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I don’t really even know how to start this. 

Ska music is, and always will be, a part of who I am as a person.  Growing up my parents didn’t like any “new” music, but ska music forced its way into my soul.  It was cheerful and bouncy and never fails to make me happy when listening to it.  Ska music was the catalyst that introduced me to my best friend Amy.  I am forever indebted to ska music for the friendship I have with her.  I’ll never forget the apprehension and excitedness and how hard it was for me to reach out to the pretty girl that sat behind me in class (or was it in front of me? I can’t remember now…) and tell her that I liked her backpack, I liked the FIF patch, and OHMYGOODNESSSOMEONEELSEKNOWSWHATSKAMUSICIS!!  And she liked my hair clip and the rest is history.

I guess some people already know this, but I did not: OC Supertones is making a new album! If they can get funded, that is.  They are one of the classic Christian ska bands from the 90s/2000s, and my personal favorite.  I’m going to be donating to their Kickstarter project, and I ask you very nicely to please do the same?  We have 18 days to come up with another $10,061 and if I had that much money I could give it to them in a heartbeat.  For just a glimpse of what this band means to me, read one of my blog posts where I wrote them a letter.  This was the first ska band I heard, and I can’t even describe how excited I am to know I’m going to get new music from them.

Seriously.

Excited. 

So, go to the Kickstarter page, listen to their new song (here’s a link to some lyrics), and give them 100 bucks. Or $50. Or $25. Or $5. Or a dollar. Just help them, please, a tiny bit, for me, and for the world.

We were talking about Rescue 911 today, remember that old show? Aired in the late 80s, early 90s? I used to LOVE that show. Even as a young kid I would watch with fascination as another life was saved, as another intruder broke into a home only to be caught minutes later. I am deeply, emotionally affected by the human spirit and the fight within each of us so shows like that are way up my alley (also, shows like Extreme Home Makeover? I can’t watch them – I just sob.) Anyways. So I loved the show, and now I work for 911 and love every day at my job. It truly is an integral and essential part of who I am.

There isn’t really a lot of stuff aimed at dispatchers as far as merchandising. Which is fair – there are way fewer dispatchers than Officers or Firefighters or EMTs, and we’re kind of the “behind the scenes heroes” – not the guys on the front lines. We all realize that, and it’s just something we’re aware of. You’ll never see a “Dispatcher’s Bible” or a cool statue of US saving someones life.

So imagine my surprise when I found a RESCUE 911 PINBALL MACHINE. Can I just say “OMGOKJSDFL:KJ@E$()@#U*$”

I want one. Badly. It would be perfect in my game room! It’s beautiful! It has little telephones on it and fire trucks and…and… and… *hyperventilates*.

There are only a few around still. Some of them are even for sale. If Justin ever asks you guys want I want for Christmas/Birthday/etc… forget diamonds. I want this pinball machine.

I’m going to try to start a new tradition: Miscellaneous Monday. On any given Miscellaneous Monday I will share something (or two) I’ve found on the Internet that might pique your interest. Today we’ve got two things!

The first: The Simple Wife ( http://www.thesimplewife.typepad.com )

Let me tell you, don’t click this link without grabbing some tissues first. The Simple Wife is the blog of Joanne Heim, a woman living in Denver who recently suffered from a massive stroke. I don’t really have appropriate words to convey what has happened in this blog since her stroke on January 11th… you’ll have to read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that the love that is expressed on the pages of her blog have literally made me weep. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big crybaby anyways, and anyone who knows me very well knows that nothing makes me cry more than the triumph of the human spirit. Seeing people be strong in the face of adversity – in real life, not in the imaginary world of books and movies – has warmed my heart. Go, follow her husband as he provides updates and speaks lovingly about his 19 year companion. Cry. Pray for her and their family. Take a minute to thank God for your own family.

Also, they have a separate blog that isn’t updated as often that deals with their marriage, specifically dealing with a marriage in which the husband is bipolar (it’s linked on the main page). Can I just tell you how much I am loving reading these archives? Man. What an amazing couple.

Ok, that one’s done, now for the fun one.

Rosewell, Texas ( http://www.bigheadpress.com/roswell?page=1 )

A graphic story by L. Neil Smith and Rex F. May detailing a alternate universe where Davy Crockett survives the Alamo and Santa Anna dies, resulting in Texas being its own country. The story surrounds the UFO landings in Roswell and while it took a bit for me to get into it, I absolutely fell in love with it about a third of the way through it. It paints a picture of Texas that any libertarian would love to see, as unrealistic as it might be. And if you’re a fan of history you’ll love the characters the pop up randomly throughout the story – my favorite was Gene Roddenberry, but then, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go, read, enjoy.

