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since 06/05/2001


Everything that starts with L ... 08/10/2002

Losing A Friend

Member Advice on Remarriage 29/09/2002

Happiness At Last

A Beautiful Mind (DVD) 21/09/2002

An Unforgettable Film

A Beautiful Mind (DVD) Yesterday afternoon, Jon and I watched one “A Beautiful Mind.” This film has to be one of the most powerful movies that I have seen in quite some time. It left me literally speechless, as I was both touched by and in awe of its content. “A Beautiful Mind” stars Russell Crowe as John Nash, who is a brilliant, yet paranoid schizophrenic, mathematical genius. I’ve often heard that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. This is clearly the case with Dr. Nash. The film begins when Nash is a student at Princeton University, pursuing his doctorate. Although the viewer notices some personality quirks with Nash, it is unclear just how serious his problems are. Nash is considered the West Virginian oddball prodigy in a school full of affluent and brilliant young men and women. It is only after Nash has finished his studies, begun teaching at the university, and married his beautiful student, Alicia, that the depth of his problems becomes apparent. The audience is drawn into the mind of this delusional genius, so much so that one begins to believe that Nash’s “secret job” is of utmost importance. We feel for Nash, as he seems to have been suckered into the world of counterintelligence and espionage. His wife has no clue that her husband suffers from a serious and debilitating mental illness. When Nash is institutionalized for his erratic behavior, I thought that it was a set-up and that the U.S. government had betrayed him. When the attending psychiatrist, Dr. Rosen, ...

Black Opal Chardonnay 07/09/2002

Black Opal Outshines the Competition

As I’ve been drinking more white wine than red these days, I’ve been sampling different brands of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Chenin Blanc. It’s always nice to come home and have a glass or two before and/or with my evening meal. I find it a nice way to relax and unwind after a stressful day at work. Recently, when visiting our local supermarket, I found that Black Opal Chardonnay is now available there. I’ve long been a fan of Black Opal Shiraz, so I thought I’d give the Chardonnay a try. Although it is a bit pricier than the standard California brands, I figured it would be worth the extra money. I am pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Black Opal Chardonnay is produced in Southeastern Australia, as are all of their other wines. It, too, comes in the familiar black bottle with an unobtrusive and simple, yet classy label which suits the contents quite well. This Chardonnay contains 13% alcohol by volume and can pack a punch if heavily imbibed. When I poured my first glass, I was pleased with the bouquet. The aroma was pleasingly fruity. The first taste was absolute Heaven on my tongue. This wine is a bit more golden in color than many others I have sampled. It also has more body, yet it is neither too strong, nor too heavy. It is somewhat sweet, yet dry, at the same time – quite a nice balance between the two. Quite simply, it is a lovely wine that will compliment a variety of foods. I find that it is particularly nice with chicken, fish, or pork, although it ...

Scarlet Feather - Maeve Binchy 10/08/2002

An Enjoyable Read

Scarlet Feather - Maeve Binchy Yes, I’ve been busy writing not so fun papers for my class. Yes, I badly needed a break from Ciao. However, don’t think I spent all my time without any means of leisure. I actually read a couple of books in what little spare time I had; mostly, at night, before I went off to the land of nods. The latest book I read was by one of my favorite authors, recently rediscovered: Maeve Binchy. I finished “Scarlet Feather” just a couple of nights ago, and I’m missing its characters badly. Scarlet Feather is set in Dublin and is the story of Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, two young friends who met in catering school, and found themselves to have in common in that they wished to set up a catering business. After finishing their course, they went their separate ways and found love: Cathy with an upper class barrister (Neil) and Tom with an aspiring model (Marcella). Cathy married Neil, who happened to be the son of her mother’s former employer, the horrid Hannah Mitchell. Tom and Marcella lived together in seeming bliss. Although they had different partners, Cathy and Tom remained faithful to each other in the sense that they would stop at nothing to get their catering company up and running. They worked hard to achieve their goal. Without giving away any more of the story, I’d like to say that I enjoyed this book immensely. Binchy, once again, did an excellent job of building her storyline through her characters. All are very real people with both strengths and weaknesses with ...

Everything that starts with B ... 05/07/2002

Bye For Now

Every Breath You Take - Ann Rule 01/07/2002

With A Lot of Help From the Police

Every Breath You Take - Ann Rule I have just finished reading “Every Breath You Take,” written by one of my favorite true-crime authors, Ann Rule. This book was another gift from my mother. Although it wasn’t available in bookstores for Christmas, it was released in time for my January birthday. She made an excellent choice with this book. Once I started reading it, I was instantly drawn into this story that involved many characters. The crime committed altered five families’ lives in a most negative fashion. Ann Rule begins this tale in November 1997 with the horrific, gruesome murder of Sheila Bellush in Sarasota, Florida. From there, it backtracks through the story of Sheila’s short life (from birth to age 35). The second part of this tragic story focuses on the life of her ex-husband, Allen Blackthorne (ne Allen Van Houte). Rule brilliantly weaves the milestones of their lives up to the time they meet and, shortly thereafter, marry. Both Sheila and Allen grew up in less than stellar circumstances. Sheila’s childhood would have been an unstable one, had it not been for the unconditional love of her mother and her sister, Kerry. Sheila was a bright and beautiful young woman, who rose above the sadness of her childhood to become a lovely young woman, full of promise, faith, and the potential to make a positive impression on the lives of those around her. Although she was a very positive and upbeat young lady, she had a premonition throughout her life, that she would not live a long life. She was only ...

