Weekend Purchases

It’s rare that I actually buy something for myself that you could consider a splurge. Especially wth how tight money has been, it’s all been going toward student loan payments, paying off my credit cards and straight to the bank. I’ll spend money to go out and have some drinks or see a movie. Some days I’ll even buy a nice shirt or two, but these I used a lot.

But at last, this Friday, I decided I needed to buy a little something for me to enjoy.

It began innocently enough a few weeks back. The Watchmen movie hype was building and my friend Chaz’s new endeavor is to read the book of an upcoming movie. So it came to pass that he let me borrow his copy of the graphic novel Watchmen. I was absolutely hooked after a chapter. The collection became a must purchase after reading Chapter IV. So after work on Friday, in celebration of the weekend, I decided to hit up the nearest bookstore and buy my own copy.

And then I took  wrong turn.

I was heading the normal way home. It totally slipped my mind. So I think to myself, whre is the nearest bookstore?

It’s at the mall.

Dangerous territory. I LOVE shopping. I knew my wallet would be a casualty of my obsession. Luckily, Sears has less than desirable clothing, so I was able to scurry through there quite easily. The bookstore is right outside, so there was a chance to escape relatively unscathed.

Watchmen was waiting for me on the first shelf as I walked in. I quickly picked out a copy and bought it. This was perhaps my mistake. I looked at the time, I smelled the aroma of food court Oriental food, and I saw the bright lights and flashy displays outside of the bookstore. And I soon walked in that direction.

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In all seriousness, I can control myself and not buy ridiculous things. It was just wonderful to start out my weekend like this, just walking around and looking at clothes. I finally was able to relax after a tiring, stressful week. I went to Burlington Coat Factory to see if there was anything nice… and of course there was. In particular, I found a very nice light green graphic T shirt. I just couldn’t convince myself to buy it.

So I moved on.

Then came Macy’s. A great selection, but a little too pricey for now. And by this point, I wasn’t looking to spend my money anyway.

Then I ventured into GameStop, just to see if there was anything new. Oh the horror.

Buy Two Pre Owned games, Get 1 Free.

So I looked, and I looked, and I reviewed and looked. And I finally decided on my games.

Rock Band

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The game that ushered in a new era of “co op” or party gaming. I have RB2, but I was needing the songs from RB1. And once I get Xbox Live in a few weeks, it will all be neatly organized on the Xbox hardrive. This was the “free” game.

Halo 3

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To complete my collection, I had to have 3. Plus it’s still fun to play on Live, I’m sure… until I get pwned by 12 year olds… which could happen sooner than you think. I haven’t played in a LONG time!

Call of Duty: World at War

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This game has to have the most amazing graphics I have ever seen. The game play is challenging. A STEEP learning curve awaits any wanna-be privates out there. But it is definitely fun, and an appeal to gamer patience, rational, and strategy. My patience is getting better… but I still can’t stand getting killed by grenades!

So all in all, it was a great little spending spree. I’m addicted to CoD 5, and it sounds so scary on surround sound! I will have to pop Halo in soon to see how the story ends!

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Bond, James Bond

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I have anticipated this movie for MONTHS I tell you. Truth be told, I never was into the Bond movies. The only one I really liked was Goldeneye, and I can tell you that it mas mostly due to the sheer awesomeness of the videogame for Nintendo 64. A classic. After Goldeneye, I really feel that the Pierce Brosnan portrayal began to miss the mark by becoming more and more preposterously absurd. I can appreciate how the written versions (were they novels?) function, but towards the end of the previous set of movies, debonaire was being trumped by extreme stretches in plot, and the believable was compromised by ridiculous stunts and effects.

The franchise needed a break, a new perspective, and a new Bond. Speculation surrounding the Bond vacancy mounted, and the biggest of Bond geeks pondered who would fill the role.

Daniel Craig was introduced as the new Bond a few years back, which was met by seemingly unanimous disapproval. The biggest concern of the public’s outcry? Craig had the accent down, as he is, of course, a native Englishman.

