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Showing posts from 2007

Annual Movie Review

So, here are the movie stubs in my eye glasses case, which is going through its annual clean out at the end of the calendar year:

Rocky Balboa, Dec 26 (SJ) - Enjoyed this, had a great feel-good feeling while not being a great movie. Not sure how this one survived last year's annual clean up.

Ghost Rider, Feb 19 (Ir) - Decent comic-book movie, but nothing special or great. I won't be buying this on DVD any time soon, but it was fun to watch.

300, Mar 18 (SJ) - This movie rocked. Very stylized, and I respect those who didn't care for the style, but I found it fun to watch. I wish they hadn't added all the extra stuff with his wife and the senate at home.

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Jun 24 (Ir) - Okay comic-book movie. As with GR above, not one I need to own, but I generally enjoyed watching it.

Live Free or Die Hard, Jul 15 (SJ) - Enjoyable Die Hard movie. I enjoyed it overall, but the scene with the jet was just... too much. And why does every Asian computer-geek…

Would You Like Cheese with That?

M wanted a cheeseburger, as I proposed them on the trip home from SoCal when we were trying to determine what we wanted to do once we got home. We stopped at In N Out, and were waiting in the drive thru line for our turn. When I pulled up to the nice girl running the drive thru, I said, "We would like three cheeseburgers, one with ketchup only and the other two with lettuce only and an order of fries."

"Would you like cheese with that?" she asked.

"Uh.... yes?" I responded, with an obviously incredulous look on my face and the start of a smile.

"I have to ask. Some people order a cheeseburger with lettuce only and expect a plain burger with lettuce-- no cheese," she explained.

"If I didn't want cheese, I would order a hamburger with lettuce only," I said.

"Well, you have common sense," was her reply.

She read back the order, told us the total, and we pulled forward. M then laughed and reiterated, "Would you like cheese w…

And That's A Wrap

I'm glad that there is Christmas just to keep me humble.

I have always had good spatial recognitions, decent hand-eye coordination, and been generally good with agility/dexterity. However, for whatever reason, I absolutely suck at wrapping gifts.

Luckily, this year, I purchased the vast majority of my gifts online. So, for all of them, I only had to click the "gift options" and be done with it. However, my wife is adamant that I must wrap the gifts I get her. She gets very serious and firm on this point. It doesn't matter how awful the wrapping is, I must do it.

So, here I sit and struggle. This year I managed to find some decent-sized boxes to put things in to make the wrapping easier. But there are always those few gifts that you can't put in a box, or can't do anything with. Oh well!

She also hates that I buy generic wrapping paper so that I can use it for every gift option that comes along for the year (or more) that it lasts. *sigh

Okay, one more to go. *d…

Not Blogging Much

A couple of people have noted and asked me why I haven't been posting as often. The truth is, since returning from Canada this last time, I have been averaging between 2-4 hours sleep. I have been exhausted and, because of that, a little brain numb and cotton-y. This leads to not feeling well (it is funny how a lack of sleep over a prolonged time can make you feel like you're sick, when really it is only the sleeplessness).

Some of the issues were work-related; it is a struggle at work these days, and the mood there is poor. A lot of people claim to "know" that our part of the overall business is being sold or is on the chopping block. This may be true, but since the company was bought right before I joined, and then bought out again shortly after I joined, I don't understand why these people are so afraid of this. But, it still affects you.

Caly has been unwell. She has been throwing up sometimes up to a couple of times a day. And frequently between 3:30 and 5 am.…

Reason for an Unmade Bed

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Look carefully and you'll see it.

End Result

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Back yard... well over a foot.


Front yard... the guy in the yellow truck is spinning his tires. For those who have been here, I have circled the area in the front yard where M has three large rocks in a grouping. Notice that the snow is smooth and no rocks can be seen.

Oh and it is still snowing this morning. Lighter and not as hard, but definitely still falling.

Snow Update 2

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Front yard, a few hours later. You can't quite make it out from this picture (the flash only goes so far) but the snow on the street has basically reached and filled in up to the level of the curb (so about 4+").


Back yard, a few hours later... yes that railing has about 5 inches on it at the high point, all accumulated today.

Rent

No, not the musical.

I set up auto-debit with my apartment management because I was spending more time in Canada and it tended to be around the end or beginning of the month-- right when rent is due. For the months I had it set up, everything was fine. I did not have to worry about my rent while away.

