Thursday, March 29, 2007

Perhaps it's a draw

Well... the saga continues, but at least the Bells aren't so ignorant that we cannot understand a modern piece of equipment (my father's inability to turn on the big screen TV notwithstanding).

The problem with our air conditioning system is not the new fangled digital thermostat, but the air conditioning unit itself. It being old as dirt with a freon leak and some sort of coil thing that should be replaced, but it is so old, they don't even know if it is made anymore. But not to worry... for only $3500, we can own a brand new unit and not worry about that silly coil.

And eat Ramen noodles for the entire summer. Hmm... what to do?

Well... the freon has been replaced, and according to the serviceman, may very well last us throughout the hottest months of the year. So, we'll play it by ear and save our pennies and eat Ramen noodles. They aren't so bad.

Of course, right now they would be frozen as the older generation are freezing me out of the house. Good thing I kept the electric blanket on my bed!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Bells v. The Theromostat... who will win?

Well... it is springtime in middle Tennessee. That means sneezing, sniffling, headaches, pollen covering your car and time for the air conditioner to be turned on.

You will remember that we had a new heating/air system installed during the coldest part of the winter due to a slight case of carbon monoxide gas filling the air... and to my mother's chagrin, a new fangled thermostat.

We are working with a digital thermostat now, which only aggravates my parental units, who cannot understand why things should change after some 40 years of technology. The more interesting occurrence is just beginning as on Saturday, the house was too hot for my mother and just fine for my father and myself. The Mom marched her way to the thermostat and began the inevitable punching of buttons to throw the system into disarray.

I was in the shower when the button-punching extravaganza began. I walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around me only to walk straight into my mother, who apparently had given up on the button-punching operation and stood, hands-on-hips, impatiently waiting for my grooming/hygiene escapade to end. She was none too happy that she had to wait. I know because of the aggravated look on her face and the fact that she had thrust into my hands the small brochure with instructions on how to use the new digital thermostat.

"Fix it," she gritted at me and walked away. She apparently believes that I have a Master's degree in electronic engineering or a technical degree in air conditioning systems, instead of an Associate's degree in office management. Funny. Yeah. Funny.

After donning some clothing, I made my way to the digital appliance that is set to end my parent's 50+ years of marriage and found that the heat was on. The thermostat was set to 70, but the reading was showing 78 degrees in the house. I read the booklet and changed the setting to "cool" and sure enough within a few minutes the air kicked on, and within about an hour, the temperature was down to 75, and it continued to descend through the night.

The next day we had the same heating issue arise... and therefore we think there really may be a problem with the new fangled hellish thermostat. The install company is coming by even as we speak to check out the problem. Fun times.

I can only imagine the arguments that will erupt over things like the temperature settings once my mother actually retires. There are nothing but good times ahead!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie Review: 300

Go see this film. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200... unless it will assist in paying for said movie and the outrageously priced snacks that go hand-in-hand with a theatrical experience. The reasons to see it are many... here are a few:

1. Gerard Butler. A fine actor (in both talent and, let's face it... looks) Does a superb job playing the lead as King Leonidas in this film. His portrayal is strong and you get over the fact that he is a Scotsman leading a group of Greeks very quickly. He does not attempt to hide his brogue, and we are better off for it. His character is fierce and courageous and his performance is both fierce and courageous as well.

2. Graphically pleasing. This film is based on the graphic novel (please don't call it a comic book, those graphic novel lovers will turn on you!) of the same name. I scanned through the novel at a local bookstore and the film stays true to its origins. The film is shot in an almost "sepia" color that brings incredible texture to the project. I worried that it would be too grainy or that it would wash everything out and make it boring to watch... nothing could be further from the truth. It added an aged feel to it that was beautiful in its simplicity.

3. Gerard Butler. Oh wait. I think I have mentioned him already. Wow. What a powerful performance. Did I mention that? If I haven't... let me mention it now. Amay---zing.

4. Action! Action! Action! This film never stops. Truly. There are usually moments in a film where you could do without a scene or three. That really isn't the case here. The story starts strong, ends strong, and there is really no time or desire for a potty break in the middle. The script is strong, the acting is strong on ALL accounts (not just Butler's) and the fighting sequences are gruesome and glorious. Oops... I illiterated, and I hate doing that! If you do not have the stomach for blood and guts, you will want to bypass this film, because there are plenty of severed limbs strewn about once the fighting begins. If you don't enjoy hideous-looking creatures, you may have to turn your head a few times, but that will soon pass and the blood and guts fighting will take over.

Even the fighting is filmed with a strong sense of beauty. They have taken battle moves and turned them into an exotic dance. Knowing that these actors worked before a green/blue screen for most of the film (if not all) exhibits another strength from this talented cast. They embrace the surroundings they could not see while filming and you believe without doubt that you are standing amongst the Spartans.
Go. Enjoy. It is worth the full price of the ticket... it is even worth the additional price of an IMAX experience.