November 27th, 2011


"It's Time To Play The Music..."

Despite The Rain

We needed to get out of the house and rack up at least one movie this holiday weekend. We've been known to do double-features on Thanksgiving Day itself, but this year I was catching up on sleep after my Atlanta road trip.

It was time for Muppets.

The Muppets [PG]
Holland 7 Theatre #2 4:05pm

Totally wrong -- there's no way a 10 gauge wire is sufficient to power... Oh wait. Never mind. It's a MUPPET MOVIE! Ya-aaaaay!

It's been a long time since we've enjoyed the Muppets and they have a lot of history. As a result, we get a lot of cameos of both Muppets and humans. If your favorite Muppet isn't on screen much, don't worry, it's a bewildering array of colors and felt and joy -- no problem. It's like any great franchise, like Star Trek -- they don't have to explain everything.

And it's a musical. Great gobs of wonderful, happy, sad and sometimes self-referential musical numbers. The story is mostly immaterial. We have Walter, a young boy in Muppet form who yearns to meet Kermit & Company. His brother and his girlfriend. A pilgrimage to the Muppet Studios in L.A. A devious oil baron played over-the-top by Chris Cooper -- does he ever play really nice guys? A plot to bulldoze the place. A contact and an out clause. A quest to "get the band back together" and "let's put on a show", where we throw in Jack Black for the former and Mickey Rooney for the latter. And, because it's Muppets, things don't quite work out right, except they do.

I was impressed by the vivid sharpness and color of the digital projection. We've never seen Muppets like this before. The theatre wasn't quite full, but it was a big happy crowd with lots of little kids. If the Muppets in the movie were worried about being forgotten, this love letter to Muppet fans will charm the new generation and keep the Rainbow Connection alive.

Highly Recommended... for those in the know.

Dr. Phil

Home For The Holiday

Thanksgiving Weekend

As previously reported, we had Brunswick Stew on Thanksgiving itself and we did a Saturday movie. For years, when we are home for Thanksgiving, we haven't done the big meal on Thanksgiving itself, but on Friday or sometimes even Saturday.

So on Friday I was able to make a perfectly ordinary grocery store run -- which in Allendale doesn't involve getting anywhere near the insanity of the so-called Black Friday shopping nonsense. It was a pretty blue sky day and I threw a camera bag in the back of the Blazer.

Made it all the way back up our driveway before shooting this stand of exploded milkweed pods -- next year's Monarch butterflies. (Click to enlarge)

We had company scheduled to come for Thanksgiving, but they had to cancel. I was just getting back from Atlanta and Mrs. Dr. Phil was treating her sinuses, so we settled on little chickens -- Cornish hens -- which are so easy to cook versus turkey.

A whole little chicken, sage stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, gravy and fresh cranberry relish.

Ah, the aftermath. We eat one side of the little chickens on one day and the other the next -- and the remaining bits get used another day. Note that the one Corning Ware has both chickens. (grin)

New Toys

Mrs. Dr. Phil has been debating getting some sort of tablet or smart phone, mainly because the university library is expanding its online and borrowable e-book holdings, and she wanted to be better equipped to deal with both students and technology. Apple has refurbished iPads on sale at educational discount, and there's the iPhone and Android variants. But while I was away she decided to give the Amazon Kindle Fire a try. It certainly made being at home with her sinus cold more bearable, especially with the spiffy red case she found. (e-grin)

Here's Mrs. Dr. Phil using her Fire in the Alt-Mode to do the Sunday Sudoku from the newspaper.

She hoped it was okay to spend the money on a new toy. Okay? After I'd picked up some bargains on eBay and acquired a backup digital SLR for home -- a Nikon D1X -- and another for the office -- a Nikon D1H -- how could it not be okay?

The D1X is a 6MP camera with an extended 27 frame buffer and 3 frames per second speed, the same resolution as the medium setting on the full-frame Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n I bought last year. The D1H is a 2.7MP camera, can shoot at 5 frames per second, has a 40 frame buffer and has a more sensitive sensor up to 6400 ISO, with almost no noise at 1600 ISO, which I intend to mainly use in B&W mode.

I'd inherited from my sister Wendy an extra auto-focus lens, a simple 35-70mm f3.3-4.5 AF Nikkor, and a compact Nikon Speedlight SB-22 electronic flash, which I tested in the Kindle Fire shot above. I'll add them to the office Nikon D1H setup.

Tonight we had a spicy Szechuan eggplant -- Mrs. Dr. Phil feeling we'd had enough chicken the last couple of days. All in all, a lovely weekend. (Even if Northwestern didn't win against Michigan State.)

Dr. Phil