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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Weekend Redux

So everything with Johnny Rockets worked out just fine on Friday. Our waiter was probably really sad he came to work today. Ours was not the sole large group of odder than average characters in the joint. The mystery factor I failed to take into account was that not only was that this is Memorial Day weekend, meaning that San Jose is home to not one, but two fan-cons: Baycon and Fanime. Fanime was taking place about a block from Johnny Rocket and Camera 12. Now if I'd realized this, I would've shipped my party over to the Camera 7 at Pruneyard, but I didn't put two and two together, so we got a very crowded Johnny Rockets, that cheerfully served all 14 of us for dinner and a nearly full theater for X3, including an entire row where not a soul moved before the end of the credits. Seeing a movie with those in the know on opening night is always the best way to go. It's a fun movie. Not as much character development as the prior two, but fun.

Saturday I did the impossible. I slept in. And then after I woke up, I lounged in bed and read til Rick woke up. Then we got a call from his dad, who was on his way to town. This was unexpected, and so we slightly rattled our weekend plans a bit to let at least Rick have dinner with him.

Sunday, Rick and I went to two different cons. He'd said months ago that he was curious about Fanime and wanted to go take pictures. I wanted to go play in T's LARP at KublaCon, so we both went to cons for the day, just different ones.

And oh lordy was T's LARP fun. It was Mardi Gras themed, set in New Orleans this year. I got to be queen of the ball. My goals for the evening were simple - enjoy being treated like a queen, take care of my best friend Katie, get to know my uncle Hank, and decided whether or not I want to go to school at Tulane. This meant I was pretty much a facilitator to everyone else's goals. This rocked. I got to just be the girl from California having a good time at the fanciest ball in the Big Easy. Meanwhile, everyone else had bigger problems. There were crooked politics, murder, an FBI undercover agent, tarot readings that were eerily accurate, dancing, ghosts, a vampire, a werewolf (or two), voodoo experts, lying, cheating, embezzling, and an enchanted cup. Oh, and T's sense of humor. By the end of the night I finally found a way to describe it: He's like Robin Williams, but with an off-switch. Same kind of frenetic, witty funny, but also just as easy to talk to seriously. This makes him mighty.

Rounding out the weekend, I also caught both Mission Impossile 3 and The DaVinci Code. MI:3 was all out edge of your seat explosion after improbable feat of violence and intrigue. It's a perfect summer popcorn flick. So, popcorn consumed, check. The DaVinci Code was fun too. Nuggets of truth wrapped around big fiction make for a fun romp. I suspect Parisian tourism will be up again this year. It certainly made me want to go back RIGHT NOW!!! Ah, Paris. And Audrey Tautou is always a joy to watch. And Ian McKellen is fabulous. I love his jab at the Catholic church at Cannes:
I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married. And I know the Catholic church has problems with gay people and so this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay.

For a church so bent on screaming and hopping up and down about the DaVinci Code, this is the perfect slap. Touche!

Another Day in Paradise

Rode my bike to the Beckman Bistro for lunch. There I sat with the sun on my back, enjoying the brilliant blue sky, reading a book, enjoying my burrito. It's 70 degrees with a gentle breeze. I took the long way back to the office just to get a chance to ride out a little longer. It seems a crime to be trapped in a windowless office on such a beautiful day.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Slept til Noon

Reading in bed. Lounging in bed. Been too long since I've had time for this. So very nice to take the time.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oy

I officially quit trying to organize anything this week. There were dumb issues with skating on Wednesday. Tonight, I did as I was asked a month ago and called Johnny Rockets to say, "Hey, I've got 10 people coming for dinner." They said, "Oh we needed a reservation two days ago." I said, "But that's not what I was told a month ago." The guy said, "Oh. Sorry. We'll try to squeeze you in." Sigh.

I'm going to go buy myself a present off of my Amazon.com wishlist now and use one of the gift certificates I have for there. Retail therapy is even better when it doesn't involve a mall or spending my own money.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

And Did I Mention That Science Is Cool?

Cloaking Devices! Woohoo!