At the end of September I needed to sign a new lease for the apartment. I was informed that I had to re-sign up for the auto-debit procedure. For some reason, whether it be how they set up the system or their procedures for it, they could not just inform the IT department of the new rent number and keep the existing auto-debit working as it had been for many months prior to October.

So, I paid rent by check, took in the appropriate information in mid-October, and waited for my confirm letter so I didn't have to worry about the issue when I came to Canada at the end of November/beginning of December.

I did not receive that letter after 1 month of waiting and prior to the time I had to go…

Snow Update

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Well, I'm here another day. Just got the call that my flight today (Monday) from Saint John is canceled. I'm on the phone waiting on hold to speak with a representative to reschedule/book my flights home.


Backyard

M is very happy I'm still here and get to stay. I'm pleased, too, of course, but I do have responsibilities back in So Cal that I'm having to juggle from here as best as I can. That makes it hard. But, I'm also sitting and watching the snow fall in raptured glee. For the boy who has rarely seen it, it is special and unique. Remind me of this blog post in 3 years when I've seen enough snow to last me the rest of my life. ;-)


Front yard

Snow

Usually when I am visiting and it snows, it happens overnight and I awaken to a world blanketed in white. Which is fine and I love, but I have wondered what it looks like when it actually snows. Today I got my answer.

It is snowing a nice, steady amount. Small flakes, few of which are bigger than the tip of my pinky finger. However, there are so many of the flakes falling and swirling and dancing on the breezes that they are quickly coating everything in a fine dusting of the powder.

What I am surprised at the most is how the snow falls. Rain always falls in pretty steady sheets where I'm from. It is either raining or not and the rain falls straight down unless there is wind. If there is wind, all of the rain falls in pretty much the same slant based on the strength of that wind.

The snow falls in eddies and whirls. As I look out the window, the snow right outside it may be falling straight down, but in the near distance I can see snow falling the opposite direction, some more swi…

Bound To Happen

Well, I'm still in Saint John. Was supposed to leave for SoCal today. As we were sitting there, waiting for the plane, I wondered aloud if I would make my connection in Toronto because the flight in was delayed due to weather and I remembered that I had a tight connection time. I asked the girl at the counter and she said, "With the delay, you still have 45 minutes to make your connection, so you're still legal."

Great, I thought.

We said our goodbyes and M drove home while I went through security. The flight out was delayed from 5:45 to 6:12 pm. When it reached 6:22 pm and there still was no sign of even beginning to board the plane, I decided to ask again. The older flight personnel came out just then and announced that they were delaying the flight until 7:15 pm due to weather. Well, since I was on the last flight out of Toronto to LAX, and that delay meant I was going to be arriving about 30 minutes after that flight took off (unless it, too, was delayed), I was st…

Chicken or the Egg?

I got an email from a dear old friend in which she told me she had a dream in which she was reading a story I wrote.

I dreamt I was reading a fantasy novel you had just published. It was somewhat like Harry Potter and The Hobbit. The main character's name was "John" and was styled after you. I really enjoyed the story and couldn't wait to tell you how impressed I was!
Last night, not feeling particularly well and unable to fall asleep, a story idea I had been percolating slowly bubbled to the surface and became a realized concept. It naturally fit into the mold of the above, and it seemed to be just "right" to use 'John' as the main character and partly model him after myself (as they say, write what you know). The story plot is the most fully formed idea I have had in a number of years, and this morning I have been spending some time writing down the plot points (in an outline, my mother the English teacher would be so proud), general character poin…

Joints

Due to a snafu between my mail-based pharmacy and my doctor's office, I was not able to get the refill on my Enbrel (rheumatoid arthritis) medication prior to leaving for Saint John. I last took Enbrel on Saturday the 10th, as my new schedule for taking the medication is the 1st, 10th, and 20th of each month. So, rather than taking it on the 20th, I have gone without.

It has been an interesting time, seeing how long I could go without using any back-up medications to help with the pain, stiffness, soreness, and discomfort brought on by my RA. I made it until the 25th before I just had to take some Prednisone. My feet and hands, especially my left wrist, were getting very swollen and stiff, and that wrist was downright painful and I was having trouble holding or lifting items.