The looks? Not so much.

He’s much more rugged than the previous castings. Many people’s opinions were downright brutal. In their eyes, Craig was just plain unattractive.

But of course, his looks only coincided with the new brand of Bond as the franchise continued with Casino Royale in 2006. I myself was skeptical. I wasn’t too big of a Bond fan at the time, and only went because my dad had wanted to see it. I can only say that Craig absolutely nailed the part, as he succeeds in his portrayal of a darker, more ruthless Bond.

Craig’s second Bond film, Quantum of Solace, comes out this Friday, November 14. It has already been released in other world markets, and the reviews have been stellar. I’m trying not too read too much because I really don’t want to ruin anything!

What also caught my attention today was an article I read regarding an interview with former Bond actor Roger Moore. His comments about the new direction of Bond are interesting, and I can certainly see where he is coming from, but I don’t agree. This is like the 23rd Bond film, and most of them follow the same formula. It was about time the character was invigorated with some old fashioned over the top (in a good way) action. It was about time that the only thing that didn’t motivate James Bond was “little Bond.”

Believe me, I get it. James Bond can get any woman out of their clothes with his sweet talk and whatever. Good for him. I’m sure it would get old after a while. Now we have an emotional, more human Bond (he even looks more human, because of his “numerous” flaws according to critics!) that appeals to more of the audience. Before, Bond was an ideal- the super suave, rich, masculine, and government employed super spy (I’m sure his government work comes with a nice pension).

Anywho, here’s the article. Read it. What do you think? While it’s obvious that Moore is concerned with the integrity of the Bond character regarding possible Hollywood corruption, the tone comes across as a bit condescending!

As Chaz, the heap’s movie expert said, “He wasn’t even a good Bond! He was second worst!”

Roger Moore dislikes the more violent James Bond
Tuesday November 11 12:45 PM ET

Movie audiences nowadays expect scenes of graphic violence in James Bond movies, unlike when Roger Moore played the super spy with a tongue-in-cheek humor, the actor believes.

“I am happy to have done it, but I’m sad that it has turned so violent,” Moore said before “Quantum of Solace,” starring Daniel Craig as a darker Agent 007, opens in North America on Friday.

“That’s keeping up with the times, it’s what cinema-goers seem to want and it’s proved by the box-office figures,” Moore told Reuters in an interview about his memoir, “My Word is My Bond.”

The new Bond film opened in London on Oct 31, breaking the British weekend box-office record with a gross of $25 million. It has taken in more than $106 million worldwide so far.

Moore, 81, recalled being appalled at the violence in “A View to a Kill,” the 1985 movie which was the last of the seven in which he played Bond. “That wasn’t Bond,” he said.

In his book, Moore writes of his distaste for guns, ever since he was shot in the leg by a friend with a BB gun as a teenager.

While making “The Man With the Golden Gun,” director Guy Hamilton wanted Bond to be tougher and had him threaten to break Maud Adams‘ character‘s arm to get information, he writes. “That sort of characterization didn’t sit well with me, but Guy was keen to make my Bond a little more ruthless.

“I suggested my Bond would have charmed the information out of her by bedding her first. My Bond was a lover and a giggler, but I went along with Guy,” the British actor wrote.

Moore has not yet seen “Quantum of Solace,” but based on Craig’s first Bond film, “Casino Royale,” believes it will be a success in North America too.

“Daniel has done one Bond and he was in ‘Munich‘ and … he’s done a lot of stuff, but his face, after one Bond film, that’s all he needs. He is Bond.”

Asked about his own legacy as an actor known mostly for playing Bond and in TV series such as “The Saint,” and “The Persuaders,” with Tony Curtis, Moore said: “I would love to be remembered as one of the greatest Lears or Hamlets. But as that’s not going to happen I’m quite happy I did Bond.”

