Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

As you are reading this, I am flying to Texas for Thanksgiving (assuming the light rain doesn't delay us any). I will be taking my lap top this year, so I will check in if I can. In not, I'll be back in December.

Meanwhile, have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

Mini Review: The Kingdom Keepers

Now here's an imaginitive idea for a series. Take five middleschoolers, turn them into half human/half hologram versions of themselves, and put them in Disney World's Magic Kingdom to fight evil from Disney villains. That the premise of The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson. And I'm sure it's not surprise to those who know me to find out I really enjoyed it.

The book focuses on Finn, one of the five teens. They were hired to have their likenesses made into Holographic Hosts for the Magic Kingdom. But when they go to sleep at night, they wake up as holograms in the Magic Kingdom. And strange things are happening. It's only after a fight with a group of pirates that they begin to take things seriously. Can they stop the evil trying to take over the park and possibly the world?

It was set in Disney. The plot moved forward quickly with several page turning scenes. How could I not like it?

Well, the book does have some serious flaws. Outside of Finn and his real world friends, the rest of the characters blend together. And there is a major plot hole involving how much Walt Disney could have done with things in the park. But I was willing to let them slide because of how much fun I was having.

There is a follow up book set in Disney's Animal Kingdom. I'll be reading it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Irony, Thy Name is Obama

Okay, so let me see if I have this straight.

All through the Presidential campaign, we heard about how President Elect Barak Obama was the true canidate of change because of how little time he's spent in Washington.

And one of his big arguements against McCain? McCain would just be the third Bush term.

So, now that Obama is picking his cabinet, who does he seem to be selecting? Former Clinton people, including Senator Clinton herself as Secretary of State.

I guess this means that the next four years will be the third Clinton term.

Now, before anyone starts jumping on me, his choices seem qualified. I'm not going to fault him for picking them.

But really, when he tried to distance himself from everyone in Washington, including the Clintons, to run to people who served under them is very funny.

My Nightstand - November 2008

So it's time for 5 Minutes for Books' monthly What's on Your Nightstand Meme.

I am about half way through Ninth Witness by Brock and Bodie Thoene right now. I'm beginning to really get into it, although it is so short, I think I'll truly get into it about the time it ends. My biggest frustration is this is yet another flashback to Jesus' childhood. I don't think we'll ever get His death and resurrection.

Up next will be Stalking the Puzzle Lady by Parnell Hall. Yes, quite a change in styles and topics and genres and just about everything.

Monday, November 24, 2008


You ever notice how you seem to go through cycles? Right now, I am in a blog drought cycle. Despite my good intentions, I never seem to make it here to blog. Every day, I tell myself I will. But then I don't.

Part of that has been because of my reviewing storm. Every day, I have been reviewing as much as I possibly can. Fortunately, I think I've done all I wanted to get done before Thanksgiving, so I can start to relax.

Not that I've got nothing else planned for the next couple of days. I've got the Dancing with the Stars finale to blog (I'm just glad it won't be waiting for me when I get home for a change.) And I've got to pack, do one last load of laundry....

But that's all in the future. What have I been up to?

Actually, I've been hanging out with Kurt and Kellie quite a bit. And that's been nice.

A week ago Saturday, I hung out with them over at the Johnson's where I got to meet the Johnson's new son. Babies are so cute. Kurt and Kenny even joined me for the workout that day.

Then we hung out again this last Friday night with Dawn. We went to dinner and a movie, seeing Changeling. I wanted to see it mainly because it was written by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Strazcynski. It was much darker than what I normally see, but I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, I went to see Bolt. Absolutely fabulous movie. So very funny but with real heart. What are you still reading my blog for? Go see it today.

Other then that, I've been keeping up with my TV shows and enjoying my new Blu-Ray player. I finally figured out the best way to hook it up to my sound system. And with the digital optical cable, it sounds amazing!

