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Archive for December, 2004

2005……. Coming Soon…..

Posted by BenSpark on December 31, 2004

With 2005 right around the corner I look back on the year that was. Lots of big changes this past year. We lost a long time family member in Sophie our dog. And on a happy note Allison and I got engaged and I got a new job.

A preview of the coming year and a look ahead promises: our wedding, more travel for me, more challenges for both of us, possibly a house, and some fun times as always, all of which will be documented for posterity here so stay tuned.

I would also mention that 2005 is the year of the Transformer since that is the year that Transformers the Movie (the original cartoon one from the 80’s) was set. It is too bad that the live action movie isn’t coming till 2006 but 2005 should be a great Transformers year anyways.

Also the trivia contest has become more and more popular. Over 100 people played this past month.

Be safe tonight and celebrate the coming of the New Year in style. Allison and I are heading to Derek and Michelle’s for a get together. I’m trying out a new Chicken wing recipe and will let you know how to make it if it goes over well.

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Pimp My Name…

Posted by BenSpark on December 30, 2004

Ever wonder what your Pimp name would be, yeah you do…

By the way.

Andrew Bennett = Master Pimp Andrew Shmoove

Allison Sparks= Sugartastic Allison Large

Allison Adds: Okay, I tried a few times to get that one, but I like it!!

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30 Second Movies.. with Bunnies

Posted by BenSpark on December 30, 2004

The 30 second bunny theatre presents some movies that we all know like The Shining and Jaws, but for the holidays it has Its A Wonderful Life.

Check out Angry Alien Productions.

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American Red Cross Disaster Relief

Posted by BenSpark on December 30, 2004

You’ll notice I have added a box for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief for the people of East Africa and Southeast Asia. There has been nearly $4,000,000.00 donated through America pledged $35,000,000.00 and was matched by one U.S. company, Pfizer. This water may recede but the disaster is just beginning to unfold.

From the website.

“At least 80,000 people have lost their lives in East Africa and South Asia in the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunamis on December 26. Thousands of people in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Indonesia are still missing; many others have lost their homes and livelihoods. Sri Lanka and Indonesia suffered the highest number of deaths, but India, East Africa, Seychelles, Maldives, and Thailand were all affected by the tsunami waves, which reached as high as 20 feet. Aid workers and volunteers are focused on stopping the spread of disease and delivering food and drinking water to survivors. The American Red Cross reports that emergency assessment and first-aid teams were on the ground quickly and are already working with local groups to support relief efforts. Your financial donation will help provide medicine, clothing, food, and shelter for victims of the East Africa and South Asia earthquake and tsunami disaster. Thanks in advance for your participation during this critical time. The American Red Cross name is used with its permission. For more information about the American Red Cross, please call 1‑800 HELP NOW or e-mail”

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"Note to Self….

Posted by BenSpark on December 30, 2004

stay home from the movies during school vacation week.”

Last night Allison and I went to the movies to see Spanglish. We had some movie passes that needed to be used up before the end of the month. And since I am not going to just throw money away we needed to use those passes. Unfortunately this is school vacation week, yipee!

Spanglish is an Adam Sandler movie but not like you would expect. It is funny but not in the way you are accustomed to seeing the funny from Sandler. It is touching and has heart and is funny, but not really a movie for teenagers or pre-teens. Why? Because you have to pay attention, not talk on your cell phone or bounce around on the soft springy chairs. I always feel like I could go for a nice vasectomy after spending time around most of today’s teenagers. Because I know that no matter what I do to raise my kids right they will probably fall in with the wrong element just to spite me and my ‘uptight’ ways.

Allison and I were lucky enough to have four Fast and Furious watching, Grand Theft Auto playing, wannabe Gansta and Hoochie looking teen/pre-teens, sit right in front of us. Oh Joy! First they will play switch our seats, then they’ll play laugh like an idiot to get attention, then they’ll check out text messages and then the thug life wannabes will leave and the hoochies will stay and chat up a storm, till the cranky old guy behind them (me) tells them, “Would you two shut up we are trying to watch a movie!” Eventually they got bored with the movie (to much plot for their tiny brains) and left.

We could then finally enjoy the movie which by the way was very touching and well acted, Sandler was very good in this movie.

I guess what I am saying is that there is no consideration today. Maybe I am just noticing it more. For example, I like to go to Stop and Shop and do the shopping for the week. I enjoy it I really do. I clip coupons and know where everything is in the entire store, you can test me sometime while we are in the store. It’s not like I can rattle off the aisle numbers if asked at this exact moment, but once I’m in the store, I’m like a grocery savant.

So I have little patience when I come down an aisle and it is clogged with ‘human cholesterol’ (my favorite people!) desperately rationalizing to their screaming two year old why they can only buy the regular oreos and not the double stuff. All the while that two year old kid, snot running down their nose and crying is hammering on the cart and screaming. I felt like grabbing some Hydrox or Stop and Shop brand chocolate creme filled cookies and shoving them in her cart. Pick the regular cookies and MOVE ON! Why?, because you are the Mom, because it is your money and if the kid is that much of a brat they don’t deserve double stuff. When they get the double stuff they end up as teenage wannabe hoochies that piss me off. The kid is two and is not capable of rationality. Put your foot down!

But I digress. There is a complete lack of consideration and responsibility in many people’s actions today. Case in point, when you are at the checkout line or maybe walking around the store do you often see items that should be refrigerated left at the checkout aisle or maybe on the chips shelf somewhere? Hey! if you took something and later you don’t want it, PUT IT BACK WHERE YOU FOUND IT! And not in the bread aisle! Jackasss! And while you are at it, move out of the way, get off your cell phone and if you can’t set your VCR you probably shouldn’t be in the self checkout line.

