Friday, December 30, 2005

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

I just finished In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, the sixth book in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency book series. Katie and I have both read all six, and I just adore this series. It follows the life of Precious Ramotswe and her friends and family. Mma Ramotswe is, of course, Botswana’a first Lady Detective (fictional, sadly. I would love to think she is real).

The series is written by Alexander McCall Smith, who himself has spent many years in Botswana and clearly was enchanted by the country around him. These are “mystery books” in the loosest sense. Yes, there are detective stories within, but with each book, the cases become less and less as the series inceasingly focuses on the personal goings on of the main characters. The prose is simple yet eloquent, the setting is (too use the word again) enchanting, and the characters are people you wish were your friends. To read these stories is too escape from the maddening world just a bit.

The first three books were marvelous, then the series started to falter a little in the fourth book. The fifth book seemed to calculated in its attempt to be charming (I expect to entice new readers to the quirky series, while inadvertently slightly putting-off the long-time fans). Both #4 and #5 were still enjoyable, don’t get me wrong. Very good. But Book #6 is back on track, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

These books are also important to me in that the first books in this series (along with Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible) were the books that made me think “Hmm, I might want to know more about Africa.” And for those who know me, y’all know I cannot put into words how important that thought has been in my life. So please check them out. The books title are below:

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

The Black Eyed Peas are Dead to Me

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
It breaks my hip-hop lovin' heart to say it, but the Black Eyed Peas are indeed dead to me. How has this happened, the abandonment of a band whose first two albums Behind the Front and Bridging the Gap) are still great works in the hip-hop pantheon (at least in my humble opinion)? A band that I have seen in concert not once but TWICE?

The sad fact is that they have started to, well, suck more and more with each album. Elephunk was OK, but I didn't like it all that much, and though I have not heard their last album in its entirety, let's just say that it is probably all terrible. Why do I make this harsh assumption? One major piece of evidence that has recently (and painfully) come to my full notice. I had read about it, heard about it, but only this last week did I actually hear it: "My Humps." Yep, that's it. A song about Fergie's T & A. Don't get me wrong, she's pretty hot, but DAMMIT, don't sing a whole song about your tits. And guys in the group, you have written SO MUCH BETTER LYRICS than "Whatcha gonna do with all that ass?" (6x, thank you).

Where's the socially conscious lyrics? The clever wordplay? The songs not about Fergie's "lady lumps?" I won't blame it all on Fergie- in fact, I thought she would make a good addition- but that potential has failed to materialize. Since she has shown up, the band has sucked. I know guys do dumb things when they're around a hot chick. Maybe that's what's happened to their TALENT.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jesus Ain't The Only One With a X-mas Birthday...

...Though His is undoubtedly more important than mine. Nonetheless, December 22 was my birthday, and I turned the ripe old age of 29! I’d like to thank everyone who called, sent gifts, birthday wishes, or organized impromptu family performances of “Happy Birthday” via the telephone. It made my day very enjoyable. On my birthday, we traveled to Jackson to get Erica and Fuzzy from the airport. We had a great lunch and played a riveting game of mini-golf. And mom became obsessed with a whoopee putty we found on the course. If you’re wondering what it does, your first guess is probably right on the money.

Christmas Reflections

Christmas at the Reids
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Well, it’s been awhile since I have posted, and lots has been going on these last few weeks. December 21 – 27 Katie and I were in Mississippi spending the holidays with my family. Erica’s fiancĂ© Fuzzy has posted a really nice set of photos from the trip (though I swiped one for my post- Thanks, Fuzzy!) Click here to see the pictures.

I will resist boring you with the minutia of each day we were home, but the trip was a good one. It has gotten me thinking about the last time we were all together at Christmas. First of all, the last Christmas the whole family was together in Vicksburg was- to me, at least- a tense holiday (which was X-mas 2003, pre-Fuzzy and before Dad’s cancer). We had fun, but I remember a distinct feeling of disappointment when we left. It seemed to me that the whole visit was full of passive-aggressive moments and that everyone was somehow put off with everyone else. It puzzled me at the time, but in retrospect, I think it was because we were all together as“adults” for the first time. Us “kids” had moved away, we had our own lives, our own interests, and our own goals. Our parents had continued to do their own thing. Erica and I- so very close and similar to one another for most of our lives- had taken paths that diverged in some crucial areas. We were all still incredibly close, but when we were all back together, everyone expected that we would all be the versions of ourselves that we had been years ago. And we weren’t, and I think it almost seemed a betrayal of sorts at the time. “What has happened to YOU?” Though it was good to see everyone, it was a sad trip for me. Others may not agree with this assessment, but this was my personal take on that particular trip.