Speaking of TV, I was disappointed last week to learn that ABC has canceled Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone. I really enjoy both those shows. I was expecting it. But it's still a major bummer. Couldn't something else from my schedule be canceled so I can still watch those two? Looks like we will get to see the filmed episodes, so it can be a long, slow goodbye.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mini Review: Mr. Monk is Miserable

Today's mini review is of Mr. Monk is Miserable by Lee Goldberg.

The book picks up where the last book left off, with Monk and Natalie in Germany. Natalie has talked her boss (via blackmail) into going on a real vacation in Paris. And so they arrive in France. Monk isn't happy about having nothing to do, but Natalie is trying to enjoy every minute she can relaxing.

That is until they visit the catacombs. There, Monk finds a modern skull in the middle of all the ancient bones. Worse yet, the person was murdered. Who could it be? And will this ruin Natalie's vacation?

The plot started out rather slowly, but that's my only real complaint. The characters were true to their TV personalities. Okay, so Natalie was a selfish jerk for a while, but she did realize it before the book was over.

And the story was hilarious! I was laughing out loud so many times. There's a sub-plot in the second half that fans of the TV show will particularly love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy 80th, Mickey

Today is Mickey Mouse day, according to the list of random holidays. And do you want to know why that is? Because today is Mickey Mouse's birthday. And this year, he is turning 80.

80 years ago today, Steamboat Willie premiered in New York.

As Walt was fond of saying, "It all started with a mouse." Just think of all the things we would have missed out on if Mickey hadn't been a hit his first time out.

As you might have guessed, I love Disney. So I for one am very thankful that Mickey came to be and was so popular.

So here's to you, Mickey, and many more happy years ahead for all of us.

Fire Weekend 2008

As you might have heard, we had a couple small fires around here this weekend.

I thought to myself Friday night, this is prime fire weather. Super dry with a strong wind blowing. I've got to stop thinking that.

I actually didn't know about the fire in Sylmar until I went to do some shopping on Saturday. I drove out of my complex, looked up in the sky, and saw the smoke. So I turned on the radio to see what they would say, and I found out just how close it was.

I continued to moniter the news all day as best I could. When they stopped talking about that fire and started talking about the ones in Orange County, I figured nothing was being threatened up here.

The fire did move north despite the winds Saturday night/Sunday morning. It even made it as far as the canyon where I work is. But it was several miles away from work.

The fires appear to be pretty much out around here now. The winds are dead, which is always a blessing. I finally smelled smoke in the air at my condo this morning, and it was pretty strong here at work this morning, too. But it quickly dissipated and I'm not smelling it any more at all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Something to Say?

I really feel like I should have something exciting to blog about. I'm probably blocking it. But I just can't think of what it is at the moment.

Wednesday night, I wound up hanging out with Kurt and Kellie for a few hours. I was just going to drop by and return their Enchanted DVD which I had borrowed for comparison purposes. But they invited me to dinner. We hung out and talked for a while, then watched Heroes.

And Wednesday night, some friends here in town had a baby. I get to meet him tomorrow, so I'm pretty jazzed about that.

So My Own Worst Enemy has been canceled. Since I was about to stop watching it anyway (I was going to give it one more week), it's no big loss. Heck, I could even delete Monday's episode unwatched with no guilt. I'm waiting for the ax to fall on one of the other shows I like. I just don't want any of them to go. Yet I need the time in my schedule.

And I've joined a group blog called Books for the Holidays. The idea is to help people find books for everyone on their gift list. Now, I just need to actually make a post. I'll do that this weekend.

Not that I have a simple weekend lined up. I'm trying to do so much watching and reviewing of stuff it isn't even funny. We'll see just how far I get, I guess.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mini Review: Whatever Tomorrow Brings

Today, I'll be talking about Whatever Tomorrow Brings by Lori Wick. This is the first in her Californians series. And yes, it is a Christian romance. But there's a reason I decided to read it. It's set in the town I grew up in, granted over 100 years before I was born. Still, I thought it was a neat connection.

