Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trail Run or My Longest Run So Far

I think I am ready for the Irvine Lake Mud Run and I really think I can do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run if I keep my running up. Here's why.

Last night, I left work a little early and met up with Daniel at a nearby county park. We headed out for a trail run. The route we did was supposed to be 5.2 miles round trip, but we didn't have any way to measure that ourselves.

Going in was mostly uphill. Believe me, that got tiring. But for the most part, it was gentle enough it wasn't too bad.

Our ultimate destination was a waterfall back in a canyon. Okay, waterfall is a generous phrase. It only has water in it if we've gotten a lot of rain and/or recent rain. There is a little part where it is in free fall, but most of the "fall" is actually cascading down the rock. Still, I'd heard about it before, so it was nice to actually see it.

Now there is some discussion about how far we actually ran. Daniel is claiming 5 miles, I'm claiming closer to 4. See, the last section is on some great hiking trail, but not great running trail, so we walked it. But only when we reached a spot where we could see the falls did we really stop for a rest. And coming back we kept moving, too.

I know I've never come close to running 4 miles before, so no matter how far we actually ran, I know this is the farthest I have ever run. And when we got back, I was tired, but not ready to drop over.

Irvine Lake is in 10 days, and it's 3.9 miles. Yes, I may need to walk for a few minutes, but I'm hoping the obstacles will serve as a good resting point. I'm not planning to run more than 3 miles at a time between now and then.

Yes, I will have to increase my mileage for Camp Pendleton, which is 6.2 miles. But I am focusing on the immediate goal first. I figured that Irvine Lake would be a good way to make sure I am on target and to see if there are any things I will need to adjust. I think it will be just that.

I've been alternating between looking forward to it and worrying about it as the date came rushing toward me. Now, I'm just looking forward to it. I'm going to have a blast. And I know, barring something unforeseen, I can cross the finish line and not be ready to collapse.

Monday, March 29, 2010

That Was a Relaxing Weekend At Home?

In case you haven't noticed, I've been a little busy on weekends recently. And I've got another long, crazy stretch in front of me in April. So I was looking forward to this weekend as a slow, quiet weekend at home.

Yeah, right!

Okay, so Friday night I actually spent at home just vegging, watching the special features on the season 1 set of Castle I just got.

But Saturday started bright and early. I headed down to Burbank to catch Waking Sleeping Beauty in one of its limited engagement theaters. I wound up meeting up with Angelique and her friend John there. We had both talked about going to see it then, and then decided at the last minute to actually go see it. Naturally, I enjoyed it. How could this Disney fan not enjoy it?

From there, I raced down to Westwood. Well, maybe raced isn't exactly the right word since I was taking some of the notoriously slow freeways in LA. I got there in time for a book signing by John Vorhaus, aka JV. I've been playing ultimate Frisbee with JV for years, so when I found out he'd written a mystery, I had to get a copy. Sounds like a fun read, so I'm hoping I will enjoy it when I get to it.

From there, I headed to my ultimate Frisbee pick up game. Four of us showed up, but we just threw the disc around for about an hour, then I left.

Believe it or not, I actually spent some time at home at that point. Ate dinner, wrote a review, watched an episode of Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

Then Daniel and I headed out to see The Nut Farm, a comedy play from 1929. It was pretty funny, and we both enjoyed it.

It's no wonder I over slept Sunday morning and missed the first 20 minutes of church, isn't it?

Actually, Sunday wasn't much out of the ordinary. I went to church, went over to Joe and Erica's in the evening, and hung out at home in between catching up on TV and doing some reading.

So, yes, it was a good weekend. But it wasn't as quiet as I had hoped. I'm hoping this next weekend will be quiet enough that maybe I can get a movie or two off my DVR. After all, I have three that have been on there since June. But I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, March 26, 2010

How's This for Something Different?

Thanks to my blogging buddy Luis, I found this page to change your blogger template. Looks like it is something that blogger is beta testing right now. Considering I've been tired of my template for a while and wasn't that big a fan of the other options available, I'm thrilled. I love getting to have three columns. And there are so many options for backgrounds I can have fun with this for a long time.

