Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fall Into Reading 2012 Wrap Up

Well, fall is over, although the weather here in LA has been telling me that for a week now.  That means it's time to wrap up Callapidder Day's Fall into Reading 2012 Challenge.

I did very well this time, getting through all the books on my list.  That means both times this year I made it through my list.  Pretty amazing since I've only done that three times period.  Granted, I started with a substantially smaller list than normal, which really helped.  I supplemented along the way just finishing my last book on the list last week.  So, while I'll break these down by those on my original list and the others I read, know this isn't in order.

If any of these titles catch your interest, please follow the link to my review at Epinions.

Books from My Original List Read:
Frozen Heat by Richard Castle
Running Ransom Road by Caleb Daniloff
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Daniel Handke and Vanessa Hunt
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
The Chocolate Moose Motive by JoAnna Carl
Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Games by Ridley Pearson
Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau
Disneyland Through the Decades by Jeff Kurtti
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Additional Books I Read:
The Mystery of the Castaway Children by Kathryn Kenny
Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen
How to Dine on Killer Wine by Penny Warner
Alcatraz Versus the the Scrivener's Bones by Brandon Sanderson
Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime by Steve Hockensmith
Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman

Book in Progress:
Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs

So there you have it.  I'll see you in the Spring with a fresh collection of books to read.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for December 21st

Yes, I know it's a day early.  But since I will be posting my Fall Reading this wrap up tomorrow, I figured I'd post this today.

Won't be one for a couple of weeks either.  It's the Christmas/New Year's rerun season.

Royal Pains - It was so nice to check in with these characters.  And the story was so sweet.  I felt badly that the majority of the guests weren't able to make the wedding, but I love Evan and Paige together.  Have I ever mentioned that?  It was nice to see Jill, although I wish she'd actually been there.  And I wasn't that surprised that Boris is faking his death.  I can't wait to see what that is all about.  And what is going on with Hank?  Is it connected to the explosion somehow?  Sure sounded like it.  Sigh.  Why must we wait until summer again?

Survivor - I really wouldn't have minded if anyone had won.  I still can't get over how bitter everyone is at the final tribal.  It's part of the game.  You should know that by now.  And I guess I'll be trying to watch the next one since it's another Fans vs. Favorites.  I've at least got to see who the favs are.

Burn Notice - You know, with how the season has gone, I was actually worried about Sam for a while.  I am surprised at how upset Fi was at the end considering it's what she did to Michael last year.  But I'll be interested to see what he's really agreed to.  Unlike Fi, I can't see them leaving him in prison for part of a season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Word Association for December 19th

Here we go - this week's word association.

  1. Dragon :: Fire
  2. Battery :: Acid
  3. Ziploc :: Bag
  4. Shiny! :: Metal
  5. 8 minutes :: per mile
  6. Photograph :: Picture
  7. Future :: Prediction
  8. Tie :: Shirt
  9. Bangs :: Hair
  10. Appointment :: Book

Monday, December 17, 2012

Meeting Ivanova

A week ago yesterday, I got to geek out.

It all started when I checked in on Twitter that morning.  I saw a post from Claudia Christian saying she was going to be doing a book signing in Burbank that afternoon.

Now those who know me well know I love the TV show Babylon 5.  And my favorite character on the show is Susan Ivanova, played by Claudia Christian.  Naturally, it was a no brainer that I would go.

The signing itself was pretty laid back.  No talk or discussion, just her at a table signing books.  I wound up buying a much shorter book she had previous put out that has some stories from her time at conventions.

I did get to chat with her for a couple of minutes, and I got to tell her how much Babylon 5 has meant to me over the years.  And she was amazed that I started in season 4 and stuck with the show since that was pretty much the climax of the story arc.

For those who don’t know, every time I have watched this show, it’s been with someone new.  While we’ve watched these 5 seasons, we’ve gone from friends to great friends because the time spent together always leads to other things.  The line stretches from Debbie and Josh, who introduced me, to Donald and Jeff and Matt and Joe and a different Josh today.  Along the way, wives have also joined my circle of friends as a result.  There have been others as well, but these spring to mind at the moment.

And those have been some of my closest friends over the years.  Obviously, I have other close friends who I haven’t watched the show with, but that’s an impressive group from one TV show.  Who would have guessed a TV show would do that.

So you can bet that was the highlight of my week last week.  I just hope I didn’t come across as anything other than I am – a somewhat (okay very) obsessed fan who is actually fairly normal.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for December 15th

The Amazing Race - I have often said that it really didn't matter if you won any legs along the way.  The only one that really matters is the last one.  And I guess they just proved that right.  I just hope the Twinies feel stupid now for not worrying about every single team on the race.  Granted, I counted the farmers out early, but you never truly can.

Survivor - Another case of trying to create drama for us where none really exists.  Lisa sure is becoming a devious waffler.  I bet that comes back to get her, however.

Arrow - The story about the "accident" took quite an interesting twist.  I have a feeling they are setting things in motion for a very interesting second half of the season.  I can't wait to see where they go with it.

Burn Notice - I've really stopped caring about this season, which is sad.  It's just lost the fun of the previous seasons.  I still care for the characters, but I feel like it's gotten way too serious.

The Big Bang Theory - The Christmas roll playing game was fun, but that final scene was downright hysterical.  It was totally worth the set up for that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Word Association for December 12th

Happy 12/12/12!

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Complications :: Plot
  2. Bell :: Ring
  3. Sunshine :: Summer
  4. Laundry :: Clean
  5. Grumpy :: Dwarf
  6. Throat :: Clear
  7. Vitamin :: Mineral
  8. Tell :: Secret
  9. Potent :: Potable
  10. Radio :: Music

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting in the Christmas Spirit?

It’s a weird Christmas for me.  I’m done shopping for my family, but I still have some friends to buy presents for.  After getting my outside lights and Christmas trees up before I went home for Thanksgiving, I’ve been dragging my feet about decorating.  I finally got a bunch of ornaments on the trees last night.  I may do a bit more decorating tonight, but I’ll probably about done with that.

And yet.

Thursday, I headed down after work to see Glendale Centre Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol.  Despite all the years I’ve been going down there, this is the first time I’ve actually seen it.  I enjoyed it.  The special effects weren’t that great, but the play itself was really well done.  I especially enjoyed their carolers, who usually sang a cappella.

And Saturday, I made my monthly trip to Disneyland.  I didn’t get there as early as I had hoped, but I did get there in time to ride the Christmas version of it’s a small world twice before the lines got too long.  I waited 10 minutes once and 20 minutes the next time.  Mind you, that was back to back.  The line was looking to be at least 30 minutes long when I left, so I got there just in the nick of time.

I hit Star Tours twice as well, thanks to fast pass.  Did Haunted Mansion Holiday once and then headed over to CA Adventure long enough to wander around a bit and stop by the Ghirardelli store.  Man, that place is addictive.