After her mother dies, Kaitlin Donovan is left in charge of her younger brother and sister and their father returns to Hawaii to settle their affairs. The trio soon feel the need to leave their aunts, and Kaitlin gets a job teaching in Santa Rosa.

It's there that she meets Marshall Riggs. He's charming, handsome, and a little maddening. Yet he seems to care for Kaitlin. And she feels stuff around him she has never felt before. Where will their relationship go?

So, let's get the obvious out of the way first, the story is predictable. And, frankly, I'm not sure much else needs to be said about that.

But it was the characters who were charming. For me, they came to life and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. By the time the book was over, I was sad to leave these good friends.

The writing was weak, with frequent point of view changes (usually in the same scene). But once I got into the story, that didn't bother me as much.

Yes, I plan to read the rest of the books in the series and find out what happens to the rest of the Donovans.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Finally Got One!

So, this weekend saw me make a big purchase. One I've been planning to get for a while now.

I bought a Blu-Ray player!

I went with Panasonic's new 35K, Blu-Ray live player. That's the one I've been eyeing for over a month now. Circuit City seems to be the only place around here to have it, and they were offering 10% off your first purchase if you open a Circuit City card, so I did.

As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time this weekend playing with it. So far, I'm very happy with it. I compared a couple movies side by side, and you can really see the difference. Blu-Ray is so much sharper and clearer. I haven't noticed much difference in the way of sound, but that could be my system. Frankly, I'm not even sure how to play with it.

But now I've got to resist the urge to buy more Blu Ray movies. I have so many I want to get. But they are so expensive. If I can just wait a little while, I know the prices will start to drop. But patience has never been a virtue I have.

Saturday night, I did leave my player behind and go hang out at Kurt and Kellie's for a while. Kurt wanted to have some friends over to play the new Guitar Hero. The new one isn't any better than the old one. Translation, even with singing and drums, I still hate it. It would probably help if I knew and liked some of the songs on it. On the other hand, it was nice to hang out with the gang, some of whom I haven't seen for quite a while.

My uncle and aunt came through town on Sunday, so they called me up, and we had lunch. It was great to see them.

When I got up Friday morning, I thought I'd spend some time reading this weekend, but all this stuff came up after that. Needless to say, I hardly touched my book. Or the collection of Mickey Mouse shorts I'm supposed to be watching to review on Mickey's 80th birthday next week. I guess there's always next weekend.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Apparently, there are already at least three Impeach Obama groups on Facebook.


The guy hasn't even been thrown into office yet. Can't we at least wait until he does something like lie under oath before we talk about that?

We may not be happy with the outcome of the election, but we've got to accept it and not jump on the other side the instant the results are in.

And yes, that applies to both sides of the aisle.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post Election Thoughts

I went back today and read my thoughts on the Presidental election four years ago. Obviously, I have a very different feel this time around.

As I pointed out a couple months ago, this was a historic election. 40 years after the turmoil of the 60's, we have an African American as our President. That's saying something about our country. I wish I thought this would lower the charges of racism that fly fast and furious around us, but I don't think it will. But it should be a long way toward it.

The problem I have with Barak Obama is his policies. If he sticks to his election promises (like withdrawing taxes or redistributing the wealth) I'm not going to be a happy camper. He has the most liberal voting record in the Senate. I'd probably have the most conservative. Not to mention his view of sitting down with no rules with our enemies.

Which brings me to McCain. In my opinion, the only thing has done right in recent years is pick Sarah Palin as his running mate. His maverick standing actually bothered me way too much as he often seemed to be on the other side of issues from me. So my vote for him yesterday (and it only took me 25 minutes start to finish to vote. Still the longest time it's ever taken me) was more a vote against Obama. Yes, I really should have socked it to the Republican party and voted third party. But I was thinking of the overall percentages not just how California would fall.

So with the Presidency in the hands of the other political party and the House and Senate there, too, I will probably be ranting more about the state of things then I have in the past. I think the next few years will be interesting.

