Best TV Show That I Just Watched

Best TV Show That I Just Watched
Parks & Recreation

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Long story long- part 1

About a week ago, I made a facebook post and said- Long Story short- now, here's the long story long:

On Monday, March 2nd, my parents left Hurricane, Utah for a 6 week long trip. They were planning on taking their sweet time to get to Atlanta, GA and get back home. They were going to travel until they wanted to stop and see something or until they were done travelling for the day. They have made a vow to never be stressed and rush to get someplace again. I had been calling them every night until Thursday when I had a weekly movie night that lasted until a late time and I was sure they would already be asleep.
Friday came and, after staying late at work and some traffic issues and errands that needed to be taken care of as soon as I got home, and, again, I felt they would be asleep, so I would call them on Saturday.
On Saturday, March 27th, Aleisha and I had a busy morning and afternoon planned, so I was going to call them in the late afternoon. We took one of our cats, Harry to the vet to get an anal issue taken care of (not the reason for this post, so I will skip that). Then, we returned from the vet and went immediately to a bowling birthday family for several of our nieces and nephews (Aleisha's blog has more on that). While bowling, one of my eyeglass screws came out and we lost it.
My phone was charging and so I did not get the two messages they left for me until we returned from the bowling party. Instead of listening to the messages, I just called them immediately back to hear about their vacation since Wednesday night.
My Mom asked me if I had listened to the messages and I said no, so she told me that they were in San Antonio at the University Hospital. On Friday night, they had gone to the San Antonio Riverwalk, eaten good food, including a batch of onion rings, and had returned to their room.
My dad loves Onion rings, even though they make him bloat and very gaseous, but, as my doctor had once told me, if the consequences are worth it, do the thing that you love. My dad loves onion rings and was ready for the bloating and pain.
Only the pain and the bloating made it so he could not sleep on Friday night. He was writhing in pain most of the night with a dull ache on his right side. Saturday morning came and he went to the bathroom and proceeded to vomit blood. A lot of it. Because my dad is a man who likes to have things clean (while not a neat freak, he loves order more than chaos), he proceeded to clean up the blood which had splattered on the walls and the floor before he woke up my mom. (I just hope that no murder is committed in that room any time soon). He then woke up my mom. They decided to get him to the hospital since blood vomiting is always a sign of something wrong (or at least it is on the TV show House).
They were lucky to find themselves only about a mile away from the hospital complex in San Antonio. I say hospital complex because that's what it is. There are 4 hospitals all in the same area. They are back-to-back-to-back-to back encompassing a square chunk in the Northwest part of the city. There is the Baptist hospital, the Methodist hospital (heaven forbid these two faiths should have to help the other religion's sick and infirm), the VA hospital, and the University hospital. My parents chose the University hospital and went to the ER.
While waiting in the ER, they heard that several people had been waiting for over 24 hours. They heard several interesting stories (a pregnant teen who had been beaten in the face with a pipe and a young woman who was mentally unstable and told the nurses 5 different stories of why she was there were just 2 of them). After talking to some of the nurses and a doctor, they were told that it is possible to "bleed out" from the inside and it was very dangerous. My dad had a bowel movement and there was a lot of blood in there as well.
My mom then found out that one gentleman in the ER had been there for 36 hours. She went to the desk and told them that they were on vacation and she could drive my dad home in 36 hours if they had to wait that long, which got my dad in and got him a room, eventually.
During this time, I called and got to hear my dad's health issues. My mom said he was extremely weak and that, as soon as he got released from the hospital, they were ending their vacation and going home. However, the part about bleeding out scared them both and they were concerned for everyone's safety. So, they asked if I would mind going to San Antonio to help with the return trip.
After a quick bit of schedule planning, I got a ticket for Sunday morning that would get me to San Antonio Sunday afternoon. (Thanks to Steve Z. for giving us the info for his travel agent to make this quick flight out request.)
There were a few airport and airplane issues(long security checkpoint lines, a carryon bag that would not fit in the jammed overhead compartments), but I got on my way.
The flight was excellent, but I was concerned about how to get to the hospital from the airport. I have never taken a taxi and, since we had spent a large portion of our available funds to take our cat to the vet, I only had $40 dollars to take on the trip with me.