I left last afternoon because I didn’t feel like waiting in any more lines even though I had my book with me and hadn’t really read much.  Also, my legs were killing me.  I am so frustrated since I don’t know what is wrong and how to make them better.  I haven’t been running much, which does seem to help, but I want to run and play ultimate Frisbee.  Patience has never been one of my virtues.

Now to get presents wrapped and I’ll be all ready for Christmas!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for December 8th

Once Upon a Time – So, Cora is the Queen of Hearts.  Interesting development.  But I felt so sorry for Regina.  She took a big risk (and a lot of pain it looked like) so that Snow and Emma could return.  She did it for Henry.  And then they go off and leave her standing there in Gold’s shop.  I know she’s done a lot, and forgiveness isn’t going to come easily, but they could have tried a little more.

The Amazing Race – Of all the times for there to be a non-elimination leg.  I am so ready for the Twinies to be gone!!!!

Castle – A very fun Christmas episode.  I felt a bit like it was A Christmas Carol with everything happening right around Christmas in the case.  And there were so many great one-liners that I was laughing the entire time.

Arrow - Yeah, I pretty much saw that one coming.  It was predictable that this girl wouldn't listen to him.  But it did give us some very nice character development along the way.

Survivor - How in the world have they not voted out that one chick yet?  I get the strategy, but seriously, she's so annoying to everyone, they just need to vote her out and be done with it already.

Burn Notice - I'm really not enjoying this storyline at all.  Especially since they are running and not even trying to prove what a bad dude this guy was.  Seriously, I don't know how they'll resolve things in two episodes, but I hope they have done just that and everyone can get back to some semblance of order again.

The Big Bang Theory - Penny teaching the guys about fishing was hilarious.  The is the kind of stuff I love watching this show for.  The sub-plot with Sheldon and Amy was pretty funny, too.  They are such a perfectly funny couple.

Nikita - Amanda and Nikita is such a great rivalry.  I don't miss Percy at all, even though he was a great villain.  But it's Alex I'm worried about.  Going back to drugs is never good.  And I saw who the mole was earlier.  Now, the question is, is she playing Birkoff, or did what she said happen with Amanda really happen?  And if it did, was Amanda telling the truth or lying to get her cooperation.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Word Association for December 7th

If it tells you how the week is going, I'm finally getting to this week's word association.

  1. Idiot :: Stupid
  2. Starving :: Artist
  3. December :: Christmas
  4. Choose :: Wisely
  5. Dreams :: Sleep
  6. Clash :: Titans
  7. White :: Black
  8. Meticulous :: Careful
  9. Bus :: School
  10. Insubordination :: Disobedient

Sunday, December 02, 2012

My November Reads

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

A Disney cruise proves dangerous for the Kingdom Keepers as the Overtakers are there as well trying to stop them permanently.  Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the series has stalled out.  Not much forward movement happens, and the book doesn't even bothering resolving much of the plot, instead just setting things up for the next book.

SKATING AROUND THE LAW by Joelle Charbonneau - 4
Rebecca Robbins has returned to her small home town just long enough to sell her mother's roller rink.  But when the town handy man is found murdered in the women's bathroom, she realizes she needs to get his murder solved quickly since no one is interested in it.  A typical cozy series debut, but I really enjoyed the characters and found the story fun.

When the Belden family find a baby in their doghouse, it sets Trixie off on another mystery.  Who is the baby?  And why would someone leave him in the doghouse?  This is a great entry in the second half of the series since it gives all the main characters a part to play and develops one of the secondary characters.

POPPED OFF by Jeffrey Allen - 4
Stay-at-home dad Deuce Winters gets roped into tracking down the president of the local youth soccer league who has disappeared along with all the funds from the league.  Can he find him before the rest of the soccer season is canceled?  The humor in this book is great and the mystery shots off in some wild, fun directions.  I really enjoyed it.

HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE by Penny Warner - 4
Presley Parker's latest party is a wine tasting in the beautiful Napa Valley.  But murder follows her when a despised environmental crusader is found murdered after the party.  Convinced the cops have the wrong killer, she starts investigating.  I find these books fun.  The plot was a bit uneven, but overall an enjoyable read.

Alcatraz and some new friends and relatives are off to the Library of Alexandria to hopefully track down his grandfather and maybe even his long lost father.  But will they be able to do it while escaping the assassin on their tail and the keepers of the library who want their souls.  A second absolutely delightful adventure for kids that keeps you laughing and turning pages to find out what will happen next.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for December 1st

The Amazing Race - U-Turning someone who you know has already gone by may be in the rules, but it sure seems harsh to me.  But as people keep pointing out, it is part of the game.  I like James and Jaymes, but I wish they hadn't done that.

Once Upon a Time - I really can't believe that Charming is now under a sleeping curse.  Granted, I knew it wouldn't be as simple to get him out of it as everyone thought it would be.  They've set things up for a very interesting finale.

Dancing with the Stars - While I would have been okay with any of the finalists winning, I was rooting for Tony and Melissa.  I'm so glad they won.  They really were amazing dancers, no matter what anyone says.

Survivor - They've actually got some interesting drama going on in both these episodes.  It hasn't been quite as cut and dried as you might think.  Lisa sure is having trouble playing the game at this point, that's for sure.  I want to like her, but she sure is making it difficult.

Arrow - The first totally predictable episode for me, but I like how it ended.  This should make for an interesting arc.  And I don't get where they are going with Oliver's friend.  That's sure going to be interesting to watch.

The Big Bang Theory - I loved it.  I would have loved a scene with all of them in the same room going at it, but the episode was definitely funny just as it was.

Nikita - I think they are finally finding their groove for season 3.  I really enjoyed this episode, although was it just me, or did they seem to forget about the President's video when they went to get him the second time?

New TV on DVD Reviews:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Word Association for November 30th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Statement :: Question
  2. Process :: Delivery
  3. Monday :: I don't even want to think about this right now
  4. Certain :: Definite
  5. Reflection :: Mirror
  6. Ours :: Yours
  7. Components :: Pieces
  8. Engagement :: Marriage
  9. Learn :: Grow
  10. Products :: Reviews

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And a Good Thanksgiving was Had by All

I didn’t really intend to leave my blog like this, but it does tend to happen when I go out of town.  And, naturally, I was out of town for Thanksgiving.

I spent almost a week at my parent’s house.  That right there was a change since we’ve been going to Dallas since 2003.  But since my brother and sister-in-law have moved back to California, there's no reason to go back.  We've all talk multiple times about how we missed it.

But we still have a good time.  We went over to my SiL's dad and step-mom's for Thanksgiving day itself.  A great meal was shared by all.  And we watched the George C Scott version of A Christmas Carol one night.  We decorated my parent's place for Christmas.

And we played lots of games.  I was the only one not to win a round of Spiral Down, but I didn't finish worse than 3rd out of 5.  I certainly wasn't setting the record for worst score like I have in the past.

And I got lots of time with my niece.  Have I mentioned how cute she is?  Recently?  Well, she is, just in case you've forgotten.

Unfortunately, I missed Donald and Heather since they were visiting family and then sick.  And it's not looking good for Christmas either, but we'll see how things work out.

