Archive for the ‘Childhood’ Category

Bye Bye, Sammy

It’s no big secret that I’ve never been much of an animal person. My brother and sister are animal lovers – or at least animal likers. Not me. As a small child, I was afraid of dogs (and must admit, dogs of unknown friendliness still scare me today). I don’t know if I became this way because there were big dogs in my neighborhood growing up, or because I grew up in town as opposed to on a farm surrounded by animals, or if it’s just the way I would be no matter where I grew up. In any case, when my older brother would peruse the classifieds for animals, he had a way of getting me excited about some of the finds he’d come across.

Sammy Sosa One Father’s Day, over fifteen years ago, I remember Adam found an ad for several purebred beagle puppies at a home about a half-hour away and the owner just happened to be a vet. After talking to mom and dad, and threatening that we’d be happy with a cat if we had to, the family (and our cousin Corissa) were on our way to check them out. When we got there, my sister Marissa (about 1 years old at the time) stayed in the vehicle with a very large box with blankets, etc. I stayed so I could watch her (but really it was because I was afraid of dogs). A while later, the family returned with a dog, whose name was “Boots”. He stood out from the rest of the puppies because he had untied my dad’s shoes.

And so, we had a puppy. On the way home, it was decided his current name was pretty lame. We changed it to “Sammy Sosa” but we’d call him “Sam” or “Sammy” most of the time. (There was no hiding it – the Greggs were Cubs fans.) He was a smart puppy, except for when he’d growl at his reflection in the dishwasher. We kept him in the kitchen, for several reasons. One of the entrances had a door, so that was always shut. The other had no door, but we laid a chair horizontally for a while, blocking his path to the carpeted living room. It was only a couple days before he figured out how to get through the legs and into the living room. Soon after, a baby gate replaced the chair. Eventually, Sam could be trusted to stay in the kitchen without the door shut or the gate.

He was apparently a hunting breed of some sort, (though, we have never been hunting and so didn’t use him for that) so he was always much taller than any other beagles we’ve met. Since Sam’s been our dog for over fifteen years (I had to think about it several times before finally deciding that had to be true – it just seems like such a long time) there have been a lot of memories. I won’t detail them all, but will just list some that come to mind.

  • He had intense strength and taking him on a walk was always him dragging you around and almost pulling your arm off
  • As a puppy, he found some baby rabbits in our yard – I’ll just repeat that he was a hunting breed and say that there were lots of tears
  • When he was small, mom would be petting him on her lap and he’d climb to her shoulder – she joked that he thought he was an eagle, not a beagle. He continued to attempt this as he got larger.
  • He was always too afraid of the stairs to go down in the basement unless there was a leash on him
  • After every train whistle you would hear a very loud, low howl coming from our dog. I could hear him from the school playground (4 blocks away) during noon recess several days a week
  • Dad had set up an extravagant outside cage area and garage cage area, equipped with a heat lamp, heated water bowl, and several variations of roofing. The outdoor cage had a complicated door system so we could let him in the cage with a leash, shut one door, take him off his leash, and shut the other door, then open the one door again. Eventually, he could be trusted without having to shut the first door
  • He used to need to be attached to a leash (which was attached to a high wire near the back entrance so he could restrictively roam) to go do his business. Eventually we could trust him to (almost always) stay in the area without a leash. Then about a year ago he darted off and happened to get hit by a police car. He hurt his leg, but bounced back pretty quickly I think.
  • Eventually he started associating going outside with getting a treat, as opposed to going to the bathroom and getting a treat – each one of us would let him out in the morning because he acted like he hadn’t been let out yet – he became a much heavier dog

The family got an email last night that Sam hadn’t been eating anything in the last week and yesterday he either wasn’t able to or wouldn’t get up from where he was laying. He had gone to the vet a few days ago and got a shot and medicine. The vet was gone yesterday and so he planned to stop by today if Sam made it through the night. Dad predicted he wouldn’t be able to make it 24 hours. We got an email this morning that he didn’t make it through the night and will be buried out at grandpa’s farm this afternoon after school. He didn’t howl or whimper, all I heard about his last day was that he sighed. Which he did a lot when he wasn’t sick.

The picture above was taken by my dad yesterday. It’s comforting to know that he doesn’t look in pain, although a little sad, and he actually *looks* a lot healthier than he has for a while. Even the cloudiness in his eyes, that had formed since I went to college, seems cleared. Notice the uneaten hot dog, which I assume has a pill in it, because that’s the only time he would get a piece of hot dog.

Bye bye Sammy. I’m sorry that I didn’t show you as much love as you deserved. You were a very good dog. I’m sure we’ll find your hair in our house for many years to come.

WALL•E

Wall•E ticket stub

The Movie Club met for WALL•E tonight – saw it on DLP (so worth it). We have been looking forward to this movie for over a year – since we’d seen the preview last summer, I think for Pirates 3. So I was worried the anticipation would ruin it because expectations would have been high. I was glad to find out little was ruined.