Dear Supertones,

You were my first love outside of my family (and the cute boy that went to church in the town next to mine, but that’s a different story). I’ll never forget the first time I heard your music.

It was 1997 and life for this then-13-year-old girl was pretty good. I had a good family. Lots of siblings. But music…music was not really my “thing.” I would much rather be reading, sticking my nose into a book and escaping to worlds far away. Worlds where dwarves and hobbits lived among ents, and rings were things whispered about in secret.

My sisters were much more passionate about music. They had their Silverchair and Metallica albums that they listened to in secret. My parents allowed only certain types of music in the house…. anything modern and “rock” was strictly prohibited. It was the devil’s music, you see.

I wasn’t rebellious so I stuck with what was approved and allowed. I listened to some Willie Nelson, George Strait, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. I listened to Spirit and Bride, which was an amazing Christian band from the early 90′s on an old half-worn cassette tape. I listened to the Statler Brothers.

But see, Supertones, the day my life changed because of you was really a day like any other. We had our chores to do. We had a few fights (and only a little blood was drawn). We probably watched The Adams Family (which was the ONLY movie that 5 Threet children would ever agree on). There was no magical excitement in the air, it was a day like any other. I received your CD as a present – this was when CDs were still kind of a big deal, back when I was nervous about putting a CD in the stereo because heaven forbid I do it wrong and break the expensive machine.

I stared at the cover. Seven men in sunglasses stared back at me. You guys looked great! I had no idea what ska was, by the way. I figured, hey, how bad could these guys be? I used the remote to open the CD tray. Czzh-jjjggg. I wrestled with the cellophane on the CD case. My sisters tried to distract me. I gingerly placed the CD into the tray. Jake ran some GI Joe’s into my foot. I closed the CD tray. I pressed play. The CD player rotated my CD to the back of the stereo. It cycled around a few times to get it’s bearings on the shiny new CD.

I can’t describe the first 7 notes of your first song on that CD in words that are fitting. You know what they are anyways. I can tell you that there are drums and horns and that it’s a smashing way to start an album. You know that. But that doesn’t tell you how my musical world was shattered.

I told you, right, that I listened to country and hokey Christian music for the first 13 years of my life. I didn’t listen to rock, alternative, rap, or anything even remotely close to ska. Your 7 notes absolutely shattered the idea of what music was in my brain. It was this radical new way of looking at music.

I danced around to that CD all day long that day. And the day after that. And the day after that. Your music became a constant theme in my life; something I whistled while at the bus stop and sang in the shower.

Through your first CD I found Five Iron Frenzy and Insyderz and through them I found DC Talk and Jars of Clay and Third Day. But it started with you, Supertones. So I can’t give any other band credit for getting me through a rough spot without first going back to that first day in 1997 when 7 notes rocked my world. I can’t tell Robby Seay Band how much their “Song of Hope” means to me without a nod in your direction because you got me to this point. I can’t tell Jars of Clay how their song “Worlds Apart” is my all time favorite song EVER without a nod to the last song on Supertones Strike Back, “So Great a Salvation.”

You got me here, Supertones. Maybe not by yourself, but those 7 notes that introduce your second album definitely helped pave the way. So thank you. I know you don’t make music anymore – it was 13 years ago, I guess you’ve all moved on to bigger and brighter things. I guess I have too.

But you know what, Supertones? When I was pregnant with my son (who is now 5 months old and super cute) we didn’t bother playing Bach or Beethoven for him. I plugged my ipod into my car and scrolled down to OC Supertones, The. I rolled down to the album “Supertones Strike Back.”

I turned up the volume.

Love,

Jennet

I’m a picky person when it comes to paying to see a movie on the big screen.  Generally it has to be something that will be significantly improved by seeing it on a huge screen for me to spend the money.  There are three movies coming out soon (two tomorrow!) that I am really looking forward to watching on the big screen.  Here’s why.

Reasons for wanting to watch A-Team:

  1. It has Liam Neeson in it and he gets to whoop up on people.
  2. It doesn’t look like it takes itself seriously. I can appreciate that; it shouldn’t! It’s the A-Team!
  3. It will probably make me laugh.
  4. The number one reason? It has a guy, in a tank, falling from the sky while shooting at planes. I mean, come on!! How awesome is that?!

