Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Where's the fighting?

Watched Cradle 2 the Grave last night -- rated it a 5. I keep hoping that Jet Li will finally be put in a good American action movie. Not only is he probably getting too old for that anymore, but it seems that Hollywood doesn't know how to make action movies anymore. This movie was not as bad as some I've seen lately. The action was not too bad, and the plot was decent, but pretty predictable and not really plausible. Jet Li is still enjoyable to watch though, so it wasn't a total loss.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

House Status 1.3

Well, the permits have been approved by the city -- finally!! The sewer lines have been staked out on the lot. Now just cross your fingers and hope the weather stays good so that our foundation can go in and set up quickly.

More mediocre

Watched Taking Lives last night -- rated it a 4. Why do I continually get lured in to watch these predictable thrillers? It's not thrilling at all. Although, I had to give it a point more than 3 just because there was one scene that made me jump out of my seat. Otherwise, same old; same old.

Monday, November 22, 2004

They don't know what to do with just one of me

Watched the director's cut ofThe Chronicles of Riddick last night -- a friend got it for me for my birthday -- rated it a 7. It's an enjoyable movie, but tries to take on too much. The world is too expansive for that short of a movie. That's why Pitch Black works so much better -- it is focused on one planet and the survival of one small group. Anyway, the director's cut does better in some areas such as adding explanation to a few plot points that were glossed over in the theatrical version. However it also does worse is other areas, such as changing some memorable lines and adding some dorky dream sequences. Still, in the end, I enjoyed the film overall and am happy to own it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Well, it is time to tell the story of St. Louis. We decided to go to the city for the weekend, as a little get-away and do some disc golfing and geocaching. First mistake -- we found our hotel online, basically choosing the one closest to downtown yet cheap. We ended up in the not-so-nice part of the neighborhood, but the room was decent and it was quiet, so we stayed. We drove out there Friday afternoon and tried to get a geocache in right before sunset. Second mistake -- driving around an unfamiliar city without a street map. We almost gave up, but was able to find it by using the light on Justin's LED keychain. Our next stop was the Walgreens on the way back for a map. That night we try to find a nice Italian restaurant to celebrate Justin's birthday. Third mistake -- driving around in an unfamiliar city on an empty, grumbling stomache. We settle for the questionable "Fresh Italian" that looks like a grill and bar from the outside. The food was not so bad, but it was crowded and loud. Luckily, there was a Baskin Robbins across the street, and we were able to end the day with some tasty ice cream. The next morning we did a little disc-golfing, but got disheartened when neither one of us played very well and we couldn't find the back nine (they were doing some construction, so we think it was just cut off). Anyway, we decide to focus on getting in a lot more geocaches, which starts off okay. We got to see a Spanish/German settlement established in 1789. Then we found an old Catholic grotto on the campus of UMSL made out of these awesome river stones (I wish I had taken a picture). Although one of the caches we gave up for lost, and the Souper Salad lunch was not great, the better part of Saturday went pretty well. We got cleaned up and headed downtown for dinner. I managed to somehow talk Justin into going to Landry's Seafood house and had an incredible crab feast that still has me smiling several days later. However, Justin's burger was so-so, and the waiter was unbelieveable, so instead of ordering a nice dessert there we end up at Baskin Robbins for a second night. Sunday morning the plan was to get in as many geocaches as possible before lunch and then head back to Kansas City. Our very first cache went fine, but then things slowed down as the next cache turned out to be on the far side of a small lake, which took about a 30 minute hike to get to. The third cache of the day was just inside Illinois, right next to the Mississippi river near the Old Chain Rocks Bridge. This bridge is now a small park, and I thought it would be cool to park on the Missouri side and walk across. I mean, how often do you get a chance to walk across the Mississippi river? So, I pull out my camera and take a few shots. Here you can see a cool lighthouse in the river, and at the left-hand edge of the city in the background is a very faint St. Louis Arch. Turns out this trip was our final mistake -- I hadn't paid attention to the sign that Justin had seen reading "Be sure to lock your car". We trek the one mile across the bridge, hike around in the woods to find the geocache on the far side, and then trek all the way back. As we are nearing the car, Justin calmly states, "Someone smashed your window." "What?" was all I could initially respond. I thought he was joking. "Someone broke your window," he repeated. And then I thought, "Oh no!" and looked first at the radio, which was untouched, and then to the floor where my purse should have been. Long story short -- four cars in the parking lot were all hit about the same time. One witness thinks it was a suspicious car full of teenagers, seen driving slowing in the lot. They hit the windows quickly, grabbed purses in a snatch, and hussled out of there. When the police arrived, they told me that this has been going on all summer -- this was about the 20th report he'd gotten in that area. Of course, most of the time I put my purse in the trunk. Or at least carry some cash and ID on my person. This would, as Murphy would have it, be the one time that I did neither. Furthermore, they grabbed Justin's backpack, which contained his cell phone and wallet full of cards too. The only upside was that I did have my cell phone, which enabled me to call my parents to the rescue. Without any identification, we couldn't even get a cash advance from any credit companies or wired money. We did manage to scrape a few dollars together from the change bucket in my car, and get enough gas to meet my parents half-way across Missouri. And now, although we are dealing with the hassle of cancelling all accounts and getting new credit cards ordered; new driver's licenses; new social security cards; new everything -- I am very thankful that no one was hurt; the window was the only damage to my car; I did have my cell phone so I could call 911; and the only valuable item taken was Justin's phone -- we probably only lost about $350 in total. The moral of the story -- don't go to St. Louis unless you have an armed guide.