So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The Return of the King + Book Review

Dina watched Phil this afternoon so I could brave frozen roads and go see The Return of the King. It would've really sucked if after the title screen Viggo Mortenson walked on screen dressed as Aragorn, said "I'm back," and then had two and a half hours of end credits. Fortunately they didn't do that and the movie was great. I laughed, I cried, I went through all the emotions. Go see it.

On a completely unrelated topic, I've reviewed The New Dare to Discipline by James Dobson. Be forewarned that I get a little sassy in my review, so plan ahead to either avoid or engage in a spit-take or two. Check it out.

Mikesell : 12:31 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, December 29, 2003

Snow Day

Well, we finally got snow.

Probably not even an inch, but it was still enough to stay home from work.

Unfortunately, since home is where I work, this caused a slight black hole to open up in the living room.

Fortunately, the snow didn't last long, so the black hole quickly dissipated.

Unfortunately, it sucked up the stack of Christmas Thank-You notes we had been working on, so it'll be awhile before we get those out.

Sorry about that.

Mikesell : 11:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Philip Milestone

Phil turns 3-1/2 today:

Mikesell : 9:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Another Two Reviews and 100 Helpful Votes

I've added a book review (Certain Prey) and a DVD review (The Mighty Quinn) over at Amazon.

I've received 100 helpful votes so far (and 3 unhelpful ones); let's keep that number (the one not in parentheses) growing!

Mikesell : 9:01 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Two New Reviews and an Amazon Bump

Well, I've jumped to 15,673 in the Amazon rankings (from the 20-23K range). Thanks to all who've voted.

Two new DVD reviews:

I got Remo in a 2 for $10 deal at Fred Meyer (The Mighty Quinn was the other half of the bargain). If there's a Freddy's in your neighborhood check out a great deal on quality budget MGM titles.

Mikesell : 8:23 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, December 26, 2003

Post-Christmas Phil Pix

We had a flurry of snow here this morning ... well, it wasn't enough to be called a "flurry;" it was more like a "flur." Pretty to see fall, no need to shovel later.

Here are a few more pix of Phil. The studio shots we've had for awhile, but were waiting for Grandparents to open their presents. In the fourth picture, Phil is wearing the pilot outfit he got from Grammy and Poppa (Dina's parents).


Studio Shot #1

Studio Shot #2

Phil & Tree #1

Phil & Tree #2

Mikesell : 9:27 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas

Hello, everyperson. If you're the kind of person who opens gifts on Christmas day, go open yesterday's book review (don't forget to vote; I'm not out of the 20K's yet).

We had a great Christmas here at home. Things you can expect to see reviews of on Amazon, include this, and that, and the other thing. And a few surprises, too.

Among the many gifts that Phil got was a folding photo frame with a picture of Phil and Grammy on one side and Phil and Poppa on the other. There's a button below each picture which plays a message from Grammy or Poppa when pressed. Both of them start by saying "Hi Philip," to which Phil answers back "Hi." Poppa asks "How ya doin'?" Phil answers "Good." Sometimes Phil pushes both buttons at the same time and Grammy and Poppa race to say "I love you."

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. If not, there's always next year.

Mikesell : 10:06 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve Book Review

Hey, we're always working here to provide you with the highest quality reviews available (in this price range). For those of you who open gifts on Christmas Eve, here's a present for ya: Head on over to Amazon and check out the review for Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the book that inspired the penultimate scene of Logan's Run ... Oh yeah, and that Andy Lloyd Webber thing.

One of the LPs my brother had as a kid included T.S. Eliot reading "Jellicle Cats." I recently transferred the recording to CD (which I have since misplaced, or I'd upload the track) and discovered that T.S. sounds a lot like John Houseman. Who'da thunk it?