And now I'm back in reality.  Two days at work, and I'm already tired again and ready for the weekend.  Sigh.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for November 24th

With Thanksgiving this week, many shows didn't air new episodes.  Still, I'll have one Survivor to catch up on next week when I get home from visiting family for the holiday.

Here's what I did get watched this week.

The Amazing Race - That was a very uneventful episode.  Yes, all the teams did stuff.  Yes, James and Jaymes finally got a first place finish.  But all the drama over who would get eliminated was pretty much over before it started.  Next week will be interesting however.  I'm wondering if the teams in last and next to last even have a chance of catching up.

Dancing with the Stars - I figured Emmet and Cheryl would be going.  But Apollo was a big surprise.  Since I want Melissa and Kelly in the finals, I'm okay with it, however.  I really want one of those two teams to win.

Castle - The episode definitely reminded me of "Cuffed" from last season, but it was still pretty fun.  Lots of laughs and yet I really felt like there was some real danger, too.  Not that I was worried that anything would happen to Castle and Beckett, of course.

Covert Affairs - Most of the episode pretty much took care of what it needed to.  I enjoyed it, especially Annie confronting the bad guy at the end.  But those last few minutes?  What did Henry show Annie?  And I loved the scene between Augie and Annie at the end.  Not as good as Castle's ending in May, but still pretty fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Word Association for November 21st

Happy day before Thanksgiving word association.

  1. 32 :: 33
  2. Ignore ::
  3. Wet :: Swim
  4. Apartment :: Rent
  5. Translate :: Language
  6. YouTube :: Video
  7. Stifle :: Creativity
  8. Plus :: Minus
  9. Thanks! :: You're Welcome!
  10. Fiction :: Reading

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Disneyland Report

So, it’s turned out I’ve been at Disneyland at least once a month since I got my pass.  I’ve decided I need to keep that streak alive, so I headed to the park on Sunday.  One reason I got so much done on Saturday, I think, was because I knew I wouldn’t be around on Sunday.

I went with Angelique, and we had a great time as always.  The park was definitely crowded, and we had to wait longer for some rides than we normally do.  We headed to Radiator Springs Racers fast pass first thing, so Angelique finally got to do that!  She really enjoyed it, too, which doesn’t surprise me at all.  I was glad we had those fast passes since the lines were around two hours when we were down that way.

CarsLand was really decked out for the holiday.  They are car part Christmas trees (tires, hubcaps, that kind of thing), and other decorations all over the place.  There were some in the rest of the park, but it wasn’t as all out as it might have been.

Then again, over at Disneyland, Main Street and New Orleans Square are the main places they go all out.  And they looks great as always.  And the Castle and small world are both really decked out, too.  It does look amazing.

We did make it on Haunted Mansion Holiday, but we missed small world Holiday.  The line was an hour one time when we tried. The next time, they were closing the line to clear the area out for the fireworks.  And once again I will say that if you have to close an area and a popular attraction for the fireworks, then your fireworks show is too invasive and you need to cut it back.  We could have stuck around, but we both had work the next day, so staying until the park closed at midnight was out of the question.  We were leaving the parking garage by 10, if you can believe it.

Of course, I was tired the next day.  Disneyland just wears you out no matter what if you spend a full day there.

I can’t wait to get worn out again.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Santa’s Arrival Family Fun Run aka 5K in the Rain

I know the last time I talked about running, I said I was done racing for the year.  Turns out I lied.

Saturday, there were actually two 5K’s in town.  Don’t worry, I only did one of them.  This one was at the mall, and it was to celebrate Santa’s arrival.  He was supposed to kick off the race himself, but rain kept him from showing up.  I guess he’s okay with snow but not our rain.

It worked out perfectly for me.  I dropped my car off to get an oil change, walked over, did the race, and when I got back it was ready to go.

We started at the mall, but quickly jumped on the bike paths that snake all through town.  I use them for my long runs, but this was a section I hadn’t run before because it was so far from home.  It was fun getting that much more territory marked off.  There are some I still need to see where lead.

We were supposed to be wearing antlers and jingle bells.  I left my antlers in the car, but I was one of the few.  I did tie my bells on my shoes, but they fell off not too long into the race.

The race itself was actually 3.2 miles, and it was raining.  In fact, a couple of times it rained hard.  I got a little cold waiting for the race itself to start, but once I was running it felt great.  I had a grin on my face the entire time.

And the reason I did this run?  The medal they gave us at the end turns into a Christmas tree ornament.  Now perfect is that?

Of course, by the time I got home, the sun was coming out.  We did get a few more pockets of rain during the day, but that was the worst of it.

And it was the start of a very productive day.  I put lights on my Christmas trees and put my outside lights up.  This way, I’ll just have ornaments to hang when I get home.  This is always the unfun long part before I get to that.  Then I wrote or edited a ton of reviews.  I have two more I want to write before I head home for Thanksgiving, but that’s it.  Normally, I have a bunch of stuff I’m trying to finish, so this is nice for a change.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for November 17th

Amazing Race – So the show made a liar out of me.  My roommate was watching with me, and I told him when the last commercial started that the two guys would find their passports within minutes of coming back.  Wrong.  To be continued?  How could they do that to us?  And the two teams that are hanging out together when they know their last?  At some point, you have to break away and one team needs to finish.  Come on, figure it out.  There’s always a chance, although being 19 hours behind everyone else certainly doesn’t make it look good.  I do feel sorry for them since a delayed/missed connection is what is going to cost them the race.

Once Upon a Time – I was about half a step ahead of the characters, so the plot twists weren’t that twisty, but it was still a fun episode.  And now that Storybrooke can communicate with Enchanted Forest, this is going to be even more interesting.

Dancing with the Stars – The first round dances were fine, but those three way dances were pretty amazing.  I really enjoyed them.  Kirstie should have gone a week to do ago, so I was fine with her leaving now.  As for Giles, I wanted to see him win, but everyone is so good it’s hard to say goodbye to any of them at this point.

Castle – I hate mockumentaries because of the bad/over acting and the shakey camera work.  That was exactly what we got on this episode of Castle, so you can guess what I thought.  The mystery itself was good, and I applaud them for trying new things.  But overall it was pretty painful to watch.

Covert Affairs – How could they leave us there with Annie answering a call from someone unknown?  And what is really happening with the Israeli guy?  What strings did Jai’s dad pull from in prison?  And are they ever going to get back to his death?  Yes, I’m looking forward to next week’s season finale, can you tell?  Meanwhile, I do feel like Augie’s storyline of the episode wasn’t that important.  It provided a bit of character development, but not too much.  It was more public service for the organization, but I’m okay with that.  It is a worthy cause and did provide an interesting sub-plot to the episode.

Survivor - It was nice to see Lisa double thinking her strategy and going back to her alliance even if they obviously don't want her any more.  That one gals glare after the vote said it all.  Heck, she is madder than the guy who got voted out right now.  Frankly, I'd like to see Penner gone already.  He's driving me up a wall, and I just have to see him for 45 minutes a week.

