Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Friend

It was a few years ago.....

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

Christmas Epilog!

Well, the Christmas rush is over. Santa has come and gone. Bah Humbug!

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

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all my readers, friends, and family!

I appreciate your love and support and wish you the very best of the Holiday Season!

If you're looking for something to do today, I've found this Link: Christmas Around the World.

This site has links to Christmas recipes, jokes, activities, songs, history and more. I'm sure you can spend the rest of the year exploring these great Christmas links. So have fun.

Enjoy your Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Apple a Day Helps to Keep Cyberspies Away!

I Trade - (Courageous Trades)

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

Victoria'a Peak- Hong Kong

Looking for something to do while you're in Hong Kong? You must go to this tourist attraction.....

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:

getting ready for the Olympics

the tram station

Looking for something else to do while you're in Hong Kong? Click Here: Things to do in Hong Kong with kids.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Got a Secret to Share?

What is it about the word SECRET that fascinates most people? Is it curiosity? Or is it just being nosey? As soon as most people hear the word secret, something clicks in their brain that says - "Gotta Know." Their ears perk up and they become incredibly alert. And then as soon as they know that secret, something clicks in their heads that says - " Gotta Tell." That's when they start salivating and looking around for someone to share the juicy gossip with. And what if they see something that says - Top Secret? That's when the ante gets raised and they'll do whatever to learn that secret. Just think about it. What's the first thing you do when someone near your starts whispering? You try to listen in right? I know I do. And what happens when everyone knows a secret except you? Do you feel dejected, let down, ignored and betrayed? Sure!

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 - 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
‘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

That's a B - F - R! What are you afraid of?

I like roller-coasters. I'm not really afraid of heights, water, or bridges. I've jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose! I don't mind the dark, as long as I have something soft and cuddly near by. Snakes don't scare me too much. I once had one for a pet. I was stung by 32 bees at one time. Hornet, Wasps.... been there and done that too. Big barking, drooling, mean dogs - as long as they're a safe distance from me are cool. Spiders - I'm not particularly fond of but give me a shoe or some tissue and I'll take care of them too; Generally, I have a healthy and cautious respect for things that can hurt or injure me and as I get older, I recognize that the list of those things is growing. But for the most part, I think I'm pretty normal and not really phobic about anything...

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!"

This giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city 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

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!

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. 1 gallon of warm or room temperature water.
  2. 2 cups of light corn syrup
  3. 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
  4. 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

The Wii

On a brighter note.....

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Be sure to understand what payment methods are available. Cash? Check? or Credit card? Do they take American Express?

  5. 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?
  6. 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

Thank You!

This week, we laid Emma's body to rest. Interestingly, she was placed in a tomb above the ground. (See this entombment link) I somehow found this to be more refreshing than the traditional methods of burying the casket or cremation. I guess I feel better knowing that her body is still with us on Earth. It seems less permanent to me. Additionally, It gave me cause to review the way in which I would like to be interred. I don't plan on leaving here anytime soon but you never know. So I'll be doing a review and educating myself on the pros and cons of entombment.

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

Saying Goodbye

How do you say goodbye to a friend?

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

Big Brother is Watching

George Orwell's "1984" is here. A few years late but here all the same. Yeah, we joke around with each other and laugh about how "Big Brother" is watching our every move. But for John Halpin, a supervising carpenter for the New York City school system, George Orwell's fantasy is all too real. Mr. Halpin was fired from his job for falsifying documents and not being where he should have been and said he was. It seems the New York school system was tracking his movements with a GPS receiver built into his employer-provided cell phone. Snap! - Go Figure! Imagine walking around showing off your new I-phone, blackberry, razor, or some other cool cell phone to all of your friends. And bragging about how your employer supplied it and pays the bills. Only to have that same cool device get you fired and maybe even get you prosecuted for fraud. Not a fun day at the office.

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

Still Bored?

Try these interactive online mystery games>

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.

see more about the book here

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.

Have Fun.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lakers Vs Magic

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

Sad But True.....