Birthday Skating

Well the skating went fairly well after a rocky start. First, they gave Will a bunch of crap about bringing in cupcakes. Now, I called a month ago and said, "I'm thinking of inviting a bunch of friends for a birthday party. Do I need special reservations? Is there a group discount? Anything else I should know? We talked it over, decided not to do a kids party, talked about the 25 person minimum for a group discount, and basically decided that the best thing to do would be to just have folks show up, eat a cupcake, and enjoy the skating. So I summarized and said, "So it's okay if I just have my friends show up, pay the admission, bring some cupcakes, and spend the night skating?" She said, "Yep, that's fine." I said, "I don't need any reservations or anything?" She said, "No, just call a few days in advance to warn us you're coming." I said, "Okay great. Anything else I need to know?" She said, "Nope." And that was that. But on arrival last night, we find there's a "No outside food policy" and a "Dress Code" which requires you to not wear tank tops with spaghetti straps. There's a two inch minimum width on a tank top strap. I was wearing my black tiered shirt with ribbon straps. It's an elegant shirt I wore to the office. This was unacceptable for skating. After doing the due diligence to find out what was required in advance, this really set me off. No cupcakes, and now I was about to be asked to leave or wear a smelly loaner shirt. This is when I got mad. I went off about how I'd made the call and this was never discussed and how I was perfectly appropriately and elegantly dressed and how it was my birthday and really they were not making me feel very happy. The poor girl responsible for correcting me looked really pained. But I wasn't feeling sympathetic. She'd given me a bullshit answer about it being a safety issue, which was utter hogwash a 16 year old might fall for, but I could see plenty of other tank tops on the floor which were far more low cut than my much more tasteful shirt. At twice 16, there was no way I was falling for the "safety" line. Regardless, I had 20 friends trickling in, so I finally ended up wearing my cardigan while skating which was frikkin' hot! Grr. And I went to Rick to do battle on the cupcake front. I was not in the mood to deal with it. Jennifer who'd been skating with me on the prior conversation recommended that it would definitely be better for someone else to fight that battle. Um, yeah.

Well, we won neither battle and enjoyed our cupcakes in the parking lot at the end of the night, but regardless it was really nice to enjoy the pleasure of rolling around the rink with friends as they went from wobbly to steady over about a half hour. I got to catch up with Monica a bit and hear about the fun of her job and her new boy. I got to play air hockey with Kevin. Nicole and Aaron showed up and were so completely cute together in their technicolor hair and 80's inspired fashion. Jennifer got to wear the "It's My Birthday" button they gave me for a while, which was cool because it's almost her birthday too. Ari looked poised and graceful as ever. I don't think she can look any other way. Rick utterly didn't recognize Rene at first with her newly brown hair, but did suddenly notice how much more blue it makes her eyes look. By contrast, Shauna talked of dying her hair blonde. Kevin and Rachel decided to feed my coffee habit by giving me a gift certificate to Barefoot Coffee Roasters. Yum! Sherman looked oddly incongruous in white jeans, worn for the 70's/80's retro occassion, though the music was far more funk based than traditional retro. Alex got lost, but made it in time for afters at Lyon's where we had the same amusing waiter as the last time I went skating 2 years ago - one waiter covering the entire restaurant and bar, and still smiling and joking. Pretty cool. Justine brought her daughter and Jennifer and her did the best to keep her up on her skates in the middle. Sam dragged Whitton along even though she'd just flown in that evening. Sam roller skates at Dickens so he glided around gracefully. Whitton also ran afoul of the tank top dress code, so she borrowed a t-shirt from Ari and found her skate legs after a few minutes. Christyn and Brian showed up too, but had to take off early because Christyn is recovering from a root canal, which is too bad, because Will's cupcakes were super yummy.