Mikesell : 10:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Another Book Review Today

One of the nice things about long flights and a well-behaved boy (who sits with mom across the aisle from you) is you can get a lot of reading done. I finished most of Feast of Fear: Conversations with Stephen King on the flight and have since completed it an posted a review at Amazon (for some odd reason the apostrophe in the review's title didn't encode properly; what's up with that?).

Feast of Fear was the 52nd book I've read since the beginning of the year (over 16,000 pages). There's still a week left in 2003; maybe I can finish a few more before the year is out.

Mikesell : 12:55 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, December 22, 2003

New Book Reviews

There are two new book reviews.

They are:

Click the links above or visit the drop down menu list to read the reviews.

Mikesell : 10:08 AM : 0 snarky remarks

New Gadget Review

New Amazon.com review for the Atari Classics 10-In-1 TV Games.

Click here or in the Gadgets drop-down menu.

Mikesell : 12:42 AM : 0 snarky remarks

More on the trip; Phil Pix

Here is where I went golfing. Since there was no one behind me for a couple holes (and I'm terrible at golf), I wound up playing a best-of-three game of golf (3 shots off the tee, play the best one, three fairway (usually) shots, play the best one on the green, etc.). Wound up shooting 20 over; still it was nice actually making it onto the green from tee shot on 17, and finally clearing a water hazard on 18. I hit a ball over the fence and onto the road without causing a multi-car (or even single-car) pile-up, which is always nice, too.

Here are some snapshots of Phil, for your viewing enjoyment:

Ride 'em, Snailboy

When Rhinos Attack

Jammin' on the Xylophone

On the Train

Too Many Philips

Christmas Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Christmas Train at the Railroad Park

Mikesell : 12:10 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, December 21, 2003


We just got back from 3-days/3-nights in Capital City, Arizona.

You could tell we were tourists from the NW since we were the only ones wearing short-sleeved shirts. The weather was in the mid- to upper-70s and there were people walking around wearing parkas.

I'll fill in the details later, but here's a snapshot of what we did:

Actual snapshots will follow soon.

Mikesell : 3:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Potpourri for 500

Where Am I? Dina is taking me away somewhere for my birthday, but she isn't saying where. I'll have a better idea tomorrow morning at the airport. Phil's coming with, so it's not likely to be Vegas again. If you know, don't tell me.

5 Games, 9 Bucks Computer Gaming World has included a DVD (not the standard CD) with 5 full commercial-release games. These aren't bargain-basement games either -- although they are a few years old. Top of the top-shelf games are Deus Ex and Thief II. A handful of demos are included including 2 Lord of the Rings games and XIII, the comic-book First-Person Shooter (only the multiplayer/bot deathmatch is included; no plot-based levels).

New Review Pending I have an Amazon review that's been in the system for a few days. Hopefully it'll get cranked out while I'm away so I can continue with a few more book reviews (I don't like posting a new review until the previous one gets published). My ranking is currently 20,279. Major re-rankings seem to be done Tuesday nights, so we have 2 more weeks to get me to #1 (or at least the low 5-digits)

Merry Christmas! Should the plane go down (which one? I don't know!), be sure to have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas, now.

Mikesell : 1:28 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, December 15, 2003

New Church Website Stuff

Thanks to some help from the Free Methodist Church home office in Indiana, the Living Hope website now has a message board. It needs some help with the interface (no link back to the homepage, for instance), but you get the idea.

Our Worship Team leader (and member of Beaver Nation) has provided an alternate image of Sr. Pastor Scot Williams for the homepage. Check it out before I get the take-down request (I asked Scot when I was starting up the site if I needed to ask permission to put stuff up, or ask forgiveness after the fact; we'll see if his answer to that changes now).

Mikesell : 3:49 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Phil Pix: Christmas Pageant

This morning at church we had our annual Christmas pageant. The main event was a musical put on by the elementary and middle school students, but the highlight of the morning was the preschoolers singing two songs: Mary Had a Baby (Yes Lord) and Evergreen (not the Streisand number).