Yes, I did spent way too much time playing around with it this afternoon. I think I have it the way I want it, which is pretty basic, but I might play around with it a bit more. I like the more solid background to the writing, but I wish you could see more of the background picture. Then again, if you can't read the blog, what's the point of having it, right?

I also got rid of all those blog rings I've had on my blog since I started it. It looks like many of them are abandoned and rign surf changed things so much that I didn't like their new service. You get lots of ads for them and a link to an ad filled page listing other blogs in the ring. Um, what about those links that used to send you right to the next blog? Plus you had to fill out 1000 characters on your blog, and it had to be different for every blog. That's a lot!

So what else has been going on?

That's a good question. It seems like it's been a busy week, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. I think that's a sign I'm watching too much TV. I'd worry, except I expect several shows to be canceled this year, so hopefully I can cut back next year. (Yes, I hear you laughing now. Just because I've said that every year I've kept this blog doesn't mean I won't follow through this year. And in other news, I have this bridge to sell you.)

In TV news, if you haven't seen this week's Lost yet, you are in for a treat. I felt like lots of stuff about the show got explained. I am very anxious to see how what we now know all plays out. And I think I am really going to like this show when it is over. And they've added a twist to my least favorite character on 24, which just makes me want that person gone even more. Even knowing what the cliffhanger was on Castle, I'm very glad I didn't see it until last night. Can't wait for the next new episode. And Chuck has the best writing and acting on TV right now, period. If you aren't watching, you are missing out.

I've gone running to days this week, finally running three miles with a big hill in the middle both times. I was going to go for a shorter run this morning, but my roommate decided not to go, and my left leg was feeling very tight, so I went back to bed and read a couple chapters in my book.

I sure do wish I knew what was going on with my left calf. It is really starting to worry me how it feels.

Think that's about it for now. Got movies, plays, a book signing, and hopefully some ultimate this weekend. And this is supposed to be a quiet weekend.

Book Beginnings on Friday - March 26th

So, I'm hoping to start participating in the new weekly meme from Page Turners called Book Beginnings on Friday. The idea is to share the first sentence of your current book and talk about whether you like it or not.

I am currently about 70 pages from the end of Dem Bones' Revenge by Kris Neri. I'm actually going to cheat and include the first paragraph, aka the first two sentences. And they are:

"You do see I have no choice, don't you, Tracy?" the breathy voice said over the
phone. "I have to kill you."

Now if that's not going to catch your attention and make you keep reading, I don't know what will. That, to me, is a great beginning. And it sets up a great first page that introduces the main character and allows the humor of the novel to come through.

I plan to finish the book today, so check back next week for a full review of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Word Association for March 24th

Let's get in this week's word association, shall we?

  1. Burrito :: Bean and Cheese
  2. Spike :: Buffy
  3. Tougher :: Than Nails
  4. Mock :: Laugh
  5. Slurp :: Drink
  6. Knock :: Door
  7. Conference :: Room
  8. Madness :: is Spreading
  9. Minds :: Empty
  10. Connection :: Terminated

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Pat's Hat 2010

This last weekend was the annual St. Pat's Hat Ultimate Frisbee tournament hosted by LAOUT. Last year, I was on the winning team, and I was thrilled to see that four of my 18 or so teammates were from that team last year.

While in year's past, they have tried to stick wtih green team names (while throwing in one or two non-green), this year they completely threw that out the window, using the colors from the Lucky Charms cereal to name the teams. As a result, i was on one of the Blue Teams, nick named Magic Mirrors. (Blue Magic Mirrors? Don't know where that came from, but we'll go with it.)

Saturday is always a fun day. It's all about rankings. We played four games with one bye round. Unfortunately, our bye was the second round. I always prefer third or fourth over first or second.

And Saturday was when I felt I made my best contributions. I threw two scores, although I didn't catch the disc in the end zone for any scores this year. I was getting open quite a bit and completing most of the discs I threw.

We had a complete rookie on our team, and she did well as well, scoring a couple of times. AJ and Rod were our superstars, and plenty of plays came through them. But, as AJ pointed out before our first game, you need to use every player to win a tournament, and I truly felt like we did.

