Tag Archives: Mister

March Madness or Gladness?

It’s that time of year!

It’s that time of year!

What a wonderful, long weekend of NCAA basketball upsets we just had! March Madness once again lives up to its name.

With the Mister and our younger son out of town at a disc golf tournament, I didn’t have to share the big-screen Samsung with anyone. Which meant I could work the remote (switching among all four TV stations the games were on) and, especially, the mute button (hate those AT&T commercials with suit guy and the little kids!) as much as I pleased.

It was sheer bliss!

Well, except when my alma mater Illinois failed to knock off Miami last night. Not that I had the Illini winning in my bracket, but I would’ve loved if they had busted it.

Hate all those green X’s.

Hate all those green X’s.

Speaking of brackets, here’s mine so far. Woeful prognostication! Despite that, though, I’m looking very good in the competition against the Mister, the kid, and eight others, mostly because I’m the only one with my Final Four still playing.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’ll live to see Atlanta. But I remain hopeful.

Meanwhile, the Mister is practically out of the competition, because he went with his heart instead of his head and picked Gonzaga to win the title. I didn’t think they’d even make the Final Four.

The real excitement for the three of us, though, is how well Florida Gulf Coast is playing. A relatively new school, this no-name has won two games and is the first 15th seed to make the Sweet 16! Why do we care?

We’ve dropped a few bucks in a random tournament squares pool. Three of our teams—Virginia Commonwealth, Creighton, and South Dakota State—have returned to their studies. But our fourth team is FGCU! I had never heard of them and figured that VCU might be our best shot. But so far FGCU is giving us points.

Maybe we’ll break even for a change!

“The Lincoln Lawyer”: Hunk City

Matthew McConaughey looks mighty fine on the hood of the Lincoln.

Wow! It’s been four long weeks since the Mister and I have been to a movie. Too many two-day disc golf tournaments meant that the AMC Theaters almost sent out search dogs looking for their favorite $5 matinee customers (“Where are those cheapskates?”).

Ryan Phillippe is accused of a crime he says he didn’t commit.

We made our comeback this past weekend with “The Lincoln Lawyer.” The Mister actually believed me when I said I wanted to see it, because the movie looked like a good legal thriller. Anyone have a bridge to sell the poor guy?

Josh Lucas’ blue eyes are mesmerizing.

I can’t imagine very many women who wouldn’t want to see a flick that stars a trio of hunks: Lead actor and the Lincoln lawyer himself, Matthew McConaughey; prosecutor Josh Lucas; and victim or victimizer Ryan Phillippe. Do I really need to remember what the movie was about?

Fortunately, the eye candy didn’t distract too much from the film, which was very good. McConaughey plays Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney whose office is his Lincoln Town Car. He takes on what should be an easy case in which Louis Roulet (Phillippe) is accused of rape and attempted murder. Soon we’re taken on a roller coaster ride and watch as Haller has to discover who the real Roulet is while getting tangled up in his own ethical dilemma.

Marisa Tomei plays Haller’s ex-wife who happens to be a prosecutor.

The acting is superb, which isn’t a surprise considering that Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy (whose long hair does not become him) have big roles. Well-paced (zero Timex checks for me) and entertaining, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a good ride.

Our iPad at Day #17

Chase plays Smule’s Magic Piano app for iPad.

Our iPad has held our family captive for 17 days now. Here’s an update:

We love our iPad as much if not more than we did on day #1! It continues to be a great multimedia device niched in between my iPhone and the boys’ iPod Touches and my MacBook. It still is not a laptop replacement, even though I rarely use my MacBook anymore (but the #2 son surfs the web on it when I’m using the iPad in the living room). Rather it’s like a standalone e-book reader or netbook on steroids. And it has great battery life.

Chase checks out the Tap Tap Radiation app for iPad.

Here’s how we used our 16GB iPad this weekend: I downloaded Tap Tap Radiation (a free app) and bought Smule’s fascinating Magic Piano app. Then I gave the iPad to my #1 son and my “third son” Chase to see what they thought of the two apps. Chase immediately went to town using them. Yes, the Tap Tap apps leave a bushelful of fingerprints all over the iPad (which is why I keep a cleaning cloth nearby), but both boys love them.

Exercise for your fingers? Only this computer generation would think that’s apropos!

The Magic Piano is just the coolest app; well worth 99 cents (this is coming from someone who only likes free apps!). Have you seen the YouTube video of the cat using the iPad (which, by the way, you could watch on your iPad)? He “plays” this piano!

The iPad case improves the iPad-viewing experience.

The #1 son and I both read e-books from Apple’s iBook store on our iPad this weekend. Now that we have Apple’s iPad case, it’s so much easier to hold or prop up the device and to carry it. Totally recommended!

When our family went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch Sunday, our iPad, of course, came along for the ride. BWW has free wifi (thank you!), so I started by checking out something on the ’net. Then I passed the iPad to the Mister, who wanted to look at disc golf results. Next, the #2 son also read those stats and then played the Magic Piano. The iPad kept us thoroughly entertained!