Luckily, in the years that have followed, it seems everyone has grown much more comfortable with who the others have become. This year was the first trip that both my parents, Erica and Fuzzy, and Katie and I were all together at the same time. It was a really good trip and a really good balance was struck between “old” and “new.” We were all true to ourselves, and folks seemed genuinely happy to be in the presence of the others. We got to see family (immediate and extended) and friends (Ian, Alex, Barbara, Melissa, Palmer, Aron, Daniel Boone, etc), got to share stories, watch movies, and got to know each other even better.

So who knows what the next few years will hold? Katie and I may be overseas for the next few years. Dad’s health may take a turn for the worse (though we obviously hope and pray this is not the case). There are many major unknowns in the future (aren’t there always?), but these unknowns made this visit that much more meaningful. I love my family, and feel blessed that we all could work it out to be home for this visit.

A few other points:
Fuzzy is a welcome addition to the family, and as we get to know him more and more, I see why my sister adores him so much. He’s a great guy, and they really are a good couple.

My father was, is, and will continue to be a role model for me. I am who I am because of the influence of my dad (and my mom, too, of course). But as a guy, there is a peculiar relationship between father and son. So when my dad tells me I am an inspiration to HIM, I am speechless. It is an honor that I cannot put into words.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This Is Why Jeremy Mucha' Is One Of My Favorite People on the Planet

From Jeremy's blog, Enter the Hardqore:

today was dress-up day at work. roles were assigned, and the masses were alerted. yours truly was the only one hardqore enough to actually do it. mama elf hooked me up like flying gumdrops. sweeter than maple syrup!

Just how hardqore was he? You'll have to click here to find out.

You should really take a moment to visit his blog for the full effect.

Monday, December 19, 2005


X-mas logo
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
And so it came to pass that another successful Reid Christmas party was held this last Saturday evening, December 17th. We had a good crowd, a little less than we were anticipating and less than the number that attended last year, but a good solid mix and friends and acquaintences (about 40 people showed up over the course of the night).

There were a few differences this year, most notably the presence of kids. A few toddlers in the living room kept folks quite occupied by their extreme cuteness, and a few elementary age kids kept people, uh- distracted, as those two little guys tended to run up and punch my other guests when they weren't looking. Nice.

This in fact may be the last of our parties in Columbia, as by next Christmas our plans may take us elsewhere, either to another town, or even another continent. So this evening was a little bittersweet, yet it was still a very fun night. It's always nice to mix up our social groups a bit. We introduce friends from work with friends from church, friends we've known a year to people we've known for almost twenty, older & younger folks, undergrads and professors.

We hope that when the evening was done, hopefully everyone left with that good feeling that comes when people are just nice to each other. Even if these people only see each other once a year at our party, hopefully they enjoy their time together. Katie and I feel that in our own little way maybe we increased the total amount of goodwill in the world just a little. And, ya know, it's fun.

Current Musical Obsession

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
I go out to the mailbox one day, and behold, therein lies a package from Erica and Fuzzy, always exciting but not entirely surprising, in that those two always tend to send me tons of stuff, which is always appreciated. And within this package was several really good albums. Yet slowly but surely one of those albums is consistently played more and more often...

...and THAT album, dear readers, was So Jealous by Tegan and Sara. Holy Smokes, can I not get enough of this album. I will officially say I am a wee bit obsessed. I fully realized it this morning when, after saying to Katie "Let's put some music on" (at which time I put on Tegan and Sara), Katie gave me a look that can only be interpreted as "OH, we're listening to THIS album. Again." And mind you, Katie likes the album. SO I am wearing grooves in my CD (if that's in any way possible). Kinda folky, yet rockin', almost whiny, yet adorable, meek but still kickin' ass, I am totally into these ladies. (Twin sisters, by the way. From Canada. With tattoos. and guitars. Word.)

Other musical miscellany that excites me at this moment:
1. Harvey Danger is back together and their new album has gotten pretty solid reviews.
2. Digable Planets are back together and touring again. This bodes well for Planet Earth (and many other planets as well, for that matter...)