As we were getting ready to land, I asked my seat partener how far University hospital was from the airport. He said about 8 miles. I asked him if a taxi was the best way, and he said that there was an airport to hospital bus route that was actually better, but, being a Sunday, he wasn't sure how often they ran. I asked him how much the taxi rate was and he said that he didn't live far from the hospital and, if I could pay $20 to help pay for his $40 long term parking rate, he would be glad to take me to the hospital. I gladly took him up on his offer.
He took me straight to the hospital and, as we pulled up, I saw my mom waiting just outside the entrance. I thanked my partner for the ride and followed my mom to my dad's room.
My father is a retired cop, and it shows. He is 6'2 and very strong. I couldn't even venture to guess weight, but he has always been a thick, strong individual. When you saw him in his uniform with his gun drawn, he scared you. This time, however, he scared me in a different way. As he reached up to hug me, his arms felt very weak and he looked very pale. This is how I know I will eventually see him on a regular basis- I just hope it takes another 15 or so years.
My dad has had a disease for the last 25 years or so called Barret's disease. Basically, it is extremely strong acid reflux disease which has eaten away his valve seperating his stomach from his esophagos, and now he has an endoscopy every year to make sure that the disease is not progressing to its next phase- cancer.
The doctors were sure the blood came from an inflammation of his Barret's disease, but they needed to do an endoscopy on Monday to see how inflamed it was. On Sunday, my dad's roommates were a crazy guy whose liver was already damaged beyond repair and his kidneys were shutting down (but his wife told him to get some rest and everything would be fine) who called the nurses about 50 times an hour, a 56 year old man whose large family had come to see him, and an 81 year old man who was headed to physical rehab to learn how to walk again. My dad's nurse saw that my dad's IV was causing an irritation so she tried to redo the IV in a different area and nded up making 4 different holes in my dad's arms to get a good spot. I have sucha large hatred of needles, I ahd to walk out of the room and read all of the employee boards about how to do 24 hour urine collections (wow, did that bring back memories) and the ability to get 2 hours PTO and a $10 Whataburger Gift Certificate (Whataburger is much better than In-N-Out burger if you ask me) if you were an employee who donated blood.
My mom and I got a room at a Courtyard Marriott near the hospital, went to eat at the Riverwalk (at my dad's insistence) and stayed with my dad until visiting hours were over. I then did some work from my laptop and caught up on emails that I had missed and reviewed some ongoing cases. Since I do not eat very quickly, I took most of my dinner back to the room, but discovered that we had no plastic silverware to eat it with. So, at 11 pm, I started a journey to find some silverware. All of the stores and gas stations in the area were closed, so I went to a bar to score some plastic forks and knives. There was a band playing there that was really good, so, in order to think about something other the humanity of my dad, I stayed and listened for almost 2 hours. By the time I returned to the motel, it was 2 am. I then reheated my food and ate, so I didn't get to bed until 3am.
We got up early the next day and saw my dad before they took him to do the endoscopy. As they took him, my m om and I decided to go to Target (which I had seen closed the night before) to get my glasses fixed. The optical guy fixed my glasses (and continually apologized for using a gold screw instead of a silver screw) and tightened them beautifully. We also happened to stumble onto a theater which showed independent films which was close and nice since we decided to see a movie or two if they decided to keep my dad in the hospital for a few more days.
We returned to the hospital about 15 minutes before my dad returned from the endoscopy.He came back and they brought the pictures from the endoscopy. There was a large mass in one picture and an ulcer in another.
My dad had not had much sleep since Thursday night so he was determined to be released that day. The doctor eventually came. He looked like a younger version of Robert Sean Leonard who plays 'Wilson' on House. He explained that the mass had been biopsied and they would be glad to take care of my father for a few more days until the biopsy came back,but then took my dad's information when it was explained that I was there to drive them back and ensure they made it home safely. The doctor made me promise to get my dad as fast as possible to the nearest ER if he started throwing up blood again. I promised and they released my dad.
Because of the irritation on his arm from the IV, the doctor also gave him 2 antibiotics to fill to make sure that the infection on his arm would clear up.
Siince he hadnt slept or showered in 4 days, we took him back to the motel to do so while we went to Target again to get his prescriptions. It took a long time to fill his prescriptions, but while we were waiting, we looked through the Easter Cady and found chocolate crosses which read Happy Easter. I had to pick up one for Aleisha since, they dont really sell those in Utah.