We won all four of our games on Saturday. Unfortunately, only one team got a first round bye on Sunday, and we weren't the only team with a perfect record. The other team had a better point differencial, so we had to show back up at 9:30 Sunday morning.

That first Sunday game was about our only blow out. From there on, the games got tougher. And everyone takes Sunday games more seriously because you keep advancing if you win. As soon as you loose, you start in the consiliation rounds. Both the quarter final and semi-final rounds were very close. In fact, we came back from a 4 point deficet to win the semi-final round.

And then we hit the finals. That turned out to be a pretty big blow out. We traded points for the first few points, then started pulling ahead. We took half 8-4 and the final score was 14-8.

That's, right! I am now a two time St. Pat's Hat Champion!!!!!!

This year, the prize for the winners was some sweet shorts, too. I'm really happy with them.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel like I played my best on Sunday. I only got the disc once that I remember, and wound up throwing it away.

And overall, I wasn't as fast as I had hoped I would be. I ran hard, but I could rarely keep up with my guy. What happened to all that speed I thought I had last weekend?

Still, it was a very fun tournament. I felt like the team gelled. While we certainly had our superstars, we didn't have any egos. It was always make the smartest throw not force it to one person in particular.

It also helped that we had a very large squad. We had two full squads plus one. Many of the other teams seemed to have about four subs total. Even so, most of the games were close, like within 4 points when it ended.

I even went to the party this year. Okay, so I mainly wanted to find out if we had that first round bye or not, but I'm glad I went. The food was good and plentiful, although there were longs lines to get it and it wasn't coming fast enough at first. When I left, there was plenty of food sitting out there waiting to be eaten, so it was just a matter of timing.

The weather was perfect this year, too. Granted, it had been nice all week. Saturday was sunny with temps in the low 80s, I'm sure. Sunday was overcast most of the day, but a this overcast. There was more of a cooling breeze, but it was still very pleasant to be outside both days. We had two people on our team who had come down from Canada, and they thought the weather was perfect. Frankly, so did I.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Reading Thing 2010 List

Here it is the first day of Spring, which means it is officially time to start Spring Reading Thing 2010. I am spending most of the day playing ultimate Frisbee, but I've been putting together a mental list for a while now. We'll see how I do at remembering them all now. :)

Books from last Spring's list I still haven't read:
Exposure by Brandilyn Collins
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Books from Fall Into Reading 2009 I still haven't read:
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Offworld by Robin Parrish
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman
Dem Bone's Revenge by Kris Neri

Other books I hope to/plan to read:
Death of a Trophy Wife by Laura Levine
Magic and Other Misdemeanders by Michael Buckley
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Set Sail for Murder by R. T. Jordan
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
Revenge for Old Time's Sake by Kris Neri
Corpse on the Cob by Sue Ann Jaffarian

That's thirteen books, or just over four books a month. I will probably get through more than that. But I can't seem to remember any more of my list right now, so I am going to try something new. I am going to start with a list I know I can get through, and then add to it anything else that strikes my fancy. So maybe I can get through my official list for a change this Spring since normally I list more books than I can possibly read and wind up with several books left over.

Stay tuned to find out.

3/20 Update:

So I found out today at the ultimate Frisbee tournament that one of my Frisbee buddies has a mystery novel that just came out and he's having a launch party in one of my favorite bookstores next Saturday. Guess what I'm getting in a week. And I know I will try trying to read it sooner rather than later, so I am adding book fourteen to my list today:

The California Roll by John Vorhaus

3/26 Update:

I remembered another book that should be on my list since I am on the waiting list for it at the library. I'm up far enough I am pretty sure I will get it in May.

The 9th Judgement by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Body Thanks Me for Resting

Today, I've been resting from exercising. And my body is very glad.

It started last Sunday with that ultimate Frisbee game.

Monday, I hit the fitness center on my lunch hour. I did some half hearted stuff on the weights and then used the stationary bike for 20 minutes or so.

Tuesday morning, I got up and ran 2.6 miles before work.

