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After an early evening of getting some things done, TG and I settled down and watched Better Off Dead, a movie that I hadn't seen in ages. Although it wasn't quite as funny for me this time around, I have to admit laughing at several parts and finding the worn charm of the movie still holding quite a bit of ground with me. Some might go so far as to call is one of those cult-classic high-school movies, and I still haven't quite decided if I'm in that boat or not. One thing I do know is that it is flat-out cheeseball in places (saxophone solo at the burger joint over the romantic TV dinner! plucky tomboy French exchange student who just happens to know how to fix a Camaro SS!), but I think that's sort of what adds to the picture. Unlike a lot of movies that came out around the same time, it actually holds up on the old political correctness meter pretty well. That's not something I consciously think about when I'm watching films from the 80s, but sometimes it's hard not to notice when jokes seem pretty meanspirited. At any rate, it's a film that I'm glad was added to the old DVD permanent collection and I may find myself quoting several lines from it for the next couple of days.

Today, TG and I did a bunch of work in the yard and it felt pretty darn good. At 8 in the morning we had 5 tons of topsoil delivered to the house and after running some errands during the middle part of the day we got down to business on some projects that we'd started recently. The weather seemed to threaten rain a couple different times before melting back into sun and we managed to get a new bed in front nearly completely finished with edging and sweet-smelling wood chips. We only managed to make a very very small dent in the dirt pile, but we're planning on putting it down around the foundation of the house as well as covering a large patch at the end of our driveway that has been barren with rocks and sticks for far too long. A garage once sat on the spot, but the thing fell in and was removed before we got the house. Although we had a majority of the slab and debris taken out last fall, there were still chunks of cement and brick in places. At one point today, I dug out a stack of bricks that went 8 layers into the ground. About 6 layers down, I wondered if I was getting myself into an Oak Island sort of adventure, but then realized that it was probably just used as some sort of former garage support. Still, we got ourselves 16 nice old bricks out of the deal that can now be used for landscaping elsewhere.

Let me just say that I'm glad that the upcoming weekend is a three-day one. This last week has been absolutely frenetic. There was bad weather (fortunately we escaped the _really_ bad stuff), there was mowing, there was lots of planting and landscaping, there were 6 9-hour workdays, there were thank you notes written, there were a couple band practices, and there were many other things. I go to bed exhausted and sleep like a rock until 6 or 7 hours later and then repeat the process. The amazing thing is that I'm pretty excited about things right now. The music review section is churning along quite nicely and seems to be growing in leaps and bounds in terms of readers while the yard here is looking better and better (it can't hurt that we've gotten lots of rain in the past month). This is a pretty random entry, but that's about how it's been lately with me. There hasn't been a lot of time to sit down and settle on one thing for too long and I guess for now I like it that way.

Well now, I think that this last break between posts is officially the longest since I started this section on the site. Almost 10 whole days without a post and I can't say that I missed doing it a great deal. Of course I've been busy with lots of other things, including post-wedding cleanup and trying to get back into a regular routine again after having a week off from work (which is rather difficult, I might add). Things have been busy in general, but mostly good so I guess I can't complain too much.

Elsa was pretty sick earlier on this week, but she seems to have come out of it now pretty well. We had to take her to the vet on Monday morning early and she's had her diet and activities limited a bit and been on some medication. Not too fun seeing the little pupper feeling lethargic and sick, but she seems to be back to near full energy levels now, which is good. Although we haven't gotten our wedding photos back, we have amassed a decent amount of cute puppy pictures over the course of the past couple weeks, so I think it will be good to drop a few of those now and then. Speaking of which, here's a picture of both dogs asleep on TG's lap awhile back (and yes, that's a squirrel with a drumkit on her shirt).

puppy pile up

In band news, we already have 3 shows planned for June. They're all about 2 weeks apart, which will make for a lot of setting up and tearing down, but they should all be pretty good shows in terms of attendence and in terms of the bands that we're playing with. Tenative (and solid) dates are on the gig page of our site...