Friday, December 16, 2005


I am pleased to announce a new member of the blogosphere, and if there was ever a person who needs an outlet for his stories and thoughts, it is he. Jeremy Mucha', AKA Cap'n Hardqore, AKA Homeskillet- now has a blog. Show him some love.

On a scary sidenote, I turn 29 next Thursday. Jeremy has been one of my dearest friends for 22 of those years (We met the first day of 2nd grade. Word.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today in History: USS Cairo Sinks

USS Cairo
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Today, in Civil War History (which is a large chunk of my home town of Vicksburg's legacy) the USS Cairo was sunk in an attempt to destroy Confederate batteries in Vicksburg, the key to the South's control of the Mississippi River.

From the website for the Vicksburg National Military Park (where the shell of the skeletal Cairo is now display): On the cold morning of December 12, 1862, [Cairo Skipper Thomas O.] Selfridge led a small flotilla up the Yazoo River, north of Vicksburg, to destroy Confederate batteries and clear the channel of torpedoes (underwater mines). As the Cairo reached a point seven miles north of Vicksburg the flotilla came under fire and Selfridge ordered the guns to ready. As the gunboat turned towards shore disaster struck. Cairo was rocked by two explosions in quick succession which tore gaping holes in the ship's hull. Within twelve minutes the ironclad sank into six (6) fathoms (36 feet) of water without any loss of life. Cairo became the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo.

The loss of Vicksburg to the North effectively split the Confedaracy in two and ultimately led to the South's defeat. After a long siege, Vicksburg surrendered on July 4th, 1863, consequently shaming the city and thus making an Independence Day celebration in V'burg socially taboo for the next 100 years.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Katie and I went and saw Narnia this afternoon, and I thoroughly recommend this film. With that being said, Katie adored it (her words) and I liked it a whole bunch. I have no major complaints. The story was (to my mind) very faithful to the book. The casting of the children was excellent (and little Lucy is adorable); the effects well-done; the pacing of the plot was very well-balanced, with enough time for character development but without dragging along; and Tilda Swinton as the Ice Queen was appropriately menacing while at the same time exuding an appeal that makes it understandable how someone may be charmed into her clutches (just like, oh, I don’t know- SATAN?!!)

I enjoyed it thoroughly. However, the film didn’t knock my socks off, per se. While everything was good, I found that I just didn’t get “sucked in” to the story so much. Again, this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t engaged by the story, I just wasn’t as emotionally invested as I thought I would be. And though he looked great, the characterization of Aslan the Lion wasn’t quite what I wanted. I love Liam Neeson, but his voice didn’t work for me so much in this film.

With all that being said, everyone should check it out, because it is indeed a good flick, and the messages of the film are good for all ages (messages like: play in your relatives’ expensive antique furniture).


Yes, I am done, and though all the grades are not in at this time , I will be dumb-founded if I didn't pull another straight-A semester. Now for a two week nap...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

King Kong Will Make You Cry

King Kong 1933
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Not that I have seen it yet. But I am betting that there will be a lot of people surprised at how emotionally upsetting the movie will be. And people will cry.

I saw the preview with a group of friends at the screening of HP #4 and even the preview affected me a little, but I know the story. I was surprised, however, that I was the only one of six that had ever seen the original, and some seemed surprised that I said it was going to be an upsetting movie, not just a big budget extavaganza. And I think a lot of that will be due to Peter Jackson and company's handling of the story. But even the original is sad.

I won't give anything away, but keep this in mind. Yes, King Kong is about a big-ass gorilla that smashes up New York. That's a part of it. But King Kong, in my mind, is essentially about exploitation. Man exploiting Nature. People exploiting other people. Profits before all else. Consumerism and the questionable objects of our consumption. And the classic "could vs. should" argument- just because we can do something doesn't mean it should be done.

So keep this in mind. It'll be a special effects extravaganza, without a doubt. But it'll be a tragedy above all else.

December 7th: Lest We Forget...

Tom Waits
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
...Is the birthday of Tom Waits. (and Pearl Harbor Day, I know that.)

I haven't said much about him on this blog thus far, but let it be known that I go through periods where I listen to him constantly and periods where I rarely play his albums, but he is ALWAYS at the top of my list for sheer creativity and musical genre-bending. You just don't get much better. Best concert I've ever seen. Some of my all-time favorite albums and songs were written by this man. I am who I am partly because of this man's influence on me in my late teens (and beyond). So here's hoping he had another good birthday, and many more to come.