It is now really late and I am exhausted so more of this posting tomorrow.

2 fabulous links

one- an april fool's joke one of Aleisha's friends played on the missionaries in her ward:

two- Peeps diorama gallery-

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscars 2010- live blogging

We are watching the 2 hours of red carpet previously and we are starting in just a few minutes. Feel free to keep watching my blog for our feelings on tonight's festivities.

really like Anna Kendrick- both in Up in the Air and as she is interviewing. Very vivacious and her dress was very nice.
Zoe Saldana looked nice until the froo froo at the bottom and the train
Sarah Jessica Parker- ew!
Elizabeth Banks and Amanda Seyfried- both attractive, but the dresses didn't work for them.

Keanu- what's up with the beard?
Rachel McAdams looks very nice

NPH- very awesome and impressive!

Great batch of Streep jokes!

Supporting Actor goes to- Chritophe Waltz! No problems here- he was so amazing and added menace to every scene he was in! Amazing!

Best Animated- Up. I loved Up, don't get me wrong, but I LOVE stop motion and was rooting for Coraline, but have no gripes.

Best Original Song- Weary Kind!- a song that is actually important in the film! Very good show!

Screenplay-Original- Mark Boal- Hurt Locker. It was a good script, but I was hoping for Messenger. I thought Messenger was a better script for a war inspired film.

great tribute with all the members from John Huges films

Adapted Screenplay- Precious. Precious was the one major film we did not see, but, based on the scene showed (the girl stealing the bucket of chicken) it just didnt help me want to see it. I was really rooting for Up in the Air, as I thought it was the only award Up i the Air would win. Now, my favorite film of the year will probably not win anything.

Art Direction- Avatar- not impressed by Avatar in general, and definitely not for art direction. The sets did not impress me especially.

Costume Design- Young Victoria- I saw this last night and was impressed with the costuming, I thought that Nine would win.

Sound mixing and Design- Hurt Locker- I was going for Star Trek, but Hurt Locker's use of sound was amazing as well- no complaints here!

Cinematography- Avatar- amazing job on filming green rooms! Harry Potters cinema was better

Dances with the nominated score- really? Other than showing Sarah Jessica Parker's outfit a billion times, this was the worst idea imaginable. Nothing says blue aliens to me like break dancing

Score- Up- My favorite score of the year!

Visual effects- Avatar- well, duh, but the CGI still looked like CGI. A quote from the winner- "Avatar is about seeing the world in a new way." Well, except that it all takes place on a different world.

Editing- Hurt Locker- with over 200 hours of footage filmed- this is an Oscar well deserved.

Foreign Film- did not get to see any of these, so cool with anything winning- El Secreto

Best Actor- Jeff Bridges- Crazy Heart- well deserved. Not his best performance ever, but an amazingly solid one! Officially wanted Clooney, but I am very happy with this one.

Best Actress- Sandra Bullock. I really enjoyed her performance, but I was pulling for Carey Mulligan. Since Bullock is supposed to be one of the nicest women in Hollywood- they wanted to give it to her and I am cool for that.

