"Home" for Thanksgiving
Over the last few months, I’ve listened to Ma Schick go on and on about her new house and all the improvements she’s made. I tried hard not to laugh, since I had no idea what the house looked like, so it was impossible to envision how new blinds or fixing a door would make the rooms look better in my mind. Finally, I got a chance to see the folks new house in Los Altos over the weekend, and it was an interesting experience.
This was the first time I visited a house that wasn’t my own, so it was odd to see their house, and not our house. Plus, Andrew had spent some time there this summer before moving down to Santa Barbara, and even has a room in the house. This was another in a growing series of moments when I realize how much I’m on my own. But it was great to see everyone again and spend Thanksgiving together.
The highlight was going to a Sharks game at the Tank for the first time since moving back to Michigan. In fact, it was about eight and a half years, since I remember the last game I attended was a playoff game between the Sharks and Dallas in April of 1998, a 1-0 overtime thriller. Dad got the tickets from a co-worker’s daughter, who works in the Sharks front office. The seats were amazing: eight rows from the glass and we had access to the season ticket-holders plaza. In the end, it was fun to be cheering for the home team again and I was able to see a hard-fought 2-0 win for San Jose over New Jersey.
Image: Back at the Tank
Bond and Buckeyes
For better and for worse, this sure was the exiting weekend. I finally made it to see Casino Roayle on Friday morning at Showcase in Ypsi. I decided to eliminate the chance for foul-ups again by heading over to the theater after work and buying a ticket. I was assured that it really was that night. Whether it was Thursday night or Friday morning, I finally saw the 21st James Bond movie.
Briefly, it was great. Daniel Craig should silence any critic that said he couldn’t play Bond, and the darker edge he gave the character has been missing since the Timothy Dalton days in the late ’80s. Everyone asked me where the film fit among the others, and I think it’s impossible to place it with the rest. It felt that much different that it took an entirely new direction for the series that I think it’s on another level from the previous 20, which isn’t a good or a bad thing; just different. It definitely felt like a modern film, especially with M making a reference to 9/11. But part of me thinks that Bond as a Cold War operative is gone forever, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
The next day at work, I bet at least 10 different people asked for my review, and I had a really hard time describing it to people (it also didn’t help I was tired for staying up until 3:00 AM for two straight workdays), except saying I liked it and Craig was fantastic. I was a little disappointed to see a penguin movie was No. 1 this weekend, but it still raked in over $40 million, which is astounding for a November release.
Saturday was obviously the Michigan/Ohio State game, which some people were already calling “the game of the century.” Granted, it was the first time the two schools met in the regular season ranked one and two in the country, but that moniker seemed a tad much. I went over to a friend’s house and watched it with a small group, and we rode the emotional rollercoaster the entire time. The loss was disappointing, but Michigan played about as well as it could, and I think this proved that Ohio State is the best team in the country, with the best player in the country, Troy Smith.
Now the question is: will the enigma that is the BCS formula generate a rematch for the National Championship game? The Michigan fan in me certainly does, since I think playing at a neutral site could help level the playing field, as well as having turf that has been in place for longer than a week. But as a college football fan in general, I think a rematch would detract from the importance of The Game, especially since Bo’s recent death proved that this rivalry defined his season every year he coached. I guess it boils down to I want the team that can deny Ohio State the national title, and I’m not sure that is Michigan.Image: Finally.
Since when is "Thursday" not Thursday?
There are times that I marvel at what humanity has accomplished throughout our existence. And then there are times I’m shocked that some of us managed to roll out of bed and put their pants on correctly. Yesterday was definitely an example of the latter.
I mentioned earlier that I was excited a theater was showing Casino Royale at 12:01 AM on Thursday, so last night I drove up to Farmington Hills for the movie. It turns out that despite talking to two different people and confirming with the theater’s website and automated movie listing phone number, the movie time was misidentified every single time. The showing was not 12:01 AM Thursday, but 12:01 AM Friday, meaning my friend and I were a day early.
As disappointed as we were, we also knew that Showcase in Ypsi was also doing a midnight showing, so we hopped back in the car and hauled ass, making the 50-minute trip in about 25 this time. We arrive at showcase at 11:57 PM, and it, like Farmington Hills, is also closed for the night. Two separate theaters from different national chains both claimed to have showings at 12:01 AM on Thursday and both were wrong.