Arrow - So his partner in crime fighting got him to consider going in another direction.  I like how he tried to reach out to the criminals and offer them a way out.  It was sad the way it ended, but it did make sense.  And we've set up a love triangle for the main character, his ex, and his best friend.  This will get interesting/painful for someone.

The Big Bang Theory - What an episode.  Penny actually said she loves Leonard, which is a huge deal.  And I was wondering when they'd bring back Sheldon's assistant.  I loved how oblivious he was to her flirting.  But the plot with Raj and Howard trying to figure out what Sheldon is up to was hysterical, especially his gotcha video.  And the reveal of what he is really doing down there was funny, too.

Burn Notice - I was thinking last week how hard this was going to be for them.  I understand why Michael shot the guy, but now they will have no proof that he was crooked.  I really want to know how they are going to get out of this mess.

Elementary - I kept this on my DVR's recording schedule because I'd heard Dr. Dani from Necessary Roughness would be on this episode, so I thought I'd watch.  First of all, she was hardly in it.  Secondly, it confirmed for me that I'm done with the show.  I was only mildly entertained, and that's not enough to get me to watch and keep watching right now.

New TV on DVD Reviews:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Triple Review Requests

It’s been a while since I talked about some of the review requests I get.  Believe me, that’s not because I haven’t been getting any.  There are days I think about taking my e-mail off my Amazon profile to cut down on the number I get.  Although with how I keep slipping in the new rankings (don’t get me started), I’ll probably drop off their radar completely in another year or two.

Anyway, let’s get through some of the backlog I’ve saved, shall we.

Up first is a little gem from February 3rd.  The subject line is Re: Amazon Advanced Review Request.

It starts out, “Hi Mark -- Hope you're doing well. My offer for an advance review copy of my new novel TITLE WITHELD, due April 2, still stands. Below is an advance review for background info.”

Okay, from there, we scroll down, and we quickly realize this is the third e-mail he’s sent me about his book.  Since some of them do go to my spam folder (where I let them stay since I respond to one every two years or so and usually regret it), I can understand a follow up e-mail.  However, this was a third.  The first was dated January 5th.  Then January 25th.  So in less than a month, he’s contacted me three times about a book that comes out in April.  Pushy much?

I never respond.  I just don’t have the time to respond since this is the equivalent of junk mail.  I mean, it really does belong in my spam most of the time.  Most people understand since they are sending me an unsolicited request.  But not this guy.  He has to ask me three times if I want to read his book.

Of course, he’s not as bad as the guy who sent me requests every month for at least six months with the exact same pitch every time.  At least here, he admits he’s being pushy and stops after a month.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Word Association for November 15th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Crunch :: Sit-Up
  2. Resourceful :: Creative
  3. Experience :: Been there done that
  4. One hour :: Photos
  5. Happening :: Now
  6. Mushroom :: Cloud
  7. Humid :: Hot
  8. Mini :: Cooper
  9. Earth shattering :: Earthquake!
  10. Mistake :: Do Over

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fun Start to a Quiet Weekend

Friday night, I got a call from my friend Donald.  “I’m in town, you want to hang out?”  I consulted my complex plans for the night to see if I could squeeze him in.  Since my TV shows could always be watched the next day, I waited two seconds before I said yes.

We headed out to dinner and dessert.  I hadn’t eaten a Oggi’s pizza in forever and forgotten just how good their specialty cheese pizza is.  Then we hit Cold Stone.  I’d just been thinking I hadn’t eaten their much recently.  We finished off the evening with our favorite board game – The Stock Market Game.  The last time we played, I beat him handily.  He returned the favor.  I mean, it wasn’t even close.

The rest of the weekend went about as planned – not much of anything happened.  I did get my two Christmas trees set up.  Don’t worry, nothings on them yet.  That’s what this coming weekend is for.  Yes, I do intend to get my lights up at least on Saturday but probably not much more than that.

Sunday afternoon was ultimate Frisbee.  This is the first time I’d played or run in two weeks since I’d hurt my calf.  Not quite sure what I’d done to it although sitting differently on the couch seems to be helping.  It didn’t bother me at all, so I think we’re good.

And my roommate came home after a week away on Sunday night as well.  It’s nice to have some company around the place again.

So as you can see, it was a mostly quiet weekend.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for November 10th

The Amazing Race - I like the truck drivers, but it's not that surprising that they left.  They are right behind the Goat Farmers as far as ability goes.  All I have to say is James and Jaymes really need to step it up.  Oh, and anyone who didn't go to the spa was an idiot.

Once Upon a Time - I had a hard time with Jorge as the giant.  It was nice to get Emma's back story and meet Henry's father.  So, I wonder if he's someone we know or just a random person.

Dancing with the Stars - Those fusion dances were very impressive.  And the scores seemed to actually match the dancing ability this week, too.  Another two week single elimination coming up next week.

Castle - I loved the scifi moments in the episode, especially his cracks about Firefly.  Apparently there were more I missed, too.  Definitely a fun, light episode, and a nice change of pace from last week.

Covert Affairs - So what is the Israeli agency up to?  And how can they be so mean to use Annie like this?  And when will she figure out that something's up?

Survivor - Lisa definitely shook things up, but I think in the end she's going to wind up hurting herself.  And yes, she lied and broke promises, something she swore she wouldn't do.

Arrow - So this whole thing was a chance to pre-emptively prove he isn't Arrow?  Brilliant!  And a fun episode all the way around.  What is his Mom up to?  That's the big question I'm curious about now.

Big Bang Theory - Loved it.  Amy and Sheldon's relationship bump was very funny.  And the ending with Bernadette saying they were spending the night with Howard's mom was a bit expected but pretty funny, too.

Burn Notice - Things are definitely getting dark.  And no loft?  What's that going to be about?  This is going to be a very interesting second half of the season.

Malibu Country - I don't think I laughed once.  Between the neighbor who is a Barbara Jean clone but less funny and the "gay" kid next door who obviously isn't gay and the fact that the son can't act at all, I was more annoyed than anything else.  Sorry, Reba.  I wanted to like this show, but I'm done.

Nikita - That's what the season has needed, some focus.  And with Amanda back in the picture, we've definitely got it.  Things are definitely heating up now.  And poor Alex and Sean.  He's right, but she's right, too.  I have a feeling that's going to be very interesting going forward.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Word Association for November 9th

Here's this weeks word association.

  1. Throne :: King
  2. Adorable :: My Niece
  3. Corner :: Bakery (And I've never eaten there)
  4. Others :: Giving
  5. Chilling :: Events
  6. Spied :: On
  7. Limitless :: Spending
  8. Passion :: Interest
  9. Hugely :: Disappointed
  10. Devious :: Behavior

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Day After

I know I don’t talk about politics much on this blog.  Frankly, I like to have a place to go where I’m not thinking about it.  But right now, the day after the election, that’s what is on my mind, so I will share a little about my feelings.

I actually felt like I had more invested in this one than some of the other ones recently.  Maybe that’s because this summer when I wasn’t working, I was spending more time watching Fox News than I had in the past.  And maybe that’s because I was counting on Romney winning and fixing the economy to get myself a job.  My hopes for that are now dashed.