Anyway, all in all it turned out fairly well. As Monica noted, it's one of the most egalitarian settings possible - young and old, white, black and brown, all sharing the floor with no visible hierarchy or tension. Would that the whole world could be so well integrated. But it made for a fun evening. We'll have to go back again, but maybe not for a birthday. Just for fun.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Exit Exam Reinstated

Hunh. Go figure. But now having asked a few high school students about the sorts of questions asked, and gotten their quite exasperated answers about how ridiculously easy the test was and the quality of the examples they gave, I stand by my earlier assessment. Just being present in high school isn't enough. You have to actually learn stuff and achieve a minimum standard. That's not asking so very much. And if you've gotten all the way to your senior year, through at least three attempts at the test and still haven't decided to pursue a tutoring option or something else, then no, you don't get the diploma. Suit up and show up does not imply education. You have to actually do the work and learn something. Call me a hard-assed bitch, but that's just my opinion. For too long we have allowed social promotion to supplant real education. A line must be drawn, and it's just too bad it happens so late in the game.

Baby Tigers!

Cute overload on the Day In Pictures.

It's my birthday!

So far, the birthday thing is going as swimmingly as ever. I woke up and was able to find my skates this morning. I got not one, but two lovely cards from Rick, one of which was homemade and completely adorable with a picture of Rick with Pixel perched on his shoulders with little party hats affixed over each of them. It was just what I asked for, but the other card included a Discount Card to our favorite movie theater chain, which is an imminently practical gift as I'd just used up my last card and there's at least three movies out right now I want to see. The card even had a special disclaimer saying that he had to go with me to whatever movie I picked. Not that this is usually an issue, but woohoo! I came into the office to be chided for working on my birthday. (This is Stanford after all. It's policy that your birthday is a holiday. But I'm saving my spare 8 hours for a non-Wednesday.) Plus there were lovely flowers and a card on my chair from my roomie. So I put the flowers in some water and have the scent wafting around me. I got birthday emails and journal posts from bunches of friends, and KFOG sent me a birthday video greeting which made me giggle. My team gave me a silly card with Daffy Duck. There's always room for Warner Bros. related silliness. Next I have a go-live meeting for my implementation project. Then a big document to write. That's okay though. In between I think I'll go get a nice turkey burger at the Treehouse because it's my birthday, and after years of promising myself some weight loss, this year I achieved it through pure dumb luck. This totally rocks, and opens up several options for outfits for the next Gaskells. And well, I must say, the weather is gorgeous today. 70 degrees, with big puffy clouds drifting by.

Thirty-one went pretty darned well. I can only hope thirty-two turns out as happily.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gaskells is Solar Powered!

Turns out that the Scottish Rite Temple, host to the fabulous Gaskell Ball, is solar powered. Somehow this appeals to my sense of tying the past and the present together to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Science is cool!

Research is showing that a sleeping pill for insomniacs can be used to "wake up" folks in a persistent vegitative state, if only briefly (less than 4 hours). But my god, can you imagine? After years of caring for someone who is totally unresponsive to be able to talk to them for a few hours? That's huge. The idea of this totally fascinates me.

Monday, May 22, 2006

But I was at Carson City instead...

You may ask, "Carson City? WTF, mate?"

In Carson City this weekend was the Pembrooke Renaissance Faire. I joined the Merrie Pryanksters for a round of dancing and Ren Faire fun. I must say, I'm really enjoying their good company. They're a very down-to-earth bunch as Ren Faire folk go. And Ren Faire without high (socio-personal) drama is just right for me nowadays.

Highlights included:
- lamb stew and roasted zuchinni for dinner at Eddie and Alisa's rather than fast food on the road.
- rocking Sarah (Ellen's 9 month old daughter) to sleep in my lap while her father played the fiddle as her mother danced on stage. Sarah is a super-cutie baby.
- dancing "If All the World Were Paper" on stage and not forgetting any of it even though I just learned it last Sunday.
- getting a chance to hang out with Daniel and Phil a bit for the first time since Dickens.
- dinner at the King Buffet with its Chinese/Sushi/Mongolian/pizza/fruit/soft serve buffet glory. It was some of the best won-ton soup I've had outside of the Hong Kong Cafe in Sacramento, and certainly was a pleasant surprise when I was expecting very mediocre buffet food. Plus they had hot water in the bathroom where I felt much better after washing the sunblock off my face.
- sitting in the back of Dave's van as various homemade liqueurs were passed around, shooting the breeze. The best part of Ren Faire is frequently still after faire closes at the end of the night. The only thing this night lacked was a fire pit.
- strange looks from the locals as Josh and I walked through Costco in search of shade, Diet Coke, and a camping pad.
- the drive home down 50. We debated whether to take 50 or 80 home. We chose wisely. The drive down 50 was magical. It's snow-melt season so there were waterfalls rushing down the rocks, snaking between snow patches and trees. It was so extraordinarily beautiful.
- a whole weekend at Ren Faire with no bodice burn!!!