It also intrigued the wait staff, several of whom gathered around me as we were leaving, wanting to see the iPad in action. Of course, I obliged them by putting the iPad through its paces, ending with my patented slideshow of some of my photos (the iPad is great for showing off!).

I felt like the belle of the ball! But it really was the iPad that stole the show.

Percy Jackson vs. Harry Potter: Demigod vs. Wizard

Instead of seeing “Valentine’s Day” on that holiday, we instead went to “Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief.” That’s what happens when you let the kids vote.

The #1 son had read the Rick Riordan fantasy and was keen to see how it played out on the big screen. I had been intrigued by the trailer (“It’s just a pen!”), hoping that all the good parts hadn’t been revealed in it.

Good news: They weren’t!

For those of you who haven’t heard of the book or the movie, Percy Jackson is surprised to find out that he’s a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Yes, even though he can sit on the bottom of a swimming pool for seven minutes! Apparently, Olympus gods (not to be confused with Olympics gods) mate with mortals but aren’t allowed to help raise their kids. Sounds like the kind of daddy issues we see all the time on “Lost!”

Percy goes on an adventure (helping to save the world, natch) with two other demigods. The movie is action-packed; I was on the edge of my seat for most of the computer-generated scenes (which were terrific). It’s well-acted and leads nicely into what surely will be yet another movie, because there are five books in the series. What’s great about the novels is that they teach kids Greek mythology (Riordan was an English and history teacher) in an entertaining, unforgettable way.

Uma Thurman made a spell-binding Medusa (note the iPod).

After seeing the movie and recommending it to others, I thought I’d check out Rotten Tomatoes and see what the people who get paid to watch films thought. Apparently, half agreed with me.

The half that didn’t see things my way (so, of course, they’re wrong) seemed fixated on something that never occurred to me while I was sitting next to the Mister rooting on Percy: The book/movie is similar to those featuring one Harry Potter, a literary favorite of the #1 son and myself. Here’s what some of those cranky reviewers had to say:

“So trite and ludicrous it is no threat to the Harry Potter franchise.”—Jackie K. Cooper

“. . . an attempt to replicate the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.”—Robin Clifford

“Very American, very crass and very underwhelming.”—Allan Hunter


“Maybe if you’re aged between eight and 12, or exceptionally dim-witted, you may not notice that this is a tenth-rate rip-off of Harry Potter, with Greek mythology taking the place of magic.”—Christopher Tookey

Double ouch! That one stung. Because if I’m not between the ages of 8 and 12 (which, of course, I am not), then I guess I’m exceptionally dim-witted. But then I noticed that Tookey writes for Britain’s “Daily Mail” (who can name the Beatles song that references that publication?). He might opine that being a Texan would make me even dimmer-witted than most Americans. Good thing I still consider myself to be a Midwesterner!

By the way, it can’t rip off Harry, because Riordan wrote his tale in 1994 (though it wasn’t published until 2005); J.K. Rowling’s first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was published in 1997.

“A slab of market research in search of an actual movie.”—Tim Robey

What? I guess I’m too dim-witted to understand this sentence.

“While the Hogwarts saga may be getting long in the tooth, at least it has decent characters and a sense of humour. This has neither.”—David Edwards (yet another British reviewer)

Pierce “Giddyap!” Brosnan

No decent characters? Two words: Pierce Brosnan. Who played a centaur, for goodness sakes!

Here’s my take on Percy vs. Harry: Of course, both main characters are going to have two good friends. And one key similarity that most people might miss is that in order to stay safe, both Percy and Harry have had to live with disgusting people (for Percy, it’s his stepfather; for Harry, it’s the Dursleys).

But Percy was a mama’s boy, which I loved, of course. Poor Harry didn’t really know his parents. And the “Lightning Thief” movie had such a clever use of a shiny iPod—no magical iPods in Harry’s world.

The universal themes of friendship, loyalty, and love that both films espouse aren’t copyrighted by HP and Rowling. Any writer can explore and present them in their own way. I think Percy and Harry can stand both on their own and side by side as wonderful characters.

If you want to be transported to a different, mythological world, go see Percy Jackson (especially with kids). It’s a great ride! Oh, and be sure to stay for the credits.

Time Out for Cute Kids

My buddy Ben

When I was taking photos of our high school’s freshmen boys’ basketball teams last Saturday (that hopefully will be posted tomorrow to finish up my Basketball Jones series), I couldn’t help but notice two cuties: Ben and his sister Megan.

You might remember my buddy Ben from this flag football blog post. He’s the one who was convinced that the balding, white-haired Mister was my grandfather (it’s become one of our family’s favorite stories; it always makes us laugh).

Megan checks out what Ben is doing.

Ben, who is in second grade, and Megan, a fourth-grader, were at the game watching their big brother Matt play. They were sitting right by me in the bleachers, so I couldn’t help but occasionally train my Nikon 85mm lens on them instead of on the action.

Megan seems amused.

With cute faces like these . . . .

Ben is all smiles!

Is it any wonder I was distracted?!?