Sunday, December 30, 2007
I was somewhat young, You were about 4 years younger.
We had a mutual friend named Melanie but you and I had never met.
She liked me- She loved you and She thought that we should meet.
She tried to convince me to call you.... Said you were awesome and that we would get along.
I resisted. After all, I was just breaking up with my girlfriend and wasn't interested in a new relationship. Besides, these matchmakers have never been right for me.
Melanie convinced me to give you a call. We chatted and I was pleasantly surprised. You invited me to your office Christmas party. I took a chance and went. I was a huge hit among your co-workers. They found me handsome and charming. You were a hit to me. I found you attractive, intelligent, and ambitious. I loved your positive attitude. We became good friends but never lovers. I felt you looked up to me and admired what I had accomplished. I looked at you and embraced your creativity, optimism, and passion for your work.
You struggled while working several jobs knowing your heart was somewhere else. You talked about trying to break into your desired industry and asked for my advice. I offered very little. I encouraged you to believe in yourself and suggested patience. Eventually, your break came and you were offered an entry level position in a smaller market and different location.
You left everything you had known including your family and friends to pursue your dreams. Your immediate success led to a small but important political position back near your home. You excelled. You tried to stay in touch with me by calling and writing an occasional letter. I eventually dropped the ball when I moved from the East coast to the West coast. I've thought about you and our friendship but never tried to contact you. It's been 7 years since I've visited your home town.
Today, I went to the movies and saw you in a cameo role in a major picture. I instantly knew it was you but I confirmed it by checking the credits. I see you've done well for yourself. Living and working in New York City.
It's clear to me that our paths have probably crossed in the past few years. Perhaps we've flown on the same airplane. I'm certain that we know some of the same people. I'm surprised that our names haven't come up in conversation. Maybe they have on your end. I'm confident that our paths will cross again soon. When they do, I'll hug you and tell you how very proud I am of you and how I've missed and cherished our past friendship.
You'll slap me on the arm and ask me why I haven't called or looked you up. "It would have been pretty easy to find me" you'll say. I'll stand there looking pretty stupid - and ask: "How's Brit?" I'll once again be reminded that you are truly a jewel - and how you do sparkle! We'll both realize how important good friendships are and that they should be treasured............
I'll eagerly await that moment.
Until Then My Friend!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Sayōnara is Japanese for 'goodbye'.
Sayonara is also a 1957 film which tells the story of an American Air Force flier who was a fighter "Ace" during the Korean War. In this version, Major "Ace" Gruver, played by Marlon Brando falls in love with a Japanese entertainer. Their relationship is strained by what I call "Characteristic racism" of the time. Several tragedies ensue. There is passion, action, good acting plus a whole lot more. And in the end, Marlon Brando closes with a classic "Brandoesque" line that virtually trumps all the prior dialog....... When asked by a Stars and Stripes reporter -what should he say to the Japanese government and United States senior military personnel? Brando replies:
"Tell them I said 'Sayonara."
I'm sure my brief summary of this movie did not do it justice. This movie by the way, was nominated for several academy awards. Brando, while nominated, did not take one home. Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki, however, each walked away with a respective Best Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role. There were also awards for Art Direction and Sound. How about that? Probably worth a look if you're into classic movies and have got a few hours to kill.
Trying not to bore you with mindless trivia and to segue into my own experiences.......... After an exhaustive Christmas holiday, I traveled to Japan on a quick trip. My goal was to get there and get home. And somewhere in the process- catch up on some rest. My plan went like clockwork. I caught a good nap on the way over. And found some time to relax during my downtime in Japan. Fortunately for me it rained. So I didn't feel guilty for hanging out in the hotel. I did manage to get a few good workouts in and dine at one of my favorite Japanese noodle bars. I had the chili-pepper noodles. They were delicious! I also got a chance to chill and watch the epic movie Casino (for the third time) - it was playing on television. Furthermore, I discovered that this could be my last trip to Japan for the foreseeable future. So when asked "what should we say to your associates in Japan?" I said:
"Tell them Sayonara for me!"