When will the writer's strike be over? Is there a possible end in site? I've purposefully avoided blogging about the writer's strike but I certainly can't avoid the reality of the issue. It seems every day now since I've been back in LA I have some immediate reminder of the truth. And the truth is: Many lives will be affected economically, emotionally, and permanently. This is clear to me as I watch the masses walk the picket lines rain or shine. I suppose in my own little Utopian mind I long for a society and job market where management would treat labor with dignity and respect and compensate them fairly for work done. In return, labor would respond with loyalty, dedication, commitment to duty, and provide a fair days work for fair pay. Having been a past victim of management's ruthless and "criminal" pillaging of my pay, benefits, and retirement; I've unfortunately resigned myself to the belief that in some cases unions are necessary. I came across this video in the chambers of "Youtubia" and noticed the widespread irony in it. Please watch:

There's lots of irony here but I've highlighted the following:

  1. This guy tries to show how clever "he is" by making fun of comedy writers.
  2. He is a comedy writer and really isn't funny at all.
  3. The stress and pressure of this strike will end many relationships.
  4. Not all comedy writers are men.
  5. 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.

Friday, November 30, 2007


I guess if you hang around long enough it's bound to happen. And today, it happened to me. I got tagged. At least I got it from the lovely, talented, and wonderful Ms. Josey. And you always remember your first one... right? I love her style. And did I mention, she's funny too? One of my favorite blogs from her is: Crinkle Crinkle Scoop. Grab something warm to drink and take a few minutes to read it. It's a heartwarming and touching story.

So here's the Tag:

  • Pick your birth month.

  • Bold the 5-10 traits that best apply to you.

  • Copy to your own journal, with all twelve months.

  • Tag 12 people from your friends list.

Not too bad huh? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and tag the following people :

  1. Meemoe
  2. Tre'
  3. Femikey
  4. Articlespecialist
  5. Somewhatfortyplus
  6. Dave

I hope it's not too inconvenient for you and that you'll take a few minutes to let us all know a little bit more about you.

Here's mine:

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

Here are all the months:

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people’s feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Xbox 360 vs Nintendo WII

Where Can You buy the Nintendo Wii?

Last year Santa was a hero in my house. He left a brand new Xbox 360 underneath the Christmas tree. Boy was that a hit. I must add that I became quite a fan of the game myself. Madden 2007, Sonic the Hedgehog, and NBA Live were the popular games. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in the lack of availability of age appropriate games for the younger kids, or "E" rated (Everyone) games. But I was very impressed with the graphics. Xbox 360 seemed to win that competition hands down against the other platforms. Please note that I haven't played the Playstation 3 yet. Nonetheless, as the year went by more and more games became available and I discovered that with a special disk ordered from the company, we could configure our console to play the older regular Xbox games. This created a new pool of games. We added the Lego Star Wars games to our collection and then followed up with a very cool game - " Surf's Up" shortly after...... I really like that game. I'm not a surfer and don't really buy into the whole surfer image but the movie was cool and the characters have some redeeming values and I get " totally "stoked" playing the game." (See, I even learned a few new words) I later picked up the Tiger Woods game on sale and quickly found that game to be quite enjoyable as well. It's fun to create your own players and customize them in size, appearance, and dress. You'll have fun trying to create someone who looks like you and plays like you..... Anyway, I summarize this all to say: It was a nice gift from Santa and it brought and continues to bring joy to me and my household.

So this year, after succumbing to all of the hype and listening to all of the so called advantages of the Nintendo Wii system from my friends, I stopped in a game zone and checked out the Wii system. Pretty cool. It has just okay graphics in my opinion - Not nearly as good as the Xbox 360. But it was fun using the wand/baton or whatever that thing is called and I enjoyed the physical interactivity. I processed the information and decided I could definitely justify owning two game platforms. The Wii is just different enough to warrant a purchase. I reasoned that the different controls and motions are a required skill set that today's children should master. For example:
Look at the Predator and Global Hawk weapon systems:
Pictured below: These UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles) are the military's latest manifestation of space aged, sci-fi, technology. These vehicles are largely being flown by 25 - 45 yr olds who grew up playing Pac Man, Space Invaders, Galaga, and Donkey Kong. Who would have thought that they'd be sitting in a bunker thousands of miles away from the weapons system digesting tons of computer generated information and making life or death decisions utilizing skills perfected on those antiquated gaming systems.

