposable, but this sure would be a nice item to have at home... I'd keep it right next to my Pampered Chef citrus peeler. Oh, how I love kitchen gadgets!

Tuesday Nights Out

Once again, a bunch of us met at Claddaugh in Canton to see Wes and Drew. Good show, all in all. Rumor has it that Drew has a few originals that he sings lead, so he has promised to practice them for next week. Can't wait!

A few dorky photos from our evening on the square:
CJ and Charissa's "serious pose"
Charissa's party hat (Thanks, Keith!)
CJ and Charissa's "fun pose!"

And a pic of the band:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back at The Barn

Okay, okay... here are the photos you've been waiting for. I know I'm a day late here, but for heaven's sakes — I had to get to bed last night!

Another Sunday night at The Barn with the Wes McDonough Band! CJ, Angie and I met up a bit early to make sure we got a good table. I'm going to just assume that the table ours, since we've sat there a few weeks in a row now.

I was pretty impressed last night. The band sounded quite good. Wes said they recorded the entire show, so I'll be getting myself a copy. I need to have 'Untitled' on CD. That song kills me.

Also, Frank was there, which was awesome because I hadn't seen him in ages. Frank is a drummer who played with Wes back in the day. I barely recognized him, but he looks great!

A few fabulous photos below:
Angie after her first shot ever! (I know, I didn't believe her either.)
Cheers! (Frank, Angie & CJ)
Boys will be boys... you all are so strange.
Just us girls! (Angie, Charissa & CJ - SMILE!)
Charissa and Frank

One final bonus...
a (very) short clip of Wes' 'Untitled' song. It's so gorgeous.

Note: I tried hosting this through YouTube, but the audio and video were out of sync. Google Video's visual quality isn't as good as YouTube, but the audio is at least synced properly.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I Need Help

I stayed up too late last night and got semi-hooked on "Flavor of Love," what is possibly the worst reality TV show in history. If you aren't familiar with this show, it's a "Bachelor" type format but with Flavor Flav, the rapper from Public Enemy.

Oh God, it's awful. And what's even more awful is that I'm watching it. Flavor Flav is gross and must be high on something 24/7, but the girls are worse. I mean, I know he's disgusting (thor hat, clock around his neck, hair, teeth... I could go on and on), but he's a millionaire. Couldn't he get better-looking/sounding/acting women to be on his reality show?

I need help. I admit it. Save me from myself.

Netflix and Modelos

I have two new movie reviews for you all today. Watching Netflix and drinking my Modelo Especials is awesome.

First I watched Poseidon, a story about a tidal wave capsizing a cruise ship. I thought the movie had too little character development in the beginning. When the disaster occurred, I didn't really care about any one individual over another. The plot progressed too quickly for me in the first 30 minutes. Most likely this was done because they needed ample time for the more adventurous parts of the story. The action scenes were great, but my fear of drowning had me taking deep breaths throughout. At the end of the day, I definitely enjoyed the action the best, but the poor character development caused me to rate this movie at only three stars.

Next I watched The Wild, a Disney animated movie about a zoo lion cub that accidentally gets shipped to Africa. This results in his father and a group of other animals from the zoo heading out on a rescue mission to save him. I remembered seeing trailers on TV for this movie, but I don't think it received much press. I have to admit that my primary reason for watching this was that Eddie Izzard — my favorite comedian of all time — performed the voices for two of the characters. He did a lot of ad lib throughout the movie, which cracked me up! For Eddie's performances, I rated this movie four stars. I just might have to buy this one.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday Night @ JD's

Last night I met Heather RB and her crew at JD's. That place is so odd sometimes. They play great music until about midnight, then it's all hip-hop. Ugh. I had a lot of fun and a safe cab ride the whole half mile home (thanks to Heather and Mike).

Here's a photo of Sam, Heather and I.