Wow. The last couple days have been an absolute blur. After a busy Friday and Saturday, TG and I were married on Saturday afternoon then had our reception that evening. The ceremony was small, with just a few friends and relatives attending, then we had a large reception to include everyone. With all the stories that I've heard about wedding disasters, I guess I was expecting something to maybe go wrong, but other than a few very small things (which probably weren't even noticible to the outside viewer), everything went as smoothly as possible. It was elegant and laid-back, and we had a great time. We had a huge amount of help from family and friends in pulling everything off, and I want to thank them again (you know who you are). We had people come from 10 different states and every corner of the country and we felt pretty overwhelmed (in a good way) by it all. If it sounds like I'm gushing, it's because I am. I've got a big titanium band on my finger and things are swell. Once pictures come back, I'll probably post something, but until then know that it was great and amazing.

Due to remodeling and wedding planning and landscaping and puppies and general life things, my reading schedule has been like absolute shite this year so far. Although I've continued through about 4 different books, I've only just now actually finished my first one for the year. I think that's probably easily a record for me over the course of the past couple years. Heck, back in 1998, I read 54 books in one year, so I know I'm off that pace ever-so-slightly. At any rate, the book that I finally finished and sat down was Under The Banner Of Heaven: A Story Of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. To date, I'd read everything that he'd written, and while the subject matter of this one was hugely different than his previous work (which was some of the best adventure/outdoor stuff I'd read), it was still highly enjoyable. Basically, the book I finished is sort of a cross-section of the Mormon faith, dealing with some of the more weird (and violent, natch) things that have gone on in the past 20 years regarding the faith and different ways that rather dispicable practices and events have been glossed-over and in some cases hidden by inner circles. The focus is on the fundamentalist split-off from the church (which is as fervent and extremist as any hardcore fundamentalist offshoot), but it covers a basic history of the church and some modern-day events (like the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping) that sort of relate to things as well. Good stuff, although if you're anything like me you'll wonder how some of the stuff mentioned within can possibly still be taking place in our country. Weird.

So like, it's been a week or something and I haven't updated. If you've been reading this site for the past couple months or so, that shouldn't come as any surprise. It's less than one week until the wedding now and I'm feeling no stress. I'm pretty sure that's a good thing, as we have almost everything taken care of and even more will be done after calls are made tomorrow. I'm excited to say the least, and I'm amazed that there are going to be so many friends here from out-of-town. My only hope is that I'm able to talk to everyone a decent amount. In some cases, it will have been years since I've seen people face to face.

This weekend was spent doing yardwork, getting little wedding things done and taking some time to relax as well. Over the course of the last three days, the weather felt like three different seasons (with both fall, spring, and summer representin'), and today the temperature dropped again while cold rain fell after I mowed the lawn. It will probably take off and grow again like crazy, although I can't say that I'm complaining after all the things we've planted in the past week or so.

Relaxing time was again mainly relegated to evenings and it was again mainly spent watching movies. On Friday night, TG picked out Once Upon A Time In The Midlands, a weird little British film that I'd heard some about upon release before it disappeared into the ether before resurfacing on DVD. Although it had some good moments, the film was just so strange tonally that I didn't end up enjoying it very much in the end. At times, it felt like it was trying to do slapstick comedy and at others it felt like it was trying to be a great family drama (which it was, mostly). It's not to say that you can't have those two things together in a film, but much of the film just felt too dang awkward because of it. Not only that, but the cheesy nods (musically and in terms of acting) towards spaghetti Westerns just felt too contrived. If you're way into offbeat UK stuff, you might enjoy it, but I could recommend 10 better things from a similar genre off the top of my head...

On Saturday evening we sat down and watched Rabbit-Proof Fence. I'd read some mixed reviews about the film, but after watching it I really can't understand why. I honestly have to say that this is one of the more moving films that I've seen in some time. It was based on a great story and there wasn't one facet of the film that I felt was out-of-place. From the great score by Peter Gabriel (oscar-nominated) to the performances of the main three actresses (all 14 and under and had never acted before) to the cinematography and sound, I felt it was a great film about a dark time in Austrailian history (which somewhat parallels what went on in our own country in terms of race issues). Running at just over an hour and a half, it was concise, engrossing, and had one of more touching endings I've seen in a film in some time. With all the crap that studios put out, it's movies like this that give me a little more hope. Highly recommended.

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