Archive for January 2007

365 Days

As of yesterday, I have been a non-smoker for 363 of the past 365 days. (There were two lapses last spring.) If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, do it – it’s worth it a thousand times over. It is fantastically hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and that’s one of the reasons it feels so good to be rid of it. I smoked for 20 years, and every day of that time, even the few times I tried to quit, smoking seemed like something necessary, mentally and physically. After the past year I can still remember it being satisfying, but the craving is gone. My time as a smoker seems like a strange dream, where I remember the basic plot, but can’t quite grasp the sensation. It’s a tough journey, but if you don’t even try, well, a year from now you will have just spent another year smoking, killing yourself, and paying someone for the privilege.

And now I’ve gotten it out of my system. No, not the smoking – the ex-smoker proselytizing. I always regarded ex-smokers as even more irritating than non-smokers when it came to telling me how stupid I was to smoke, and now I understand why. They kicked it, and they were telling me I could too. They were the saved, and saved people are incredibly annoying. I don’t want to be that person, and I think proselytizing in general is usually ineffective – it works on those who want it to work. But it’s hard to not be that person when you see friends and family being stupid. So here it is – if I know you, and you smoke, you should quit. If I can, you can, and if you can, you should.

Letters Home

My brother Niall is in another play, and according to this person it’s highly recommended. The play is “Letters Home: Voices of American Troops From the Battlefields of Iraq” and I’ll quote:

… there can only be highest praise for the extraordinary act of empathy and transformation of [the] ensemble — a “platoon” of 10 young, richly expressive actors who so deftly conjure the souls of those whose letters they clearly have made their own. The roll call — medals to all — is as follows: Pasquale Di Diana, Kevin Kingston, Niall McGinty, [and seven people I don’t know who come after McGinty alphabetically].

Before this he was in “The General From America“, and before that, “Hecuba”. Here’s a pic of him dead with Marsha Mason. I don’t know who she is either, but my parents do. Hecuba provided what is still my favorite review of any of his performances, from the same reviewer as above:

Also unforgettable is the play’s opening speech by McGinty, who brings a touching boy-man androgyny to Polyxena’s young brother Polydorus, and who speaks with a great eloquence heightened by his rail-thin ghostliness.

Touching boy-man androgyny. I can’t really add to that.

Anyway, if you’re in Chicago, check him out, and if you have any spare weekend airline tickets to Chicago sitting around, hook me up.

Two Things

First, it’s really cold outside – 29 degrees, freezing rain, roads closed, not many people went to work today, no one is going to work tomorrow. Which brings up the question, why do I want it to be 80 degrees inside when it’s cold out and 70 degrees inside when it’s hot out? Shouldn’t a comfortable temperature be comfortable year round?

Second, my trusty ViewSonic A90 19″ CRT, purchased for 4 or 5 hundred dollars 6 or 7 years ago, finally died this weekend. It was a damn fine display, (almost) outlasting 2 computers, and it will be missed. It has been replaced by a ViewSonic VX2235WM 22″ Widescreen LCD, which was a great deal at Costco for $329. I was worried about moving away from the trusty CRT, but so far (3 days), the new LCD has been great.

Gotta go turn up the heat now, maybe 82 will be warm enough…

New Year, New Movies

I petered out a bit in the last couple of months of 2006 and didn’t post every movie I saw, as I had intended. I’ll make a wrap up post for the year when I have more time, so I can have some sense of closure and completeness.

This being a new year I decided to renew my movie listing for this year, imaginatively indexed under the new category “Movies 2007” on your left. I’ve also decided to pursue an idea of The Lovely Wife’s, and try to watch every Academy Award Best Picture winner to date. If I have the number right (1929 – 2006) that’s 77 movies, soon to be 78. I have to watch even the ones I’ve already seen, and I have to watch Ordinary People. No exceptions allowed. It’ll be fun.