Which brings up the point I keep trying to remind myself of.  My hope should be in God.  He is in control no matter who the President is.

Of course, there were some major issues with the campaign.  Firstly, for the second election in a row, I was excited by the VP choice but not at all by the top of the ticket.  I’m a tea party person, and I would love to see someone like Ryan actually get the nomination.  That would truly be telling.

And I don’t think that Romney ran a good campaign.  He seemed to think that the American people would see through the lies that were told about him.  And I believe they could have if they had been presented with the truth.  The problem is, they have to hear the truth, and they never did that.

The polls were looking good late in the cycle, and I started to put my hopes in them.  I’d given up months ago.  If I’d kept that attitude, last night wouldn’t have been so crushing.  Again, where is my hope.

But I think this election cycle is going to further erode the Main Stream Media.  Why do I say that?  Because, if anyone is paying attention, they know just how much the media has been covering for Obama.  To start with, we can look at the Libya attack on 9/11 and how little it has been covered.  If the Republicans pursue this like they should, the media will have to start covering it.  And depth of our debt and how shaky our financial cliff really is is another thing that hasn’t been covered like it should be.  If the media starts doing their job, maybe the rest of the country will wake up to just how biased the media really is and why I only trust Fox News.

Okay, okay, so I’m being too rosy.

Frankly, I am weary of politics and weary of the fight at the moment.  I’m staying off Twitter and Facebook for the next few days because just the little bit I saw turned my stomach.  The glee and harshness of the victors was shocking to watch.  Obviously, they don’t know how to be gracious winners.  I’m not sure I can be a gracious loser, so I will stay away rather than put myself in a spot where I say or do something I will regret.

And yet, I want to start fighting back against those who are blindly following the other side.  The fact that people tell me Social Security will be there for me shocks me.  Obviously, they aren’t paying attention or only listen to one side of things – meaning they only listen to the Main Stream Media.  Again, when the truth starts coming out, I think many people will be shocked by the lies they’ve been told or the truth they haven’t been told.  And I’ll be there to point that out to them.

But for now, I need to let myself recover a bit.  Off to enjoy some mindless entertainment until my heart and my brain have sinked up on one message.

God is in control!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

My October Reads

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

 RUNNING RANSOM ROAD by Craig Danloff - 5
Caleb Daniloff opens up about his life as an alcoholic as he travels to the cities he used to live in to run marathons. The book mixes the past and the present to weave a compelling and emotionally captivating story. I really got caught up in his story and enjoyed every page of it. And as a running, I certainly identified with the descriptions of the races.

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger - 5
Sophie Foster discovers that she is not really human but part of another entire world that co-exists within ours. And just like that, she is whisked away to a world she doesn't know and tries to learn about it. But she also finds a danger and a potential conspiracy. Can she fit in and still find out what is really happening? I was pulled into this book and really enjoyed it from start to finish. I can't wait for the next one.

POSTER ART OF THE MAGIC KINGDOM by Daniel Handke and Vanessa Hunt - 5
As you'd expect, this is a collection of the poster art from the Magic Kingdom parks over the world and over the decade from the founding of Disneyland up to some of the recent posters in California Adventure. As a fan of the posters, I loved looking at them and am thrilled to have this book.

THE MARK OF ATHENA by Rick Riordan - 3
The seven demigods from Camp Half-Blood and New Rome set off on their journey to Rome to face down the rising ancient powers. With several side quests calling to them, will they be able to survive until they reach Rome? While all these books have been formulaic, this was one very bad in that regard. I was bored until we actually reached Rome, where things really picked up.

When Lee meets Sissy Smith, she begins to wonder about the rumors that this young woman killer her husband a few months back. When Sissy comes under suspicion of a new death, Lee jumps in to figure out what is happening. The characters are always enjoyable, although I miss the supporting cast we used to see. Still the plot is strong and keeps the pages turning.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for November 3rd

I bet you thought I'd forgotten to post this.  Actually, it's just that I've just now finished the last show for the week.  Man, I watch too much TV.

The Amazing Race – A waste of a non-elimination leg.  Now that the substitute teachers are gone, the goat farmers are the next weakest team and will be going sooner rather than later.  I’d much rather those be saved for a team that has a shot and just had bad luck, like those two earlier legs with the bad taxi drivers.  I’ll be curious to see how many more rounds they make it.

Once Upon a Time – Yes, they really went there, making Dr. Whale Frankenstein.  And yet, since they made him from a parallel world and not Enchanted Forest, it worked at least for me.  If they keep doing that, it will be a nice way to introduce characters from non-fairytales without upsetting things too much.  And the final scene in black and white?  Brilliant!

Dancing with the Stars – Poor Sabrina once again gone before her time.  Of course, the only weak couple at this point is Kristie and Maks.  They need to go soon and the judges need to stop playing favorites since she is obviously the weakest dancer left.

Castle – A more serious episode, but I loved it because of what it showed up about the characters and how it allowed them to develop them.  Plus I loved the fact that, while Beckett’s faith in Castle did waver for a few moments, it wasn’t that long.  I’d forgotten they were bringing back 3XK, so that twist was a surprise, although I knew he was being frame.  Just couldn’t figure out why.  Now the big question is, how long until Gates knows?

Covert Affairs – While they seem to be ignoring Jai’s death again, the rest of the storylines and how they are developing them are brilliant.  I feel like they’ve finally figured out story arcs, and it’s greatly helped the show this season.  I’m actually caring and interested and not just turning it on as a brief distraction because it is on the USA Network.

Survivor – If this episode showed anything, it showed that this is probably the most fluid merged tribe in seasons.  While the story could be obvious from here on out, I’ll be curious to see if it goes that way or if this was an anomaly and the weak tribe goes next from here on out.

Arrow – I can’t believe someone else figured out his identity already.  And he’s been arrested for what he’s done.  I wonder how they will get around this cliffhanger next week.  And what exactly is Oliver’s mom up to?  I thought he was responsible for the boat explosion.  Is she hiding the evidence?  That’s my guess.  And the body guard now being an ally.  I love that development.  So glad I’m watching this show.

Big Bang Theory – The ending of Leonard and Penny’s story was brilliant.  While it was nice to see Sheldon being given what he receives for a change, that was fairly predictable.

Tron: Uprising - So the end of this two parter wasn't really a surprise, but I wonder what the news that Tron is alive with mean to CLU.

Malibu Country - The fact that I already saw this pilot back in September (they were previewing it and some other shows during the half marathon packet pick up) may have helped.  I decided to watch it again and give the show another couple episodes.  But it still wasn't as funny for the pilot of Reba.  Sure hope it picks up soon.  And why can't Reba do a show where she's not a woman scorned?  That would be nice.

Nikita - I knew that prison escape was going to be too simple.  I really like how Nikita feels the need to help and save these people.  But so far, the episodes have been interesting and not much more.  I hope Amanda coming back next week will up the stakes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Ultimate of Weekends

I played ultimate twice this weekend and could have played a third time.  I mean I went to a book launch party in addition to playing ultimate twice.