But, in all my rants, here is what I promise. I will never resort to cheap nicknames when describing the other side. I will argue based on facts. Yes, I will get emotional at times. But name calling and baseless accusations won't be part of my posts. I will remember that the people I disagree with are human. They are worthy of my respect as such even when I disagree.

And who knows. I thought I might rant more about things the last four years (or last few months) then I have. I might stick to my usual diary and Thursday Threesome posts. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Power Outages and Disneyland in November

I knew there was something from two weeks ago I wanted to blog about. The extra two hours I got off work.

A week and a half ago was my allergy shot day. As I always do, I sat there and read for the 30 minutes I have to wait. As I was driving back to work, I kept thinking how much I'd love to just be able to sit down and read the final 50 pages of my book. Then I walk into work to find our power was sort of out.

In my building, we had lights but no computers. In another building, we had computers but no lights. The network was down, so even in those buildings we couldn't do anything. And in my office, one of my lights was working, but the other one wasn't.

Needless to say, they sent us home. So I went down by the pool and finish my book.

Now, let's move along to this last weekend, where I went to Disneyland again.

Mary was in Anaheim for a conference and wanted to go to Disneyland, so Angelique and I readily agreed. And we invited another Southern CA Trixie fan. Julie could make it, so we had four of us.

Angelique was able to score us discounted park hopper tickets, so we went to both parks. And, while it was crowded, we managed to do quite a bit. Definitely hit the big rides at both parks. Frankly, we did better than I thought we would. So obviously, it could have been more crowded then it was.

Plus, we finally got to eat at the Blue Bayou! For those who don't know, this is the restaurant you see when you first start out on Pirates of the Caribbean. We've talked about eating there for years. We've even tried a couple times to find that they were already booked for the day. But Angelique looked up their number a few weeks ago, called, and got us a reservation. The food was pricey (not too surprising). They didn't have much beside fish, so that part didn't thrill me. But the food was good and very filling. We all walked away stuffed. That was a highlight of the trip.

We were very fortunate with the weather. We got spit on for a few minutes (while doing the tea cups). Heck, it wasn't even heavy enough to call it sprinkling. Yet both my roommates told me it poured up here at home, including thunder and lightening. And it sounds like they got quite the storm to the east of Anaheim as well. We need the rain, but I'm glad it missed Disneyland on Saturday.

Unfortunately, I still couldn't find the Christmas lights I saw at Disney World and want to get. I guess I'll have to take a trip down in December and see if I can find them. I did find one place on line selling them, for $10 more than the park will sell them to you plus shipping. Even though it would cost me that much in gas, the principle makes it well worth driving that distance.

I haven't voted yet today. I was going to vote before work, but there was quite a line waiting to get in. Even with no line, it seems to take a while to get it done, and I didn't have the time. Hopefully everyone else had my idea and all tried to vote early so I won't have to fight any crowds this evening. (Hey, a man can dream, can't he?)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Life Update

So, it's been forever since I talked about life, hasn't it? And I've been busy doing stuff, too.

For example, my parents were in town the last weekend in October. We met up with Angelique and went to see Importance of Being Ernest at Glendale Centre Theatre. We really enjoyed it. Sunday was spent fighting trying to get their computer to play Blu-Rays on my TV. By the time we figured it all out (thanks to one of my roommates) we weren't interested in watching a movie any more. Did do some picture comparisons, and there wasn't as much of a difference as I expected. Not that this is going to stop me from buying a Blu Ray player here pretty quickly.

And I've been trying to keep up with TV shows. I am so ready for one of the shows I watch to be canceled. I have a list they can cancel any time they want. Yet I won't stop watching them. What is wrong with me?

Last Monday, we closed the office early to go to my co-worker's memorial service. It was hard at times, but it really did make me look forward to heaven. And it makes me wonder who non-Christians deal with death at all.

I'm saving a couple things for seperate posts, so I think I'll quite here while I'm ahead. But that doesn't mean I lied earlier. I do have other things to report.