The star of the preschoolers was Phil (not that I'm a biased dad or anything). In the first number Phil accompanied the music with a bouncy dance; he swayed like a human metronome in the second.

Here are some pix:

Close-up of dancing Phil

Another close-up of dancing Phil

Wide shot of Phil and the group

Detail of the above wide shot

Phil mugs for the camera

Phil sways like a tree

Obviously we missed the memo about wearing red shirts.

Some people were shooting video of the morning's goings-on. If I can get a copy of Phil's performance I'll post it here.

Mikesell : 10:04 PM : 0 snarky remarks


I got up this morning and logged on and saw we (okay, not you and I per se, but the U.S. military (possibly coalition forces, too)) have captured Saddam Hussein. Good deal!

Makes me wish I had bought a pack of Iraq's Most Wanted playing cards so I could stick the ace of spades on the end of a pike and wave at it like this: <raises right hand and wiggles fingers cheerily>.

Mikesell : 9:17 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Leaving the demographic behind

In one week I leave behind the coveted 18-34 demographic.

Maybe telemarketers posing as pollsters will stop calling during dinner now.

Mikesell : 10:56 PM : 0 snarky remarks


Okay, it's only one review, but it's a doozy.

Okay, it's not a doozy, but it's very nice.

Okay, it's pathetic, but please tell Amazon that it helped you (if only by making you feel better about your own writing skills).

See the horror that is my review of Dorothy L. Sayers' The Documents in the Case.

Mikesell : 1:59 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, December 11, 2003

What's Your Name? Who's Your Daddy?

We have finally gotten Phil to recite his name when questioned. Ask him and he'll say "Philip Mafaniel Mikesell."

Ok, so the middle name needs a little help, but if we get separated at the store, the lost-and-found lady will be able to get the gist of what he's saying.

In other news, Phil just made the number "16" with computer magnets after talking about "16" for the previous few minutes. Then he spelled his name (he got the initial "P" by himself, and then help on which letters to pick next).


Mikesell : 10:37 PM : 0 snarky remarks

New DVD review

At Thanksgiving I picked up Christmas with the Simpsons and due to a rare mixture of self-restraint and forgetting that I'd bought it, just finished watching it today.

Then I wrote up an Amazon review because I was sure you couldn't wait to find out what I thought about it.

Well, the wait is over.

The review is up and it's maybe the best thing I've ever written.

Probably not ... but you never know.

Have at it!

Mikesell : 5:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

More New Church Webpages

There are now floor-plan maps and coming events available at the church webpage. I'm too lazy to code the individual links, so check out the Living Hope Church link at the right (below pretty much everything else).

Mikesell : 6:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

New Church Webpages

I've added a couple new pages to the church website, including a picture of the "spooky man with a question mark where his face should be."

Definitely worth taking a look.

Mikesell : 10:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks


Yet another Amazon Review!

My review of Q is for Quarry is now online. Read. Rate. Rejoice.

Theodore Rex should be up soon; it took me almost a year to finish reading it—hopefully I can crank out a review in under six months.

Mikesell : 5:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Book news

I just finished Sue Grafton's Q Is for Quarry. Looks like I'll step back in time (further than the 1969/1987 timeline in Q) next with Dorothy L. Sayers' The Documents in the Case, one of several Sayers books I picked up recently at St Vincent de Paul's. First, though, I've got to finish Theodore Rex.

Look for a review of Q to be out soon.

Mikesell : 12:35 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, December 05, 2003

SAK Review Redux

It turns out that two vendors at Amazon are selling the Swiss Army Knife I reviewed (one in sporting goods the other in kitchen & housewares).

Visit and vote for my second review as well.

Mikesell : 7:30 PM : 0 snarky remarks

New Gadget Review

I've reviewed my Mini Swiss Army Knife over at Amazon (link for this and all my reviews, gadget and otherwise, at right).