Reasons for wanting to watch the new Karate Kid:

  1. It has Will Smith’s son in it, and I have not-so-secretly loved Will Smith’s work since Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I can’t WAIT to see some good stuff with his son.
  2. I love the kid-out-of-his-element scenario.
  3. Jackie Chan makes me smile.
  4. Everything is kung-fu.

Reasons for wanting to watch The Last Airbender:

  1. Appa and Momo!!!
  2. I’m desperately hoping that M. Night will rebound his career.
  3. If the fight scenes are half as cool as they look in the previews and somewhere close to as cool as they were in cartoon, this movie is going to freaking rock.
  4. Shaun Toub as Uncle Iroh.  He played Yinsen in Iron Man (the guy in the cave with Tony) and was great and I think he is PERFECT for the part of Uncle Iroh.
  5. I have seriously been looking forward to this movie since I watched the series back when it was still new on Nickelodeon.  I remember reading the interview back in 2007 or 2008 when M. Night was talking about how much his daughters loved the show and how he was talking to the original writers about doing a live action movie.  I remember being skeptical and hesitantly excited back then, and now? Now I’m really trying hard not to get my hopes up, but that’s failing miserably. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.

It’s going to be tough to see Airbender as soon as I want to since it comes out July 2 and I’ll have a newborn.  But I will make it happen, even if I have to bring the baby with me to the first showing on a Tuesday morning at the Drafthouse.  But A-Team and Karate Kid both come out tomorrow; perhaps I’ll be able to see one before Benjamin gets here!

While trying to convince a coworker on the merits of WALL-E and her need to see it, the topic of Pixar came up.  As the topic of Pixar came up, I accidentally managed to mention to her that I had been surprised to learn that George Lucas owned Pixar back in its inception.  Really, she tells me?  Really, I tell her back.

She then inquires as to how I learned such a thing.  My response went something like this:

“Oh after Justin and I watched the original Star Wars DVDs, because I just bought them and I was so excited! I got them in New York for only 30 dollars! Anyways they had the three or four hour “Making of” with it so we went ahead and watched it, it was a lot longer than we thought it was going to be but we really enjoyed it… and maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this in public…

She just kind of stared at me for a few minutes, shook her head, and went back to work. 

Oh well.

At least I enjoyed the DVD!

Yesterday I was engrossed in a fabulous conversation with one of my officers and we were talking about the new Star Trek. He said that it was the first Star Trek movie that was absolutely BETTER than any of the Star Wars movies.

Now, you can agree or disagree with that as you see fit, but I think there are three major things you have to consider when comparing the two.

1. Time lapse– The first Star Wars movie came out May 25th, 1977 – tomorrow will be its 32nd birthday. Thirty years is a long time in the world of sci-fi/fantasy. Since 1977 we’ve gotten great movies like Predator, Back to the future, Blade Runner, Fifth Element, Gattaca, Contact, the Matrix… granted, not all high grossing movies but through these examples you can certainly see the technological advances made and that’s part of this point. There is a significant time lapse as far as technology is concerned between Star Wars and this particular Star Trek and that has to be taken into consideration.

2. Maturity level & age – Star Wars was intended to be a family-friendly movie for everyone to enjoy. It didn’t have a lot of “adult” jokes that went over the kid’s heads so the adults could get a laugh… it was genuine entertainment suitable for all ages.  It was somewhat aimed at kids but not so shallow that adults couldn’t enjoy it.  Some of the people that loved Star Wars the most when it came out were those kids the movie was aimed at, most of which are now adults with children or grandchildren of their own.  One of the joys of parenthood (as I understand it) is exposing your children to wonderful things, such as your favorite movies. So those people that watched and loved Star Wars before are now introducing their children and grandchildren to Star Wars as soon as they’re old enough to enjoy it.

I fondly recall sitting with my father watching Star Wars for the first time. He was so happy to show it to me that I think he spent more time watching my reactions than he did actually watching the movie.

I was about 8 years old… and it was incredible.

The story, the shiny C-3PO, the adorable R2-D2, the handsome Luke, the story, the action and… I could go on. I had a bit of love affair with Star Wars as a child. I still make references to the force being strong in people.