And like MacArthur, "I'm sure I will return."
For more on the movie, click here: to see additional reviews by movie critic Christopher Null.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
It was a fun day at my house! Lots of new and fun experiences. Santa brought me some new toys - electronic devices- clothes, golf balls, and a ton of gift cards. All in all it was a good. Most importantly, I was happy to be home spending quality time with friends and family. I indulged (perhaps over-indulged) myself in some great food and wine. I'll be blogging later about some great crab cakes we had on Christmas day.... And let's not talk about my endless snacking on cookies, candy and ham. I'll be paying for my excursions in the gym in the next few weeks. Did anyone else run across any good recipes?
On a different note, after only a few small challenges, a Nintendo Wii showed up under our tree. (see my prior Wii posts: (Xbox vs Wii, and The Wii ) I managed to get that set up without too much trouble. Lots of fun followed. I'll be looking to post a review on the operation of the system later.
I really do love Christmas! I'm a big fan of all of the season all together. I love the food the lights, the movies, and the spirit. I love the excitement you see in young kids. It's truly a magical time. Unfortunately, it has to end. And the bills have to be paid! I'll be traveling to Japan tomorrow for a short trip.
I'll look forward to getting some rest on the flight over and a few quiet nights in the hotel.
More to come.....
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
When you hear the word apple do you still think of something to eat? You know, like Granny Smith, Washington, or Fuji. All delicious apples and wonderfully nutritional. I'm a big fan of apples. They're great convenient snacks and are loaded with fiber and vitamin C.
But let's talk about another kind of apple. More specifically, the company Apple. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about: Ipod, Mac and Itunes fame! I'm sure you're all familiar with these products. Well, based on these products, I offer you my Dauntless investment advice for the month. If you're wondering where your next great stock market investment idea will come from, look no further because here it is:
Wait until the end of the week and buy Apple stock! Last year about this time the stock was about $85/share. Friday it closed at $193.91. Approximately a 225% gain. Wow! If I had only put all of my money in apple last year. Whine, Whine, whine! Here's my chance again this year to capitalize and here's why I like Apple:
The Ipod, with it's accessories will continue to post profits for the company. It's trendy, it's available, and it's more reasonably priced. Count on Itunes to contribute it's fair share to the bottom line. Followed by the Iphone. But I really like what's happening in the Macintosh world. The United States Army recently endorsed the MAC product. The US Army has quietly been working to integrate Macintosh computers into its systems to make them harder to hack. That's because fewer attacks have been designed to infiltrate Mac computers, and adding more Macs to the military's computer mix makes it tougher to destabilize a group of military computers with a single attack. (See Forbs) So by diversifying their platforms the Army will ultimately have a more secure environment. And look for corporate America to follow this lead. Many of the defense sector companies will emulate this strategy. This equates to more Mac's selling off the shelves. And that means bigger profits for Apple and upward movement in the stock price.
So buy some Apple shares and hopefully one year from now we'll be sitting around with extra goodies in our stockings!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Last month I spent some time in Hong Kong. One day I took the tram up to Victoria's Peak - which is sometimes referred to as "The Peak." It's about $6 US for a round trip tram ticket. This is the highest mountain on Hong Kong island with an elevation of about 552 m. The area immediately surrounding the peak is some of the most expensive real-estate in all of the world. During the summer, this is a nice place to go to escape the heat and humidity. There are two shopping areas there; The Peak Galleria, and the Peak Tower. You'll find good restaurants, nice coffee shops, and great views. Unfortunately, it was a bit hazy the day I went. It's still a nice way to spend the morning or afternoon. These are a few of the pictures I snapped:
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
But what happens when the secret is about you? Some people will guard their personal secrets with their lives. Others, seek a trusted friend to share it with. That's when the cycle starts. (Learn a secret - Tell a secret - Tell it again) That trusted friend calls another trusted friend and says: "Guess what? First - You promise not to tell anyone? Cross your heart? You're not going to believe this but..... " Yeah, you know the rest.
