Monthly Archives: July, 2007

The Dark Is Rising

The Dark Is Rising sequence is a set of 5 books1 written by Susan Cooper between 1965 and 1977. It is without question my favorite series of books from when I was younger and it is also now being made into a movie. More acurately, the second book in the series is being made into a movie. When I heard about this, I tracked down the trailer on the official website2. After watching the trailer, my initial reaction was disappointment. It appears the story has undergone some substantial rewrites. As an additional bad choice by the producers, they’ve cast an American as Will Stanton2 and Ian McShane as Merriman Lyon. While I am an American myself; casting an American as the lead in a profoundly British story is hugely inappropriate. I really wish the producers of the movie had taken a note from the Harry Potter movies and limited their casting to the U.K. Also the reason I object to Ian McShane is I still think of him as Lovejoy and I think I’ll have great difficultly in taking him seriously in this movie. On the bright side, they did cast Christopher Eccleston as the Rider and I have no doubt about his ability to play that role.

So I am looking forward to seeing this and hopefully it won’t suck like the trailer.

1 Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King and Silver on a Tree
2 I’d give you a direct link to the trailer, but they built their site entirely in flash so there’s no way for me to do so. Apple now has the trailer for The Dark is Rising on their movie trailers page.
3 The main character of the book.

An article I wish I’d written…

Believe in yourself
Says Ferris: “Not that I condone fascism. Or any ‘isms’. ‘Isms’, in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ‘ism’. He should believe in himself.”

Slow clap for the second most profound line of the movie.

Taken from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the secret to life, found via By The Way….

Transformers – it friggin rocks, NOT

Errm, no. Sorry, this movie did not rock. There were good bits and bad bits to this movie.


  • Used original voice actor for Optimus Prime.
  • Special effects


  • Script/story
  • Directing

Was it an enjoyable movie? Provided you unplugged your brain and just rode the thrill ride of giant, robot fights, yes it was. However if you let your brain try to follow that rotting corpse of a plot –even for one second– then you’ll be disappointed.

In response to Transformers – it friggin rocks by Omar.

Whew, glad that week’s over

The week including the 4th of July was supposedly a short week, a week with less work days, and hence should have been a more relaxing week. As it turned out, it was more of a brutal week than I’ve had to deal with in a long time. Time at work has shrunk now that I’m once again work on our massive, quarterly update. Plus we’ve got another big project coming down the pipe soon. Then at home, well…

Wednesday, we hit up the Transformers movie with AWelkin and Bryon. The special effects were incredible, but the writing and directing sucked. I also thought the main human characters of the film overacted their parts, but others in our movie going party insisted they did a fine job working with the crap they were given. *shrug* I’m not an expert in movies so they could be right but in either case it was still a really bad movie.

Saturday, Ariesna and I got up early so we could hit up the farmers market taking place downtown and still have time to visit some garage sales. Now we do regularly visit the weekly farmers markets around town, but at a recent neighborhood cocktail party we heard that the first weekend of the month there’s a larger version which takes place. So we went and were unprepared for just how massive it was. The market took over several city blocks worth of streets and was jam-packed with vendors and shoppers. We found a stand selling some fruit tarts and bought one each for our breakfast as we looked around1. We also bought a few books at the library’s booth, some creamed honey and a loaf of pumpkin bread. Then we escaped, huzzah! *grin*

After leaving downtown, we parked the car at the house and walked over to the garage sales. Only again, we underestimated how massive it would be. There had been signs posted for roughly a week, giving the street, day and time. We’d also heard back at the cocktail party it would be 4-5 houses getting together to sell their stuff. Only it was more like 20-25, spread across 4-5 blocks. We walked around all of it and when we were at the farthest part of it, we found a stepladder for $10. Sure it’s old and probably not rated to support somebody of my size, but it was $10 and we’ve needed one ever since we moved into our house. Ariesna hung out with the ladder, while I walked all those blocks back to the house, gack. Then a quick drive over to pick up Ariesna and our new ladder. Whee!

Sunday, naturally having the stepladder meant I got to have the fun of climbing it and cleaning out the rain gutters on the garage. For extra fun, then I cleaned off the stepladder onto the garage’s roof and cleaned some of the house’s rain gutters. And then back down the ground, switching to the extension ladder we borrowed from Ariesna’s dad and finished cleaning all the gutters of the house. Yes, several times my vertigo did kick in. No, it was not pleasant. Oh and yes, our slightly tilted garage apparently did shift underneath me a bit while was moving around on it’s roof.