As someone who is a writer and somewhat obsessive-compulsive, I am a strong believer in details. Apparently, I don’t understand the technicalities of movie listings, since when I read something is showing on Thursday, I just assumed that meant it was on Thursday. Is that such a stretch? I mean, what exactly are we celebrating on New Year’s Eve if midnight doesn’t constitute the beginning of a new day?
Utterly stunned, frustrated and disappointed, we decided to head over to a bar and drown our sorrows over a few beers. We asked the bartender her opinion on the Thursday/Friday debate, and she agreed with the theaters that since she hadn’t yet been to sleep, it was still Thursday in her mind. This was clearly not the answer we wanted to hear, and if she hadn’t been hot, we might have made a scene.
So, I will try again tonight and head over to Showcase for the midnight showing. After work, I am driving straight to the theater and buying a ticket, so I can ensure this isn’t another trick. If fate hadn’t already been cruel enough, as I opened up the Freep this morning, it had a gigantic banner across the top, mocking me: “New Bond movie: Four Stars!”
Image: Decide for yourself
A big weekend on the horizon
If you’ve followed college football at any point this season, you would be aware that this weekend’s game between Michigan and Ohio State down in Columbus has a fair amount riding on it: bragging rights against your biggest rival, a Big Ten title, an undefeated season and a trip to Phoenix to play in the national championship game. The loser will mostly likely play in the Rose Bowl. Any other year, that would be a great season, but after the run the Wolverines have put together, it will seem like a disappointment. Initially, I wanted to have a big party, but the more I’ve thought about it, I almost think the game is important enough that I don’t want to be distracted and want to be alone. Regardless, the Big Game will be the exciting conclusion to a great season of Michigan football.Also this weekend is the opening of the 21st James Bond movie “Casino Royale.” I’ve had the date November 17 on my calendar for some time, and seeing the recent barrage of ads for the movie has made me even more excited. You can read my extended take on my website, but I think it should be a winner. The real story is that I’ve been scouring the internet looking for a theater in southeast Michigan that had a midnight showing and had no luck until yesterday. IMDB posted a theater in Farmington Hills had a showing at midnight on Thursday, so I decided that was the one to visit. I drove up there last night to buy tickets, and I was told by the box office guy he wasn’t aware of any midnight showing. I informed him it was on the theater’s website and he called the manager over. He checked it out for himself and confirmed it was listed, but he also wasn’t aware of the showing and said his boss was out of town and therefore he was out of the loop. He felt bad I drove all the way from Ann Arbor, so he gave me two free passes to go see it, but suggested I call today to make sure it was actually going to happen. I called the box office, and the woman told me it was a go. She even offered to hold two tickets for me so I don’t have to drive up there again.
So on both fronts, I have two epic battles between good and evil: Bond and Michigan against Le Chiffre and Ohio State. I’m fairly certain 007 will prevail; I hope the Wolverines have equal success.
Image: I'd like to see Lloyd Carr pull off a tux
First of all, let me start off with a great School House Rock spoof that was on the Daily Show last night: Midterm Elections. Despite originally referring to the 2002 midterms, I think it does a good job of summarizing and poking fun at how our system has some ugly sides to it.
I went to vote before work this morning, and this was the first time voting at my new polling place. I arrived at about 7:30 a.m., and the place was packed. I filled out the little application form, then joined a line that stretched across the basketball gym, wrapped around the wall, then curled back about a quarter of the way back (probably close to 100 people). In one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve ever seen voting, that was the line for the A-M last names; the M-Z line only had three people in it! I was probably in and out in 20 minutes, and some folks in the line had hardly moved while I was there. Thankfully, I picked up my "I Voted" sticker and got out of there before people became upset.
After watching election coverage for most of the night, it appears that the Democrats will be in control of the House and probably the Senate too. Not surprisingly, the national media seems to be giddy at the prospect (except Fox News, of course). It’s only taken 220 years, but it looks like the U.S. will have the first woman speaker, and only two steps away from the Presidency in terms of line of succession. While this race has been interesting, I think everyone is looking ahead to what certainly will be a competitive race for the White House in 2008.