I took 30 mg of Prednisone yesterday, and by the end of the day my pain was mitigated and the majority of my swelling was down. Today I stepped it down to 20 mg and am continuing to be okay. Tomorrow will be …

Friends and Lovers

Of course I love my wife. I wouldn't marry her otherwise.

What surprises me is how much I like my wife. She's a good friend, a confidante, and we have similar interests in many things. Makes things easier. Also, we fill many gaps for each other, so we don't step on each other's proverbial toes (she often stubs her actual toes on mine, however).

Lions Redux

Well, now that the team is 6-2 and beat a couple of quality teams, press is finally starting to ask if the Lions are a decent team and if they have a chance. Yay. However, many of the pundits are still doing it slightly tongue-in-cheek and with a bit of surprise.

I'll take it, though. I'm hopeful that they win just 2 of their remaining 8 games, go 8-8, and do not have a losing season. Anything beyond that (and I think you argue for 4 more legitimate shots at wins) would be considered gravy, in my book.

Boss Bailey is quoted as saying he thinks that Matt Millen deserves credit for this. I disagree with that. If Millen had taken the same approach any of the first 5 years of his career as GM as he has last year and this one, the team likely would have had success earlier. Last year, he finally brought in a coach and allowed him to help shape the team, accepted his input on players to target for acquisition and those who should be let go, and also listened to his input for needs-b…

Google Search bar Tips/Tools

I just became aware of some "hidden" features you can do using the Google search field.

ADDED 11/15/07: Definitions
I just discovered that if you type "define: word" where word is the item you want a definition for, it will display a page with definitions from the web and links to those definitions. Makes for a faster dictionary than even going to m-w.com online.

Sample:
define: guru
define: ardent

Time
If you want to check the current time in a city, type "current time city" or "time in city" where 'city' is, naturally, the name of the city. For example, if it is 1:08 pm in California and you type "current time saint john" and press Search, the first entry displayed will show you that it is 5:08 pm AST in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Sample:
current time in Tokyo
time Wichita
time in Atlanta

Weather
Similarly, if you want to check the weather in a given city, type "weather city" or "weather in city". The first ent…

Troubleshooting Woes

I understand that IT and QA professionals never know what quality of individual they might be dealing with from one issue to the next, so must start with the bare-bones and work their way up to the more complex. I also understand that these people deal with a lot of idiots on a daily basis and get a bit jaded and negative about things.

That being said...

I am having an interference problem. My cable, internet, and phone are all provided by Cox Communications. I have been quite happy with them over the years I've been in this apartment, and they have helped me quickly each time I've had an issue. I've even pointed out problems that they were unaware of at their end (one time the gain was turned up way high for a couple of channels and, according to the service rep I spoke with, I was the only one to make them aware of that and someone had just hit the switch and upped the gain to 100% and not noticed).

The interference problem started during the fires and has continued since…

Fire Update

Many of the fires are out or are 100% contained. A few still burn, especially the Santiago Canyon (by my apartment) and between here and San Diego. However, containment is being achieved. Last night the news said that the Irvine fire was about 65% contained and they were making good progress on it.

The sky is mostly clear, but there is still a tinge of haze from the few still-burning fires. However, just because the sky is clearer doesn't mean the crap in the air is gone; since the skies have cleared, we have actually had two "very unhealthy" days for air quality.

Most of the evacuations are lifted and people are surveying the damage. In the Big Bear area, many homes are burnt to the ground with nothing but foundations where the house used to be and a mound of slag where the car used to be. San Diegans are finding similar results in many of the outlying area.

And let the accusations begin; the Orange County leadership is already starting the blame game on FEMA, OES, the …

Manning's Law

There is, in online chat communities, a statement called Godwin's Law. Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." A corollary to this law states that after the Nazi/Hitler, the chat thread is doomed. A second corollary is that whomever makes the Hitler/Nazi comparison can and should have the argument immediately ignored or thrown out.

And, if you participate in any online chat communities -- no matter the context or subject matter -- this law appears to be true. I've been involved in chats about movies, super heroes, sci-fi/fantasy themes, and health care issues. I've been in political chats and opinion chats. Sooner or later, if the chat last long enough, someone always brings up Hitler or the Nazis as a comparison and the chat usually ceases to be worthwhile or…

Lions

I have few illusions that the Detroit Lions are a playoff-calibre team. I have few illusions that they will be better than a .500 team on the season. However, with that being said, I am getting frustrated that they, according to nearly every article I read, don't seem capable of winning a game. Instead, all the articles talk about how the team they played lost the game.