Wednesday and Thursday, Daniel and I ran after work. That was a very pleasant activity since it's been in the high 70's/low 80's all week. Spring has definitely hit Southern California, and I am loving it. Anyway, last night, we ran 2.3 miles.

Wednesday run was fun and different. We got dressed for our run, including out running shoes. Then we jumped in one of the pools fully clothed before we started running. Why, you ask? Because it was recommended to test out what you plan to wear at the mud run to see how it will do when wet. We only ran 1.5 miles that day. I have no idea what the people in the pool thought of us, but I got a kick out of it, if only because it was something completely strange.

Now, if you've been adding that up, you'll notice that I ran 6.4 miles in three days. Even when I was running 3 miles consistently, I was taking a day off between runs.

Last night, my legs were definitely feeling it, so instead of watching FlashForward, Daniel and I went and soaked in the hot tub. My legs felt much better after that.

In fact, they've been feeling fine today. But I'm not going to push it. I've got an ultimate Frisbee tournament this weekend. I'll be playing four games tomorrow and at least two on Sunday. I'm resting today so hopefully my legs are ready to run like crazy.

In other news, I've started the roommate search yet again since Craig is moving out at the end of the month to get married.

Tuesday night, I went down to the launch party for Lisa Lutz's new book in the Spellman saga. See, I hadn't gotten enough books signed in the past week. It was fun as always. I'm just over half way through and enjoying it as always.

Speaking of books, I've got to put together my list for Spring Reading Thing. Maybe I'll work on that tonight instead of reading before Bible study.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mini Review: The Last Illusion

I love history, so at times I wonder why I don't seek out more historical mysteries. But one series I do love is Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy mysteries. Set in the early 1900's in New York City, Molly is an Irish immigrant making a living as a PI. The Last Illusion is the latest in the series and takes place in the world of illusionists.

Molly and her fiancee Daniel, a police detective, are attending a performance of illusionists on a rare night off. The headliner is supposed to be Houdini, but he never gets to go on since one of the warm up acts accidentally saws his assistant in half.

The next morning, Houdini's wife comes to Molly's house and begs Molly to protect Houdini and find out what secret he is hiding. As a result, Molly is at the theater when two more "accidents" take place. Can she figure it all out?

This is definitely one of the stronger books in the series. When it is in top form, the mystery and historical detail combine for a rich tapistry. And that's the case here. The plot starts quickly and never slows down, yet the period feel is there on every page. And the inside look at how some of those tricks are done is enjoyable as well.

Plus I love these characters, especially Molly and some of her more flamboyant friends. I think I've even grown to like Daniel since I didn't think he was completely in the wrong in some of his arguements with Molly this time around.

All told, this is a very well done and highly entertaining book. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Word Association for March 17th

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, let's get to this week's word association.

  1. Children :: School
  2. Saddlebags :: Horse
  3. Restraint :: Bound
  4. Awake :: Morning
  5. Blood :: Cut
  6. Shutter :: Island
  7. Posted :: Review
  8. Corn cob :: Summer
  9. Flagrant :: Disrespect
  10. Fart :: Ew!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Winter League Tournament

So, Sunday was the make up tournament for this year's winter league. I wish I could say it was a good time.

The biggest problem was the field, and I use the term loosely. It was half dirt. And it was very small. We wound up playing on a smaller than normal field as a result. Only 2/3 of the teams were actually there. I don't know how we would have gotten all of them in if all the teams had been there.

My team went 2-1 on the day. That's two forfits and one loss. We found out about that first forfit at 6AM Sunday morning when we had to be there at 9. I do think most of us found out about it and crawled back into bed. I know I did. Didn't sleep, but I still got some rest. After all, we had just lost that hour.

But the biggest problem of the day was the wind. It was howling in the morning when we were trying to play. The final score on our game was 5-9, but most of those points could have gone either way. There was more luck then skill involved.

Even so, I had a lot of fun with that game. They were exactly guarding me closely, so I was able to get the disc quite often. And I felt like I was contributing on defense as well. We played zone quite a bit, and I was in a position that requires lots of running. I was very rarely tired or winded when the point ended. All this running I've been doing in definitely paying off.