The animation and modeling were the best I have seen from Pixar, yet. A lot of it looked almost photo realistic. Except for the animated humans…they looked like all Pixar humans look like, so sometimes it felt a little strange to be seeing such detail in the robots and such simplistic renderings together in the same movie. Pixar is known for their detail. And this movie is no exception. With every scene, I learned something new about how Wall•E works. And I actually craved to know more about the other robots we saw and all of their little characteristics, but there’s only so much you can do. I really enjoyed the future Earth (over 800 years from now) and the little history you find out from all the piles of junk Wall•E sorts through. For this paragraph alone, it is worth seeing.

The character interaction was more than I expected. Pixar does a great job with dialogue, but as you’ve probably guessed by any previews you may have seen, Wall•E doesn’t have much for vocabulary. And yet, somehow they were able to make me giggle, almost non-stop at times with his “dialogue” and interactions with things/people/robots.

There were a few disappointments.

One of the things I love about Pixar is how they make a whole new world in (most of) their movies. Like Monsters, Inc, Cars, Finding Nemo. And they always take it to that next step. I wanted to learn more about Wall•E’s life on Earth. I wanted to learn more about what was going on in space. But they make up for it in Wall•E’s and friends’ character development. Unfortunately, I sometimes felt like Wall•E’s character development was so advanced, that we missed jokes and quirks. And that makes me think the younger audience it’s bound attract will miss even more. Which brings me to my next disappointment.

I felt as though the plot was pushing some agendas. An environmental agenda and a “keep yourself healthy” agenda. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the agenda, I do disagree with pushing it in a children’s movie.

The last thing I was slightly disappointed by was how slow the movie felt. While I was always fascinated by Wall•E and some other characters, the plot *was* slow and simple and the lack of *real* dialogue would make it extremely hard for a younger audience to interpret or pay attention to. This movie is best for upper-elementary school aged and above.

I’ve got to leave you with a happy note. It was a great movie and not at all a disappointment, worth seeing in the theaters. I give Wall•E a 4 out of 5 stars. And for the Mac users, there’s a few surprises for you.

Oh yeah, also, I *love* Pixar animated shorts.

So Long, Gigglebees

Entrance to GigglebeesAs kids, Dad would take us to Sioux Falls in August to go shopping for school supplies.  (He’s a teacher, so he had summers off too.) Then we’d get to eat out for supper and do something fun. It was called “Kids’ Day”, (since our parents each had their own parental day). More often than not, our Kids’ Day celebration was at Gigglebees. As my brother, Adam, and I got older, we ventured on to other things like Thunder Road or a movie, but since my sister, Marissa, was 5 years younger than me (8 years for my brother), we still went to Gigglebees every few years, and still enjoyed it. We all had birthdays in April, and we’d get a coupon in the mail from Wilbur, so many of our early birthdays were spent there as well.

I was fascinated by the robotic raccoon-like animal on the tricycle. I remember the day I figured out that the robot was controlled by the guy behind the mirror – and that was a sad day. I had grown up. I also remember all the useless trinkets I would get as prizes for games like skee ball. Like the chinese finger trap I accidentally broke many years after I forgot I had it.

Dad recalls memories of Gigglebees adventures: “I remember the tradition of going to Gigglebees on many birthdays. The video games and bumper cars were fun. And you kids either loved or were terrified of Wilbur!” Our feelings toward Wilbur are confusing for us too, Dad.

Adam remembers, fondly: “My Gigglebees memory is when dad was playing a racecar driving game and I needed money. So he gave me his wallet and I took out some money. Then I put his wallet on the floor next to him. Well, either he forgot this or he never knew I put it there, but anyway after we left Gigglebees he realized he didn’t have it, so we went back to that spot and the wallet was still there. Unfortunately, none of his cash was.” What a great place.

Marissa struggles: “I tried to think but I can’t remember any.” It’s OK, sister. Life’s tough.

I’m sure Mom would have something to share, but I’m too impatient for her to get home from work and reply to my email for memories. She’ll comment if she has any to share.

The last day Gigglebees is open is Thursday, July 3rd. According to local blogs I have been reading, the land is being redeveloped and so the building will be gone soon. They are looking for someone to purchase the entire business and those persons would need to find a new building to restart Gigglebees in. We ate there today for lunch. It wasn’t like I remembered it, and I probably shouldn’t have gone because of that.

I wonder what they’ll do with the games. And if they’ll be selling Wilbur.

Photo courtesy of Adam Bubolz.

Indiana Jones

After last week’s review, I got worried. Readers were commenting on their low expectations of Prince Caspian and because of my review, might go see it when they otherwise wouldn’t have. That worries me because I went into the movie with low expectations/little interest. If a reader goes to the movie with the expectations of how great I thought it was, they might be let down because they’re going in with a different view. If I had seen the movie where expectations were met, I may not have been raving about it as much. So, this being said – take my reviews with a grain of salt. They will skew your movie watching if you take them to heart and they are skewed by my own perceptions. See the movies with your own thoughts going into them so you can have the most accurate perception of them. If you can’t do that without my thoughts in mind, then it might be a good idea to wait to read my reviews until you see the movie yourself.

