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A quick “plus and minus” recap of our weekend:

  • Left Valentine’s Day gift for Drea at work. Husband fail. (-)
  • Finished Season 4 of Lost on DVD. So much more gratifying to watch episodes back to back. (+)
  • Contact lens debacle Saturday morning. In half-awake state, rinsed my lenses with disinfectant instead of saline solution. Talk about burn. (-)
  • Nice ride with Tom and Renata up to western MD; enjoyed novelty of driving on Beltway and I-270 without will-to-live-sucking traffic. (+)
  • Skied at Whitetail with Tom. Fulfilled need to ski at least once a year. (+)
  • Drea and Renata shopped at Hagerstown outlets while Tom and I skied. Everyone wins! (+)
  • Tom forgot gloves. $50 at ski shop. (-)
  • I forgot ski goggles/sunglasses. $30 at ski shop. (-)
  • Pretty much got taken for a ride by monopoly-exploiting jerks at ski shop. (-)
  • Multiple skiing fails on my part. Highlights: not going fast enough to make it over ski jump, sliding backwards down ski jump, almost getting taken out by snowboarder behind me, coming to painful grips with shocking degree of my imcompetence, AND skiing into a fence. Not the wooden kind, the orange plastic safety net kind. But still. (-)
  • Later redeemed myself by nailing a double black diamond. Boo-ya. (+)
  • Met up with Smizz in Hagerstown after skiing/shopping excursions. (+)
  • Tried to see Mall Cop. Sold out. (-)
  • Saw Coraline instead. Good, but freaking weird and definitely not for kids, despite PG rating. (+)
  • Smizz took us to a great little place called Cafe del Sol for dinner. Salsa, nachos, Yuengling, and meat-lover’s calzone. Delish. (+)
  • Starbucks for the ride back home. (+)
  • Sore muscles the next day. Self-loathe for not being in better shape and having to groan like an old man every time I stand or sit. (-)
  • Who cares? Our weekend was off the hook. (+)

During the past two days, we’ve seen what must be the two worst movies of 2008: What Happens in Vegas and Four Christmases. The former we watched with our friend Jess (Smizz) over the weekend. Good grief, what a trashy and banal piece of cinematic crap. To be fair, our On Demand choices were limited and Smizz and Drea, wanting a chick flick, made me choose between this and Made of Honor. (I wanted to watch Transsiberian but was hopelessly outnumbered.)

Thinking it couldn’t be any worse than Vegas, Drea and I went to see Four Christmases with our movie theater gift certificates last night. I was looking forward to Vince Vaughn’s usually hilarious monologues (a la Wedding Crashers) but few were to be found.

We have more free movie coupons to use, so we’re hoping to redeem our slump by seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button during the next few days.

In other news, Drea and I used our Carrabba’s gift card last night (at Outback, as it’s owned by the same company) and couldn’t help but laugh/be appalled at the statement printed on it:

giftcard1

“There is no love more sincere than the love of food.”

Wow. “No love more sincere”? That is quite an asssertion. Let’s see, there’s Jesus, my wife, my family and friends, our church, good music, traveling, books…

I mean, don’t get me wrong. My No Rules Pasta with chicken and shrimp, coupled with cheesy fries and a cold Fosters was fantastic. But is it really being implied that enjoying a Bloomin’ Onion is the highest form of love I’m capable of? Wow, thanks for the pick-me-up.

Speaking of sincere love (how’s that for a segue?), my sister Allison and Rich got married this weekend! Their wedding was filled with good music, great food and drink, lots of dancing, and lots of joy – as all weddings should. Allison was beautiful and she and Rich looked immensely happy. I’d like to offer them my public congratulations (as I’m sure they’re taking time to read this blog on their honeymoon.)

The aforementioned Smizz was in town for the wedding and stayed with us Saturday night, which was fun. The three of us stayed up until the wee hours catching up and engaging in the usual irreverent humor. Good times!