Interestingly, there's a group of people who are finding it relieving and therapeutic to post their secrets to the world anonymously. They do this by sending a postcard with their secret to Frank Warren. He then posts the "secret" in his Blog. Many of you have stumbled through this Blog: PostSecret -http://postsecret.blogspot.com/ I know this is one of the most popular Blogs for the year and many of you have already explored this territory. I certainly don't mean to be repetitive but what do you think?
I found it captivating. A somewhat bizarre mixture of truth, reality, art, and creativity. I was intrigued by they amount time and effort some of these people spent creating the artwork to accompany their secret. And ultimately, I couldn't help but think about which, if any, secrets I'd share with the world anonymously.
See the Today show interview with Frank Warren for a broader understanding.
‘A Lifetime of Secrets’ shared
And if you're looking for a special stocking stuffer or last minute Christmas gift, this might be a good buy:
Monday, December 17, 2007
Except RATS.... ! Oh No! those things give me the heebie jeebies. When I was a kid, I liked the Michael Jackson song Ben until I found out it was about a rat. Then I threw the 45 vinyl record away. I Launched it like a Frisbee. I threw it off my back porch as hard as I could. It was a windy day and it sailed like crazy. It landed on some one's roof two streets away. To date, I still haven't seen the movie Willard. The movie Ratatouille was pushing my personal limits. I was bamboozled into seeing it and fortunately it was animated. Otherwise, I would have walked out. As it was, I think I had trouble sleeping afterwards.
All this to say that- while all of the people at Conservation International were all in a buzz today about all the cool new animals discovered in Indonesia - I held steadfast! I walked over to my big huge map of the world and put a big red X on the Foja mountain rain forest in Indonesia. This is a place I won't be visiting anytime soon. I love to travel and I was somewhat seduced by the thought of going to a place with cool undiscovered mammals. Then I saw the picture of this BFR. That's short for "Big Freakin' RAT!"
Holy "Rattus norvegicus" Batman! Look at the size of that critter! That's what I call a Jethro sized rat! This guy could no doubt give Josey's 4 cats - cadet, cali, snax, and trixie, a run for their money. And BellyDanceGirl, I'm sorry but if this guy gets loose in your city, you'd better hide your kitty.
For more on Conservation International and the other critters they discovered: Click Here -Giant Rat in Lost World
Michael Jackson performing Ben
Sunday, December 16, 2007
My tree.... Before decorations. And the picture below shows the same tree with a few decorations added. Still more to go but getting close to the finished product.
I am so late getting my Christmas tree!
Well, not so late but later than normal. It took two trips to the lot but after some thorough searching I finally located a beauty. Each year I run through the debate: Should I do the economical and ecological thing and buy an artificial Christmas tree? Or should I continue to rape and pillage the environment and buy a real tree? I always lose that debate. I guess I rationalize it by thinking that I'm helping to keep many tree farmers in Oregon employed. And also giving all those tree lot folks some extra spending money during the Holidays. After all, this is the season of giving right? Nonetheless, I do know that my days of buying real Christmas trees are numbered. Especially if the prices continue to rise each year. This year I paid 55% more for my tree than I did last year. I must admit though, when I do go the artificial route, I'll miss the feeling of walking in the house and smelling that sweet smell of pine! An unmistakable reminder of the season.
Anyway, since I've spent so much for my tree this year, I decided to cut back by saving some money and not buying the five dollars a bottle tree preservative. I've done a bit of research and found that you can make your own concoction for much less. I've actually tried this before but in the past, I've mixed my own recipe with a few store bought bottles. This year, I'm going 100% homemade. All the so called experts say that in addition to water, you'll need a food source for the tree; an acidifier- making the water more acidic helps the plant take in water and food; and something to keep mold and algae from growing in your water.