Hopefully Jeremy is serious about starting a south bay Pryanksters practice soon, because I'm hooked, and I really want to learn the 29th of May and Argeers before the next faire.

Bay to Breakers... someday

Before I die, I really have to go participate in the Bay to Breakers. It looks like entirely too much fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Motorcycles and Death

I had a family friend die in a motorcycle accident when I was about 12. The story of the accident is indelibly etched in my mind. I decided then that motorcycles weren't going to be for me.

And motorcyclists like the one lane splitting on my way to work when traffic was going 65 to 70 on the freeway with the motorcyclist lane splitting at about 10 mph faster, those motorcyclists I expect to die, and don't expect to mourn.

But when Bates had his little accident a few weeks ago, it reminded me of all the motorcylists I know and love and would mourn deeply. Bates is fine, healing, and so on.

But my morning email brought sad tidings. Leigh Ann Hussey, cousin to the woman who wrote and taught the fabulous jig on Monday at the Plough, noted musician from the bay area with bands like Brazen Hussey and Annwyn, someone not quite a personal friend, but certainly acquainted and part of my social world, was killed on her motorcycle on 580 last night.

Being careful on a motorcycle just isn't enough. There's no seatbelt. There's no airbag. There's no bumper. There's just you, having to be on alert all the time, and the rest of the motorists, not necessarily being nearly as alert. I just worry about those friends who choose to ride - Ari, Sean, Bates, Arthur, and so on. It's just too easy for something small to go wrong and recovery not to be graceful. I love you all and hope to never associate you as one lost to a bike.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Odd

It's still very odd to me that I have to trim my nails regularly. After a lifetime as a nail biter, it's very very odd to find them long enough to be significantly annoying. Additionally, I find that a 40's style (non-glamour) nail, just to the end of the finger at most, is my limit for long nails. I'll never have 80's dragon lady nails. That's just annoying. I was dancing with Will a couple of weeks ago, demonstrating a hand hold and he was suggesting the various reasons for doing it one way over another, and he noticed that yes, I do have nails and yes, that's why not to do it that way, and wow, isn't that a change. Why yes, yes it is. Of course, there's been quite a bit of random reflection with Will of late. No idea why. Last night we were remembering my 10 years ago birthday party. Some birthday parties will live in infamy forevermore.

Plough Again?

So last night Patrick finally asked. He says, "Not to be rude, and not that you're not welcome, but what are you doing here so frequently lately?" It's a good question really.

When I stopped going to the Plough, there were a few issues. One was that the drive was stressing me out so much that I was on edge when I arrived and was finding it difficult to mellow out and enjoy it. In the past 5 weeks, I've gone 4 times and made it in under an hour each time. Leaving campus a few minutes after 6, I zip out the backside, down Alpine, on to 280, across 92, up 880 to 24, off at 51st, and whiz bang I'm there with the only slow down being at the 92/880 junction. It totally rocks. So, the drive isn't stressful now.

The other major problem I was having at the Plough was the insane, bitchy bartender. After she blew up at the dancers about our use of the toilets, calling us fucking assholes and raging on for several minutes (among other similar episodes), I decided that I really didn't need to purchase anything from her because I didn't need the abuse. And the time with the bathroom thing was with the owner sitting right there. So I figured that if she was okay with her employees treating her patrons like that, then I didn't need to spend my money on that. But the bartender is gone, replaced with another who just doesn't seem like the type to call us names. So I'm quite pleased to buy things from her and leave her a tip. So that's another problem solved.

