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Well, the powerless show went down last night, and despite some hesitation and worry on our part, we couldn't have really asked for things to go much better. Our sound was really unique and we got a lot of nice comments from people at the show, which is always a cool thing. Heck, we even sold some CDs, making us closer and closer towards getting into the black. Someone at the show was recording it, so perhaps maybe we'll have something up on the site in the near future from that.

Not much else to say. Fighting off the sick and new reviews.

I fear that as the weather gets nicer and the spring gets closer, I will be updating this section even less and less. When life needs living, it's hard to get excited about sitting down at a couple and trying to write about it. Of course, having sat down and looked through some of the archives of this section, I'm glad that I've decided to keep things around. Heck, even dropping back into the Come To My Senses section is pretty fun sometimes, and interestly enough, I can remember what most of the posts are about, even if they're referencing something that I kept purposely vague at the time. There was only a very short time in my life that I kept a true journal, but it's nice to have the little fragments on this site floating around. I know that different sections need a little bit of tidying up and cleaning, but it will simply have to wait.

The big project this weekend was the continued work in what will eventually become the master bedroom. Seems like a familiar refrain around here, but we're down to the very last task basically (sanding the floor, which was covered with tar, tarpaper, tile, and carpet for the past 50(?) years. It was an enormous task, and I estimate that we took about 500+ pounds of material out of the room (based on the number of contractor bags filled with stuff that we threw out), but we're definitely getting close now. We'll be in there in the next month. We're taking pictures of some of the different processes that we're going through, so maybe I need to start a house remodeling section too. Ah, it's not like I need anything else to do.

If you live in Lincoln and you would like to see Marianas perform a rare (and maybe our last ever) acoustic show, swing on down to Duffy's Tavern on Wednesday night this week (the 25th) at about 9p.m. or so.

We had a bit of a scare last week, which made for an emotional start to the weekend. On Friday morning, we took Elsa to the vets to get spayed and to have a small procedure done to open her nasal passages (she'd had lots of problems breathing, and even moreso lately). When TG called in the afternoon, the vets told her that the surgeries had both gone well, but that Elsa had stopped breathing when they tried to move her back into her recovery kennel. After a little over a minute, the vets did manual breathing until Elsa started on her own again. During this time, none of her other organs stopped working, and although she started breathing on her own again, the situation was touch-and-go for awhile.

Naturally, we were worried as hell about our little puppy, and when we called in the afternoon, her condition had improved quite a bit, but the doctors were still worried about possible neurological damage. TG and I both took off work early and went to see her at the vets, but she slept the entire time we were there, living and breathing, but unconscious. Friday night was spent watching a movie and trying not to worry about Elsa (which was quite difficult).

On Saturday morning, TG called the vet and they said that Elsa was up and alert and walking around and that we could pick her up. Less than one day after her ordeal, we went in and were reunited with our little puppy and over two days later she's already getting back up to speed fairly quickly (although we have to limit her activity until her stitches heal a little more). It's pretty remarkable just how quickly she recovered, and there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage from the whole episode. We're so happy to have her back, and she's quickly gotten back into things, doing her little barks and generally being cute. Three cheers for Elsa, the spunky little puppy!

Elsa, back in the saddle

In addition to the early chaos of the weekend, TG and I had another three-movie weekend. Wanting to avoid the Valentine's Day throngs, we kept inside and ordered takeout and rented movies and had a little wine. The first movie of the weekend was Lost In Translation, a film that I was finally happy to see after hearing so much about it. While I enjoyed the film overall, there were several small things about it that bothered me and ultimately kept me from _really_ liking it. One of the main problems with the film (something that I've seen discussed elsewhere) is that I felt it was somewhat xenophobic towards Japanese. Despite one or two exceptions, there's not a single Japanese character in the film that isn't a general stereotype of the culture. There are the loud, obnoxious characters that replace their "l's" with "r's" (and vice versa) and the overly apologetic bowing characters and other general simplifications. There's a couple scenes in particular in the film that were needless in terms of plot development and pretty much cringeworthy. Beautiful imagery, great music, and two excellent performances by the lead two (Murray and Johansen), but overall it felt a bit flawed to me. So it goes...