His memoir is full of anecdotes about Hollywood and the stars he worked with such as Vivien Leigh, Mae West and Lana Turner. He also tells of his bust-up with Grace Jones during the filming of “A View to a Kill,” when he forcibly pulled the plug on her stereo and flung a chair against the wall because she was playing loud rock music.

The only child of a south London policeman, Moore also writes about growing up before and during World War Two, of evacuation to the country and air raids and getting — and being fired from — his first job with a cartoon film company.

By the time he was called up, the war was over, but he served as an officer in Allied occupied Germany, where he ended up in the Army’s entertainment regiment.

That was his entree into show business, along with his marriage to British singer Dorothy Squires.

“You’re not that good, so smile a lot when you come on!” his first repertory theater manager told him. His first wife, who was a professional ice skater, was no less encouraging: “You’ll never be an actor, your face is too weak, your jaw is too big and your mouth’s too small.”

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Trashman Chronicles I

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I’d like to say that I’m slowly starting to realize my role in this world of ours, even if currently it’s just one trash bag at a time. That’s right, loyal heapsters. Me, your master heaper, has been making use of his Notre Dame diploma by being a trash man. Is the economy really that bad, that a qualified, charming young man as myself can’t get a decent job, or at least a better smelling one?

Someone get me a Hooverville.

No it’s not that bad, friends. It was about time for that life update now, wouldn’t you say? Well truthfully, the only reason I had to do this now is because I’ll actually be up to some pretty cool stuff in the next few weeks which inadvertently fall in the life update category. So obviously I couldn’t tell you about what I’m doing if I haven’t told you what and where I’ve been!

Really though, garbage has been my business for 4 years already at Notre Dame. It was the reason I was able to pay my bills and go out and drink. It also paid for numerous date nights, DQ blizzards, and Golden Dragon. If you know my work history, I have a tendency to prefer manual labor type jobs. While many people my age go and get their internships or work at malls and stuff, I would jump right into the assembly line of a truck cabin factory (Leggett & Platt, formerly known as America’s Body Company), or go work in houses for my dad’s contracting business. For me, learning various Cuban dialectal phrases, getting second degree burns from welding, and bucking rivet after rivet in a literal sweatshop did it for me. It was an income at least, and I feel I learned pretty valuable lessons in relating with people who come from diverse backgrounds.

Oh, and how the trash is no different. I’m not your typical garbageman. I don’t get to ride around on the compactor on wheels. No, my endeavor involves picking up trash bags from the doorsteps of apartments. The catch? Stories… the type with stairs leading to them. There are 62 flights of stairs I have to go up and down every day. Yes, exactly 62. I’ve counted. Not to mention the walking involved to get to said staircases in my sprawling metropolis that is the Colonial Grand apartment complex. I work for a company called Valet Waste, and I get 275 dollars a week for roughly 15 hours worth of work. I work Sunday – Thursday nights starting at 8 until I finish (usually 10:30). Sundays I bring a partner, because as you can guess, we’re picking up trash accumulated by my wonderful residents from Friday and Saturday. Lucky for you I took some pictures so you can see me in action!

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That’s me in my sweet super reflecting vest. I guess I forgot to say no flash photography while we worked. And there’s the car magnet with our company name.

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The next few paragraphs probably belong in The Rant. I’ll try to control myself. This is a pic of the crap that has failed to make it into the compactor because some of the residents don’t know how to do that. What’s easier than leaving stuff in a pile right?

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Ohhhhh, here’s our answer. A totally packed compactor. Makes sense. Except that the residents could just hit the “Compact” button a rid the problem. No, that would be too simple. The brilliance of the management here at CG feel that compactor activation can only be handled by us or themselves. I can sure as heck guarantee you they don’t come in on the weekends to make sure that it’s not backed up. See, every profession has to deal with various stressful issues!

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Here’s our resident movie expert Chaz helping me out on a Sunday. He’s got his hook shot down pat. Nothing but truck.

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And here is the inspiration for the title of everyone’s favorite blog! After going up and down stairs retrieving bags full of who knows what, we finally have a full load. That’s a lot of bags!