RQ-4 Global Hawk


So with that distorted reasoning and logic, I decided to ask the big guy(Santa) for a Nintento wii for Christmas this year. That should be easy enough right? I remember seeing them in all of the stores just a few months ago for around $249. Concurrently, I decided to look online to check the availability. Well, guess what? That was a few months ago. I just casually looked around the web starting with the obvious places like Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target and you guessed it> These are the messages I received: Sold Out, Out of Stock, Unavailable, etc., etc., Wow. Who would have thought? I then went to some other places like:,, and the likes.... Sold Out! The only place that the Wii seems to be available is Ebay and Amazon. All for outrageous prices! Forget that! Wow! Can this be real? How can a company like Nintendo not have enough platforms available at the peak of the selling season?

I guess I snoozed by waiting this late to order a system but I guess Nintendo made a bigger mistake in not being able to quench a thirsty market at a critical time. At least I can kick back and wait for Santa's elves to build me one and get the free delivery on Christmas Eve. I wonder what the other shoppers will do. Anyone know of a good place to buy a Wii this close to Christmas at a reasonable price?

Please let us all know.....

Monday, November 26, 2007



Get the review at

Last Wednesday was a great time to take the afternoon off to catch a movie. And after some discussion about what constitutes a "Chick Flick", I was talked into seeing DAN IN REAL LIFE. This was not my first choice but I'm a team player and not totally against "chick flicks" and the ladies wanted to see it so I agreed. After all, I totally enjoyed Steve Carell in 40 year old Virgin and I was optimistic.

My Review: Wait until it comes out on DVD or catch it on cable. Very short synopsis: Boy meets girl and falls in love. Girl falls in love with Boy. Boy finds out that girl is Brother's girlfriend. Boy, Girl, and Brother run through a series of escapades, lies, deception, and shenanigans. And well, you know the rest. Suffice to say, this is a very predictable movie.

I did however, find myself laughing out loud a few times. But overall, I found myself feeling sorry for Carell's character and longing for the inevitable happy ending. Juliette Binoche is indeed a pleasure to watch and Carell is a talented and convincing actor. The two are surrounded by a somewhat idyllic family in a beautiful Autumn setting. There are certain lessons to be learned for all ages especially parents. But in my humble opinion; Save it for the small screen. Take a risk on something else at the movies.......

Enjoy your day.

More Sunsets!

Spectacular Sunset Photos!

Hey there,

Here are a few spectacular photos of the sun setting. Can you guess where they were taken?

I took all of these pictures of the sun setting on the big island of Hawaii, near Kona, in August, 2007. I hope you enjoy them. If you'd like to see more, please let me know.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Chart Blaster!

Photo details - Click here

Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's your Treat!
Leona Lewis- Winner X-Factor of London

A few weeks ago I highlighted a Leona Lewis song, (See my Daylight Saving Post), She's the young and very talented winner of the X factor of London. I first noticed her when Oprah did a piece on Leona about a year ago. Well Guess what? Her debut album is set to break all records for a debut album in the UK.

Hit the play button.....Close your eyes, Think Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, or Whitney Houston and let me know what you think.

If you like that and are thirsty for more get some more scoop from this Ryan Seacrest interview with Leona.

The album has not been released in the United States yet but I'll be in line to get my copy as soon as it is. I expect to hear lots more about and from this young and beautiful phenom in the next few months. Let's hope it's all good. For more information and some gossip on Leona you can follow this link: Click Here

Going Technorati

Technorati Profile

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Ah Ha,.... I got your attention with the Ass part huh? We all know one, admire one or at least own one! But do you remember this one?