So If you're looking for a homemade preservative solution to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh, young and healthy for the season. Try this:
- 1 gallon of warm or room temperature water.
- 2 cups of light corn syrup
- 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar (optional)
If you'll be using the lemon juice or vinegar do not mix it directly with the bleach. Mix it into the water and then add the bleach to the solution. Otherwise you could create toxic vapors by mixing the bleach and vinegar or lemon juice directly. An alternative to using the light corn syrup is to use 4 teaspoons of sugar. Better yet, substitute the corn syrup and the lemon juice/vinegar with one can of non-diet Sprite or 7 -Up. This will supply your sugar source and serve as an acidifier. Besides, Sprite and 7-Up are cheaper than corn syrup and lemon juice/vinegar.
Other tips: Make sure you start with a fresh tree. Check the needles before you buy your tree. If you pull on a branch and needles fall off in your hand, keep looking. Ask the sellers how long the trees have been on the lot. Also, have them give you a fresh cut: Have them cut off at least 1/2" from the bottom of the tree before you leave the lot. Finally, try to avoid putting your tree in direct sunlight, near a fireplace, or heat vent. These will accelerate the drying of your tree.
All the Best!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Are you still looking for and hoping to get a Nintendo Wii before Santa arrives?
The Wii issue is resolved for me. Believe it or not, I was able to get a complete set for a reasonable price. If you are hoping to buy and own a Wii sometime between now and Christmas day and you don't want to overpay, here's some information that might help you:
- Tell everyone you know that you are in the market to buy a Wii. Spread the word. You'll never know where your lead will come from.
- Call every store in your area that you can think of that might sell the system and ask them when they will get their next shipment. Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Fry's, Circuit City, are just a few names but don't stop with these. If you get someone on the line that seems helpful, schmooze them. If you can, leave a contact number with them so that they can call you when they get news of a new shipment.
- When you find a place that will get a shipment, make a commitment to be at the store at least two hours before the opening. Don't fool around. Get there! Take some coffee, tea, or water, and the newspaper and dress warmly. You might consider taking a light-weight folding chair with you as well.
- Be sure to understand what payment methods are available. Cash? Check? or Credit card? Do they take American Express?
- Know what you want in a system and how much you are willing to spend. Be prepared for a curve ball. For example: You showed up just to buy the basic console. What if they tell you they are only selling the system as a bundle? Are you prepared to buy the entire bundle? What comes with that bundle?
- If you go to a store and miss the opportunity to to buy one because you were too far back in line. Don't leave. Wait until the systems are sold and loiter around. Sometimes they have extra systems that they don't pass out cards for. And there is the chance that one of the buyers is willing to sell his/her system for a profit. A true profieer. Be sure to cut yourself a good deal!
Here's my story on the Wii. After calling around to every place I could think of, I got word from a Toys R Us that their Sunday shipment did not come in and that they were expecting it Monday night. They would unpack it on Monday and set it up for sale Tuesday morning. Reluctantly, and skeptically, I got up Tuesday morning and leisurely left the house. My goal was to be at the store at 7:00 am. The store opened at 9:00 am. I rolled up about 7:10 and noticed a line of about 20 people already formed. Still questioning whether they had systems at all, I casually strolled over to the line allowing one lady to beat me into position. You can all guess the conclusion..... At 7:30 the store representative comes out with 20 reservation cards. The cards run out three people in front of me. I was number 23. I deliberated for a moment and wondered if I should wait another hour and a half to see if there are any extras but decided to avoid the wait and I headed home. From there I get on the phone and call every store I could think of. I finally got a nibble when a young lady at Best Buy agreed to take my number and call me when she heard news of the next shipment. I still haven't heard from her. And that was two weeks ago.