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you take? 26/06/2002

I Hope This Never Happens To Me

McDonalds [TV Advertisement] 21/06/2002

I'm Not That Hungry

McDonalds [TV Advertisement] McDonald’s has been around since before I was born. As a child, I can remember what a treat it was to be able to go to McDonald’s for a meal. At that time, the restaurants were small with a golden arch on each end. Each one resembled a drive-in more than a restaurant. Most food had to be taken out to the car to eat, as there was little, if any, seating in the restaurant itself. Now, the McDonalds we all know is a booming business. The restaurants have become high-tech with computerized cash registers, where there are no keys for actually ringing up the amount of the sale. Simply push the products desired on the keyboard. This information is transmitted to the kitchen. The amount due is quickly calculated, as is the amount of change due back after the money has been presented to the cashier. Raymond Albert “Roy” Kroc started McDonald’s in 1955, when he was in his early 50’s. He had mortgaged his home and invested his life’s savings so that he could become the only distributor of the Multimixer, a five-spindled milk shake maker. He found out that a hamburger stand, called McDonald’s, was using eight of these Multi-mixers at once to produce numerous milkshakes. He approached Dick and Mac McDonald, owners of the hamburger stand, to open several restaurants. It was his idea, at first, to only supply them with the Multimixers. They had no idea who would run the restaurants. Kroc suggested himself, and the rest is history. He opened the first real McDonald’s restaurant in Des ...

Isle Of Dogs - Patricia Cornwell 16/06/2002

Is This Really Patricia Cornwell's Work

Isle Of Dogs - Patricia Cornwell Having been a long-time fan of Patricia Cornwell’s crime/suspense novels, I was happily surprised when I received her latest book, “Isle of Dogs,” from my mom at Christmas. I hadn’t read anything by Cornwell in a while, so I was quite eager to get down to business and sink my teeth into my new prized possession. Thinking it was another book involving Virginia Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, I was most disappointed to find that only vague references were made to Dr. Scarpetta. In fact, she only appears once or twice in the entire novel. After reading the jacket cover (which I didn’t do when initially starting the book), I learned that this novel was an entirely different venue for Cornwell. It is her attempt at writing “black humor.” Unfortunately, she fails miserably. There is little that is either remotely funny or believable in “Isle of Dogs.” The story begins with a plot involving the governor’s fascination with and attempt to gain more control over Tangier Island, Virginia. This got my hopes up that I might actually enjoy the book, once I “got into it.” Tangier Island is located off the shore of my home, Virginia’s Eastern Shore. It is a fascinating place to visit, as once you step on the island, you feel as though you have taking a trip back in time. Tangier only has one or two cars on the entire island. People travel by bike or golf carts. The citizens of the island speak in a dialect all there own with a very distinct accent. Unfortunately, they have ...

Argos 16/06/2002

Burned by Argos Online Shopping

10 Things To Do on a Rainy Day 15/06/2002

To Keep the Outer Body Dry

Matrix System Biolage Styling Mousse 12/06/2002

Matrix Mousse Makes My Mousey Hair Magnificent

I've been a fan of Matrix hair products for years. My hairstylist uses them and sells them in her salon. There are many varieties of products in the Matrix Line. Some have changed over the years, but I've always been satisfied with how they have performed on my very straight hair. Matrix System Biolage is a very effective product. It helps to give my fine hair body and shine. It isn't drying at all, and it makes my hair look healthy and lustrous. This is no small feat for a styling product. Of all the various mousses, gels, and sprays that I’ve tried, Matrix wins hands down. It keeps my hair in place. If there is excessive humidity in the air (as is common during this time of year in the area where I live), I simply brush it and touch up with a small amount of hair spray. This product can only be purchased in hair salons. A 225-gram (9-ounce) can usually costs around $9.50 (£6.75 at the standard exchange rate today). This can lasts me approximately three months. However, keep in mind that I do have short hair. About a palm full is sufficient to provide adequate coverage for my hair. Too much mousse tends to weigh down my hair and leave it looking flat. Once applied, I either blow dry it with a hair dryer or simply let it dry on its own and then fluff it with a hair dryer later. Either way, my hair always comes out looking just the way I like: full, but not like the “big hair” days of the ‘80’s. The mousse never leaves my hair feeling sticky or looking oily. Matrix ...

10 Most Annoying Celebrities 11/06/2002

Just Get Me Some Ear Plugs

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