As of right now, the Lions are 5-2 on the season. They are in second place in their division behind Green Bay and, if the Packers lose tonight, could be tied for first. Yet it seems to be consensus among sports writers that this is totally accidental.

I had a teacher in high school who always used to say, "The winning team doesn't win, the losing team loses." What he meant by that was, through lack of discipline, not following the game play, inability to change tactics, the losing team provides the other team with the victory. And, I guess, sports writers across America agree with him when it comes to…

Rebuilding PCs

On Monday, everything was fine with my PC. It was running smoothly and had been since I rebuilt it with new memory, motherboard, and CPU. Matter of fact, I was extremely pleased with it as I had not needed to make any tweaks or be so stringent about updating BIOS or drivers; it was just working and working well.

Tuesday, my buddy Matt and I have a standing engagement to play WoW together for a few hours or until we're tired (and we're both getting old-- that is happening earlier and earlier!!). When I logged in, I had no sound. Odd. When I logged out, my display suddenly flickered and then redisplayed with a green filter over everything. Odder. I rebooted the machine and still didn't have sound. A half an hour of tweaks and fiddling and reboots, I managed to get it working again and we played for awhile together.

That night, after playing, however, my machine started freezing. And I mean freezing. Nothing would work or respond in the least and I had to press the tower powe…

Smoke and Mirrors

My eyes are red. When I first wake up, during the day, whether I stay inside or go outside, my eyes are red. And feel puckered and dry all the time. Even using my thick, made for chronic dry eyes, mucous-like eye drops offers little relief to this situation. My throat feels coated with a fine layer of burning ash and dust. My nose is so dry it keeps bleeding (but not badly enough to drip, thank goodness). My skin is dry to the touch and any moisture provided it (shower, lotion) is absorbed at an astonishing rate.

Upon leaving this morning for work, the sky was a an orangish-burnt sienna color. Since the Santa Ana Winds have died down, which is great for the fire fighting, the smoke, haze, and ash are all staying put right over Orange County. I can only imagine how bad the same situation is in San Diego County, where the fires are bigger and burning much more right now. The air quality is so bad that they have closed a number of schools throughout the region for health reasons.

My car …

Pleasantly Unhelpful

I just called one of my doctor's offices. I had canceled an appointment earlier in the month and didn't reschedule immediately, because there were things coming up around which I didn't want to try to work. So I waited until today to call and reschedule.

The person with whom I spoke was very pleasant on the phone... and not helpful at the same time. When I said I needed to reschedule my appointment she said, "So when would you like to come in?"

I paused a second and then said, "I can choose any time and date I want?"

"Sure," she said.

"Okay," I said in that slow, drawn out way I use to indicate that I am a bit incredulous.

"How about Wednesday?" she asked.

"Okay. I need a late afternoon appointment," I said.

"Hmmm. We're full that afternoon," she replied with a nice lilt in her voice. I could almost see the not-quite-a-frown smile she had on her face.

"Then I can't really choose the day and time …

The Numbers

Here is what the news just presented:

Fires currently burning: 18
Acres burned: around 420,000 total (or about 650 square miles/1050 sq kilometers)
Lost: about 1250 homes and business so far
Evacuated: Over 500,000 in San Diego alone, and estimated at about 880,000 overall.
Monetary amount: Estimating over $1 billion dollars in damages in just San Diego alone. Last estimate I heard was around $500 million elsewhere.
Deaths: 5
Injuries: 30-50 (getting really crappy estimates)

Fire Update

The Santiago/Irvine fire kicked up and did some damage last night, but not to my area directly. We have now lost 14-20 homes in the Foothill Ranch/Portola Springs area and the fire is threatening up north of me again. Renee's mom lives about a mile north and west of me and she was packing things up because it was threatening her area pretty strongly last evening. The one comment that I have been making all along and that the news and local govt is starting to make is that this fire could have been out and done with if we got some air support. We have received zero air support since day one (I heard helicopters on Monday but it turns out those were not tankers).

Firefighters are saying that our fire here was likely the easiest to contain and control with air support and there is already starting to be a backlash from citizens and local govt as to why we didn't get any. That and the fact that it went from 8800 to now around 20k acres practically overnight with no rea…

Arson!