Ticket Stub of Indiana Jones More specifically, take this review with a large grain of salt because I haven’t seen all of the Indiana Jones movies, nor remember anything of what I have seen, and therefore wasn’t as big of a fan as some of you may have been…so my comments and criticisms might just be how the Indiana Jones franchise is. But my views are strictly from outside of the Indiana Jones’s following, so don’t get your feathers ruffled up about it.

The movie pretty much met my expectations, which were low. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like I was on a Walt Disney World theme ride. The believability isn’t quite there. Take the safari ride, for instance. Even though you are looking out for poachers and end up chasing them, you really don’t believe it is happening – even with puffs of dirt shooting up around you to simulate bullets. But your safari tour guide sure does keep on trying, doesn’t he? That’s what I felt like in this movie. The story was sub-par and the overall feeling was over-the-top and somewhat campy. I never felt any sense of danger for our hero, Henry Jones, Jr. In fact, there were several moments where I thought, “This reminds me of something that would happen in a Scooby Doo movie.”

I thought Harrison Ford did a good job portraying his character, for as much as I could remember of how he used to portray Indiana Jones. Even in his age, he seemed rugged and tough and ready for a fight. And his character was even pretty close to his age – late 50s, maybe 60s. However, I couldn’t help but wonder – with all the (well-choreographed) stunts, what percentage was Harrison Ford actually in the movie?

Shia LeBeouf and Cate Blanchett’s performances were sub-par. The only thing going for Blanchett was her accent. Otherwise, I couldn’t take her seriously as an enemy. Unfortunately with Shia, it’s hard to keep from thinking about him as Louis Stevens. As much as I try to look past it, that’s just the way it is. Hopefully he’ll make smart moves about his character choices and become a great actor. Last night, I compared his possible future to that of Mark Wahlberg. Assuming he makes the right choices. His character in Indiana Jones, Mutt, was to “Fonz”-like for me and he didn’t pull off the tough guy act. However, I did really enjoy the fight scene in the diner with the greasers vs. the preppies. Nice.

Overall, I wasn’t a fan of the character interaction. Miles put it nicely by saying that it seemed they were more interested in the mystery rather than in their situation. Instead of being concerned that the person next them wants to kill them, they ask questions about what they know. And that person freely gives them the honest answers. It seemed to me, that it would have been more in Indiana Jones’s character to lead Irina Spalko on the wrong trail.

If you weren’t planning on seeing this movie, it’s probably a good idea to see something instead. If you’re a fan of the Indiana Jones movies, it’s a good performance by Harrison Ford as a last hurrah in this franchise.

Some little perks, The Janitor from Scrubs and Charles Widmore from LOST have small appearances.  I give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Old School Survey

OK, I already know how lame this is and how crazy old these surveys are. But I was sent one from an old friend recently and so I decided to do it and post it on here.

1. NAME: Holli Joi Gregg

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Umm, not named after anyone, but I think they liked “Joi” and knew of it because of someone they knew. But I wasn’t named after her.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Umm, not long ago. But I am a crier. That’s what I do best.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes, but I often change it.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Turkey

6. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Nope.

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Possibly.

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? You’re reading it.

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No….*eye roll*

10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes, unless they were stolen.

11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably not. ….back problems.

13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Very rarely.

14 . DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? willed

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate!!!

16. SHOE SIZE? 7

17. RED OR PINK? pink!

18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? appearance

19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? camp friends

20. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? no

21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? blue jeans and white socks

22. WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? pancake

23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? “Who’s Line is it Anyway” on tv

24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? white, because it could only be used on special paper…paper that isn’t white

25. FAVORITE SMELL? Miles’s cologne, “Jake” from Hollister

26. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED WITH ON THE PHONE? Miles

27. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU MEET? their attitude

28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? we used to be friends and haven’t caught up in about three years so it was a pleasant surprise…the answer is “no” ;)

29. FAVORITE DRINK? milk/chocolate milk

30. FAVORITE SPORT? to play-softball or volleyball, to watch-football

32. EYE COLOR? I say green, Miles says blue

33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? only when the things i’ll be doing would be annoying if i were wearing glasses

34. FAVORITE FOOD? italian, but not real italian. american italian.

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Happy endings all the way. for more information, see this post

36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? The Prestige (very good, by the way)

37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? grey, and also a blue sweatshirt

38. SUMMER OR WINTER? spring

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? anything chocolate

41 WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND THE QUICKEST? Miles will probably comment first

42. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? my sister

43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? i don’t read if i can help it

44. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? no mousepad, touchpad

45. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SOUND? Pachelbel’s Canon in D (sung)

46.WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND? Miles

47.ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles!!!

48.Are you a Christian? Yes (and yes, even though I’m not Catholic, I can still be Christian…!)

49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? i’d like to think that i have a special talent in designing

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? sometime around 4:30pm April 15, 1986, Hawarden, IA