But beyond the reasons I stopped attending, there's the reasons I keep going back now. The first week, I had a great time. I took the lesson, learned something new, and got a lot of dancing in. The second week, the lesson wasn't new to me, but Patrick said since I'd shown up two weeks in a row, he'd teach my favorite dance (which everyone knows is Trip to the Cottage). This was the nicest compliment I've had in ages, both that he remembered, and was happy to do something for me that makes me happy. The third time I showed up I started learning another new dance which I got to finish learning this week. It's very challenging, but loads of fun and terribly pretty, and I think it's just so very cool that the Plough is a living tradition, still growing and blooming now (around) ten years after the death of its patriarch. And by living tradition, I mean really alive, with new dances being written and learned all the time. It's not merely an Irish ceili doing the traditional dances. It's growing the tradition beyond its (now proscribed) boundaries in a folk tradition as folk traditions are meant to be. And I think that's something that's pretty much completely unique to the Plough community. I feel really privileged to be a part of that.

Add to that a chance to see some of my oldest friends, to dance with them, to catch up, to share hugs and kisses, and to fly through some of my favorite dances, and to go home feeling happy and sweaty and at home. It magical. So yeah, I think I'll be going to the Plough again pretty regularly for a while.

Boogie Woogie Groove Thang

My birthday falls on a Wednesday this year. Yes, that's terribly inconvenient. C'est la vie. But being a Wednesday, that means it's Retro Night at Cal Skate Milpitas. Oh yeah! So, off to go skating. The smell of floor wax. The taste of bad nachos. The feel of carpeted walls. The sounds of classic 70s and 80s music. Oh yes, this is how I want to ring in my 32nd year on this planet. Ping me if you want to come along, or, y'know, show up. Trust me, after 20 years, nothing has changed save for the introduction of inline skates. But don't worry - you can still rent quads if you want to go for the full retro experience.

Friday, May 12, 2006

X3

All the really fun movies come out near my birthday. Okay, sure, not all, but definitely remember there almost always being a big movie coming out the same weekend as my birthday. My favorite? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out on my birthday. This year's offering is X-Men 3. Looks like fun. So that's what I'm doing on the Friday after my birthday. Yay!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Apartment Hunting

There's a part of me that should've been a real estate agent, specifically a buyer's agent. But that would make my hobby my job, and that tends to take all the fun out of it. So, I'll continue to play the part of the housing hunter on the side.

Last night I went out hunting with Laura, who is working in Mountain View and still commuting over the hill from Santa Cruz. So, I leapt into action and combed Craig's List according to her fancies and we toured the south bay in search of an apartment. Starting from Mountain View, we headed through Sunnyvale, finding one interesting complex there, and another nice place near downtown Sunnyvale (a block from Tom and Kim's old place). From there we wound into Santa Clara and down into downtown San Jose. I was interested to find that the apartments above Spiedo are actually reasonably priced. It's a neat old building, and would be a fabulous place to live if you worked in downtown San Jose. Finally, after a few more places in downtown, we went to the Naglee mansion. There's a 2 br place in the caretaker's house available for rent. It was a total dream apartment. Magical. Enough to throw two pervy Victorian fanciers into near hyperventilation. Wow. The only downside is that it's been posted since May 4th, so someone may have beaten us to it. But oh, the hope! The dream!

After that we grabbed a slice at Pizza My Heart and looked at a few places in West San Jose and Campbell, but everything paled in comparison. So the hunt was fun, with one outstanding place, two decent places in Sunnyvale, and a good overview of the south bay achieved so that she knows more of what to look for if none of those pan out. And I had a totally great time on the hunt, satisfying that itch for another few months. But, please, oh please, let her get the Naglee place! It was just too insanely fabulous!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Another Day in Paradise

It's another one of those days where I feel insanely blessed to leave when and where I do. It's a gorgeous, warm, cloudless day with a gentle breeze. I treated myself to a turkey burger and a half hour of fluffy reading at lunch today. (Note to self: Do not start reading 4 interesting books at once. It's just frustrating because you can't spend all day reading.) It was good food, enjoyed with dappled sunshine on my back.