Advance forward to last week. I'm laying in bed on a Saturday morning and the telephone rings. It's a friend. The voice on the other end says: "Don't think I'm crazy, but are you still looking to buy a Wii? Because if you are, I'm the 5 Th person in line at Fry's and they are supposed to have a shipment in this morning. Hurry up and get here." I hung up the phone and off I went. I had to rearrange and miss a few things including a 9:00 am. soccer game but I jumped in my car... Stopped for gas (you're always on E when something like this happens.) and rushed down to Fry's. I was number 17 in line. Suffice to say, I waited - Got my system - and moved on. My friend who got there before me found herself in a little bit of a bind. She hoped to pay for hers with an American Express. Guess what? This Fry's didn't accept American Express. Fortunately, she had a check with her and was able to purchase the system after a somewhat extensive background check. I offered to pay for it and let her reimburse me later but the ball had already started rolling on the check issue. I'm thankful for her call and I offered to take them (she and her husband) out to dinner one night. Bueno... Score one for the team.
I could write a whole new post about the people waiting in line with me. Like the women in front of me with the really bad cold. Coughing and sneezing and sniffling the entire time. Or the guy 5 people behind me who waited 1.5 hours in line with us all only to find out that the line was just for the Wii people and regular customers could have entered through another entrance hours ago. Or perhaps the guy immediately behind me who I saw in the parking lot later and he offered to sell me his system for a $60 profit. Or the husband and wife team who tried to cut line and buy two systems and found out there was only one per houshold. If the wife had waited and stayed in her place in line they possibly could have purchased the two systems seperately. But when they tried to buy them together they were denied. I'll spare you the rest of the details but what a morning and what an adventure for me.
Good Luck if you are looking for a system. Look for my post later on the setup and play of the system.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Emma's service went very well. The quality of people who came from far away places to pay their respects astounded me. Friends, family, and loved ones. The emotions finally hit me at the funeral and I cried like a baby. I cried for her. I cried for me. I cried for my loss and the loss of her family. But more than anything, I cried for what I have.... I have friends and family (including my Mother) who put their lives on hold and flew out from as far away as Washington D.C. to support me. One friend even called in sick at work and jumped in his car to drive four hours to be here for the services. These friends also knew and loved Emma. Others never knew Emma but came here purely to support me. Others really wanted to be here but couldn't and I understand. The seemingly endless barrage of gifts, flowers, and food continues. I truly cherish these things and will be forever grateful to those who stepped up to show their support. I thank each and every one of you. I thank my blog readers who showed sensitivity and class and offered support in their own special ways. I'll be moving on and blogging again soon. But not before I say:
Thank you All!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
So far, I've managed to deal with my own mortality pretty well. I've faced a few life or death situations and didn't completely go to pieces. At least they felt like life or death at the time.Turns out that things weren't as bad as they seemed. And ultimately, I seemed to be no worse off for the experience. That being said, the place I fall short is when it comes to dealing with the loss of others. I don't really know what to say to people who have suffered a loss and I find it difficult to understand my emotions when I lose someone.
Today, I lost a special friend and loved one. Her name was Emma and she was 84 years old. I met her 14 years ago. From the very first day we met, she welcomed me into her family and treated me as her son. She was very good to me and never asked for anything in return. When I made mistakes, she stood by me and offered words of comfort. She shared in my success and made me laugh. And boy could she cook! Every one of her meals was prepared with Love, and reflected her passion. Her cooking was a creation. A work of Art! Each dish a masterpiece! Nothing was spared. Only the finest ingredients and the presentation....... Purely spectacular! She paid me the highest compliment by enjoying my grilling techniques and admiring my cooking. (She loved my grilled fish, ribs, and BBQ'd chicken)
The last two years of her life have be challenging at best. An accidental fall seemed to accelerate her appointment with Alzheimer's disease. A few minor strokes which followed robbed her ability to care for herself. Nonetheless, she continued to fight to live as her health deteriorated.
Today she lost her final round and moved on to a much better place.
Somehow, in the next few days I will find a way to say goodbye to her and let her know what she meant to me. I'll let her know that I cherished her friendship and enjoyed her love. I'll miss her. I'm glad she will not suffer any more. She is gone and certainly not forgotten. I'll endeavor to be more compassionate to those around me who have experienced the loss of loved one, a companion, a friend.