And my calf, which had been bothering me all week, wasn't bothering me afterward. Unfortunately, it started back up yesterday.

We had a bye after that game, then we found out the other team had been drinking and didn't have enough to play. If we'd known earlier, I would have liked to leave earlier and get other stuff done. But as it was, when we found out I hung out talking to my teammates for an hour or two. I guess I was hoping to still play more somehow.

Because of the forfits, we did finish 3rd overall in our bracket. But it wasn't the best end to the season. Hopefully, the weather will be nice for the St. Pat's Hat tourney this weekend.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Left Coast Crime for 2010

I took Thursday and Friday off work. I spent every night at home. But I attended this year's Left Coast Crime.

The idea behind Left Coast Crime is a mystery convention in the Western half of the United States (although they have traveled to England once I know of as well as trips to Alaska and Hawaii over the years). This year, the convention was at the Omni hotel in downtown LA, so I had to go.

And I had fun. I spent most of the weekend wandering around from one panel to another. Unlike the last one I attended (2003, when it was in Pasadena. Sensing a theme?), this time I didn't necessarily go to panels that were filled with authors I already knew. Sometimes, I just went to ones that sounded cool.

That's how I wound up at the panel for co-authors. It helps that I knew Lee Goldberg, the moderator, is always entertaining. I also enjoyed the humor panel that included Donna Andrews and Parnell Hall. With those two, how could you miss?

I am proud of myself, too. I can't think of any books I bought that I wasn't already interested in before the convention started. I bought two or three books a day, but they were all books I had been considering for a while.

And I got to talk to lots of authors. Had a nice talk with Donna Andrews about the recent MacMillain/Amazon dust up (she's published by one of MacMillain's companies). I talk to Sue Ann Jaffarian about becoming a character in Odelia #7 (when Odelia takes on the mud run). And I finally got the third book in Kris Neri's Tracey Eaton series. I've only been waiting for the book for 10 years. (And I'm not exagerating). And I might become a character in the next book in that series, too.

For a few days spent sitting around, it was exhausting. The traffic down Friday morning didn't help, although I never had bad traffic coming home. I flew down there Saturday morning. And since I went down late morning on Thursday, it wasn't so bad then, either.

There were a couple of bad parts. The only parking the hotel had was valet parking, which meant I had to be escorted to my car any time I want to switch out books. I took too many to get signed to carry them all with me all day. And it was expensive, even had half price. Saturday, I parked a couple blocks away in a pay all day lot for half the price we were being charged. That was much nicer.

The evening receptions turned out to be duds. The first night they ran out of food fairly early. Learning my lesson, I showed up early for the second one about half a dozen blocks away at a bookstore. But the bookstore was so small that they had to keep people waiting outside the door. After a quick trip inside, where there wasn't any good place to stand, I left.

Saturday lunch, the food was late, which was another bummer. But I was finally able to eat and get back to my car in time for the first afternoon panel. Our hotel was right by Angel's Flight, billed as the shortest railroad in the world. We got to ride that down and back up once. I would call it more of a venicular than a railroad, but it was cool for the history factor.

I met quite a few people and was surprised once again at how pleasant everyone in the mystery community is, even the best sellers who were there. And I met one woman who grew up in my home town and now lives in my current town. Can't get over that one.

All in all, it was a very good time. I would consider going to more if I could aford them. But travel and hotel are just too expensive for that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just Life

I've been posting about ultimate Frisbee a lot lately, and that's not going to change in the next couple of weeks with a tournament this weekend and next weekend. But let's talk about other things going on in life.

There's always TV. And I do mean always. I don't know quite how I got so many shows I am watching this year, but most of them are coming back for their final run of the season. I have a feeling I am going to be very busy just trying to keep up with that for the next couple of months. What's really funny is that most of them are on Monday and Tuesday, so once I get through the early part of the week, things will slow down a little.

Sunday, I got an unexpected call. With 45 minutes notice, I was invited to a friend's birthday party. It was fun. I was one of the first to leave since I still wanted to get to Babylon 5 night. I'm glad the tournament was canceled. I'm not sure I could have gone otherwise.