And as an added bonus, here's a photo from my drive home yesterday. It rained a heavy, torrential rain all day, and when it stopped the sky was filled with fast-moving, fluffy clouds. I wish I could have taken a better photo, but I took this one from my car while sitting at a traffic light — not the most ideal conditions.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Flashback Fridays

Today is the third and final submission in my grade school photo series. (Click here to view the first and second photos.)

I'm pretty easy to spot in this photo for two reasons. First, I am officially the shortest person in class by my second grade year (see my feet?); and second, if you are an avid reader of my blog, you had to figure the glasses would show up eventually. Yes, I am the happy, smiling child in the front row on the far right.

From what I recall, I loved my second grade year, although I remember taking off my glasses and putting them in my desk often because I didn't want to wear them all of the time. I believe my grades were good, but I recall getting into trouble for talking on more than one occasion, and Miss Fickes was STRICT!

The second grade also marked the first year I had a boyfriend. (Who knew a girl in glasses could be so attractive?) His name was/is Tom, and in this photo he is sitting on the opposite end on of the first row. I don't really remember much about him, except that his friends tried to get him to kiss me, and that his sister's name was Reagan, which I thought was cool at the time.

I wish I remembered the names of both the little girl sitting next to me as well as the little girl sitting next to Tom. I think we were pretty good friends in this school year. I was also secretly in love with Scotty, my next door neighbor, who is in the second row, third from the left.

Oh, the drama! My, my how times have changed...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pre- Survivor: Cook Islands

So I've been thinking about the new Survivor, and I wanted to throw my thoughts out into the blog world before the show starts.

For those that don't watch TV... the newest Survivor series, Survivor: Cook Islands, begins by grouping the contestants by race: African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic. The show's producers have lost a lot of advertising dollars because of their new format, as well as dealt with the backlash from minority groups that are calling for the show's cancellation. In addition, the rumor is that white supremacist groups are buzzing about the show's ability to prove some sick point of view that they have. All in all, it's a bloody mess.

It's got to be no surprise that when I heard about this, I thought this was the dumbest idea from Survivor yet. Sure, they based last year's show (I think) on age, with a group each of young men, young women, older men and older women, but I thought this season went too far. I really figured this was for ratings and an awfully risky move on behalf of CBS.

But my mind might be changing...
See, the way I see it is that we all have characteristics that make us readily identifiable in a crowd. For instance, I'm a short, white, brown-haired woman. To me, all of those characteristics are equal. Short? CHECK. White? CHECK. Brown hair? CHECK. Yep that's me. Maybe other folks don't see it that way, but if I'm pointing out a girl in a crowd because I like her shirt, I'm going to say she's black, if she's black. I don't mean harm, but it's an easily describable characteristic of her person.

Based on those opinions, I considered Survivor: Cook Islands. Granted, it's daring, it's risky... but if it was okay to divide people by age... they why not height? Or hair color? Or race? Granted, people are rarely persecuted for their height or hair color, but aren't we just enabling the continuance of discrimination by saying that we can't divide people in this way? I'm not saying segregation, which is defined by separating people by races "in daily life when both are doing equal tasks" like Wikipedia defines it. This isn't real life. And I imagine the contestants are permitted to leave if they decide that they don't want to be a part of this. Let's see if they do.

Do I care if blonde-haired people beat me in a swimming competition? Or if men cook BBQ better than I do? No. So why would I care if a group on a TV show of a different race kick another group's butts in a rope climbing contest?

The fact is that I don't care. I'm not going to root for the white team because I'm white. I'm not going to expect any group to do better than any other, unless they surprise me and include a group of blind people (no offense meant, only that being blind on a deserted island would put one at a disadvantage).

So go on... comment and let me know what you think. I just don't see what the big deal is, except that it's a big deal just because it is. You know what? We should all decide — based on a stereotype you think you might secretly have — which group is the least likely to win... and root for them.

I fully expect to be surprised this season.