At least three of the fires in So Cal have been identified as caused by arson; the Santiago (Irvine), the Magic (near Magic Mountain), and one of the two large fires in San Diego. When I was speaking with my mom, she worried about just this problem happening as she said that watching the fires burn on TV will spark a need to be closer and participate from those who are arsonist. More may be identified as such as they get a handle on them.

Guess you were right, mom.

I understand the lure of the fire-- I've always been fascinated by flame and can sit and watch it for hours. But I don't go around setting fires and destroying people's homes. What causes a person to need to start them? What causes them to want to destroy homes and lives? That part I just don't get!!!

The thing that gets me is that, if these three fires hadn't been purposely started, the firefighters in those areas could be elsewhere helping with the naturally caused fires burning around the state.

We are cu…

Movie Piracy

What the MPAA and movie houses will learn, much to their surprise, is that, if they can get people to stop downloading movies illegally, the amount of illegal movies available and piracy will barely fluctuate. The majority of people are NOT downloading movies. Even with cable modems, DSL, and other high speed connection, it is just not reliable enough for the average user.

It is far, far easier to rent movies from Blockbuster and Netflix and copy them. It is that simple. And, once you have a digital copy of a movie on your hard drive from a clean DVD, you can "print" as many DVDs of it as you can afford.

So, this method is a) cheaper, b) faster, c) easier, and d) allows for the greatest amount of copies to be made. Do they really think people are going to download movies?

Secondly, people will always share movies. I buy all of my movies legally. I figure that I want to pay the full price so that the movie company continues to make those sorts of movies. My dollar is power. But,…

Safe?

It appears that the Irvine fire is primarily to the east of me and not heading south or west anymore. So, at least for now, I'm relatively safe.

That being said, the fire here has been around 8,800 acres for most of the day until about 2pm and now it is over 15,000 acres and growing. But we do have air support coming now and they are beating it back from the homes in Foothill Ranch and Portola Springs areas (about 2-3 miles east and north of me).

The fire that was directly north of me appears to be under some control.

However, there are enough fires that they are actually changing and creating their own weather patterns-- so things could change in a moment. Also, the Santa Ana Winds come around now and usually pick up in the evenings.

Air quality has been deemed Unhealthy and all outdoor activities have been advised against. They recommend all people to close all doors and windows and use filters and AC to filter the air.

San Diego

Over 250,000 people have now been evacuated from San Diego. And, unfortunately, the 15 freeway, one of the two main arteries into/out of San Diego, is closed for a large stretch in that area.

A number of people who work at our SD office have been evacuated.

There are over a dozen fires burning, with a couple burning big enough that it is feared that they may join into super blazes. Our forces are spread thin and our resources are stretched to their limits. Firefighters from Nevada and Arizona are on their way here.

Rough Area

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The red line indicates the rough area of the fire. The red dot is my rough location on the map.

Some Pics

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A friend who went into the Irvine office sent these pics of the smoke in my area.






Update

The firefighters got a decent handle on a few of the fires over night-- but then the sun rose this morning at 7:04 am and the Santa Ana Winds started at just about the same time and now nearly every fire is burning back up into a problem.

I decided to work from home, just in case. My fire is being said that it is between 0 and 30% contained, but they are most worried about the southern and western edges. Which, of course, is where I am. The wind is gusting up to 100 mph in areas.

I just heard at least three fire engines go by on either side of me and the smoke and embers are thick in the air. I have all my doors and windows closed, am completely dressed, and have my pack of important stuff ready to take with me. All just in case, but better safe than sorry.

My company's San Diego office is officially closed and those of us in Irvine are supposed to do what we think is necessary to be safe. I have decided to work from home so I can get myself, my stuff, and my cat out if needed.

The fi…

Fire, Fire Burning Bright

It is a little disturbing to flip on the news and find out that there is a fire burning within 5 miles of me. And then, following the news, paying attention to the live shots, and which roads they say it is crossing, discovering that it is, in fact, within about 2.5 miles of me! Possibly less in some areas.