I/we might write a blog about our 2008 highlights sometime soon. If not, have a Happy New Year!

Being friends with Tom and Renata, Drea and I usually get in a little bit of parenting training with their kids when we get together to hang out. This weekend was no exception.

On Friday we all went over to my parents’ house in Dunkirk for Halloween duty, as my parents were on vacation in Utah. While Tom and Renata took the almost-2-year-old Hayden out for his first trick-or-treating excursion, Drea and I stayed behind to hand out candy and keep an eye on Jack.

This was when I had probably my first extended experience feeding an infant from a bottle. This was more of a challenge than I anticipated, as Jack engaged himself in an all-but-uninterrupted farting extravaganza the whole time, which resulting in a considerable amount of crying and allowing the bottle’s contents to dribble down his chin and neck. But I think I did OK for a rookie! (Diaper duty was averted as I realized that Jack had soiled himself only seconds before Tom and Renata returned. Score!)

The four of us ordered Chinese and debated over which movie to order. (The usually gore-averse Drea wanted to watch Interview With the Vampire – WHAT?) We eventually decided on Run, Fat Boy, Run, whose funny, off-beat humor made up for a somewhat predictable plot.

On Saturday night, Tom and I ended up driving to Lexington Park and back (110 miles roundtrip) because Drea and Renata lost their car keys at a wedding they were shooting down there. After dropping off a spare key, we grabbed some Taco Bell on the way back home with Hayden and Jack in tow. This is not unusual, as our wives are often off together on photo shoots on the weekends. We joke about how seeing two guys together with two kids probably leads some people to make incorrect assumptions about our lifestyle.

The weekend was topped off by meeting up with our life group people on Sunday night for a bonfire/pumpkin carving/fondue/Wii shindig, and much fun was had by all.

Life is good. Weekends are the bomb now. We miss living in Annapolis a little bit, but being closer to so many of our friends, and to our church, definitely makes weekends more relaxing and enjoyable. The fall colors are particularly stunning in our neck of the woods this week, and the weather is crisp and cool. AND (thank goodness) the Presidential race is over today! I’ve enjoyed the political conversations, debates, etc., but I’m definitely ready for it to be over.

Til next time, folks!


Drea and I recently got a Netflix account to replace our Blockbuster membership. (Side note: Netflix freaking rocks. If you rent more than 2 movies a month, it’s a better deal than Blockbuster, and more convenient in my opinion.)

Anyhow, I added “The Station Agent” to our Netflix queue on account of glowing reviews from my parents, as well as from a friend of Drea’s. We weren’t disappointed.

“The Station Agent” follows a man, Fin, who inherits an abandoned train station in rural New Jersey. Fin, a dwarf who’s painfully accustomed to being the center of attention, moves into the train station, hoping for a life of solitude. However, his attempts at seclusion are countered by the eager befriending efforts of his new neighbors. While this is initially of great annoyance to him, he eventually lets his guard down enough to realize he may need some friends after all, and they might need him too.

Along the way, we catch a glimpse into life as a dwarf. Fin seems to understand that most people aren’t used to seeing people like him, but is still appalled at their lack of discretion when they do. He wonders why people treat him differently when he’s just “a simple, boring person.” He ironically becomes much more than that as he emerges as a hero.

Drea’s keen awareness of symbolism makes her a fun person to watch movies with. She shrewdly observed the signifigance of Fin’s train station home, and his role as the “station agent.” I took note of the movie’s setting in the real New Jersey town of Newfoundland. Symbolism or pure coincidence? Did the director actually consult a map and hand-pick a town based on the symbolic value of its name? I can’t decide.

It doesn’t matter. It was a fantastic movie regardless. While the outcome is somewhat predictable, it’s the character development, not plot twists, that makes it a great movie. I wish more independent-type films like this made it to the big screen. Maybe recent blockbusters like “Juno” and “Napoleon Dynamite” are a good sign.

In any case, rent “The Station Agent”. You’ll love it.