'I'm Lovin' It'

I love McDonalds. I really do, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I worked at a local McD's restaurant during high school, and I will still (happily) eat it today.

Favorite meal: Big Mac meal with (unflavored) iced tea, unless I am driving. Big Macs are near impossible to eat in the car, so if I am on the road, I'll order a Quarter Pound Cheeseburger meal (hold the onions!) instead.

That said, McDonalds has given us all another reason to love them — "McDonald's throws weight behind obesity research."

The food chain is donating $2 million to scientific researchers studying childhood obesity prevention. Awesome. No one ever said that McDonalds (or any other fast food chain) is particularly healthy for you, but for goodness sake's you aren't supposed to eat fast food every day.

My name is Charissa Costa, and I love McDonalds.

Update: It looks like McDonald's wants to thank me for my positive endorsement. Right back at ya, Ronald!

(Thanks Johnny D for the link!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Big Brother 7 All-Stars Update: Finale

And then there was one.

I lost Fantasy Big Brother last night and owe Richie $50. It was close, but as soon as Erika opened her mouth on last night's show, I knew I was going to lose. It killed me that she was so poorly prepared for the Q&A from the jury. She even lied a few times, and that gave Mike the opportunity to make faces at her statements and influence the jury even more. She would've had a better chance if she said, "Yes I floated, but it got me to the final two. What's important is that I played an ethical game, and didn't lie and cheat my way through this game. I proved that this game can be won without sacrificing my own morals." Something like that would have helped her quite a bit.

My single enjoyment was Boogie finally being called out publicly for what he did to Erika. After the clips were played, you could tell that her mood had noticeably changed. He's such a jerk.

So congratulations, Mike Boogie, and congratulations, Richie.

Stay tuned for BB8 coming next summer...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wiener Dog Tees

Since I have a dachshund, I have a small collection of wiener dog t-shirts. They're not exactly the kind of shirts I'd wear out on the town, but I often wear them when I take Antonio for a walk or to the park. So today I came home, changed into jeans, flips, and a wiener dog t-shirt, and hit the streets of Highlandtown on the lookout for more bags in trees.

You know what? I really should have thought about my wardrobe a little more. Do you know why? No? You sure?

It's voting day.

Yep... low and behold, I ran into a group of voters (of all ages) standing outside of a local voting site. After 'oooohing' and 'aaaahing' over my adorable dog, they looked up at my t-shirt. And they laughed. Sort of. There, in the midst of children, fathers, and grandparents, I stood there wearing this shirt. Shoot me now.

(For the record, no one tried...)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday Night, Movie Night

Tonight I watched Far From Heaven... and my God it was awful. Awful, awful, awful.

You'd think with a cast including Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert, this would be decent. The dialogue was embarrassingly simple, and the acting was rehearsed and exaggerated. Even the soundtrack was overly dramatic and poorly timed with the action in the story. It felt more like a parody than a film to be taken seriously.

Somehow Far From Heaven received GOOD reviews; I just don't understand it. Netflix - 3.5 stars. IMBD - 7.5 stars. Endless critics gave it many thumbs up. I rated this movie with one star only, because I "Hated It."

Did I miss something?

Thoughts on September 11th

I'm not ready. All day it came up: it was all over the news, the internet, and all week there will be handfuls of specials — but personally, I'm just not ready to go there.

It's not that I'm living in denial. I very much know what happened. It's not that I'd prefer not to talk about it, because every so often I try. It's just that it's still very fresh. I know that I am lucky. I didn't know anyone who died at the World Trade Centers, at the Pentagon, or in Somerset, PA... but that day five years ago scared me like I have never been scared before and like I haven't been scared since.

Last night I watched "9/11" on CBS. I didn't mean to, but it came on and I couldn't change the channel. The special consisted mainly of footage from two documentary filmmakers that happened to be in lower Manhattan that morning. Footage from right before the attack. Footage of the planes. Footage of the trade center lobbies. Of people. Of dust. Of debris. Footage of fires burning. Of people jumping. I knew I wasn't ready to watch it again, but I couldn't change the channel. And I cried. It's been five years, but it's still so hard.