Just north of where I live, a couple of blocks, is Portola Parkway. Just east of me is Jeffrey (maybe a mile). The fire is close enough that it is burning just on the other side (north) of Portola. It is close enough to Jeffrey that they started evacuations of some homes and apartments on the west side of that road. At last comment by a fire fighter, this fire has burned in excess of 3,800 square acres. The fire teams decided that Portola was where they were making their stand, as there is nothing left south of Portola but homes and apartments. So far, they seem to be winning. The helicopters and planes are constantly making water drops-- which is amazing because, at night, the pilo…

Wind

I hate the wind. Growing up in 29 Palms, where the wind can blow to gale force, lifting sand a mile or more into the air and sandpapering anything in its path, I disliked the wind for the simple fact that it could knock me off my feet, and did. I hate the sand in my mouth and the way the wind was usually hot and would cook you like a convection oven.

It is windy in Irvine today. The news says only 16-20 mph, but I'm certain the gusts that are occurring are close to twice that amount. It is blowing hard enough that, even though I have my sliding glass door shut it is moving the blinds on the inside.

As it is winter, the wind is colder. It is whipping down from the mountain passes north of here, where the colder climate in the higher elevations makes it nice and chill. So, when you look outside, it looks like a nice, sunny, day. But when you step into that wind a cold stab goes through you.

My apartment complex also catches the wind and holds it. It comes in from the north and then …

Oh, To Be A Cat

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Or, Life as a Cat is SO Hard

The important thing to note here is that, while I didn't formally make the bed this morning, I did pull the sheets up to the pillows and down on the sides. So she needed to be determined to pull them back and get comfortable. And, yes, she is resting right where I slept all night.

More Good Customer Service

I got a scary call yesterday morning from Tiva, who works in my apartment complex office. My rent was overdue as of yesterday morning and she told me (this was news to me) that if it was not received prior to the seventh day of the month, I would be sent to their legal department and they would start the eviction process. On top of owing the full, new monthly rent amount (I just signed a new lease last weekend), I was also now required to pay a $50 surcharge for the late rent.

My explanation that I had told my bank to send a check, that I only had an online banking account so do not have checks, she understood but could do nothing about. I would have to pay the $50 in a cashier's check or money order (both of which  have additional expenses). I also complained that all this was caused by their inability to update my automatic deposit for rent without renewing the process from scratch (which requires about 3 weeks for them to get going). Had they been able to call IT and just updat…

The Dark Is Rising

When I first heard they were doing The Dark is Rising as a movie, I was ecstatic. Susan Cooper's novels are so visual, so arresting, and so subtle that I thought they would translate well and be great on-screen. Plus, with their tie ins to Arthurian legend, I thought it would be a great way to reintroduce those legends on-screen after some duds relating to those legends in recent history. The fact that they were skipping my favorite book in the series, Over Sea, Under Stone, in favor of the four books that focus on Will Stanton, I was willing to overlook.

And then I started hearing rumors about the changes they were making. At first, I didn't think too much about them as all directors and scriptwriters make changes they hope will make the books more "cinematic" (as an aside, it doesn't seem to matter how visual the originating story is-- even when it is a comic book which is practically a story board already).

But then I kept reading and hearing more items on th…

What Our Current Leaders Forgot

Every successful Democracy today was created when the people of the nation in question rose up and fought for it themselves. Those uprisings have taken many different forms, from violent wars to peaceful, nonviolent protests, from slowly smoldering insurrections to flash bomb fast uprisings.

You cannot force democracy on people who are not willing to fight for it themselves. When you do, you get the mess we're in now. Without fighting for it themselves, the people do not learn what it takes to make a nation, what it means to be in a democracy, or create the economic and politic balances that are needed after the change takes place.

America has plenty of internal and external issues that it could be spending money and time fixing without keeping our forces in a country that doesn't want us there fighting for people who will not fight for themselves. Even if we are successful, the people will be reliant on our help for decades afterward because they will not have gone through th…

I Hope It's True

If true, this is one of the best things I've heard of recently:
Nickelodeon to Go Dark Saturday
The kids' TV channel Nickelodeon is planning to intentionally go dark on Saturday at noon, with announcers telling their audience, "Go outside and play." The channel plans to remain dark for three hours, after which Nickelodeon says it will air Let's Play Go Healthy Challenge, produced in cooperation with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. I hope it is true. I think this is a fabulous idea and one worth celebrating.