Director- Kathryn Bigelow- Again, I wanted Jason Reitman for Up in the Air, but the Direction of Hurt Locker was very well done. She is a visionary director.\ and deserves this.

Picture- Hurt Locker- again, not my favorite, but very pleased.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 and Up in the Air

2010 is here and with it comes a new chance to improve ourselves and keep getting better. I’ll be honest- 2009 was not my favorite year. There were some great moments but overall, the year was a big year of change.
It started with a fractured elbow for me, included an unexpected move, surgery for my wife over the summer, a job change (same company, just a new job there and for those who know me, changes stresses me out), a spectacular trip to Disneyland the week before Thanksgiving, and ended with not being able to go to my brother-in-law’s wedding at the temple because we had expired temple recommends.
But it is 2010 and a time for a new start. On January 2nd, we also saw a new movie, Up in the Air, and it seems to be a nice dovetail into this post. So, I will be talking about the upcoming year first and end with a movie review.
Last year, Aleisha and I had a motto, and it was- “Do more, more often.” This year, even though we’re still working on it, will be a combination of quotes from 2 Aaron Sorkin scripts, one from SportsNight and one from West Wing.
The Sportsnight quote comes from the episode “Quality of Mercy at 29,000 K”.. “Do anything- as much of it and as often as you can.”
Then, there is the West Wing saying that President Bartlet said at often in the first two seasons, “Mrs. Landingham! What’s next?”
Aleisha and I are setting some solid, important, high goals. They will both cut down on any free time we have, yet, at the same time, make our lives better and our marriage stronger than ever before.
For one thing, in a large nutshell, I will be taking care of myself this year. I will be getting new glasses, getting much dental stuff done, getting a new suit, exercising several times a week, and a few slightly personal things that will not be going on this blog. J
We are also working hard on our marriage. We are planning ways to spend more time together. One of Aleisha’s Christmas presents were coupons to local places that we have not yet been , so that we are forced to spend time together in new places. Who knows? Maybe we will find a new favorite restaurant or place to go on a Saturday night when a movie is not what we want to do (anything is possible). We are also going to be reading together at night from children’s books or anything that we both want to read together.
We are also working on spiritual goals. Some of the easy things like prayer and scripture reading have been continual issues in our marriage and we will be focusing on the basics and making sure that those are strong again. When it comes to home teaching, I have never had a problem going, but I hate making the initial appointments. Because I had such great companions in my old Provo Ward, if we missed a month, it was the exception, not the rule. In my new ward, my companion has changed several times in just 6 months and I have not had a chance to get into any rhythm. That will change as well.
Careerwise, I am still loving my new job at Pinnacle Security. For almost 2 years, I was a customer Service Supervisor. Now, I am the Executive Complaint Supervisor. I handle and write our official business responses from the Better Business Bureau complaints that come in, the escalated calls which the normal reps and Supervisors can’t handle, and, I am now starting to answer a bunch of official complaints from lawyers or Attorneys General. So, it keeps me on my toes and I love it. I feel like I have strengths in Customer Service and in writing- this job combines them both. I love the people I work with and I love the company. Right now, I personally am feeling a little down just because I am the only one doing this and, for some reason, we have had complaints like crazy since the last week of December, and when I answer 12 in a day, there are 8 new ones that come in the next day, so I take 3 steps forward and two back. I know it will get better. I am hoping to be caught up totally by the middle of next week, and then I just need to stay on top of them. Another week or so, and I will be great.
I’m not planning to leave Pinnacle at all. I’m planning on being there for the long haul, but, if I can, I am also hoping to be a published author. My mom and I have worked on a book together that will hopefully be purchased by a book company by the end of the year. If that can happen, by being a published author, I am hoping to be able to sell my novel that I have been working on as well by the end of the year. My goal is to finish the first book by the end of March, and finish the second book by the end of the year. That will not be easy, but, it will be very worth it.