I'm sure I could spend some time here talking about my views on terrorism and politics, and what we should've done or should be doing going forward... but there's no point. There are hundreds of thousands of opinions being broadcast or printed daily, and today that's not what I'm feeling.

Today isn't about all that. It's about how our lives were forever changed — forever changed in a way that I'd rather not admit. It's about the lasting impression this will have on me, my soul, and our generation. It's about innocent people that were caught completely off guard and had no chance to survive. It's their day. And as unavoidable as the footage and the images of that day are... I know that I am still unprepared to watch them, and that I will be for a long time, even if I see them anyway. I know it happened, and I still cry for the horror of that day. I'm not running from it. It's not possible. But I'm just not ready. And I don't know when I will be.

The Band at The Barn

One live shot from the Wes McDonough Band at 'The Barn' tonight. I think this photo turned out well, considering I was balancing it on my beer bottle.

I hope to include a video later this week (but I really need to get into bed right now....)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Netflix and Closing a Chapter

Well, so to speak. I have finally finished my book, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. Very good. I am hesitant to say much about it because now it's on Snay's reading list, but to summarize, it's a sci-fi type novel about a colony on the moon that fights for it's freedom from the Earth colonies. It may sound a bit cheesy, but it's some good writing. Give it a shot if you like science fiction or revolutionary themes.

I also watched Hidalgo, and I was surprised that I really liked it. The original trailer was a bit "cowboy hero" for me, but the movie had just the right mix of character development and live action. Extra bonuses too, for it being based on a true story. I gave it four stars only because I couldn't give it 3 and a half. I prefer to round up... both when giving tips and when rating movies.

Is everyone staying in tonight? I feel like having a few drinks, but everyone's holed up at home.... ANYONE?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Birthdays by Jasons

Yesterday was this Jason's birthday...

And tonight is this Jason's birthday celebration.

I'm still recovering from last night... so I have opted out of the White Marsh pub crawl tonight, but Happy Birthday to you both!

Fun at Mex

Wow. What a fun time. Mex at the Power Plant is a pretty cool bar. There are very nice acoustics in this place so Wes and Drew sounded great. We had a blast. We rode the bull, danced to Madonna, and listened to Wes and Drew play some tunes.

PS Thanks Jill for the love. I heart you.
PSS Thanks Rob for the stellar white knight performance.
PSSS Thanks Wes for the conversation and great itunes.

Jill and Marci

Charissa on the Bull

Friday, September 08, 2006

Flashback Fridays

As promised last week, here is my first grade class photo. Yes — I am the miserable looking child in the front row, all the way on the right. If my mom reads this, she can confirm, but I think I was really sick in the days before this photo was taken.

Mrs. Atchison was also a very strict teacher. I got into trouble for talking all of the time, and when I did, she'd slap a yard stick on my desk. It scared the living daylights out of me.

So I'm either sick or scared in this photo. Ah, school days...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big Brother 7 All-Stars Update: Final Two

Geez. Now I am worried. Boogie won HOH and of course took Erika with him to the final two. Erika is not the better player of the two... that's for sure, so my concern is that the jury doesn't see him for the sleaze he's been and considers his lying "strategic."

Erika's behavior over the last few days hasn't been that of a woman scorned either, so I'm not sure if she realizes the extent of Boogie's deceit. If she goes into the final show with an "Oh, I don't know... Mike and I may still end up together" mindset, then she may not get the sympathy she needs from the jury to win. If she seems okay, they might weigh their opinions of Boogie and give him the win.

This is looking bad for me. For heaven's sakes, Boogie called her a "ho-mance." I hope the jury hears that. He's disgusting. I miss Janelle.

Take the Killer Quiz!

This is a pretty cool quiz that Rob sent to me. Try to separate the Programmers from the Serial Killers... check it out here.