Goodbye Emma.... Bon Voyage
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
More and more technology is becoming a key instrument in solving crimes and enforcing the law. I'm very sensitive now to security cameras in stores, elevators, airports, and other public places. I wonder just how many bored security officers have watched me pick my nose or scratch my rear end when I thought no one was looking. And just yesterday I sped through an intersection as the traffic light changed from yellow to red. I fearfully awaited the dreaded flash; the tell-tell sign that the traffic camera had snapped me and documented my miscalculation. Fortunately, I didn't see one. I guess now I'll have to be a bit cautious about where and when I take my cell phone. Anyone could be monitoring my location. So for all of you out there who will receive a brand new cell phone from your wife, husband, boy friend, or girlfriend as a Christmas gift this year. Beware! Big Brother may be watching you!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Are you a CSI Fan? Nancy Drew reader? Murder She Wrote watcher? Do you enjoy playing the game Clue? Maybe you're just a strait-up mystery buff who thinks you can solve any mystery? Perhaps you're just bored with nothing to do but surf the web and you somehow stumbled here. When I was a kid I fell in love with the book series: Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol.
In the book series, the writer takes you through a series of scenarios and provides you with just enough clues to solve the case. You as the reader had to be astute enough to figure it out. By the way, in the book I read, the answers were in the back. Of course, I never looked before I had it figured out....
Anyway, if you fancy yourself a Sherlock Holmes type, get your thinking cap on and sit down and study these cases:
These are links to two types of interactive play. Follow the links to get started.
- Solve the Murder Game - You play the investigator and go to the crime scenes, interview witnesses, and collect evidence to help you solve the murder.
- Murder in Suburbia, the interactive play - You are a character in a story. Someone dies and then you have to decide who the killer is. This plays more like a murder mystery dinner game.
I hope you had fun with these and the exercise got some of the cobwebs out of your head. It's nice to use your brain once in a while huh? One year, while on vacation with about 4 couples, we bought a dinner mystery game and played. We all picked our characters and dressed and acted out our roles. It was an entertaining way to spend the evening.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Hey, I got lucky last night and got to watch the Lakers in person as they unfortunately, fell to the Magic 104 -97. Thanks to a good friend, I scored some really good seats for the show. And when I say show, I mean LA's usual parade of stars along with the basketball game. At times, the fans seemed more interested in some of the celebrity attendees, like: Lindsey Lohan, Venus Williams, and Jack Nicholson, than the action on the floor.
Kobe's 28 points just wasn't good enough to make the win happen. The Lakers put up a great fight and pulled ahead 73-70 in the third quarter. Hedo Turkoglu (pictured below left- number 15) turned things around and started a 9-0 run when he hit a 3-pointer. There was no turning back from that run as the Magic stayed ahead for the win.
Despite the loss, it was a fun night out. I've been a huge Derek Fisher fan since I met him in person and got the chance to smack a few golf balls with him at a golf tournament a few years back. He exudes quality. I'm happy he's back in town. I enjoyed watching him do his thing on the court in spite of the loss.
Additionally, I got the chance to eat some marginal food, drink adequate beer, (expensive may I add) and take lots of pictures. Wow! All in all it was a good night!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
There's lots of irony here but I've highlighted the following:
- This guy tries to show how clever "he is" by making fun of comedy writers.
- He is a comedy writer and really isn't funny at all.
- The stress and pressure of this strike will end many relationships.
- Not all comedy writers are men.
- This guy is a boob and annoys his wife and it has nothing to do with the strike. Their relationship survives merely because she gets a scheduled break from him.
You would think that with all of his time off he could really come up with something funny! Not!
Well, let's hope for a quick and fair settlement. I hear from my sources that there's a producer's settlement proposal on the table.
Expect to hear more in the upcoming days.