Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

Thanks for visiting one of my creative outlets! Please send me an e-mail, or add a comment to any post.

More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
My Own Domain

Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Friday, January 04, 2002
While driving to work, my car's "Check Engine" light came on, suddenly and for no discernable reason. When I got to work, I paged through the manual, and it suggested an issue with the emissions. I called the dealership, and I made an appointment (thankfully coinciding with its regular check up).

By the time my appointment rolled around, the light had gone off.

Of course, a few days later, the light went on again. This time, I paged through the AudiWorld.com web pages, and searched the forums. I found multiple entries about the Check Engine light. The most common cause is a a loose gas cap.

So I removed the gas cap, and reseated it. The "Check Engine" light went off the next day.

How in the world did we ever function without the World Wide Web?

Wednesday, January 02, 2002
Part of what's been keeping me up at night is Solitaire, specifically, the version of Solitaire that comes with Windows. I picked up this game after my brother left it up on the computer while he was up visiting. I asked him about it, and he said he likes to play a few hands, just to pass the time. My wife plays Solitaire all the time on the computer, and now on her Handspring.

The Solitaire Central site says "Though popular, the odds of winning are rather low, perhaps one in thirty hands." I'll say. I played the game nearly two hours, hoping to "win". My wife played the Klondike version on her Handspring for nearly two days (over 100 hands) before she even one even once.

Solitaire is a class of one-player card games known as patience in some countries. I'll say. You have to remain patient as you wait seemingly forever for a winning hand. Now that I know the chances of winning are one in about thirty, I can approach playing this game with a better mindset (i.e. I don't expect to 'win' after only a few hands).

Maybe it's time for me to resume playing with MAME again.

Tuesday, January 01, 2002
I also kept track of the movies I watched in 2001. I should point out that I have only watched one movie in the theater in all of 2001: Traffic. The rest were all on DVD (except for The Settlement, on HBO).

Out of this list of 51 movies, my favorite was Swingers. A classic "man discovers self, and becomes comfortable", I loved the setting (Los Angeles), the ambiance (parties, lame lounge acts, restaurants), and the non-stop movie references.

It seems incredible to me to settle on one 'favorite' movie, but I ask myself these questions: Would I watch it again? Did I like the plot? Do I have a favorite scene that I can't get out of my head? Yes to all of this, and more, for Swingers.

I must also announce that in second place, I choose Out of Sight. I thoroughly loved the pace and look of this movie, featuring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. I especially loved the Lopez character, and Clooney and Lopez have tremendous chemistry. For once, the movie will probably be better than the book.

Furthermore, some other areas:

  • Best DVD Commentaries: Cast Away, Out of Sight, Clerks
  • Favorite Scenes: Bruce Springsteen in High Fidelity, Clooney and Lopez meeting in the hotel in Out of Sight, Las Vegas scene in Swingers
  • Favorite Male Acting: Tom Cruise, Magnolia
  • Favorite Female Acting: Jennifer Lopez, Out of Sight
  • Favorite "Characters": Jay and Silent Bob (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma)
  • Best Quote: "Take dead aim at the rich guys." (Bill Murray in Rushmore)
  • Best Music: High Fidelity
  • Best Special Effects: Cast Away
  • Finally Glad I Watched: Network, Private Parts, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Crying Game
  • Not So Hot: Bringing Out the Dead, Hollow Man, The Thin Red Line

I updated the list of books I read in 2001. Only fourteen books, but I read three 800+ page monsters: An American Tragedy, The Sum of All Fears, and The Executioner's Song.

Out of my 2001 reading list, my favorite had to be While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller. This was a book that truly transported me out of my reality, and into the world of Sue Miller's main character, Jo Becker. Told in the first person, the plot involves a murder, the return of a 'stranger', and a marriage hurt by all of the above. Wonderful writing!

Monday, December 31, 2001
Happy New Year!