An Ass and a Fox went into partnership and sallied out to forage for food together. They hadn't gone far before they saw a Lion coming their way, at which they were both dreadfully frightened. But the Fox thought he saw a way of saving his own skin, and went boldly up to the Lion and whispered in his ear, "I'll manage that you shall get hold of the Ass without the trouble of stalking him, if you'll promise to let me go free." The Lion agreed to this, and the Fox then rejoined his companion and contrived before long to lead him by a hidden pit, which some hunter had dug as a trap for wild animals, and into which he fell. When the Lion saw that the Ass was safely caught and couldn't get away, it was to the Fox that he first turned his attention, and he soon finished him off, and then at his leisure proceeded to feast upon the Ass.

Betray a friend, and you'll often find you have ruined yourself.

As you may know, this is one of many of Aesop's fables; Aesop's Fables or Aesopica refers to a collection of fables credited to Aesop (620560 BC), a slave and story-teller who lived in Ancient Greece. These stories generally involved animals and are used to articulate a story with a moral. They are particularly useful in educating children.

Another very popular and widely known fable involves a fox and the grapes:


A hungry Fox saw some fine bunches of Grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, "I thought those Grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour."

This of course is where the term sour grapes comes from.

A Free Aesop's Fables download

Click here and follow this link to get a free copy of Aesop's Fables
Aesop, as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel. Here he is shown wearing 15th century German clothing

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The New Moon Race

Why all the new interest in the Moon?

All of a sudden there seems to be a renewed interest in putting a manned vehicle back on the moon. Wait a second...... Didn't we already have that race? And didn't we win? - July 20, 1969 - "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The timeless words of Neil Armstrong. (I'm working on streaming his speech here should be available soon- click here to listen to it again)

Well guess what? After years of ignoring the moon and focusing on Mars and beyond, out of no where, we have a new aggressive interest in getting to and controlling the moon and it's resources. But really, why is China, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States so fired up about the moon again?

"China, a relative newcomer, has developed a booster capable of propelling a capsule to the moon and has now sent three astronauts into orbit. China plans to launch its first moon probe on April 17, and hopes eventually to follow up with a manned trip. Japan is moving ahead with a moon program. And last week an Indian flight successfully deployed four satellites, giving Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's audacious promise in 2003 to send a spacecraft to the moon by 2008 at least a patina of realism.
Well consider this: Buried in the dust in the moon is an element called Helium 3. Helium-3 is an isotope of helium, meaning that it doesn't have the normal number of four bits inside it to call it proper helium. In fact, it's only got one neutron instead of the normal two. This means that the atom is balanced again if it can get another neutron from somewhere. Complicated stuff for some of us I know, but in a nutshell, this is the basis for nuclear fusion. See this space article if you're interested in more detail it really explains the process. (click here). And with light sweet crude oil approaching $100 a barrel one would think that a cleaner more efficient fuel source is more of a necessity than a luxury. Factor in, that there's enough helium-3 on the Moon to supply 10,000 years of energy needs on Earth and you now have a very strategically desireable entity.
Put your track shoes on folks. The race is on - Again!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Modern Day Romeo and Juliet

Alright! I couldn't resist this one:

Dire Straits Live with a very nice opening Saxaphone solo.

Check it out!

I've always liked this cut. In particular, the catchy tune, the guitar chords, and the passionate lyrics. Some of the lines are sappy but they are contrasted with some of the deepest and most romantic prose ever.

Here are the Lyrics:

"Romeo And Juliet"
[Dire Straits cover]
A lovestruck Romeo, sings the streets of serenade
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made
Find a streetlight, steps out of the shadeSays something like,
"You and me, babe, how about it?"
Juliet says, "Hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack
"He's underneath the window, she's singing Hey, la, my boyfriend's back"
You shouldn't come around here, singing up at people like that
Anyway what you gonna do about it?
Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart And I forget, I forget the movie song
When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?
Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame
Both dirty, both mean, yes and the dream was just the same
And I dream your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me, as if I was just another one of your deals?
Well, you can fall for chains of silver, you can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin
Now you just say, "Oh, Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him"
Juliet, when we made love, you used to cry
You said, "I love you like the stars above,
"I love you till I die"There's a place for us, you know the movie song
When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?
I can't do the talk like the talk on the TV
And I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to be
I can't do everything but I'd do anything for you
Can't do anything except be in love with you
And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat, the bad company
And all I do is kiss you, through the bars of a Orion
Juliet, I'd do the stars with you any time
Juliet, when we made love, you used to cry
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you till I die"
There's a place for us, you know the movie song
When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?
A lovestruck Romeo, he sings the streets of serenade
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made
Find a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade
He says something like, "You and me, babe, how about it?"
Anyone know what's really going on here? I'd love to hear your intreptations of the lyrics....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What's in a Name?