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Goodbye – Jerry Orbach

Posted by BenSpark on December 29, 2004

In sudden and shocking news to me Jerry Orbach who played Lenny Briscoe on Law and Order has passed away from Prostate Cancer. A full story is found here.

I am sad to see that Jerry has died. He was a great part of the original Law and Order series and I was looking forward to his new series Law and Order: Trial by Jury.

We wish his family peace and comfort in their time of loss.

Goodbye Jerry.

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Cheese Cake

Posted by BenSpark on December 29, 2004

Last night Allison and I went to Tara and Erik’s for a martini and Cheese Cake party. Tara made her very own pumpkin vodka. You coulda used it to strip paint and there were some straining malfunctions, but it was a good first effort. Luckily her prowess with the cheesecakes is so much better. Tara made cherry cheese cake tarts, a pumpkin cheesecake and a peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake. Those were awesome. And I hear that Shelby made a mean Appletini. Allison sure liked them. Thanks for having us over guys.

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Posted by BenSpark on December 29, 2004

I just finished the book on CD by Clive Cussler called Cyclops. Cussler’s stories interweave some fantastic plots. This book was no exception. It starts with a shipwreck or some other maritime tragedy per usual that spawns a mystery and eventually reveals an incredible plot of intrigue and suspense. Cussler’s hero, Dirk Pitt is the ultimate action hero, he is tough, he is witty, he is good with the ladies, and he is smart. All rolled into one that makes a great action star.

Why hasn’t Hollywood picked up this character for a movie, ah but it has. (one of Pitt’s earlier adventure called Raise the Titanic) And it has done a craptastic job with Cussler’s characters. But Hollywood is producing Clive Cussler’s book Sahara as a spring/summer, can Hollywood redeem itself and its past treatment of this literary franchise. Let’s hope so.

But it looks unlikely. And the reason why is the casting of characters. The main beef I have with the casting of characters is that of Dirk Pitt’s longtime friend Al Giordino. Al is a barrel chested, beefy Italian guy who is a direct contrast to Dirk Pitt’s tall commanding, dangerous, presence. Think of an actor who least resembles this character suggestion and you get Steve Zahn. Now don’t get me wrong, Steve Zahn is a good actor and can play great characters, however he could not be the Al Giordino of the Dirk Pitt novels. It looks like the character has been modified to be more of a buffoon then a highly skilled pilot and scuba diver and tough guy.

However, I think the movie will be a great action movie if only for the fact that it looks like Matthew McConaughy and Steve Zahn have some good chemistry together. The action looks tight and the story should be compelling. I think that if National Treasure did so well then Sahara has a shot. Let’s hope so because Dirk Pitt is an action hero destined to leap off the pages and onto the screen. Look for yourself at the Sahara trailer.

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Random Bits

Posted by BenSpark on December 28, 2004

Good morning. Last night Dad and I went to see Meet the Fockers. It was a nice follow up to Meet the Parents. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Deniro were hilarious. I was even able to tolerate Ben Stiller too. (He’s got only a couple of original characters and I can tolerate about 2 of them.) But the movie had me laughing out loud alot! Not that that is hard to make happen. I am easily amused.

So, I’ve become addicted to the online multiplayer game called Runescape. All I can say is thank God it is blocked at work or I would get absolutely nothing done. Since I sold all of my games I found this one by accident. It is a free or subscription game where players earn experience by doing certain tasks like fishing, crafting, fighting, or mining. Its alot of fun because your character is totally your own and you control how they advance in the game. It is alot of fun.

Another online game is called Second Life where you can create anything. It is a 3D multiplayer world where you can build make your life online anything you want. You could build your own motorcycle and whatnot. I just read an article about 9 severely disabled patients who are sharing one Second Life account to play online. I guess one of the patients has motor function in their arms and whatnot but some cannot read and they are all from different backgrounds and they are working together under one account. I found that interesting. I also read that people are building certain items on Second life and are making real money by selling virtual things online. That blows my mind.

I’ve noticed a rather interesting thing about playing massive multiplayer online games. People are jerks! It doesn’t matter if it is the real world of the virtual one if you are a jerk you continue to be one online even when you can be whoever you want to be. So why not be nice. There are people who are at higher levels who hog all the resources and look down on new players. There is an option to go into the “wilderness” to fight against other players. And there are constantly people trying to lure others (new players or ‘noobs’ as many of the experienced players call those whose level is even one point lower than themselves.) into the wilderness so they can kill them and take their stuff. I guess the virtual world isn’t much different than the real one huh?

But then there are nice people who help out new players. Some guy needed wool from a sheep (you can shear sheep, get the wool and spin it and then use it for various other items like weaving and whotnot) and he paid me 80 coins per piece of wool. I made 7000 coins in very little time. It was pretty sweet.

I’ve also noticed that I can’t stand the shorthand speech of the Internet, I tend not to talk to players who spell ‘what’ as ‘wat’ or anything else that is netspeak. Pet peeve, I know, I’m such a snob. Actually I tend not to talk to anyone for any reason. I work on gaining experience for my character and ignore all else.

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Time Archive

Posted by BenSpark on December 28, 2004

So I picked up TIME magazine the other night while my Dad and I were watching the football game. I noticed something really interesting in the magazine. TIME magazine worked with HP to create the TIME Archive. This is a digital archive of every TIME magazine from 1923 to present. That is 4,100 issues that came out over the course of those years. It also has an area where you can see all the covers. You can also put in your birthday and get the cover closest to that date. Here is mine. April 8, 1974 (My birthday is the 9th but this was the closest cover. In case anyone was confused.)

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