January 2004

Denise and I just finished watching the extended DVD “bootleg” edition of Almost Famous. It’s truly an awesome movie. I can’t quite put my finger on why, unless it would be the tone and feeling of the film, and the amazing performances of Patrick Fugit, Billy Cruddup, Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, and of course Kate Hudson. Cameron Crowe really outdid himself with this one, although Say Anything was one of my top twenty as well (I haven’t seen Vanilla Sky yet).

It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years–in fact, it has to be in my top ten. I highly recommend it, even if you can’t get the extended edition (hey, I got it for $12 on Amazon with $2 shipping from the Used and New–and it was brand new, factory sealed).

I bought my 43rd song from iTunes tonight (since last April when the store opened). I wondered if a person’s buying patterns said anything about his/her taste in music–for instance, here’s my list so far:

1 Chamber of Horror by Rick Wakeman
2 Crime of Passion by Rick Wakeman
3 Statue of Justice by Rick Wakeman
4 One of These Days by Pink Floyd
5 I’m a Believer (Radio) by Smash Mouth
6 Buried Alive by Rick Wakeman
7 I’m Not in Love by 10cc
8 Undun by The Guess Who
9 The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini
10 Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
11 Tiny Dancer by Elton John
12 Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters by Elton John
13 Christmas Celebration by Roomful of Blues
14 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
15 White Christmas by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters
16 Merry Christmas Baby by B.B. King
17 A Visit from St. Nicholson by Bob Rivers & Twisted Radio
18 MacArthur Park by Maynard Ferguson
19 Drift Away by Uncle Kracker (Doobie Brothers cover)
20 Do You Believe in Magic? by The Lovin’ Spoonful
21 Atlantis by Donovan
22 In the Mood by The Glenn Miller Orchestra
23 Nostalgia by Yanni
24 What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers
25 Hold the Line by Toto
26 Sweet Talkin’ Woman by Electric Light Orchestra
27 Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
28 Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) by Bruce Springsteen
29 What a Wonderful World (Single) by Louis Armstrong
30 Sara by Fleetwood Mac
31 Procession by The Moody Blues
32 The Story in Your Eyes by The Moody Blues
33 The Ballroom Blitz by Sweet
34 Fox on the Run by Sweet
35 Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears
36 It’s My Life by No Doubt
37 Big Yellow Taxi by Counting Crows & Vanessa Carlton
38 She’s Right on Time by Billy Joel
39 No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen
40 Stay Up Late by Talking Heads
41 Darlington County by Bruce Springsteen
42 Downbound Train by Bruce Springsteen
43 Baby, I Love Your Way (Live) by Peter Frampton

Apart from the Christmas songs, some of these are my musical tastes, but some are just me filling holes in my CD collection with songs I never owned. Some are old songs from my childhood that I’d only heard on the radio. One I bought for my wife (marching band stuff–can you guess which one?).

They’re all songs I enjoy though, so I guess they stand for my tastes, for better or worse. Of course, some artists aren’t yet on iTunes for me to buy, like Spandau Ballet–but like Kevin said, deservedly so.(grin)

My dad came out of his surgery successfully. They put two stents in one artery, another stent in a second artery, and left the third artery for next week. If it was anyone else, or any other practice, he probably wouldn’t have had the option to get the stents instead of having oopen heart. As it is, he has about run the gamut of this technique–Dad has five stents in now, and one more next week. He’s feeling better already, though. His one artery was over 95% closed (almost completely closed, the doctor said) and once the stent is in you feel better immediately with the restored blood flow.

More later–I’m wiped, and I just had to fight the snow all the way back from Philly to home…

In a relative sense, of course. It looks like only one cord has torn free on the valve in his heart–there are a number of cords holding the valve in place, like a parachute. So they think that he’s better off with what he has than trying for a replacement valve. So they don’t recommend open heart surgery for that issue.

The other main issue is that all three of the main arteries leading from his heart are partially blocked–about 70%. The good news is that two of them are in straight sections of their respective arteries, and the other blockage is not curved very tightly. This means that he has the option to get three stents instead of open heart surgery with bypasses.

With stents, they stick a tiny cylindrical cage on the tip of an angioplasty balloon and insert it up an artery from his leg. When it gets to the right spot up near his heart, they expand the stent and it stays there, becoming the new artery wall with new tissue growing around it. With open heart surgery, they break open your chest to reroute your arteries. Both are very successful, but three guesses which one my dad is opting for.

Well, perhaps more news tomorrow. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and my dad has an almost obscenely quick recovery like the last two times (’91 and ’99).

Drew and Alyssa told me today on the phone that they got “cool spinning motor toothbrushes” because the dentist said it would be good for them.

Man, someday when I grow up I want cool, spinning, motorized toothbrushes too. Turbocharged, even. With, like, chrome trim and stuff. Yeah–that would be awesome.

(Y’know, the sad part is that when I wrote that last paragraph, I began to hear it in Strong Bad’s voice. I’m becoming too conditioned….)

Take a look at this. Amphibious party time!

On second hand, the price tag may be just a wee bit out of my league…

He’s avoided open heart twice now by getting stents (the first time in 1991, when he talked his way into being part of the original research study for stents with Johnson & Johnson). This time, we dont’ yet know if he’ll have a choice. It really depends on his test tomorrow and what it tells about a valve in his heart. Regardless, I think he should consider retiring. He’s almost 63, although he looks waaaay younger. He’s working all kinds of crazy hours at his job, and the stress seems to be getting worse there every year.

Hmmm. Re-reading that last sentence, maybe I should think about retirement too.

Sorry I haven’t posted regularly in the last six months–work is still crushing us. We hit over two thousand tech requests for the 03-04 school year at Christmas break, a 21% increase over last year (and a 71% increase over 00-01, the last time we added any tech support staff). So it’s pretty grueling (I tend to work at night from home, since I can connect to the the network from there–so time for the weblog has been cut down). Luckily, my boss is awesome and we’re putting two positions in the tentative budget for next year to handle the extra load. Hope they get funded.

At any rate, here’s a great site to see which presidential candidate you match best with:


Try it even if you’re Republican–the results may be interesting!

Strange but true news story: Boy crawls into stuffed animal game machine, gets stuck inside.

Thanks to Neil Gaiman for the link.

Drew: Daddy, can I take my stick horse to the farm show with me?

Me: Your what?

Drew: The stick with the horsie head on it. The one I play with.

Me: Oh, OK. Maybe, Drew. Why?

Drew: Because Mommy said no, and then she told me she didn’t want to talk about it again any more.

Me: Hmm. Something tells my that no matter how many times you ask each of us, I know what my answer will be now.

(I know what side my bread is buttered on…)

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