For those that don't know, Michele is out of town. This presents certain opportunities, such as making this breakfast for my children on Halloween.
After the photo I put green food dye in the milk to make the "ectoplasm" that Zoe requested.
Michele's gunna freak.
Life's been barreling along here at full speed. After my third day of meetings today in Anaheim, I stopped by a local market to pick up some groceries. I don't normally shop there, but due to the supermarket strike, I went in. I was pleased to find this.
This is obviously a sign that things are going to get better.
My gaming has been lacking lately with all this pesky travel and work. I downloaded the latest Call of Duty demo. I was surprised at how good they can make these levels. It's a single player game I might actually have to buy. I found my self craving more after the short demo level.
The latest PC Gamer magazine arrived today and I saw review of UT2004. Looks like it will make Halo look like a two year old piece of crap. Wait, Halo is a two year old piece of crap.
5 Things about today
1) I'm tired of catered food.
2) The drive from South Pasadena to Disneyland is a bitch.
3) The girls never get tired of reading Dogzilla.
4) Making hamburgers on a cast iron pan is good, but not as good as making them on a grill.
5) I miss my wife.
Yesterday, my training finished up around 11 AM and we were under strict orders not to return to work. Michele plucked the girls out of school and they meet me down at the Grand Californian around lunch time.
We scooted into Disneyland and went straight to the Hanuted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion has been redecorated by Jack Skellington in his Nightmare Before Christmas motiff. The place is a sight to behold. If you can get anywhere near Disneyland before the end of the year, stop by. It's well worth it.
Michele was excited to find an entire store devoted to selling Nightmare stuff and picked up a great commemorative plate. She also filled up on squished pennies and quarters.
The girls pushed us to hit a lot of the rides. Let's see, we rode: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tarzan's Treehouse, Indian Jones, Jungle Cruise, Storybook Boat, Dumbo, Tea Cups and Saucers, Toontown Coaster, and the Matterhorn.
The girls were getting a little tired and wanted to be carried everywhere. This was the sign to wind down the day. We walked back to the hotel and had dinner at the Storyteller's Cafe. A little more souvenir shopping and we headed home.
Tons of mail and email waiting for me in neat little stacks. My copy of Quicksilver had arrived and I hefted the considerable weight, savoring the upcoming enjoyment.
I just started my first load of laundry in the new washer. The washer has more options that a Chinese restauraunt. I need to read the manual.
Soccer starts in an hour, gotta run.
I'm down in Anaheim for a Leadership Training seminar. It's been and interesting two days, but the work is piling up. There's no wifi down here at the hotel so I'm reduced to dial-up access. It's painful.
Michele is home with the kids and today wash supposed to be the arrival of the new washer. The old washer died on Monday and we bought a new front loader.
I don't have much time for the internet with all the meeting here. Hopefully when I get home, my copy of Quicksilver will have arrived. I ordered it on my phone when I was in the airport on Sunday waiting for my luggage.
I'm sure that there are lots of interesting linsk floating about the blogosphere, but I don't have any of them for you.
Time to go to diiner.
I'm in Troy and having a good time.
Don't tell Michele, but here's been my diet while in town.
Dinner: Montecristo sandwich (I could only finish half), fries and Pumpkin Ale
Late night snack - 1 AM: Beer & buffalo wings
Late night - 2:30 AM: Slice of sausage pizza
Lunch: Two tacos and a scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Life is good.
Currently, I'm in a Boeing 777 flying over the western US towards Chicago for my connection. This weekend I'm heading out to Troy, New York for my Alumni Weekend. My fraternity brothers are assembling from all over to hang out for a few days and relive the fun and freedom of our college days.
The plane is huge and filled to the brim with USC people. Somehow I'm the the specific flight that all the USC boosters decided to take to go see USC play Notre Dame.
Of course, I hope USC loses miserably to Notre Dame and these people are sorely disappointed. I haven't mentioned my support of UCLA or Notre Dame for fear of being strangled by the unthinking SC hordes. I have laid my secret curse upon them and their team WILL LOSE.
In other news, my stress level is high. Hopefully this break will reduce it. This month has a lot going on for the family. Michele has her trip to Houston planned in a couple weeks and it is causing her much stress. The more she gets into business, the more tough things she encounters. I feel for her.
My work is full of change. Nothing terrible, just lots of change on several fronts. The work is piling up and the number of issues to deal with is growing. The trouble is that most of my work consists of dealing with people, not solitary efforts I can simply do on my own. I have to talk with many people and both understand their viewpoints and try to express mine. This isn't easy. Contrary to popular belief, just because you are the boss, you can't simply order people to do what you want. Sure, it may work in the short run for a bit, but in the long term is would be disasterous. People need to agree wth what I want done and I have to be willing to change what I want based on the advice of others.
Changing my mind isn't always easy. Having faith that someone else knows better doesn't come naturally to me. I tend to make a snap decision and act to defend it from 'attack'. So I have to force myself to let my staff do thei jobs and not try to second guess them. Things aren't always done they way aI would do them, but in general the job gets done and I hope people feel they had the freedom to use their own judgement.
Working with people in this way takes time and drains your energy. I'm running low on that energy and I hope this trip recharges me.
Back to the mundane
The movie on the flight was Legally Blonde 2. Like a piece of cotton candy, it taste good for a moment and then disappears. The humor had me chuckling and I was suprised to see Bob Newhart with a big role in the film. Newhart is one funny dude and I wish he did more films.
