Archive for December, 2002


My Diploma

December 30, 2002

I got it. I drove down to Marquette this morning and picked it up at the registrars office. I haven’t even left campus yet; I’m in the Brew Bayou staring at it. It reads

upon the recommendation of the faculty of the
the trustees of the university, by the authority vested in them, have conferred on
the degree of
with the rights and privileges thereto pertaining, and have granted this diploma testifying to the satisfactory completion of all the requirements for that degree, as witness their signatures and the seal of the university. Given at milwaukee, wisconsin, on the twenty-sixth day of december, in the year of our lord, two thousand two.

Update: Here’s a picture!



December 25, 2002

I have survived and enjoyed my 34th Christmas. Yesterday we went to my sister-in-law’s place for an early dinner. We were home welcoming a few friends over to our own house by 7. A good time was had by all. Nice gifts were given and received.

This morning the kids got Angela and I up at 7 to open more gifts. After a pot of coffee was put on and a fire lit, we let them open. There were the usual ooh’s and ahh’s and little surprises. Our pets didn’t get left out either. We spent the rest of the day yawning and enjoying our gifts. By 4 we had more guests: Angela’s mother and brother, who stayed for dinner.

After dinner Keith, the kids and I went off to see The Two Towers again; Keith hadn’t seen it yet. We left Angela here to relax. She looked like she could use a couple of hours to herself. Keith wasn’t dissapointed and I can tell you the movie holds up well under a second viewing.

On the ride home the kids and I were laughing and laughing. First we all cracked up about a line from a movie called Kung Pow: Enter the Fist: a martial arts master cautions his student not to rush into battle saying “let your anger be as a monkey in a pinata, hiding inside with the candy hoping the children do not break through with the stick.” I showed Daniel what the rear defogger and hazard buttons on the dashboard of the Pathfinder do. Paige reminded me that once when she had asked why they were called “stop and go lights” I responded with “they could call them ‘go and go lights’ but then nobody would stop, would they?” We all laughed. I asked Paige if she had a store of hundreds of funny things I’d told her over the years. She said she did. I’m glad.

Isn’t vacation great?


Vacation & Minority Report

December 23, 2002

I’ve been officially on vacation since Friday evening but I worked a couple of side jobs over the weekend. Nothing too difficult and it netted me a nice chunk of change which will help ease the post-holiday financial recovery. Speaking of which, we are done with our Christmas shopping.

Yesterday was a pretty decent day all around. I got up early, hit my side job by 10, gave them their money’s worth and ended up doing pretty well for myself in the process. Then Angela and I took Logan on a 3-mile walk in Minooka park. It was cold but we survived it fine. Daniel was spending the night at a friend’s house so we took Paige to Rocky Rococco’s for pizza and the salad bar. As if that wasn’t enough to qualify as a “good day,” we then stopped at Blockbuster and rented Minority Report.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a sci-fi / film noir action thriller based on a short story by Philip K. Dick starring Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was very clever: think Gattaca only with chases and explosions. I recommend it.

Today hasn’t been quite as great of a day so far. Some time during my 30’s I seem to have acquired an extreme dislike for sleeping past 8 am and today I snoozed until 10. I always feel slightly disorented and irritable when I do that. I’m hoping to turn my day around through achievement: grocery shopping, tae kwon do and getting Logan out for a walk this evening. They’re just everyday things, sure, but I figure if I get them done I’ll feel like the day wasn’t wasted.


Graduation Photos

December 19, 2002

I promised they’d be up soon and here they are. Enjoy!

All photos courtesy of Dan Johnson. Thanks again Dan.


The Two Towers

December 19, 2002

My family and I and some of our friends (10 of us in all) saw The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers last night. Did I like it? Yes! I could go on about it for an hour, but I don’t want to spoil everything for you. Let me just say this – Gollum (don’t look if you haven’t seen it!) is a fantastic acheivement. Andy Serkis was terrific both in his voice acting and in his physical movements (which were recorded and used to animate the computer generated figure). Perhaps the special effects artists should be credited as well – Gollum seemed so real that during closeups of his face I could almost smell his breath! A new standard in in special effects has definetly been created. Perhaps the writing team should be recognized for the brilliant dialogue. Maybe we should thank Peter Jackson for directing this performance.

Whatever magic combination of talents created this performance, it was wonderful. While I sat there in the dark I believed Gollum was real and, what’s more, I felt great empathy for him. Someone needs to win an award here, but who?

We doesn’t know, precious. We just doesn’t know!

After having seen this second film I begin to realize exactly what kind of Tolkien fan I am. I am enough of one to have read the book several times, even once out loud; enough of a fan to list it as my favorite book of all time; enough of a fan to delight when I see a favorite bit from the literature up on the screen; enough of a fan to know the background of the narrative while many moviegoers do not.

I am not the kind of fan, however, that is too much of a purist to enjoy a good film merely because it differs from the written work and not the kind of fan who feels cheated at every changed line of dialoge. Peter Jackson’s film interpretations are amazing and I am glad that I seem to have some kind of in-between status as a Tolkien enthusiast to enjoy it to it’s fullest as opposed to being either too clueless to really understand, or, on the other hand, too nerdy and rigid to give myself over to someone elses vision of Tolkien’s work.


Grad Pictures Soon!

December 17, 2002

Pictures of the graduaton ceremony are coming soon. Really. Dan handed me a CD this afternoon with 100 grad pictures on it. Only 9 of them are of me, but still. How nice is that?

Soon. Really. And here’s one little sample to tide you over.


Found on the Web

December 17, 2002

I’ve been busy, but I wanted to share some neat stuff I found on the web. Check out these gems:

Waitress gets $10,000 tip

Shigeru Miyamoto / Nintendo article

The 10,000-word version of The Lord of the Rings

Review of 3rd His Dark Materials book, The Amber Spyglass

Author David Brin provides insight into The Lord of the Rings