Amazon recommended an interesting book to me today. It reminded me again that much as I like occasionally dressing and playing the part of history, I'm always quite glad to be living in the twenty-first century. I love my washer and dryer. I love my flush toilet. I love my gas stove. I love my TiVo. I love the internet. Oh yeah. Wouldn't trade it for the chance to go back in time. No thanks.

California Exit Exam Ruled Unfair

I'm a liberal. Really really left wing. You may have noticed this reading my blog for a while. I know it ties my grandparents, my mom, and my dad in knots. There's a great deal that we disagree on politically. Sometimes they wonder what planet I'm from or if Berkeley did this "to me" (which for the record, heck no, I was like this well before Berkeley). Well guess what - I'm about to agree with them on something.

Now, I can't say that I have the world's most informed picture of the test. I'd really like to see the test, the test questions, see what is being asked and how it's being asked. But for god's sake, there has to be SOME standard. Well, apparently not. 10% of kids are failing it. Knowing the bottom 10% of students, that's probably a very good/appropriate thing. To squeak through high school on Cs and Ds that were gifts from your teachers and get a diploma is not acceptable. Yes, this is disproportionately affecting the poor. Very often the poor come from families that don't value education and/or don't know how to help their kids in school, primarily because the parents are poorly educated. And yes, it affects English language learners disproportionately. But in California high schools, students are required to complete three years of English. It's really part of the deal. To get a diploma, you have to have basic competence in English. So I have some sympathy that those folks have more to learn and frequently don't have the means to go the extra mile, but really, what does a diploma imply? Shouldn't it mean something other than "I survived four years of compulsory education/detention." Why is that so wrong?

So this comes back to a basic problem I have with compulsory education. If it's forced on you, then you don't want it. This is true of most things. School is hardly an exception. If a kid doesn't want to be there, and their parents agree, then bloody well let them go. Let them come back when they're ready (whether that's a year or 15 years later). But forcing someone to sit in a desk is not the same as forcing them to think or learn. It doesn't work. And our one size fits all, point everyone at college with no vocational training option system is just failing so many kids who have no interest in that path.

Oh well. At least the threat of a required test kept a bunch of kids in line and on track for a few years. This is still going to be an interesting battle to follow for a few more years. Perhaps there will be a two-tiered diploma system, one with a seal for passage of the test, and a lower level diploma for no pass. We shall see.

Friday, May 05, 2006

You Can't Take the Park From Me

So I tried the whole lay down and be sick to get over it faster thing. Didn't work. I stayed home Wednesday and Thursday and didn't get any better. Well, okay, a little better. Certainly by Friday I was starting to feel more like I could carry my body around again, where on Wednesday it was more of a "No, I said Stay Down" kind of scenario. But I had a dilemma - I could cancel my weekend plans and stay home or suck it up and press on. The weekend plans were for Disneyland. Failure is not an option.

Armed with much Kleenex, Advil Cold & Sinus, cough drops, and water, we set out for the Happiest Place on Earth. Alex, Rick, and I met up with Erik and Marissa in Coalinga and headed to Buttonwillow for the night where we opted for the more expensive hotel room rather than the scary Bates Motel action we had reserved. Good choice. Off again the next morning armed with a frappucino to soothe the throat, we headed to Anaheim, hitting the park about one. Rampaging ensued. We went back to the hotel around 7 to change for swing dancing and spent an hour and a half or so dancing at Carnation. It's really great to see the spectrum of dancers there. We snuck out to the hub at 9:25 for fireworks. They spend $43k a night on fireworks, and boy does it show.