Romeo and Juliet.

Juliet:"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

This book remains one of my favorite memories from High School. And that quote remains one of the few that I still remember and understand. Let's not discuss it took me three reads and some extra instruction to fully understand most of the book. Fortunately, I was able to locate one of those books with the text on one side and the translation on the other side. Did that Shakespeare cat really speak English? I'm not so sure. Well, at the end of the day it was the movie: Romeo and Juliet (the 1968 version) starring Olivia Hussey, that finally put it in perspective for me. And I mean total Technicolor! We took a field trip to the theater to watch the movie. What a treat! For a teen aged boy with raging hormones, Olivia Hussey was more than an eye full. And I was a captive, or should I say captivated, audience. She totally wooed me into submission as I watched the tragedy unfold. Completely knowing and understanding the ending, I still found it difficult to hold back my emotion as the two lovers met their tragic end.

Today, my vision of Juliet has been smeared. I learned that her (Actually, Shakespeare's) immortal words are false: A rose by some other name perhaps would not smell as sweet. Or at least it wouldn't be as smart and could have a lower batting average.

I came across this story today:

Yale University researcher Joseph Simmons and Leif Nelson of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals' initials played a role when looking at their success in baseball or academia, a news release from Psychological Science said Wednesday.
In the duo's first study, they took into account Major League Baseball players' initials and strikeout percentages during the last 93 years.
Since strikeouts are typically recorded with the letter "K," the researchers attempted to discover if those players whose names started with that letter struck out more often.
They determined that those players did, indeed, strike out more often than those whose names began with different letters.
The second study took into account letter grades in academia in relation to students' initials and again a link was found.
By looking at the grade point averages of M.B.A. students from an unidentified university during the last 15 years, they found students with names starting with "C" or "D" typically had lower grade point averages than those whose names began with "A" and B."

So just think.... Now, after all those years my parents harassed me about my GPA, I learn that it's their fault. If they had named me Andrew or Brian, Bruce or Arthur,.... I would have had better grades and perhaps even made it into the Major League.

Is it too late for a name change?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MacGyver - Like!

Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver

When I was a kid, I loved taking things apart and putting them back together again. I just loved getting my hands on old televisions, stereos, and radios. Anything around the house that was broken gave me a license to work my magic. Occasionally, after some fiddlin' and fixin' I'd manage to get something broken to work again. And of course, there were those times when the reverse was true. My older sister sometimes reminds me of how I wired her personal telephone into the stereo system of the house and blasted her conversations live, loud, and in stereo! Oh, sibling rivalry - I'm glad we can laugh about these things 30 years later. And I'm glad my parents never found out that I drilled a hole in the floor to run the wires. What was I thinking?

Naturally, it was no surprise that when the show MacGyver came out I became an instant fan. I remember chilling -back in the day and watching MacGyver before I hit the club scene with my friends. I admired how he could take common, ordinary household items and fix or build just about anything. I recall the show where he used an ordinary ball point pen to repair a punctured fuel line in an automobile. Still another favorite; The time he repaired a blown fuse using aluminum foil from a stick of chewing gum. And let's not forget how he repaired a bullet hole in a hot air balloon with a map and some tape. Fascinating stuff to say the least. And slightly more realistic than the A-team's antics. (Remember those guys?) With his Swiss army knife and some ordinary items, just about anything was in the realm of possibilities.

And so it was no accident that I would stumble upon and be attracted to the following video: This guys claims you can power and ordinary television with a AAA battery, some duct tape, and one RCA cable cord. Watch how he does it:

Is that a MacGyverism or what? (Yes, Macgyverism is a word) Can you imagine sitting around your house during a blackout and wanting to catch the latest episode of Survivor? Desperate Housewives? 24 ? or American Idol? Then bamm! You whip out a MacGyverism. Let's hope you have local channels and a good antennae because I haven't seen the youtube video hook-up for the cable box yet.