Now I’m an adult. My reasoning and observation skills are completely different than they were 16 years ago. And that works out perfectly because the new Star Trek is not necessarily intended to be a kid movie. The first few moments of the movie are incredibly emotional and powerful. There are plenty of laughs, but not necessarily laughs involving cute or adorable machines. I’m not saying that kids wouldn’t enjoy it, but it’s an adult movie aimed at adults.  Each movie had different (but similar) target audiences, and you can’t expect them to compete on the same level as each other in that respect.

3. 1977 vs. 2009– If we’re going to compare Star Wars to anything, we should compare it to other movies that came out in the 70s. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, Freaky Friday, Logan’s Run, Taxi Driver. Reasonably good movies. But Star Wars really pushed the envelope then and produced something that went far and above anything else that was coming out at the time. George Lucas was seen as revolutionary. Star Wars wasn’t just a great movie, it was (arguably) the best film to come out in 1977 and unarguably the film that had the most staying power as far as influence is concerned.  Consider this: it’s 32 years later and I’m blogging about it!

Now, consider the new Star Trek. Yes, it’s fantastic. But how does it compare to other movies that have come out in the past year? We have had movies like Wolverine, Watchmen, Dark Knight, Iron Man, Wall-E and Quantum of Solace. It compares well, but does it go far and above and beyond what all those other movies are? Does it push the envelope like Star Wars did? I don’t think so. How will we view it in 32 years?

Conclusions:
There is no way I can legitimately (at this point) compare the two movies and determine the better one. I can’t view Star Wars for the first time ever again as an adult. Likewise, I can’t watch Star Trek through the eyes of my 8 year old self.

Unlike Star Wars, most of the die-hard or even casual fans of Star Trek grew up on tv shows like Enterprise, DS9, and  cheese-ball movies. They have years and years of Star Trek history to compare this movie to. And since it’s the same story – idealized by Gene Roddenberry – we canmake comparisons to those tv shows and movies in regards to this new movie. And in that respect, the new Star Trek is absolutely amazing. It has real emotion and power along with amazing fight scenes and a realistic future to dream about. It sucks you in and steals you away for a few hours of your life… which is EXACTLY what Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas wanted to do with their unique stories.

No, I don’t think you can compare the two movies without taking all this (and more) into consideration. IF I were to try, I would simply say that watching Star Wars as a child helped me appreciate Star Trek more as an adult. They can happily coexist in my world as excellent movies in their own right, and that’s good enough for me.

Some of you have noticed, even commented, on the happy little orange ticket on the side of my blog. I’d like to introduce you guys to an awesome site that I found via Twitter: Eventchaser.com.

Event Chaser combines two things I love: entertainment and blogging. They do this by providing free or discounted tickets to bloggers. They’ve teamed up with Razorgator to make it all happen.

Razorgator is an online ticketing site that has concerts, plays, sporting events, pretty much any event you buy tickets to. They’ve really taken steps to help you get the most out of your event by helping you figure out what’s nearby (food, bars, good parking, etc). Very helpful if you’re like me and don’t mind driving to new places to check out your favorite bands (or baseball teams). In exchange for the tickets I’ll be the eyes and ears for future visitors to make sure they have a great experience.

All in all, I’m REALLY excited about this partnership with Event Chaser and Razorgator. For my first event, I’ll be receiving a pair of Texas Longhorns Baseball tickets. You’ll definitely be hearing more from me as I check out some awesome events this year!

The new Dragonball: Evolution movie came out today and the reviews are exactly as we expected: lame, lame, lame.  Justin and I will still probably go see it for several reasons.  We often disagree with reviewers, and we want to support the franchise.  But I’m a little scared.  Dragonball was Justin’s favorite show growing up, and he’s more than a little like the main character Goku.  So he might cry if it’s as bad as they say.

Also, for those of you who are baseball fans: DUDE. The Texas Rangers totally spanked my Indians.  I’m really heartbroken, but happy for the Rangers fans.  The Indians play the Bluejays today who have won most of their games so far so…. I’m hopeful.  Maybe they just needed to get their game faces on.  I’d love to see them do good this season!

And the Astros… who knows? They can never make up their mind how they want to do :) But they’ve actually won a few… so we’ll see.  It’s early yet.

Next week I get to go to 2 baseball games. 2!! Both RR Express games… one is compliments of my wonderful employer, the other is compliments of the local group that takes care of our 911 equipment.. we are being honored with free baseball tickets for our service to the community via 911.  It’s pretty cool we get to go out on the field and everything.  I always look forward to it.

</baseball nerd>

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