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Showing posts from September, 2007

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…

Quackery

For the immigration process I need a general medical history letter, one to two pages long, from each of my doctors. I called Dr. E about it and, without even signing a release or anything, had a perfect example of what I needed within a week. There was some confusion between me and Dr. L's office staff, and Dr. DS's staff said they would ask her and get back to me.

Today, as I was ferrying M around on her various shopping needs, we were close to Dr. L and Dr. DS's offices, so stopped in. Dr. L's office staff, once I explained what was needed, provided me with dictation that should suffice for the situation at hand and will provide the immigration doctor with the info he needs to further research my case.

Dr. DS's office staff, on the other hand, just doesn't get it and neither does the doctor. I explained what I needed clearly and calmly. The secretary said that I only had one item in my chart, from 2005, and that she could make a copy of that. I explained that…

Honeymoon

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Can you believe a mook like me managed to marry talent like this??!!

Monday night it was good to have my friend Judith pick us up from SNA and take us home. Much better to be met by someone you know than a person wearing a Super Shuttle jacket.

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Tuesday we went down to work and said Hello to a few people. Everyone was excited to wish us well and hear the tales of the wedding week and day. Made plans with Robert and family to have dinner on Thursday evening. We went to the brand new CostCo (yes, that means I have one across the street from me and one a 10 minute drive away), the Sam's Club, and a few other places.

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Wednesday we went down to the San Juan Capistrano Mission and did the walking tour. We stood in the oldest (known/non-native) building in California. M got a candle and lit it/prayed in one of the side-chapels and was impressed by the opulent main chapel of the Mission.


The Main Altar


M at the pool in the center of the first area within SJCM

We then took PCH from…

Safe and Sound

We made it. We're in Irvine.

Now... to bed.

Travel Day

One of the nicest things about this trip is that I don't have to be alone traveling home. M is coming with me and jumped through hoops to get our seats together on these flights. It will be nice to have someone to travel with, watch stuff if I need to go to the bathroom or stretch my legs, or whatever.

I will also know the person I am sitting next to, which will be nice. While I've been lucky for the most part with the people I have sat next to, I have had a couple of people who just didn't want to hear it, weren't in the mood, or were having a bad day. Still remember the one guy to whom all I said was "Hello" and his response was "Shut up."

Now, I am not saying that M won't tell me to shut up, but at least she'll kiss me afterward! :-D

Everyone who has a moment should take it and pray for my mother, who left early this morning. I sincerely hope this trek is easier than her trip up. Also, for selfish reasons-- who knows how many flights she mig…

So I Got Married... Again

You cannot believe how incredible today was. My wife was stunning; she picked an awe-inspiring dress, had her hair done beautifully, and make up that only enhanced her natural beauty rather than overcoming or overwhelming it. She was something special to see!!!!!

And so many family and friends made it and wished us well. Truly well, too-- I didn't see or hear anything that sounded in the least bit disingenuous. M's family has been incredibly kind in welcoming me to theirs.

People seemed to like the Union Club reception-- and Suzy's cake was superb. Turned out even better than I expected (and after all the oohs and aahs I've heard over the last few years about Suzy's skills in the kitchen, I had some high hopes).

Chris, who hates public speaking, gave a very heartfelt and moving toast/speech. Mark, M's older brother, did a fabulous job as the MC-- we couldn't have picked a better person for the job.
Cynthia also stepped in and had a small but vital role as a pho…

She Made It + Funny Side Story

We picked up Mom at the airport at 8:30 pm today. So, that means she left her house early morning on Thursday and got here about 36 hours later-- a new record for those in my family. She had hell from Air Canada reps getting them to understand what she needed, that she had connections to make, and that it was for a wedding.

However, she caught her first break in Toronto-- her plane in was an hour late (of course), but the next plane was rescheduled and she managed to make it. If she hadn't, we would be getting her about midnight instead (or, frankly, she would have just gone back home... and I wouldn't have blamed her at all).

It is still astounding to me that they told her repeatedly that they could not find a seat for her on any plane from 3 pm on Thursday through 11 am on Friday (Central time) from any airline. However, what they did book her own wound up getting her here, so we can't complain too much.

But I'm sure Air Canada will be getting a very detailed, very ira…

Wedding Blues

Everything is actually coming together fairly well for the wedding. We have both tuxes, we have both dresses, most everyone who is going to be here is here.

Our one serious glitch to date is my mother-- she isn't here yet. As of my writing this, she should be somewhere between Denver and Chicago/Toronto-- we're not sure.

She set out yesterday morning from Palms Springs airport. When she got to Denver, made her connection, and then sat on the runway for 2.5 hours because of a serious malfunction with the jet engine on one side. Now, she said the engine fell off-- I don't know if that was hyperbole in order to get across how badly the engine sounded/acted, but that's what she said.

When Air Canada took the people off the plane, they announced that they had a seat for everyone on the 3:55 pm flight. Some things happened and about 6 people wound up without seats. Mom got screwed by being close to the front of the line and ready to get her connection/new flight info and then s…

Last Thing She Needs

M is pretty stressed about the wedding. We're in the home stretch, most things are done or have a plan, but she is still stressed. I'm trying to offer help and assistance when she'll let me and when she asks, but she wants to do most everything herself so that it is done exactly the way she wants it-- and I respect that. Her MoH is helping with this as much as she can, too (which is actually more than I'm allowed, as she understands the intricacies of M's wedding process better than I do).

However, things happen. On her blog, you may have read about her work laptop having issues. This morning, I go to boot up her home PC and it hangs and then a BSOD displays and it reboots itself after about 10 minutes or so. The internet connection I rely on to work from M's house is a bit glitchy as well. While I don't want to stress her out any further, I had to let her know about this as vital wedding data is stored on this machine. And I had to do it right away because,…

Shower

I had asked for no parties or showers and, as a couple, we asked for no gifts (just donations to two causes near and dear to my heart). I have learned that M's mom's side of the family didn't really care, so Sunday was our shower (with gifts!). I met a nice number of that side of the family (I had met most of them previously, but intermittently and not for over a year). They are all pretty nice people and all seem excited about the upcoming wedding.

The party was nice; we were out on a lake or river at M's aunt Lorna's cottage. There was a nice amount of sandwiches and sweets available, and everyone was happy to get reacquainted with me. M's mom even seemed calm and relatively happy.

M did ask primarily for gift cards to various home stores around the town; we have plans to finish the bathroom in the basement so it is usable, as well as the rooms downstairs. But having a second bathroom would be a huge improvement to start. We did receive a bunch of those. In add…

Weddinmg Trip To

I am a little late in telling how the trip up went. It started on Thursday when I tried to use web check-in, which normally is a breeze and I have never had issue with. When I got to the html page that allows you to change your seating assignment and select the number of checked bags you have, it errored. I called support and the first woman told me that it was because the second leg of my flight was not within the 24 hour period (which was a dumb answer, as I have never waited for that in the past and it has always worked). So, I waited an hour and a half and tried again with no luck; when I got to the seat/baggage screen and clicked Continue, it errored.

I called support back. This guy totally did not understand what I was saying-- he thought I could not get to the main page of web check-in. I explained for the fourth or fifth time that it was on the seat/baggage screen that it errored. He asked to put me on hold and hung up on me.

Called back a third time and received yet another sup…