Thursday, January 31, 2008

That's right, woodchuck-chuckers...

It's Groundhog Day!

Well, not yet... but it will be soon. To celebrate this year, we're finally taking our friend Brent's annual offer to go celebrate in Punxsutawney, PA. As a huge fan of the Bill Murray movie it can't possibly live up to my expectations, but I'm hoping it'll be fun anyway. I promise to take some pictures and write all about it when we get back.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Let the Spoiling Begin!

Yahoo, I'm an uncle!

It happened sooner than it was supposed to, but on Sunday, January 27th around 6:00 PM Soren James decided he'd put his mom through enough strain and joined the world. He's about six weeks early, but he still manages to tip the scales at a whopping 1'6", 5 lb 14 oz. Baby and mother are doing okay by all accounts, considering his early arrival, although Soren has to stay at the hospital for awhile until he's ready to go home.

I've immediately stepped up to fulfill my unclely duties by spending some of my tax refund (that's right - January and already done) on a big package of neat baby stuff for the little guy. I'm sure I'll be tempted to do more of the same as my bonus and "recovery rebate" come in later this year. Boy, being an uncle is hard.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Is Anybody Else Missing TV Yet?

So unless you've been living in a cave (or just don't watch a lot of TV), you probably know that the Writers Guild of America has been on strike since early November. At first, the effects on my viewing were mostly positive. New shows from the fall were given a longer time than normal to find an audience. Remarkably, only one show (Viva Laughlin) was cancelled before running out of episodes. That means that I got to see 13 episodes of a lot of things that might have otherwise been cancelled, like Journeyman, Chuck, Reaper, and Pushing Daisies.

Now that we're in the new year and episodes of nearly every program have begun to run dry, things are beginning to look down:

- There are less than 10 new shows this Spring season that aren't reality based, and most of them will only have 6 or 7 episodes
- The entire season of 24 (one of my favorite shows) has been cancelled
- The Golden Globes awards ceremony was cancelled, and the Oscars can't be very far behind
- The chance of new programming on TV next year is endangered, as no one is writing pilot episodes to be bid on by the networks

I know what you're thinking, "Brian, there are tons of other things you can be doing with your time instead of watching TV. This is good for you." That's true. I've done a lot over the past couple months that I should really write about:

- Meaghan and I used our new Walker Art Center membership to go see the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibit. If you live in the area, you have one last chance to see it this weekend before it closes.
- I've seen a ton of excellent movies lately, like Atonement, No Country for Old Men, Juno, The Golden Compass, and Bridge to Terabithia. If I never get around to talking about them individually, I recommend them to everyone.
- We started a broomball team in the Minneapolis City League with people from Meaghan's school program. We're horrible, but it's been a lot of fun.
- We got a new membership to the Minnesota Zoo. We haven't been yet, but we're planning on sponsoring one of their sun bears in February as they're one of Meaghan's favorite animals.

None of that cancels out the fact that I miss getting new episodes of my favorite shows every week. Oh well. Maybe if the strike drags on long enough, I'll learn to not miss it so much anymore.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Did You Know There Are Penguins?

Well, now thanks to Penguin Awareness Day you do. Despite my fancy calendar, I'm not entirely sure that today really is Penguin Awareness Day, but just in case it's not (some sources list it as January 20th) I thought I would at least make you aware of Penguin Awareness Day.

To celebrate, do some research on penguins, watch a classy movie about penguins (like Surf's Up) or a Chilly Willy cartoon, race a penguin, or just laugh at the fact that there is a Penguin Awareness Day. I think I'll be doing the last of those.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Today is National Static Electricity Day. Who knew the calendar was full of so many random commemorations? Be sure to celebrate by hopping in and out of your car over and over or dragging your feet on the carpet and then touching your favorite person. For the less sadistic, consider rubbing a balloon on your head and sticking it to the wall.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

American Gladiators Redux

Yes, it's cheesy. Yes, it's kind of lame. But it might just be the best bad television you will ever watch. NBC's all new "American Gladiators" debuted Sunday and Monday and Meaghan and I had a fantastic time watching it.

If you're not familiar with the concept, American Gladiators is an athletic competition in which four contestants (two male, two female) compete against each other and a collection of Herculean "gladiators" in a series of events. It was originally a syndicated show that aired for 8 seasons back in the early 90s. It became so popular in its day that they even had special celebrity competitions (check out Lois & Clark's Dean Cain vs. Scrubs' John C. McGinley). Incidentally, if you have ESPN Classic and are looking for a blast from the past, they've started airing original episodes recently. If I had a fancy setup, I'm sure I'd tell my DVR to record it.

This incarnation is a little on the WWF side (it even has Hulk Hogan as the host) as the Gladiators' personas are being played up a lot more this time around, but the athleticism is still real and entertaining to watch. They all have a schtick to go along with their character: a special salute, a unique pose, a Samoan dance, awesome quotes that sound like they came right out of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! You know the sort of thing I mean. The best of the lot is easily this guy named Wolf. His schtick is his look, and the fact that he howls like a wolf before, during, and after events. You'd think it would get old, but the guy delivers it with such panache.

Meaghan and I spend about half of our time marveling at the athletic prowess on display, half of it laughing at the ridiculous things everyone says, and half of it imagining what it would be like if we were on the show. If you were a fan of the original, or this sounds like your kind of thing, I highly recommend it. Just try your best to tune out the Hulkster. It's best if watched with a friend, as it's hard to fully enjoy if you don't have anyone to laugh with.

You can catch the new Gladiators on NBC Monday nights at 8:00/7:00.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Can't Drive 55

One of the gifts that I got for Christmas was a homemade 2008 calendar that Meaghan put together for me. Along with all the design work that went into it (drawing, cutting, pasting, etc.), she also researched a real holiday for every day of the year. Over the course of 2008, I hope to share some of these with everyone.

We all know that yesterday was New Year's Day, but did you know that today is 55 MPH Speed Limit day? It probably doesn't really exist anymore as the speed law was repealed in the 90s, but it's to commemorate the signing into law of the 55 MPH national limit back on Jan. 2, 1974. I didn't know that the speed limits were higher back before I was born, but I guess I never really thought about it before.

In honor of the day, I'm going to attempt to actually drive the speed limit everywhere I go today. Wish me luck!