Sunday was even better. The park was very uncrowded (well, for Disneyland anyway) and we managed to catch up to the Rivellos at supper. From there we headed out for the last hour on Tom Sawyer's Island, dragging the Baby Mouse around the island. She's fearless, and has grown up in Disneyland, so none of it worries her. Through the caves, up the stairs, across the bridge. Not bad for a someone who is not quite 2 yet. We came back to shore and went through the Haunted Mansion, noting Leota's new floating head and the new decor in the attic, then split off again. We had a triple crown to attempt: Electrical Parade in DCA at 8:45, back for fireworks at 9:25, and finally Fantasmic at 10:30. We made it with flying colors, largely because it was one of those wonderful Sunday nights at Disneyland where all the locals have gone home and those planning big vacations decided to "avoid the weekend rush" and won't be arriving until the morning. We walked back up to our same vantage for fireworks making it in the nick of time, then headed over to Fantasmic around 10. Now I've been watching Fantasmic for a lot of years. It's been at least 10 since I got to sit on the cobbles at the edge of the Rivers of America. But we walked up and there was plenty of seating space. So we pulled up a piece of concrete and sat down to wait. We caught back up with the Rivellos after the fireworks, so the Baby Mouse entertained us with the water bottle game for the next 20 minutes. Erik turned around and asked again before the show, "So what is Fantasmic?" I still didn't have an adequate answer. I said, "It's a show." When the projections started on the water, he said "Oh cool." When the dragon lit the river on fire, he was sold. I love taking people to Disneyland, and especially Fantasmic, for the first time. It's just fun to watch them light up. You expect theme park entertainment to be okay. Fantasmic is really impressive, and not something that has a good analog elsewhere. It's truly unique. So we headed back and called it a night, with a little detour on Main Street for some shopping. Once the troops were gathered, Rick had disappeared. I was repeatedly assured that he'd be right back. Turns out, he was off getting name badges for everybody to wear the next day. This is definitely cooler than mouse ears. So now I've got my own little name badge. Yay!

Monday was the pick up day, hitting those few things we missed on the other two and repeating a few favorites. Plus, the three non-AP holders had early entry at 8am. So they ran about in Fantasyland, hitting Dumbo and Peter Pan and such before hour-long lines formed. Anyway, it was a great morning, and we lost steam around one or so, then dragged a bit through a couple more things before heading back to the car. The car ride back to Harris Ranch was filled with fun stories. We got to Harris Ranch, and started separating stuff. There was an extra bag in the car we couldn't figure out what was in it. Well, I couldn't. Turns out eveyrone else knew. So I opened it to find a new mug with Belle from Beauty and the Beast in the little town. Yay! Since I'd noticed it earlier in the weekend, then told folks that Rick would kill me if I got another mug, and then everyone else told Rick about it, and he decided to get it for me, and a grand conspiracy was born, where everyone else distracted me in the store and Erik got to carry it with his pirate stuff so I wouldn't notice Rick bought something. And yes, I pulled a classic Captain Oblivious. I really adore my friends. And I know what I'll be using at Dickens next year. Tee hee! All in all, it was one seriously fun weekend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spend Your Vacation At Work?

Well, I couldn't resist. I went ahead and registered for Stanford Waltz & Swing Week in July. So yes, that means I'll be spending my vacation about 30 feet from the door to my office. I guess if there's any really super important can't miss meetings, I'll be here. Go figure. Waltz week I could resist, but waltz AND swing week? You just gotta count me in.

The Real Star Wars on DVD

Hooray for George Lucas finally choosing to not be a self-important fool. There's going to be a second group of Star Wars DVDs released with the original, uncorrupted, versions of the films available this year. I watched my DVD set once, but between the ridiculous scene with Jabba and Han (that doesn't enhance the story, or tell more information, but just adds more bad CG characterization) and the replacement of David Prowse with Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi (plus a lot of other evil things), it just wasn't right. It was "well, it's better than nothing." But I always had this desire to curse George Lucas and wish that he would lose control of the properties. The orignal movies inspired a generation. Let the original work stand. And now they shall. Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wanted - New Product

I hope someone has thought of this. If not, I hope they get right on it. Some nice well-established company (maybe Fructis, or L'Oreal, or heck, how about Suave) should create a hair spray that includes sunblock. That way, when you pull your hair into braids for the day and hairspray the flyaways, it also protects your scalp from sunburn on the part. I really really want this product. And it should be available in a nice travel size. Because what ends up happening now is that I have a strip of slightly painful, pretty itchy scalp after a day in the sun. I'd like to avoid that, but I'm not going to rub some Coppertone into my hair in the morning, y'know? It's slimy enough on my skin. I can't imagine it in my hair. Bleh!