Monday was my birthday. Can't believe I'm 35. That always seemed so old. Fortunately, I'm not that old. Some friends invited me over that night, so once I was done talking to my family, I headed to their house. We played a game, ate wonderful apple fritters, and watched Chuck. I really had a good time.

I'm off work today and tomorrow. I'm attending Left Coast Crime which is here in LA again. Last time I went was 2003. I'll be driving down and back every day, which will make for long days with traffic, but it should be good. I just hope I don't break the bank on books and parking. That's what I'm most worried about.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Word Association for March 10th

Yeah look, I'm doing the word association on Wednesday this week.

  1. Detective :: Mystery
  2. Bangs :: Hair
  3. Consultant :: Fee
  4. Puzzle :: Lady
  5. Learn :: Teach
  6. Necklace :: Diamond
  7. 184 :: 185
  8. Stimulation :: Shock
  9. Layered :: Dip
  10. Police :: Arrest

So, one of the mystery series I read is the Puzzle Lady series. The main characters create crossword puzzles, and now sudoku puzzles, too. And the mysteries seem to have puzzle clues.

I think the rest are self-explanatory.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Last Friday's Ultimate Game

I was going to call this the end of winter league. Our tournament was supposed to be this last Sunday, but they canceled it because of the rain on Saturday. Ironically, Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. But it looks like they've rescheduled for this coming Sunday, meaning this weekend is going to be very hectic. Again!

Anyway, last Friday was our final regular season game. I'd love to say we finished with a win, but I don't like to lie on my blog. Instead, I'll say that we had fun playing together, then went out to a bar afterward. I didn't leave until after midnight. (Don't worry, I just had water on the rocks.)

But here's what I really wanted to comment on. I was the fastest I have been in a long time out there. I was keeping up with my guy fairly easily. I still got scored on, but it was due to positioning and not me being a ways behind. Even my team mates were commenting on it. It felt so good, too.

Unfortunately, I am taking this week off from running. I'm hoping to get my calf to heal before the final push for the April mud run (one month, one day to go.) But with this time off, we'll have to see how I do on Sunday.

Monday, March 08, 2010

So, What's the New Alice LIke?

Saturday afternoon I met up with Angelique to go see Alice in Wonderland. Not being a big Tim Burton fan, I wasn't sure what I would think of it, but I wound up enjoying it.

This certainly isn't the Alice of the books. Alice is now a grown woman returning to Wonderland only to find that the Red Queen has taken over and is destroying things. Is she the person needed to return the White Queen to power?

The movie really takes the best known characters and elements from both books and mixes them together. Purists need not even come close to applying. The Red Queen was in Through the Looking Glass, but she seems to be substituted for the Queen of Hearts here, for example.

So leave that behind, and you'll find this is actually a very fun movie. I enjoyed looking for the nods and twists on the original. This respects the source material while creating an all new story.

Being Tim Burton, there were a few dark moments, but not as many as I expected. And that's a good thing as far as I am concerned. I love my sweetness and light. Still, a few moments might be too frightening for young kids.

I'm not sure that the 3D was really needed. If I were seeing it again, I don't think I would pay the extra for it.

Overall, I'm glad I wound up seeing this movie. Maybe I need to rethink my take on Tim Burton?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Word Association for March 5th

Again, with the late word association.

  1. Harm :: Foul
  2. If :: Then
  3. On my own :: Independent
  4. She said :: He Said
  5. Illegal :: Alien
  6. Broke :: Fix
  7. It’s a :: Small World (Insert evil grin here)
  8. Chatting :: On-line
  9. Cottege :: Industry
  10. Podcast :: Program

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tuesday Night's Game

Tuesday night, we had a make up game for our one game that got rained out. (Tomorrow night is our final regular game of the season). I really didn't want to go after the fiasco that was last week's game. Plus, I knew there was a guy on the team that irritated me.

But I'm very glad I went.

No, we didn't beat this team this time around. The final score was 6-15. They are just much faster than us. I wasn't the only one getting beaten on defense.

But we managed to relax and have some fun. We started out tense, and they were ahead 1-7 at one point. We managed to bring it up to 4-7 before they finally brought it to half. And that was when we started relaxing and having fun.