The Eye was the second flick of the weekend and came recommended from the always-readable (and hott re-designed) Jason. The film is a Hong Kong psychological thriller that works in many similar ways to The Sixth Sense, but is generally enjoyable and interesting despite a few flaws (a running theme it seems). Although the first half of the movie drags a bit, it's also when the best scares happen. Some super-excellent subtle special effects help set the stage for a couple chilling moments, but once the film really gets rolling, it stumbles with a couple overly cheesy scenes (one of the lead character playing her violin like a whirling dervish cross-cut with a dream sequence was a particularly annoying one) coupled with truly terrible music (note: keyboard balladry does not work so well in a movie like this, even during scenes that are supposed to be more touching). Even though I could see the ending coming a mile away, the flick was an enjoyable one overall and made me make a mental note to keep an eye out (*rimshot*) for more stuff from The Pang Brothers, who wrote and directed the film.

The final film in weekend viewing was the Woody Allen classic Zelig. Made over 20 years ago, the humor in the film is definitely more on the clever side rather than going for full-on yucks, but it holds up pretty well on repeated viewings and is easily one of my favorite films by Mr. Allen.

In-between getting things done this weekend, TG and I had our first three-movie weekend in quite awhile. The weather was cold and not cooperating with much else at night, so we ate some good food and snuggled down and watched some movies. The first movie in our mini-marathon was The Secret Lives Of Dentists, a film that I'd read a lot of good things about. Overall, it was pretty interesting, and the lead acting of Campbell Scott and Hope Davis was quite good. There were a couple moments where I felt it sunk to rather overt tactics to make a point, but all in all it had some interesting takes and visualizations of head-games that can go on between two people who think that ignoring problems will make them go away. Good, not amazing.

Second film of the evening was Talk To Her, the newest film from Pedro Almodóvar. Although I'd never seen any of his films before, I'd heard a lot about him and was pretty impressed with this one. The first part of the film left me feeling a bit bored, but then all the loose ends started tying together and wound together into a pretty interesting, morally ambiguous tale that's definitely not for everyone. It's an examination of feelings, both true and misdirected, and perhaps trys to reveal some insight as to why someone would have each. Visually stunning and amazingly put-together, I'd recommend it simply for the discussion it will most likely cause.

Finally, tonight we watched The Shape Of Things, which is the newest film from Neil LaBute (director of the absolutely brutal Your Friends And Neighbors, as well as In The Company Of Men, which I haven't seen). Although this wasn't nearly as punishing as either of his other films (the one of which I've seen and enjoyed, the other of which I've simply heard about), this is another flick that examines relationships and all the twisted things that can go on with them. Not sure why I enjoyed the film so much, as it was directed in sort of an odd style (adapted from a play and definitely felt like it at times), but again I think it was simply related to the fact that I like films that make me feel something and want to talk about them afterwards. LaBute seems to be a master at exploring the ugly side of humanity, but there's something about how he peels back those layers that exposes those raw nerves that I enjoy. So yeah, definitely recommended. Surprisingly enough, not one of the three films we watched were particularly happy or comforting, yet I'd recommend all of them. Maybe once the 30 inches of snow that's on the ground melts I'll be in the mood for comedies again.

Shit, ya'll. Chalk up another week gone with no updates. Whoot. The last time I wrote, I was talking about the weather and this entry will unfortunately be no different. After a storm that dumped a foot of snow on us a week and a half ago, another system came through and dropped another 8 inches on us this previous weekend. Now, it's 3 days later and we've gotten something like 5 or 6 more today. I think I've probably scooped a couple thousand pounds of snow at this point, and there are piles of snow at least 4 feet high in places in our yard. It's sorta crazy, but I have to admit that the moisture will help a lot after the super-dry last year.

I haven't mentioned anything band-related in awhile, and that's mainly because we went through sort of a quiet period. We've been slowly trying to cobble together new tracks, and we're going to be playing an acoustic show (which means I'll be hopping on the accordion instead of keyboards) in three weeks from today (the 25th). To help promote it, we did an interview with a local music website, so if you're dying to know more about Marianas, check out our interview here. We're working on getting another show soon as well, so hopefully I'll be able to pass along some more info about that as well in the near future.

Oh, and bing, bang, boom. new reviews as always.

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