In regards to Pearl Harbor: of course, thanks to all of our troops, past and present, who fought for our country.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Had a great weekend, spent lots of quality time with Katie, wrote a long letter to my cousin in Iraq, and for the most part, knocked out 85% of my Christmas shopping in a matter of two days. Went to bed last night feeling accomplished and pretty proud of myself, while simultaneously gearing up for 5 days of mondo-study sessions for finals week, beginning today.

So I wake up this morning with total body aches.
Pounding headache.
Can't keep my eyes open for the painful throbing in my skull.
Burning up / freezing under a blanket at the same time.
Can hardly stay awake for the pain.

Man, I am glad I have paced myself and planned to spend this week in intense study for my three finals this week. It would have sucked if I had actually not waited until now and had had all that energy and health to assist me in the effort. Here's prayin' for a 24 hour bug.

Also- there was a pretty big earthquake in East Africa today. Not too sick to post about it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The If...Then Argument

This is a new up-and-coming band in the Columbia/Savannah region. Good stuff. They're still in the "demo" stages, but I've heard the stuff from their earliest takes to the more polished versions. I'm liking their stuff more and more. Electro-rock type stuff. According to their guitar player, their plan is to dominate the music scene, and quite possibly, the world at large.

Click here to hear some of their stuff at their myspace page. Their link is also in my sidebar. Check 'em out and show some love.

The Hours

The Hours
Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
Holy God, The Hours is a depressing movie. Good, though. Yes, last night we cuddled up on the couch and watched this thought-provoking little film. A couple of points:
1. It is very well acted. And Nicole Kidman looks SO different with just a minor bit of make-up, it amazed me.
2. It is very much a woman's movie (but don't mistake that to equal "chick-flick"). It deals with a woman's variuos roles in society, as wives, providers, mothers, lovers, and so forth...What is astonishing is that the book upon which the film was based was written by a man, Michael Cunningham. Very insightful.
3. The music was composed by Phillip Glass, and it tends to run incessantly through the most intense scenes, making them that much more tense. Very effective. I won't criticize it because that's what it was supposed to do, but MAN was it effective. Lots of films use music for effect, but for those who will know what I mean, it reminded me of Last Year at Marienbad in the way that the music was just hanging over everthing, inescapable. It fit the scenes, though.
4. The direction, the screenwriting, and cinematography were all top-notch. Having not read the book, I can only imagine how hard it was to adapt the text into a film.
So check it out. Be aware that it is a tough little flick, but worth the effort.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Which Action Hero Would You Be?

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.

Big News from the Sis...

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World.
OK, so this is the last week before finals, and I apologize for not having posted in over a week. But tonight you'll get TWO new posts, so quit yer bitchin'...

This is the big news of the week: My sister Erica and her man Fuzzy are officially engaged. The photo is of the ring that he presented her to make it all official-like. (Evidently it was his grandmother's ring, I believe.)

She called last night to tell us and was all sweet and weepy and cute. And I am very happy for them. Fuzzy is a good guy and welcome him to the Reid clan with open arms. The wedding is going to be in sometime in September or October of 2006.

Of course, one of the big questions that has already cropped up numerous times is "what will this do to your overseas plans?" The answer is- I don't know. Katie and I were aware of the fact that Erica would very possibly get married while we were away. We knew that life wasn't going to stop while we were gone. But neither will our plans necessarily change because of events like this. But they might. Erica's wedding. Dad's health. Time away from family, both young and old. There are many factors that must be reconciled before we make a final decision one way or another. It's a tough situation, but we'll see. We now have a loose date for Erica's wedding, we can incorporate it into our planning and decision making, and we will see what the future holds.

As for right now, I am just celebrating the news and wishing them the best. This is a fun time. Katie said to me tonight "I wish WE could get engaged again!" I am assuming and hoping she she meant to each other...

Oh, the Joys of Thanksgiving...

I had to post this picture because it is just so funny to me. The big game this Thanksgiving was "Let's decorate Unkie's head!" Actually, that's been the big game for a few years now. Thanks, baldness...

Anyway, the playdoh was dried up and full of sharp little crystals, Maddie used a plastic but nonetheless serated knife on my head when I wasn't looking (but I caught on real quick), and she actually tried to color my scalp with a colored PENCIL (again, when I wasn't looking). So my head had quite a few little scrapes when this game was over.

However, contrary to what this picture and my above story would lead you to believe, I was thoroughly enjoying the quality time with the girls. Even if it hurt a bit.