Help me recover from my recent devastating review (see below), and vote "yes" on this product review. Then buy one as a present for someone who can play with sharp objects. If they can juggle buy them three.

Mikesell : 12:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

But Why Don't You Like Me?

"I look good. I dress well. I'm cerebral."

SCTV quote aside, I've received my first negative review at Amazon.

"Booga Booga!"

Mikesell : 12:40 PM : 0 snarky remarks

More Pix of the Boy

Last night we went to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Besides it being wet and cold and generally nasty out, we did have a fun time and the lights were terrific. Unfortunately, they didn't photograph all that well. So here's some pix of Phil, instead:

Phil Mauled by an Otter

Phil and Dina and Lights

Phil and some Penguins

Phil in the ZooLights Train

Mikesell : 12:20 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Yet another Amazon Review

...or as the pirates say: YaAR.

This time it's the 2004 Magnetic Tangram Puzzle-A-Day Desk Calendar. Amazon classifies it as a book, so that's where I've put the link at the right.

In other news, I led this week's Wed. night Bible Study at church. Tonight's topic was a general look at the Bible. Everyone was pretty much pro-Bible so things went smoothly. I brought Christmas sugar cookies as a group snack. There were a few left over and as Philip was carrying the container out to the car he offered them to some other kids. Way to share little man!

To all those celebrating today, Happy Pearl Harbor Day!

Mikesell : 12:25 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Movin' On Up

This morning my Amazon ranking was at 298,805.

I checked it earlier this evening and it was in the 125,000 range.

I just checked it now and it's at 35,625.

Not too shabby.

All you voters out there: Thanks a bunch. Keep up the good work!

Mikesell : 11:18 PM : 0 snarky remarks

A Big Step

I've entered the competitive and high-stakes world of software reviewership with a look at Marvel's Comic Book Library Vol. 1.

Not a bad product, but a seriously flawed one.

Read my review. It's cruel and unbalanced, just like me.

You can decide for yourself, but be sure to tell the folks at Amazon how much my review has improved your life (guaranteed to remove warts in 38 states, just not the 1-12 you're in/from).

Mikesell : 6:59 PM : 0 snarky remarks

This Book Changed My Life

Of all the books I've read in the past year, none has had the impact of Azrin & Foxx's Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. Philip went from a diaper-wetting baby to a toilet-using big boy in about five hours. This book is the reason (it took longer to read the book than it did to toilet-train the boy).

Check out my review at Amazon (link at the right) and buy the book as a Christmas gift for the parents of any two-year-olds you know.

Mikesell : 12:23 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, December 01, 2003

Thanksgiving Photos

Here are some pix from the weekend.

At Shore Acres Christmas Lights:
Rain Boy

Phil & Aunt Julia

Phil with Grammy & Poppa

Phil with Mom & Dad

Phil Says Hang Loose

Phil & Some Frogs

Taken 30 seconds before Gramma and Grampa left and we realized we hadn't taken pix with them:
Phil & "Aunt Belle"

Phil with Gramma & Grampa

Mikesell : 9:01 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Church Site Changes

I've made a few changes to the Church Website

Check 'em out.

Mikesell : 3:55 PM : 0 snarky remarks


I've dropped to #298805 in the amazon.com rankings.

This is not good. (I edited my review for the Sneakers DVD and all the votes disappeared, so that likely has something to do with it).

Help me out, and get in practice for next November at the same time.

Go and vote.

Mikesell : 2:20 PM : 0 snarky remarks

The Night of Sleeping Dangerously

Phil slept with underpants (instead of pull-ups) under his pajamas last night. They were dry this morning (if we'd named him Gideon his undies would have been dry, but the rest of the bed would have been wet; if you don't understand this Biblical allusion, you should go to Sunday School more often). Yay!

Since last Friday, Phil has also been spending all night in his bed, without being bribed with Hot Wheels. Double Yay!

Mikesell : 10:53 AM : 0 snarky remarks