Furthermore, the guy that irritates me was actually guarding me for one point. I caught and passed the disc on with him guarding me. Unfortunately, we turned it over and he threw the score. But after the point he complimented me on how fast I was running. Made my night.

Hopefully we can keep this positive energy going through the game tomorrow and the tournament on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Disneyland Trip Report

In one trip, I have gotten very spoiled. The forecasted rain never did quite materialize, but it was enough to scare the crowds away. I loved it!

It was raining lightly when I left home, but by the time I got to Disneyland, it wasn't raining any more. It was enough to scare my roommate's friends into not coming, so we carpooled down with our friend Max. My friend was a little last getting there, so we headed into the part and went on Star Tours before she got there.

From there, we proceded to do just about everything in the park. The longest lines I saw all day were 30 minutes for Space Mountain (which we did three times) and Indiana Jones (which also got done three times). We walked on Pirates both times, and we did Splash Mountain twice in a row without leaving our log.

The best part was that the rain never materialized. It sprinkled on us a little a couple of times, but it never lasted for more than five minutes. A couple times, we got off a ride to find it was wet, so I suspect we missed a downpour.

And I was plenty warm. I thought it would get very cold, so I brought several layers. One of those layers never left my backpack. It was much colder when I got home. And I also heard it rained pretty hard most of the day here, too.

I figured at some point Angelique and I would branch off and do our own thing, but that never happened. We still did everything I wanted to do, and we kept a group of 4 to 8 at all times. Granted, they didn't care much for the Tiki Room (grumps!) and tollerated a couple of Fantasyland rides, but everyone seemed to have a good time together. There was very little debate over what ride to do next. I think they let me lead for the most part (which helped on my end anyway) or were willing to go along with whatever was suggested.

Most of the group left between 10 and 10:30, and that's when I hit Captain EO. That was my first time doing the show. I think to fully appreciate it, you'd have to be a Michael Jackson fan or fan from the first showing. Personally, I thought it was okay, but it's not something I'd hurry back to see again next time, unlike Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, the show that replaced it but that it is now replacing.

I also hit the new Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln on my way out of the park. This isn't something I feel the need to do every time I go, but I have missed it the last five years. I like the emphasis on the life of our 16th President again. It's a very moving, patriotic show.

The park was open from 8AM to midnight. I was getting on the shuttle to enter the park at 8:08. As I was on the shuttle heading back to my car, they told us that "the park will be open for another 4 minutes, so don't bother coming back today. We'll just tell you to leave again." Yes, we all laughed.

Now, I just need to figure out how to schedule my next trip for a full day like that with a rain forecast but no actual rain. Any idea who I can do that?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - the 1985 Miniseries

I'm almost done with the Alice in Wonderland Challenge. After today's post, I'll just have one more task to complete.

Today, I'm talking about the 1985 miniseries version of Alice in Wonderland.

You get 3 hours of story here, and it covers both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. There aren't an abundance of special effects, which is a good thing since the special effects we got were very poor. You can tell they didn't spend must of their budget on them. And you can tell the movie is now 25 years old.

The sets were rather good and the costumes were fairly nice. At times, they looking like elaborate Halloween costumes, but I was willing to let that pass.

The book followed the stories fairly faithfully, although it did connect the two, with Alice waking from the first story to find herself in the second story.

But there were lots of problems with this movie. First, the acting was poor. Considering it had big name stars, I expected more. And the pacing was slow the entire way through.

Furthermore, they cut out some of the best bits from the book, possibly in an attempt met the time requirements of TV.

This was a musical, but all the songs sounded the same to me. While I wanted to turn the movie off multiple times, I did fastforward through the songs.

They attempted to give us a moral about facing fears and growing up. I'm sorry, but Alice doesn't need morals. It's just supposed to be fun.

And the fear she faces? A rather silly looking Jaberwacky that shows up in the second half every so often. While it was stupid, I could see it frightening kids, or at least me when I was a kid.

If it wasn't for the challenge, I would have turned it off after a few minutes. But I did grit my teeth and make it through.