I started the weekend by heading to my Saturday morning pick up game.  That was a mistake.  See, we were having Santa Ana winds Friday and Saturday morning, and it was pretty much impossible to throw the disc with any accuracy.  It was a game of chance and luck.  I should know better than to try to play in weather like that.  I really should.

Saturday afternoon was the launch party for Laura Levine’s latest book.  And being a Halloween themed book, the fact that it was so late to launch turned out to be a good thing.  At least it was themed correctly to the weekend.  This was down at a restaurant in Santa Monica.  The wind was much, much less down there, and that was a huge relief, especially since the party was outside.  Got to chat with several friends we have in common or we’ve made over the years, so it was a nice time.

But at the park across the street were people playing ultimate.  I kept watching when I wasn’t talking to someone.  At one point, I did wander over and saw that I did indeed know several of the people who were playing, so I said hi.  I was really wishing I had some water and wasn’t wearing jeans because I would have loved to join them.

I did get a chance to play again Sunday afternoon at my other normal pick up game.  The weather was perfect and there was hardly any wind, so that won the day over my calf, which was bothering me that day and has been bothering me off and on.  I probably shouldn’t have gone since I’m trying to get it to heal up, but the weather was just too nice.  In fact, I probably should have run last night for the same reason, but it was feeling great when I left.  I quit before everyone else did because of my calf, but I’m still thrilled I went.

My calf seems to be doing better most of the time right now, and I’m making a point of stretching it.  However, it’s still not at 100%.  I think it’s more my dress shoes (which I’m only wearing twice a week) instead of my running.  I keep hoping it will get used to my dress shoes, but that doesn’t seem to be working.  I’ll have to see how to progresses before I decide for sure what to do with it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Word Association for October 30th

I'm going to sneak in this week's word association before the day gets away from me.

  1. Crying :: Sad
  2. Reluctant :: Dragon
  3. Decade :: 10
  4. Mustache :: Beard
  5. Water :: Swim
  6. March :: Spring
  7. Stripes :: Red and White
  8. Friendship :: Happy
  9. Weirdo :: Strange
  10. Contacts :: Glasses

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ornament Signings?

Yep, that’s right.  I did something new a couple of weekends ago.  I went to my first ornament signing.

This is one of those things I didn’t even know existed until I started getting into Hallmark ornament collecting.  I wasn’t completely sure I’d want to go, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway.  And I had a great time.

The signing was down in San Diego.  So foolishly (and it was foolish since I had to get up earlier than I am right now for work), I drove down on Saturday morning early.  With gas prices as they are, I also considered staying home.  But I bravely set out and went on my way.

I arrived about the time the artists were going to start signing.  I quickly got a signing time and then proceeded to wait.  Yes, they are organized so that you have to get a time to get a limited number of ornaments signed.  Otherwise, collectors would come and monopolize them with everything from their collection.  You can go through, get a couple of things signed, and then get another signing time.  It keeps things more fair.  And as people like me who only brought a few things to be signed clear out, it opens things up for the die hards to get their stuff signed.

There were two of the Hallmark artists there that day.

I actually had to go out and buy an ornament for Rodney to sign.  Somehow, I’ve missed all his stuff over the years.  But Tom had been doing a series of stained glass window ornaments I really like, so I took all three of those with me to be signed.

I don’t know why I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it because I love book signings so much.  Both artists were personable and cheerful as they signed ornament after ornament.

Plus, I got to chat with several people I “know” from a message board I’m on for ornament collectors.  It was fun to put some names to faces.

And I broke down and bought the event pieces.  Hallmark artists collaborate to produce a big piece that they all can sign.  In this case, they were Mrs. Claus’ stove and table.  I was going to buy them for someone on the board who hasn’t been able to make a signing, but I fell in love with them.  When they opened them up to buying more right before I left, I bought a second copy for me.

Not being one to waste an opportunity, I stopped at Disneyland on the way home for several hours.  I was by myself, so I read in line, which was fun.  The park was very crowded, but I still got in several rides and a bit of shopping.

All in all a very expensive but a very fun day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for October 27th

Amazing Race – Well, it had to happen at some point.  The substitute teachers were just barely holding on the last two weeks as it was.  If not for bad drivers, they would have been gone by now anyway.  I liked them, but they just couldn’t seem to pull it toether.

Once Upon a Time – They actually seem to be having both Regina and Mr. Gold giving up magic now.  This ought to be interesting when Cora and Hook show up.  Nothing really on the big mysteries of the season, but it was still a fun step forward and a great way to bring in an antagonist for Gold.  Not completely thrilled with all the changes they made to Hook, but considering they’ve changed just about everything else, I can’t say I’m surprised.  And in interest of this story, I can most certainly deal with it.

Dancing with the Stars – I was wondering how they’d do this with the debate on Monday night.  I like how it was split getting to see everyone dance both nights.  The first group free style was amazing – much more so than the second.  Both nights were fun, although I loved the waltz to “So This is Love” the most.

Covert Affairs – Annie is certainly going dark right now.  It’s a natural progression of her character, and I like it.  I’ll be interested to see if they have her fall into the same pattern of sleeping with a fellow agent with the Israeli guy.  Just get together with Augie already!  Joan and her pill addiction is also an interesting twist.  I can’t wait to see where they go with the remaining four episodes.

Survivor - I have not seen such a one sided season of the show ever.  One tribe kept losing.  Then when they were down to two, another tribe keeps losing.  It's amazing how quickly they've gone down hill, although losing one last week to sickness certainly didn't help.  Anyway, I found it interesting that they ended the challenge with the bargain instead of actually playing it out.  I agree it wouldn't have gone anywhere, but it still seems short sighted to the winning tribe.  Honestly, I think the losing tribe got the better end of the deal by getting more rice.  But that's easy for me to say from the point of view of the person sitting on the couch.

Arrow - I'm still digging this one, and I was thrilled to find out that they got a full season pick up.  I know the villain of the week is from the comic books, but I'm not familiar enough with him to know more than that.  I wonder if his body guard is now going to be in on the secret.  That sure did look like what happened at the end.  If so, that's going to be interesting and more helpful to him in the long run.

Big Bang Theory - Again, poor Howard.  Yes, he was annoying, but I can understand his excitement and wanting to talk about it.  Penny and Leonard in his lab were very funny.  I wonder how long it is going to be before Raj comes out.  They are playing up the gay stereotypes like crazy these days.  But I do love having Stewart around more.  And the whole costume picking between Sheldon and Amy was a hoot.  I loved the in reference to Dharma and Greg, too.

Tron: Revolution - Interesting to get a bit of Tron's recent back story.  He's turning dark, too.  It'll be interesting to watch next week.

