Thursday, September 29, 2005


Well, not Reavers, but Spammers!

I've had to activate "word verification" for comments to weed out these cheeky fellows.

Hanging's too good for them ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"We may experience some turbulence ... and then explode."

This line from the movie "Serenity" pretty much sums up the film from start to finish. The ride gets extremely rough at some points, and at the end it spits you out feeling like a wrung-out dishrag. I'll try to avoid including any spoilers in this review.

I checked my closet for a brown coat to wear to the theater. No joy. Anyway, it's fantastically hot in San Antonio, so a coat would have been ridiculous. I pulled out my only clean shirt, which, appropriately enough, was Hawaiian (just like my favorite "leaf on the wind" wears).

When we showed up two hours ahead of the time that the advance screening started, I thought we'd be first or second in line. Instead, the line was already about 50 deep when we walked into the Regal Fiesta. It was interesting to note that the average age of the first six people in line hovered around sixty years old. Further back in line the age (as well as neatness of dress) dropped precipitously in places. It was an eclectic crowd for what I thought would be a rather narrowly-focused movie.

After the movie was over, we sat watching the credits and letting all that had happened sink in. I came to the conclusion that I enjoyed "Serenity" as much as I enjoyed "The Incredibles," and in much the same way. Both had characters that are very easy to get attached to, and both had many moments of humor and drama, and lots of edge-of-the-seat tension. One outstanding attribute they both share is an utter unpredictability. I was surprised countless times by twists and turns, and where Whedon was willing to go with this story. Don't get me wrong, the two movies are about as different as could be, but each delivered an outstanding ride in its own fashion. However, unlike "The Incredibles," which merely pays lip service to the old adage, in "Serenity," bad things do happen to good people.

I have a couple of nits to pick with the movie. "Serenity" occasionally had a slightly low-budget feel to it (exacerbated by some projection problems early on). And most irritatingly, for someone who takes firearms seriously, characters kept walking around with their fingers on the gorram trigger! It's rampant in 98% of Hollywood movies, and for those who don't know better, it's a recipe for shooting yourself or someone else, and not on purpose.

Aside from those tiny flaws, the movie is a great success. The audience laughed out loud in many places, and I saw lots of people sitting literally on the edge of their seats during critical scenes.

Here's my suggestion: This Friday or soon thereafter, take yourself down to a theater showing "Serenity," sit in the center of the back row, and hum softly to yourself, as the lights dim:

... Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't coming back.
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me ...


12 More Hours!

Until ...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Now I know I've lived a good life ...

And my reward has arrived, in the form of this message in my inbox:

"Congratulations! You are one of the lucky bloggers to be chosen and confirmed for the screening of SERENITY for the time, date and the number of guests that you have requested ..."

I can't believe how jazzed Amy and I are about this! The DVD's of the first season have completely hooked us, and this is a much-needed fix for a couple of junkies.

If you haven't heard of Serenity, here's the official synopsis:

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

And here's the link to the movie site, with some excellent trailers.

If you haven't seen any of the series, you still have time. Rent it, buy it, or borrow it from a friend (unfortunately our copy is checked out, and there's a considerable waiting list. We do accept bribes to move your name to the top.) Though I imagine that the movie will stand on its own just fine, the Firefly series is not to missed in any case.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hankerin' for Serenity

I don't get TV. I mean, I understand it, but I don't get it in my house. I do, however, have a DVD player. One of the best uses it has been put to in quite some time is watching the complete first season of Firefly.

I generally agree with the characterization of television as the "vast wasteland," but Firefly is the exception to that all-too-well-proved rule. The bottom line is that it has characters that I grew to care about, and missed when the closing music played on the last episode.

In just a few days, I won't have to miss them again for a bit. And that, as they say, is Shiny.

- Tim

Friday, September 16, 2005

Airplanes are marvelous things...

Airplanes are marvelous things.

It’s hard to imagine seeing this view any other way…

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gratuitous cuteness

Gratuitous great-niece photo...

We drove to Dallas to visit some family, and saw this guy on the freeway. Wonder what planet he was communicating with?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nice starting point

I am the luckiest man alive for many reasons, and where I live is three or four (or five) places down the list.

But here's what I see when I walk out the door in the morning:

Talk about old!

Here's a photo from way back when I first started riding with Tom and Lee (1993?). I worked with Tom in Systems Security, and Lee was a Quality Assurance wonk just outside our door. The Katana 750 was my first streetbike after a long absence (previous streetbike was a 1983 GS550ES). I bought it with the big raise I got moving into security. Rode it all over Texas, and to Queen Wilhelmina Lodge in Arkansas, as well as the bat viewing area at the old Number 9 railroad tunnel near Fredericksburg shown above.

Wish I had a way with words...

Like this guy does...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Scooter trash...

I've heard complaints from the peanut gallery about not showcasing the beautiful and talented folks that we go riding with. Complain no more!

First, my fine, fearless co-pilot, Amy.

Next, Joe "There was no pick!" P. Shaping our future one kid at a time.

And his high-flying partner in crime, Michelle A.

Tom, "you Americans--oops, I mean WE Americans are funny people." G.
and his partner Carol (plus a bonus shot of Amy)

And finally Lee, "mmmmm, Jelly!" G.
Motto: Get on bike - ride far - ride fast - nap - repeat.

Celebrate Bandera

Saturday was the "Celebrate Bandera" parade, and a good portion of the family braved the heat and humidity to enjoy the sights. One of the crowd favorites is the driving of the Longhorns down main street. The lead longhorn was particularly gorgeous!

Some very nice folks showed up for the event!

The riders look younger every year!

Some guy's horse was giving me the eye...

Then some cowpoke was giving me the eye...

And then some lady of the evening was giving me the eye!

Out of all the eying, I think I liked the last the best...

- Tim

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Have you shared some of your wealth to help out the folks east of here? click the Red Cross icon in the upper right corner. It does my heart good to see the number climb every time I refress that page.

Don't forget something for those who can't help themselves...

What a stinker of a day...

Our septic field had been getting pretty moist and fragrant lately, so I finally called the guys to come pump out the tank. Unfortunately, no one knew the location of the mysterious tank, and it took three guys three hours to find it, buried three feet in the earth for no apparent reason. It took two guys with shovels and one guy with a tractor another hour to uncover the lid. After that, the twenty minutes it took to pump it out were anticlimactic.

There were only two inadvertant pipe punctures in the course of tracking its course. The second puncture was right at the junction above the tank, so we put in a cleanout to mark the location of the tank for future excavations.

The cleanup crew taking a break from filling in that gawdaful hole in the back yard.

- Tim