I scored 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Big Brother 7 All-Stars Update: Final Three

And then there were three...

What a great BB7 on Tuesday. My girls finally started talking and stuck it back to Chill Town.

First, Janelle wins POV, so she removes herself from the nomination block. This forces Boogie to replace her with Will. Erika — in an unprecedented display of gameplay — tries to save herself. That's my girl! FINALLY! And luckily, Janelle listens. Together the girls realize that they are both being played (although it's unclear if Erika knows the full extent), and they pair up to eliminate the boys. Eviction day comes along and Janelle (who is the only one who can vote) evicts Will.

Will's elimination leaves Boogie, Erika and Janelle in the final three. As usual to end the game, there is a three part HOH competition... with the winning HOH choosing the person that they'll take with them to the final two. By a few strange strokes of luck, Erika wins the first part quickly, leaving Boogie and Janelle to fight it out in part two. That will be Thursday.

So here's where we are. Considering the players alone, I have a 2 in 3 chance of winning Fantasy Big Brother. Our current stats are as follows:

Charissa's Team
Janelle & Erika
Voted out: Kaysar, Howie, Danielle

Richie's Team
Mike Boogie
Voted out: Diane, Marcellas, James, George, Will

These are the possible scenarios as I believe them to be:
Janelle & Erika - Janelle wins
Janelle & Boogie - Janelle wins
Erika & Boogie - Erika wins (if the jury sees what he did to Erika)

I can't wait until Thursday.... :)

Reader's Survey:
Which of the following reality TV shows will you be watching this fall (if any): Dancing with the Stars 3, Survivor Cook Islands, The Biggest Loser 3 or 'Other'?

Tuesdays At Claddagh

Fun, fun, fun once again. You all should come down to Canton next Tuesday and check out Wes and Drew. I'll try to get "Futuristic" played... one of my favorites these days. Even Donny made an appearance, as did the droolies... it was a great time!

I need to hit the sack, but before I do - here's a photo of Wes, CJ, and me!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Rain, Rain... Go Away..."

'If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."'

-The Wisdom of Jack Handey

Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday Night, "Movie Night"

Monday nights should be "Movie Night." I like making dinner and cuddling up under a blanket to watch some Netflix. It's so relaxing. I've watch three movies lately. I'll save the best for last.

Mrs. Henderson Presents was very cute and very clever, but I wouldn't recommend it for you boys. It was a girl movie. Maybe even a mom and daughter movie. Very charming and literary. Three stars.

Jersey Girl was not as good as I wanted it to be. I kept it out of my Netflix queue for a long time, but it kept popping up in my recommendations, so I finally gave in. Then I heard other people saying that they wanted to see it, so I moved it up. But honestly, it was kind of a let down. The little girl was adorable, possibly a new Dakota Fanning, but the story wasn't anything special. Two stars.

Prime.... was amazing! I'm not even a good Uma Thurman fan, but I LOVED this movie. I might even buy it. It is definitely a romantic comedy, and I admit to you that it reinforces my age and dating rules... if you watch it and have questions about what I'm talking about, feel free to inquire. Four stars.

Labor Day at the Park

You guessed it! Antonio and I went to Patterson Park today. It was quite a bit cooler out than I expected, but it was nice to chill out and read. I'm finally within spitting distance of the end of my book.

Antonio was overly stressed today because the squirrels teased him the entire time we were there. I keep him on a leash that is wrapped around my ankle, so he can run around but can't go anywhere... and it's like the squirrels knew it. In the photo above, Antonio is staring at a squirrel sitting about 15 feet away from us. He wanted that squirrel sooooo bad.

We almost always sit beneath this same tree and are only about 4 feet away from the trunk. Can you see the two squirrels in this photo who are just sitting there? Don't they look a little cheeky to you? There were three or four that ran circles around us, and Antonio got really frustrated. Poor puppy.