The movie, Up in the Air, focuses on George Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham whose job is to fly around the country from company to company and handle the firing of individuals whose companies are doing massive layoffs or, who are just too chicken to do it themselves. There is a lot of voiceover in which Ryan talks about what he does and his feelings about it. At one point, he says that he was in the air 323 days last year which left 42 days when he had to be at his boring home.
His home life is so boring that he doesn’t even live there. Nothing is in his closets, the walls are bare, the fridge has the bare essentials in it. It almost looks as if he moved in the other day and hasn’t brought the boxes yet, only, he has been there for years. His sister is getting married in a month and he avoids the phone calls from his family as much as he can. He cares more about hitting 10 million miles on his frequent flier miles card than he does for his family.
His company hires Natalie, a new young woman fresh out of college with ideas on how to cut the company’s budget by doing the firing through teleconferencing and cutting down on travelling expenses. Because Ryan feels that his job requires the individual personal touch, his boss has him go on the road with Natalie to show her what the job actually is and how she can tailor the training to the job even more.
George Clooney looks the part, with his graying hair and his smooth voice. He feels like the kind of guy you would want across the table from you giving you the bad news. Clooney continues his streak of strong, leading man roles who are not just the stud looking for a hook-up.
The hook-ups are important as well. Vera Farmiga also gives a strong performance as a woman who lives the same lifestyle as Ryan- on the road many more days throughout the year than she is at home. She gives both Ryan a Natalie a strong foil when needed to either lighten the mood or bring reality home a bit. Farmiga also continues her impressive streak of playing strong women. She is sorely overlooked as an actress. Most people recognize her as the police department psychiatrist who helps Matt Damon through his struggles in The Departed. Yet, every time she is in a film, whether as the female lead or a thankless supporting role, she hits it out of the park. She works perfectly in the trio of lead characters.
Anna Kendrick shines as Natalie. Up until now, Anna is more known for Twilight than anything else, but this film proves that she has what it takes to make a long career if she wants. She could have played the uptight, rigid, fresh out of college wet behind the ears efficiency expert. But, instead, she imbues the character with a sweet sensitivity even while she is putting a crimp in people’s lives whether it is Ryan by telling him that his life will change or by firing a man through teleconferencing, even though Ryan and Natalie are in the next room, or while talking about her boyfriend leaving her. She is cleaning up the awards throughout the different end-of-year awards shows for Best Supporting actress and I am rooting for her for the Oscar as well.
The film is both extremely uplifting but also extremely depressing. Throughout the film, the audience can see what Ryan needs. It is offered throughout to him, yet he only takes what he needs at the moment. When he is challenged to make a different choice to improve himself, sometimes he takes it and sometimes he doesn’t.
Even though it sounds like a depressing film and premise, there is much comedy involved as well. Mch like Frost/Nixon in 2008, the humor comes naturally and is not forced or over the top, but fits perfectly. When it’s funny, you laugh hard, but then it bounces right back and smacks you in the face with a moment that rips your heart out.
JK simmons plays one of the soon-to-be-unemployed who asks Ryan and Natalie what he should tell his family. It’s a great scene that will probably be shown at this year’s Oscar ceremony at least once.
Up in the Air really spoke to me. It showed me that change can be good and bad circumstances can give you the impetus needed to make a change for the better. I feel that is how 2009 was for me. It gave me the necessary oomph to start this year right and rocket through, making a better year for me and everyone around me. Don’t worry, I don’t expect to be doing everything yet, but slowly and surely, over the next few months, I add one more thing a week or a month until I can ‘Do More more often’ and ask, ‘What’s Next?”
While Up in the Air may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it would not be a movie you could watch anytime, it was one of those films that I saw at the perfect time for me. I loved every moment of it.
Up in the Air Review Score:
Movie rating-7
Film Rating- 10