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December 31, 2003
11:40 p.m.

Uhh.. nothing much new to report. We have 20 minutes and we're going to walk up the street to see some fireworks and pop some champagne. Right after Seinfeld.

Liz's 2nd regret from 2003: Having just gone to the ATM before leaving her wallet in McDonald's, only to have it swiped by some ruthless Kentuckian.

10:28 p.m.

Movie's over, my predictions born out.

The little bit of wine we've drank has only made us tired. The slow, atmospheric foreign film didn't help either. It may be time to break out the tequila to perk things up a little.

9:37 p.m.

Happy New Year East-Coasters!

Still watching the movie, not nearly drunk yet. We're done with the wine and will have to move on to beer or whiskey soon.

I have a feeling that the girl in the movie will be triumphant in the end. And the evil grandfather will learn the errors of his ways. It's like a Kiwi Karate Kid.

New Year's Eve Post-a-Thon

Liz and I have decided to dispense with traditional New Year's festivities, i.e. going out and getting wasted. Instead, we're going to stay home and get wasted. We figure it's cheaper this way, and in all likelihood more fun.

We also intend to stay up all night, though I must admit that I'm not sure Liz can make it. She tends to be a bit sleepful.

The best part is that I'm going to write a new post every hour until tomorrow morning sometime. It is now 8:28 p.m. PST and this is the first post. We're eating Chubby Hubby and about to start watching Whale Rider. It's not raining.

Liz suggests a list of resolutions and regrets. Her first regret of 2003: watching The Hulk in the theater.

December 28, 2003
I Have Confidence In Me

I'm a bad blogger, too. It's okay, though. It's a habit I'm returning to slowly. The redesign took a while, and frankly isn't close to finished, but now that this part is up, I've found that I've forgotten how to blog. I've also completely lost my audience, such as it ever was, but that's not so important.

Or is it?

It must be mentioned that last night I attended a "Sound of Music Sing-a-long". Not familiar? Well allow me to educate you. This is a ... thing ... well, imagine Rocky Horror Picture Show, if you can, but with lots of little kids dressed up like brown paper packages tied up with string and wearing lederhosen made of curtains. Instead of throwing things at the screen, the audience is instructed to boo at the Nazis and hiss at the Baroness. When they sing "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?", you are to hold up small cards (provided upon entry) with a question mark and a picture of Maria at the appropriate times. Our goody bags also contained a small sprig of plastic edelwiess and an invitation to the grand party thrown by Captain Von Trapp. Oh, and did I mention that everyone sings all the songs?

So, yeah, it was a little weird.

At first I thought I might freak out. It was all just a little too strange. Camp taken to extreme, unecessary places. By the end, though, I was just kind of enjoying the film. It's not bad, despite the plain oddness of musicals in general. There's something about people bursting into fantastically sappy songs while acting like it's all perfectly normal, it's just not right.

Of course, I had some issues. First, why hiss at the Baroness? Sure, in the beginning of the movie, she's pretty bitchy, and screws with Maria's mind and gets her to run back to the abbey, but by the end she's very noble, politely bowing out, telling the man she loves to go with his heart. I say, at the very least, they should stop hissing her when she turns good.

Second, there were the people in the audience who took this endeavor far too seriously, who unfortunately seemed to make up most of the crowd. A film screening like this is a great opportunity for would-be comedians to yell out jokes with the relative annonimity offered by a dark theater. Most of the jokes people yelled out were terrible, but hey, the whole place was pandomonium anyway. A theater filled with average people with, at best, average singing voices belting out Broadway show tunes is hardly a place to shush anyone. There were those, however, who thought it necessary to point out to people when they were making jokes at the wrong time, or booing at the wrong characters.

The funniest moment of the night was naturally performed by Liz, who, while not known particularly for her comedy, has a particular gift of timing sometimes, made all the more hilarious because you don't expect it. They provide those little champagne bottle pull-the-string poppers, to be popped when Maria and the Captain kiss for the first time. About 45 minutes before this happened, while Mother Superior was singing Climb Every Mountain, right as she's at the peak of the song, drenched in sunlight through the abbey window, Liz popped her popper. I suppose you had to be there, but let me here publicly recognize that the timing was absolutely perfect. I laughed for 5 minutes.

December 22, 2003
Paranoia and Hot Coffee

Condition Orange. I never paid much attention earlier this year when the threat level seemed to be constantly going up and down, but this time, for some reason, I feel like stocking up on batteries. There was a certain nervousness to Secretary Ridge's speech that shook me a bit. Living within sight of one of the busiest seaports in the country has visions of dirty bombs dancing in my head where by all rights there should be sugar plums.

On the one hand, I hate to succumb to fear. On the other hand, the gravity of the news is hard to ignore, and having a few extra gallons of water around can't hurt.

In other news, I've been reading about tort reform this morning. I hadn't thought much about it before, instinctively joining the crowd in demanding change when confronted with crazy jury awards forwarded around in emails. As with most everything, this is also not what it seems. Go figure, it's likely just another way for the rich to stay rich and for big companies to shield themselves from responsibility. Who'd a thunk it.

December 17, 2003
100 Years Ago Today

I know I'm not supposed to be impressed by this anymore; in fact, my expected reaction is complete annoyance and frustration. But since I'm racing 38,000 feet over the snowy patchwork of western Kansas at 500 miles per hour, 100 years minus a day since the first time anyone did anything like this, allow me to be awestruck for a moment. That first flight at Kitty Hawk lasted for a few seconds, covered less distance than the length of this plane, and probably had a top speed of 15 miles per hour. It was accomplished by a couple of bike mechanics who devised a control system which is precisely the same as the one being used to control this jet. The whole idea is rather dumbfounding.

This feeling is certainly exaggerated by the events of the last 11 months. Traveling this country, or I suppose any other, by car, particularly by Vanagon car, gives new definition to the word slow, and therefore new appreciation for the word fast. This is really, really fast. We left Baltimore at 6 a.m. and have almost beaten the sunrise to Denver. That's fast.

I could also mention that while at the aforementioned altitude and speed I'm typing a blog entry (though not, alas, able to post it) on a fancy little laptop while watching live television beamed from a satellite several miles overhead. Liz is sleeping.

In the time it's taken me to write this, we've crossed into Colorado and dropped 10000 feet of altitude as we prepare to land. The ground below has become rippled and scarred as it starts to rise into the Rockies. I think I see I-70, the cross-country Interstate that starts in Baltimore. If we had taken that route, it would have taken us at least 2 and half days to get this far.

So well done, Wilbur. You go, Orville. Your amazing accomplishments all those years ago have really come in handy.

December 3, 2003

Hi there.

Travelin' Van being pretty much over, though lacking a coherent wrap-up, it's time for slapnose to be revived. The new design is well under way, as you can see, and the rest will be along shortly. Please excuse any 404 errors. Unprofessional? Maybe. But you know what? I've decided it's not worth my time to make "coming soon" pages. Just take my word for it, the rest is coming.