Last night the Cubs lost the pennant race. I really, REALLY< wanted them to win. They didn't lose due to luck, bad umpires, or a clueles fan in the stands. They lost because they got outplayed and outmanaged by the Marlins. Dusty Baker is a great coach (and a former Dodger) but he sucked in the last three games. Manging in the playoffs is an all or nothing proposition. His reluctance to bring in relief pitches was the biggest cause of the Cubs failure. The pitcher is going to understand if you pull him out of a jam. It's the frigging Pennant on the line. Now isn't the time to show your loyalty.
I can only hope that the Yankees lose tonight. I hate the damn Yankees. Every American west of the Hudson hates the Yankees. My hopes of a Cubs/Red Sox World Series are gone, but things will be better if the smary Yankees are sent home losers.
I've been playing a lot of Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory lately. I have been getting frustrated with playing n the public servers and dealing with the people that don't play the game 'right'. It may be time for me to try a clan. I know the level of play would be better but I'm unfamiliar with the clan 'ways' of doing things.
What I really need is a new game. Halo and Planetside are fun, but I just aren't findng them sticky and wanting to play them regularly. I don't really know what's on the horizon that will suck me in. I'm hoping that Unreal Warfare or UT 2004 or Half-life will be the ticket. Half-life has the potential to be an excellentmultiplayer game, but I haven't heard much about Team Fortress 2 lately.
China has launched Yang Liwei into orbit.
I am quite ecstatic that China has entered the Manned Space Flight club. I can only hope that it spurs America back into space exploration with some momentum.
A great day for the Earth. Safe travels and godspeed, Yang Liwei!
When you go to the post office, have your shit together.
Everything should be ready to mail. Don't walk up to the counter with a pile of papers asking questions about how to mail you stack of crap.
This morning I was about to start screaming at a lady who was mailing some things directly from the shopping bag. Morons...
I am not a religous man, but I am hoping for the best for the two little boys being seperated today.
It is amazing that they may be able to live normal lives in the future after being dealt a raw deal.
Good evening my faithful droogies.
Michele and I went out tonight to dinner and saw Bubba Ho-tep. The girls were at home with our kick-ass sitter Rachel and we had the evening to ourselves.
Bubba Ho-tep takes place in a rest home where Elvis and JFK run into some strange ocurrances and decide they need to 'Take care of business'.
The movie is enjoyable for the comedy value but also for it's take on the concerns of old age. Ossie Davis steals the show with his acting as Bruce Campbell is hampered by his makeup.
I did expect a little more turns or twists to the plot, but not every movie can be a thriller. Even so, I heartly recommend this movie to everyone. And do yourself a favor, go see this one in a theater. It's dark and there are scary moments best experienced outside the couch of your living room. DVDs are nice and all for romantic comedies, but Bubba Ho-tep deserves your trip to the movieplex.
After the movie, we had the freedom to do pretty much anything. Since we are a boring married couple, we went to Target so Michele could buy a new ironing board. We should have gone to a bar and done shots instead.
I hope I can squeeze in seeing Kill Bill this weekend as well. Looks tasty.
This weekend's main project was building an electric smoker out of a trashcan.
I wrote a detailed explanation with pictures. Enjoy.
Today started quietly as I made an electric smoker out of a trash can. I gave the smoker a quick test before starting out on the other events of the day. When I get a chance, I'll write up a page about making the smoker.
We got rolling with a trip to the mall to get the girls some shoes. Success was found early with each girls getting two pairs of sneakers. We celebrated with candy and lunch at the mall.
Zoe had her soccer game at 2 PM and then went to go play at a friends house. That left me with time to mix up a dry rub and get a pair of top sirloin steaks smoking. I know that tri-tip is the preferred item to smoke, but the market was out and the butchers recommended this.
I got the meat into the smoker and sat down with a beer to wait it out. While I was sitting outside, supervising the smoke, I finished the Cory Doctorow book, A Place So Foreign.
The book was a good set of short stories. I had already read two of them in other publications, A Place So Foreign in the now defunct SciFi Age magazine, and Ownz0red at Salon.com. The other stories were good, but tantalizingly short. After tasting a full novel of a fully concieved world in Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom, all of the stories left me wanting more.
You can check out more about the book at Cory's site, where you can even download the book for free.
Around 8:30 or so, the meat was finally done and I pulled it out to rest for a 1/2 hour. It was most tasty as Michele & James can attest.
To wrap up the day I watched Samurai Rebellion. I had Tivo'ed it the day before and enjoyed it immensely. Toshirô Mifune plays the lead character and is fantastic as usual. The only bad thing is that the recording ended before the movie was over. I don't know what happens in the very end! If you know, please tell me what happens after the battle in the field.
Tomorrow I'll be looking around to find a place to rent the film.
Time for sleep.
This week, I picked up Halo for the PC. Halo is widely considered the best game for the Xbox and was lots of fun when I've played the console version.
Now I'm a multiplayer kinda guy. I thnk the best opponent is another person, not a computer AI. So my thoughts on Halo are about the multiplayer mode. My thoughts are simple.
Halo Multiplayer Sucks.
There I said it. It doesn't live up to any of the hype and is barely mediocre.
Bad things about Halo Multiplayer:
It's s-l-o-w. Everyone moves like they are in molasses.
No dual mode weapons.
The 'killed' info is non-descriptive.
The weapons are underpowered.
No 'lock-on' modes.
Weapon fire creates glare the obscures the view of target.
Can only hold two weapons.
Weapon switching sucks.
Ragdoll death graphics.
The Single player game is fun, but Halo simply doesn't live up to the hype.