Proper Service

M and I had some issues with the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells (south of Palms Springs). These issues included:
Not getting the room we were confirmed for upon check-in. Having the manager on duty that night argue with us before relenting when we brought out the confirmation number/letter confirming our chosen room.Room service being late (plus being charged for extra when we shouldn't have been). Cleaning staff barging in when the Privacy note was up.Cleaning staff being very late in getting to the room so that they were still there when we arrived back from things (4-5pm).
Service staff who spoke no English or ignored people if they did not understand the request. Being charged an extra $50 for late check out.One of the reasons people go to "resorts" over hotels is that a resort treats you with personal care. The word "no" is usually not in their vocabulary and they try to work with you to make your stay the best it can be.

This resort made the mista…

Some Wedding Shots

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To give you a taste (the photog isn't done with them all yet, but here are some samples):


My beautiful bride

The happy couple outside church

Young couple in love

The theatre shot

Jena 6

The facts, as I have gleaned from a variety of magazines and news articles, are as follows:
A black student asked permission of a person in authority (one article said the principal, another the v-p) for himself and some fellow black students to sit under a particular tree on the high school campus that a particular group of white kids usually sat under. They were told they could sit anywhere they liked. They arrived the next day to see three hangman nooses on the tree. The white children responsible were punished for the prank.
The white students in question took to taunting the black students and possibly threatening the black students. Some minor scuffles occurred on both sides, both on and off the school grounds.
At one point, one white student is alleged to have shown a concealed firearm to a black student/group of black students (articles I've read disagree on the number).Possible escalation events between white and black students occur outside of school, at parties, and other…

Black QBs

Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, recently said that Black quarterbacks face more scrutiny than White quarterbacks. He then was unable to codify his statements, point to specific examples of when, how, or in what way he came to this belief, and when presented with codified comments to the contrary, stormed away from the interview in a huff.

McNabb is an idiot. While I don't doubt there is a small portion of this country that still holds onto such racist beliefs, the majority of all sports reporting is based on what the player has actually done and not some perception. He seems to be discounting that the most vilified QB over the last few seasons is Chicago's Rex Grossman. Eli Manning cannot escape the shadow of his father or his brother, and the press has been branding him as a failure for two seasons now.

I find it interesting that McNabb is having one of his worst seasons in his career when you look strictly at his wins/losses, completion percentages,…

Understanding the Ways of the World

Picture if you will that you have just completed your second, but most important, formal ceremony pledging your life and love to the woman of your dreams in front of family and friends and God Almighty. Imagine she looks the most incredible she has ever looked that day and you feel pretty special yourself. Picture the majority of the people that are important to both you and your loved one there, congratulating you and wishing you well. This is the person you want to spend the rest of your days with. The two of you are actively in the planning stages to figure out what that means to you and how you can accomplish it together.

Imagine leaving on your honeymoon, which is a small, short event fit in between activities in your separate, non-married lives. During this time, you spend a ton of time together, celebrate your marriage, and start looking to the future in earnest. You have wonderful, quiet moments to yourself, you see a lot of nice sights, and you continually renew your vows to …

Waiting Patiently

I have some friends who accompany their significant others when said SO goes on a business trip somewhere. After this weekend, I'm wondering why.

Maybe it is because I am used to this area, so don't feel the need to explore as much, but sitting around waiting for M to get out of meetings, hoping I get invited along to the get-togethers and other events, and generally not having much to do is boring. Yes, I have the car and can go shopping in the area, but I'm not really a shopper. If it was somewhere new there would be sights to see, but a) there aren't here, as I've lived in the general area for most of my life and b) I would rather see them with M-- which means waiting for her to be finished.

When Matt brought Elysa with him to Germany, that made sense. How often do you get to see Germany? Being such a different place, she had much she could see and do without Matt, and save the really big stuff for when he was available. But when Dorothy goes with Doug to New Jers…

In the Desert

Irvine and Orange County are both coastal deserts. The rainfall is within the threshold by which we consider a place "arid" or "desert" by definition. However, because they are on the coast, the ocean has a strong effect on the environment. Still, without a massive amount of water piped from northern California and the Colorado River, the place would not be as green as it is.

Coming out to Indian Wells (east and a little south of Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs) really shows the disparity and how much human beings have changed the environment. At one point we were driving along with barren desert on our right, starting at the edge of the street we were on, and a grassy verge, trees, and housing on the left side.

This area would not last a month if the water stopped flowing. There is simply not enough in the ancient underground aquifers to accommodate the vast number of people that live here now. Add in that the cost to live in Orange County means…