Combine all that err, fun with 90 degree heat and you’ll understand why I’m so pleased to be going back to work (where somebody else pays for the air conditioning).

1 Mine was rasberry/lemon, Ariesna’s was rhubarb. Mine was so much better.

Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast at Marion Airport

Helicopter Ride 1

Every year for the 4th of July, Cedar Rapids puts on this huge festival to celebrate. It starts up in mid-June and goes through the 4th. For the past several years, Ariesna and I have bought buttons for the festival1 but have missed most of the festival. Given that we live in Cedar Rapids now, we’ve been making an effort to actually attend some of the events. This morning we got up at 7 AM2, hopped into the car and drove out to the Marion Airport. The airport was hosting a Fly-In/Drive-In breakfast, offering airplane/helicopter rides and had numerous planes for spectators to look at. Ariesna & I decided to go for a helicopter ride which was … quite the experience. First off, here’s a few rules/tips for any other first-time flyers to keep in mind when going to one of these sort of things:

  • Wear blue jeans or at least some kind of pants. Standing near the landing area for the helicopter gets rather chilly with the chop from the spinning blades.
  • Tuck your shirt in so it doesn’t blow up around you.
  • Wear shoes, not sandals. Makes it easier walking through the grass over to where the helicopter was landing/taking off.
  • Leave your hat in the car. The chop from the helicopter is strong enough to blow it off your head.
  • Leave your purse/bag in the car. There’s very limited space in a helicopter, and you don’t want it to:
    • bonk the controls with a heavy bag while the pilot is trying to do his thing.
    • watch your purse/bag go sliding out the helicopter to fall way, way, way down to the ground.

Just a few thoughts you should consider. Anyway, back to the story. Ariesna was feeling very nervous about the flight while we were waiting in line but doing her best to stay calm. Then when we were 3rd in line, the people in front of us asked to switch places with us as there were only 2 helicopters in service for the rides and they wanted to chat with the pilot of the one we would have ridden on. We immediately took them up on their offer and then had a pleasant chat with them while they waited. It turned out they’ve been coming to this Fly-In/Drive-In for the past 3 years and look forward to flying with one particular pilot every year. They also reassured Ariesna about the flight and got her calmed down nicely. Then before we knew it, it was our turn. The helicopter had room for 3 pilot (1 pilot & 2 passengers). Ariesna climbed into the center of the aircraft while I got the “window seat”. I put that in quotes because the side of the helicopter was totally open. No windows, no doors just a big, big hole you climbed in/out of3. Once we were strapped in and put on our headphones, I realized I had something of a problem. Either the cord on my headphones was very short, caught on something or I was sitting on it but I had no leeway with it. I couldn’t sit up or even really hunch over while wearing the headphones. I ended up, slightly hunched with the headphones partly askew. The lift-off made me think of a bumpy roller coaster and then we were in the air over a corn field. It was also around that time I realized I was definitely going to have problems with this ride. See, I tend to get vertigo but only in a certain range of heights. Under roughly 10-12 feet and flying in an airplane up above the clouds, I’m fine. However for certain distances between there, heights can give me the willies. I tend to think of it as the range between small hurts and certain death. The helicopter flew at just the perfect height to trigger my feelings of vertigo. Wheeee! Now add in the lack of a door on the helicopter, being strapped in with a single lap belt and my side of the aircraft being the one which dropped down on every turn; and you’ll understand why I only took 2 photos during our flight. Spending the rest of it with one hand clamped to the side of the helicopter and the other locked onto my wife’s hand. Naturally, she thought this was hilarous once we landed.

*sigh* No respect, no respect at all.

Then we walked around looking at the planes setup for show, snapping a couple of pics4. When I later review the pics, it turned out most were over-exposed, so I’ll have to edit them in GIMP before posting the rest. Finally, we decided to get some breakfast. Only the line at the airport’s breakfast was long and the food looked unappealing. So we drove off to Village Inn, had an entirely too big of a breakfast complete with coffee and pie. Mmmm, pie. Good times, good times.

1 The buttons get you into some events for free or at a reduced rate.
2 *ugh* On the weekend, we strongly prefer to lounge about till late in the morning.
3 There were obvious mounting points for a door, so I’m guessing they removed the door to make it easier to get people in/out for these rides.
4 Which I have posted to a Fly-In/Drive-In set on my Flickr account.

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