And well, summer really wasn’t too exciting. I’ve gone to some Rays games. Spent a lot of time at home just relaxing and winding down from my time at ND. Spent time with family and friends. Everything I’ve needed. I’ve applied for a few jobs, interviewed a few times, but nothing has really worked out. I’m not really trying that hard I guess. I’ve been mulling over my life direction, pondering what is my calling, and I think I have known all along. I belong in the field of education, and ultimately perhaps administration. It’s funny, because when I do the trash, I feel I have my best talks with God and have been able to effectively reflect on the issue of the day. I felt the happiest imagining my classroom, grading and commenting on papers, teaching the importance of effective writing, and just talking about and acting out scenes from a Shakespeare play to awkward silence. I love it. I love the idea of me doing it. I would be happy. But ultimately, I feel I could be an asset to the community through administrative duties, such as a principalship or something like that. I’d like to get in the classroom as soon as possible and start working towards that.

But of course the GREATEST part of my summer was Angel’s visit! She came to stay for 5 days in the middle of July, and we had a total blast. How’s this for a surprise? She had me believing that she was coming in late in the night, and she showed up at my door in the afternoon! In shock, all I could say was a bewildered “What are YOU doing here!” And then we went with the fam to Olive Garden. And of course, we went to the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight!. Friday we relaxed, and we ended up going bowling with my HS friends. That was a lot of fun. Saturday we went to Disney, where we managed to visit 3 of the 4 parks in a 14 hour period. Ridiculous. It was so romantic watching fireworks at the end of a long, tiring day. But of course, Tower of Terror provided the BEST photo op of the trip. Check out the Tazmanian death grip on my hand!

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Things are going quite well between us, and I’m actually going over to Texas to go visit her! Sunday was also a great day, because it was family dinner night! Everyone came over, including Mike and Chaz, for an authentic Puerto Rican meal, complete with a side of “Mooseballs” and my very own delectable cheesecake cupcakes! And of course this was followed by some hardcore Rock Band and a game of Shout About Movies… that was a tough loss. I’ll never hear the end of it. And Finally Monday we went to the beach! Perfect weather in St. Pete, as we had been getting our typical 3 pm showers most of the days she was here. Tuesday, she went back home! So sad!

So that’s what’s been going on heapsters. Just living the dream, you could say. I’m surviving. I wish you all the best in your current endeavors. They are certainly quite broad, ranging from Law and grad school to teaching in interesting parts of the country to the top of windmills in the Mohave Desert. I promise to have more regular updates on what I’ve been up to! There should be one on Saturday!

I’ll leave you with a picture I took at the apartment complex where I work, where they have small ponds close to a wooded area as a reminder to look for beauty even in the trashiest of times!

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“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Fahrenheit 451

For many fans of Ray Bradbury, this line resonates (and perhaps continues to resonate anytime they see a book) in the minds and hearts of all who contemplate the future of published literature, especially with the current explosion of growth of paperless technology. The opening line of Fahrenheit 451 eeriely introduces the destruction of books, and leaves an indeliable implication of future. One of my favorite books. The movie version, made in 1966, starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie… not so much. THANKFULLY, (I happened to stumble upon this, because I wondered the rating of the 1966 movie which you can read about here) they are remaking it! I am definitely curious how it will turn out with today’s creativity and technology, as well as acting talent. It is slated for a 2010 release, and you can keep up with it on the Fahrenheit 451 (2010) page.

Of course, what REALLY sparked my interest was a list a found on Yahoo: Top 30 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.

If you check it out, there are some really surprising choices (as well as sci-fi staples). What really baffled me was the positioning of some of the choices, as well as obvious films which weren’t included. In the upcoming days, Chaz, the movie expert of the heap. and myself will try to right the wrong, and come up wth our own list, so make sure you come back! And if you want, leave a comment about movies that you want to see on the list, feel shouldn’t be on the list, or about the positioning of movies on the list!

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