Nikita - Yes, it was a predictable episode.  But I really enjoyed it and got sucked into it anyway.  That's the power of these characters and a testament to the great writing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Word Association for October 24th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Authorize :: Transaction
  2. Plunge :: Dive
  3. Work :: Play
  4. Throttle :: Strangle
  5. Drill :: Hole
  6. Toot :: Horn
  7. Conference :: Travel
  8. Hodgepodge :: Random
  9. Bumble :: Fall
  10. Scandalous! :: Politics

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for October 20th

The Amazing Race – Second week in a row a bad driver has cost the team the race.  I feel so sorry for teams when that happens, although I might have grown tired of this team before the end.  Looks like the U-Turn did nothing.  I wonder if anyone will find out who U-Turned them since this was a blind U-Turn.

Once Upon a Time – A bit of a character centric episode, but it really developed and worked out some arcs they’ve been building with Emma and Regina I like what they are doing with Regina I’m actually feeling sorry for her for the first time ever.  But the way they started the new balls juggling with Cora and King George was great.  I can’t wait to see what happens there.

Dancing with the Stars – There are two couples that should go right now, and they were both in the bottom two.  I certainly agree that Bristol has really come out of her shell more this season, but she just isn’t in the same class with everyone else.  I was sorry that Broadway didn’t wind up being one of the styles this week.  Maybe somewhere down the road.

Castle – That episode was a complete hoot!  I laughed multiple times.  And the acting was perfect, especially from Ryan as he learned about Caskett and Beckett as she wanted to find out if Ryan knew or not.  This show does comedy so well, and I loved seeing it again.  Plus the nods to the fans with Caskett was great.

Covert Affairs – The torture and escape episode.  Not too much to add here.  It was pretty much what I expected to see.  The real question will be what happens next week now that Annie is back.

Survivor - So they took the tribe with two people and added them to the other two tribes.  Shocking, right?  And how ironic that someone leaves because she gets sick in a season where they've brought people back who left like that.

Arrow - Okay, I officially love this show now.  They're already setting up some complex characters and interesting storylines.  Like what is his mother up to?  And his relationships with his former girlfriend and sister are very interesting.  I think this is the keeper of the new crop of shows.

Big Bang Theory - I actually felt sorry for Howard, which is rare.  But to come back to how things have changed has got to be hard.  The real fun of the night was the battle of the sexes game night.  Here, I felt sorry for Leonard being saddled with Sheldon, but watching him in action was a riot.

Elementary - I'll keep my eye on this one until Dr. Dani guest stars, but I think I'm pretty much done with this one.  I really don't care, and it's not like I need more shows to watch.

Tron - I feel like I missed some new episodes in there.  Either that or it's just been too long since I watched the show.  Still, I did enjoy seeing the characters again and look forward to getting back in the swing of things.

Nikita - Started a bit weak, but it quickly got very interesting.  I absolutely loved the end, with Michael going back for the ring, Nikita's reaction to the revelation, and her line when he actually did propose were great.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The First Dam Mud Run

This last Saturday was my 12th race of the year.  My goal for the year was to do 12 races, so this is it for the year.  And I finished off with That Dam Mud Run, the first annual.  It was put on by the people who do Irvine Lake Mud Run (which was my first mud run period back in 2010).  I was doing this one by myself, but I did win a free entry, so I can’t complaint.

The run took place at the Santa Fe Dam, which is just east of Pasadena.  I got there plenty early, and wound up having to wait around.  I figured one guy could slip into an earlier wave, especially since I was in the non-timed waves.  But they actually had people there watching to make sure that didn’t happen.  It also caused great confusion because people were waiting outside the start corral whose waves had already done.

Anyway, I finally did get going, and I had a lot of fun.  We were running around a lake, and the scenery was nice.  We were also on paved paths for quite a ways, so it wasn’t as out in nature as I thought it might be.  They actually had us run into the swim lagoon at one point.

And let me tell you, the weather was perfect.  We’re talking upper 70’s with a slight breeze.  The kind of weather where you get warm enough running that you really want to get wet and muddy.

I was surprised at how quickly the miles flew by, too.  Every time we hit a mile marker, I was sure they were joking.  All told, the course was 3.5 miles.

And the mud was in the last mile and a half.  There were plenty of mud pits, although I wouldn’t have complained if they had been spread out more.  Anyway, in and out of the mud.  Some of the mud pits has already drained themselves, some were thick, some were watery.  It was a nice mix.

The shower situation was horrid.  Not nearly enough showers for all of us.  So I headed out and found a sprinkler.  A bit of an unconventional way to get clean, but fun none-the-less.

On the way home, I stopped and visited with my friend Luke for a couple hours.  Lunch and Cribbage.  Then I went to a first birthday party.  So it was a very long, very full day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ending is Beginning

That was the name of one of downhere’s studio releases, and I can’t help but think about that right now.

See, Monday night was the last concert of the Canadian Christian rock bank downhere.  They are retiring from touring, which pretty much means they are retiring period.  And the news, originally made in July, has made me so sad.

They’ve been around for 12 years, and I think I’ve been a fan for 11.5 of them.  I first heard of them when people were talking about their debut on a message board I used to be part of for Christian music.  Naturally, I gave them a shot, and I immediately feel in love with their music.  It showed some real depth while still being fun to listen to.

While I wasn’t as big a fan of their second release, I got to see them in concert the day after their third CD came out.  That one is still my favorite.  I've got all the rest of their catalogue and love it.  Their Christmas CD is amazing with one of the best original Christmas songs I've heard in a long time.

And I would get to see them in concert a total of 5 times.  3 here in town.  They introduced me to Jason Gray, another artist I now love.  I think those concerts might be the most I have seen any artist before.

I find that going to see an artist in concert really helps me love them, so that’s created a strong bond.  Plus, two of the times I’ve seen them in concert have been in the last 12 months.

Another reason I have connected with them so much is I feel they are "my" band.  Despite my efforts, very few people I know seem to have even heard of them.  And believe me, I have talked about them all the time.  So they have become something special to me as a result.

There are other ways they have enriched my life.  Two of the members are runners, and they almost got me running several years back.  I’ve become friends with two fans over the years, and while I’ve lost touch with Faith, Chris has been a great friend this last year.  Four of my 12 races this year were run with him, including Tough Mudder and the Disneyland half.  His encouragement actually got me signed up for that race, a challenge I am thrilled I have met.  Plus we’ve had fun hanging out this last year.

Also, I really feel like I know these guys.  Jeremy and Glenn are very active on social media, and that has given me a huge window into their world.  They have recognized me after concerts, which blows me away.  (Or at least recognized me as a huge fan since I was wearing my autographed “Rockstars Need Money” shirt.)  Jeremy and I have e-mailed a couple of times over the years as well.  Heck, he even offered me free tickets to a concert last April, but I had gone to another one instead.

So you can see all the reasons why I am so bummed that they are no longer a band.  Not that I don’t get it.  Three of the four of them have kids now, and all four are married.  Touring is not the way to raise a family.  I certainly get that.  But for me, this feels like a big part of my life is ending.

I’m trying to figure out why this band is affecting me more than the others.  I think it’s because of the concerts.  I feel a connection to them I don’t to many of the other artists I listen to, even those I have heard since high school.

Fortunately, I still have their excellent music, and I will be enjoying it for years to come.  And that's another reason why I as surprised by my sadness.  I'm not really losing anything except a change to see them in concert again and get more great music.  But there is the fact that God has used it greatly in my life over the years, and He will continue to do so as I keep listening to their music.

It was funny, but last night, I had a dream that I was hanging out with all four of them.  It ended with us praying for each other.  I woke up as I said “Amen,” but the sentiments of that prayer certainly hold true, and I lay in bed for a few minutes praying for them again.

So Marc, Jason, Glenn, and Jeremy, thank you for what your ministry has meant to me over the last decade plus and what it will continue to mean to me as I listen to your music for years to come.  May God continue to use you mightily in whatever new directions He sends you.

My only regret – I didn’t get my shirt re-autographed.  It’s been washed so many times the signatures are faded.  I almost got them to resign it in April, and now I wish I had.

And official warning guys, I still want to see "Calmer of the Storm" live.  Be prepared for a concert in Heaven.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Word Association for October 16th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Textile :: Clothing
  2. Ginger :: Snaps
  3. Strength :: Training
  4. Keeping :: Up Appearances
  5. Beard :: Goatee
  6. Pregorative :: Huh?
  7. Closing :: Store
  8. Podium :: Stage
  9. Rationale :: Explanation
  10. Secondary :: Unit

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for Oct. 13th

The Amazing Race – I always hate to see a team get eliminated because of the luck of the taxi driver.  Yes, even those I don’t like.  Not that I really liked or disliked the team since I really didn’t have time to get to know them.  None of the teams are sticking out to me in good or bad ways, still, so I don’t know that I’m really rooting for anyone at this point.

Once Upon a Time – I love this show!  The way they contrasted Regina slide into evil against her current efforts to leave it behind was wonderful.  And even though I saw the final reveal coming, I still gasped when we saw Cora.  So where has she been? Are they really in the Enchanted Forest And how long ago did Rumplestiltskin lose his son?  Has he been plotting this all along?  Is he really pulling Regina’s strings?  This is getting interesting.

Dancing with the Stars – Double elimination, and two former champs are gone.  Yes, part of that is because of how tough the competition is this season.  Everyone knows how to dance, and it shows.  But I wonder if the voting is along my lines.  These guys already won, so let’s give some of the runners up a chance.  Not that I have a problem with the former champs being on here.  This truly is an all star season with some very strong dancers on here.  Having said that, I wonder how much longer Bristol and Kirsty can hide.  I do think they are the weakest of the lot.

Castle – Love it!  The little moments made this episode so much fun.  And the flirting that Castle and Beckett have always done takes on a new tone with them being in a relationship.  I actually like the fact that Martha was the first one to figure out about them, too.  She’s smarter than she lets on.  And that handshake was the hottest handshake I’ve ever seen.  The sub-plot with Gates was funny if a big plot hole (Castle didn’t need to break the dolls because they weren’t broken to hide the things in them in the first place).  Oh yeah, there was a decent mystery here, too.

Survivor - The learning streak continues.  I get Russell's frustration, but his outburst was fast forward worthy.  I'll be interested to see what happens to the two people left next week.  Merge with other teams.  Keep them by themselves?  Very interesting.

Arrow - An interesting pilot.  I was expecting more on the island, but I guess we'll be seeing that in flashbacks.  There is certainly potential here.  I'll be back next week, but it's not a keep yet.

The Big Bang Theory - I'm ready for Howard to be home.  I hope that's the plot of the next episode.  In other news, this new assistant could be a fun character.  I wonder what Penny will think when this is all over long term.  At least I believe she's around for several episodes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working Man

I am a working man again, at least temporarily.  I’m at a company down in Burbank helping out with a bunch of different stuff.  That part is certainly fun since I get to experience different stuff every day.  I get tired of the same old things.

And the pay is wonderful.  I’m making more than I was several months ago.

Of course, the bad thing is the commute.  It’s taking me between 40 and 50 minutes one day.  I’m used to my total commute taking that long on a bad day before.  It also means I have to get up much earlier than I am used to.

But the pay is wonderful.  Or did I already mention that.

The hard part is trying to figure out my free time schedule.  I can’t keep doing what I am currently doing and maintain my sanity.  But how much and what stuff do I cut out for a temp job?  That’s the part I’m struggling with.  If it were permanent, then I could make some hard decisions.  So for now I’m trying to cram everything into my evenings and weekends.  And you know, there just aren’t enough hours in those.

Of course, this is coming as the new TV seasons is getting under way.  And if I weren’t interested in the all stars on Dancing with the Stars, I would have a little more time in my week.  But this may be good for me.  It’s making me very reluctant to start a new show.  It really has to wow me to make me want to commit right now, and none of them really are.  Maybe I’ll actually not start any new shows this year?  What are the odds of that?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Word Association for October 9th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Exorcise :: Run
  2. Theory :: Big Bang
  3. Possible :: Not Likely
  4. 1600 :: White House
  5. Feeling :: Happy
  6. Excuse :: Me
  7. Mortality :: Death
  8. Trivial :: Pursuit
  9. Pupil :: Student
  10. Challenge :: Accepted

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Weekly TV Recap For October 6th

Once Upon a Time - Wow.  There was a lot to wrap my head around in that one.  I'm feeling a bit like season two of Lost with the Tailies.  Hopefully they take that in a new direction.  And I hope the wraiths aren't too bad as well.  Still, there is potential for lots of good storytelling here.

The Amazing Race - No one has really stood out to me in good or bad ways yet.  But this had the perfect example of why you don't help someone else.  It's a race, and the one team gave up their chance at $2 million because they were too nice and shared the location of the final clue.  And I seriously hope they get the weird food out of the way this early so we don't have to worry about it any more.

Partners - Slightly better than last week, although the gay character is still annoying.  I really do like their friendship, and that's why I would be drawn back to the show.

Dancing with the Stars - From here on out, it is going to be hard to lose anyone.  I don't know what else to say.  The dances are amazing, but someone had to go.

Castle - There were so many great little moments involving Beckett and Castle.  In fact, I think this may be one of their best episodes to date from a character point of view.  The mystery?  Fun like always but nothing really special.  And I'm wondering if Ryan and Esposito have worked things out that easily or if there will be more to that story.

Survivor - The same tribe keeps losing.  I'm wondering if they will be mixing it up soon or if this tribe will finish self-destructing.  Yes, they made the right choice, but Russell is next on the chopping block, as well he should be.

The Last Resort - I turned it off after 15 minutes.  I didn't really care about any of the characters, and I didn't want to start caring since I really don't have time for another show.

The Big Bang Theory - So many great lines, I really had a hard time stopping laughing.  Great episode, and I wonder where they will go from here with Penny and Leonard's relationship.

Elementary - Maybe I should have watched it closer, but I was a bit surprised by the ending.  Still, it feels like a rip off of Monk (which was originally a take off of Holmes), only Monk was better.  I'll give it another chance, but that will probably be it.

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