Well anyway, I got a kick out of the video. Who knows if this actually works or not? If any of you gets around to trying this before I do, please leave me a note. I did some more searching and I came across this hilarious response to the video. Enjoy the viewing, it's short:

Some people are crazy and have too much time on their hands!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jet Lag

Are you looking for the best ways to avoid Jet Lag? Some travelers advocate the use of melatonin, ambien, and other over-the-counter remedies and prescription drugs.

Here are my thoughts on Jet Lag.....

Wikipedia defines Jet Lag:

Jet lag, also jetlag or jet-lag, is a physiological condition which is a consequence of alterations to the circadian rhythm. Such alterations result from shift work, daylight saving time, altered day length, or as the name implies, transmeridian travel as on a jet plane. They are known as desynchronosis, dysrhythmia, dyschrony, jet lag, or jet syndrome. The condition is generally believed to be the result of disruption of the "light/dark" cycle that entrains the body's circadian rhythm. It can be exacerbated by environmental factors.

Interestingly, jet lag affects women and men differently. Females are more susceptible to jet lag than are males[2] this is in part because estrogen is often vulnerable to jet lag-like conditions[3

Symptoms usually will be experienced differently by different people. Some of the common symptoms that can be associated with jet lag are:

1. Dehydration and loss of appetite
2. Headaches and/or sinus irritation
3. Fatigue
4. Disorientation and/or grogginess
5. Nausea and/or upset stomach
6. Insomnia and/or highly irregular sleep patterns
7. Irritability, irrationality
8. Mild depression

I think I've had just about all of these in varying degrees over the years.

As you can see though, Jet lag is a live and real phenomenon. There are many different so called cures and remedies for Jet Lag. If you travel a lot or work shift work, or somehow experience jet lag and can't seem to deal with it, here are a few tips that have helped me and may help you:

  1. Eat when you're hungry and sleep when you're tired. I've traveled with many people and some have tried to game the system by faking their bodies out. They've tried to stay on their home body time throughout their trip by sleeping during their home sleeping cycles and eating at the normal times. This is a difficult undertaking. And unfortunately, everyone doesn't have the luxury of manipulating their abroad schedules. I've found that my body is frequently the best judge for these things. And by keeping it happy, it in return is better to me. On the eating note - be sure to attempt to eat healthily. A balanced diet including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables works wonders. Stay away from greasy and fatty foods. Another key ingredient is hydration. Be sure to drink lots of water. Try to stay away from excessive sugary drinks and sodas. Drink a cup of tea when you can. Green tea if you're able. Tea is loaded with antioxidants and will relax you.

  2. Use Alcohol and Caffeine in moderation: Both are stimulants and both will impede good quality sleep. While alcohol may tend to make you sleepy at first, it steals quality REM (rapid eye movement sleep - the best kind) sleep from you later. And we all know how bad you can feel the next morning after pounding a few brewskis. Enough said!

  3. Get some exercise and sunlight: Make sure you find some time for some sort of regular exercise. Even if you don't normally exercise at home, make an exception on the road. Most hotels have a gym or exercise room. Try to combine some sort of cardiac/aerobic workout with some light weights. A good brisk walk or run outside is also encouraged if you can fit it in. Be sure to work in some exposure to sunlight. Don't turn into a vampire by sleeping all day long and staying awake at night. This is sure to exacerbate the problem away and at home.

  4. Nap, Nap, Nap........ Naps have been the single best cure for jet lag for me. I generally try to take a nap as soon as I can after arriving the first day. This generally applies to morning arrivals. So when I'm traveling, as soon as I check into the hotel I try to relax for a few minutes by reading and then catch a quick nap. The key here is not to sleep too long. Anything longer than four hours is too long. Set an alarm or arrange for a wake up call and then get up and do something. This is a good time for #3: exercise and sunlight. And then try to go to bed that night at a reasonable time.

  5. Pack your tools: In your toolkit you should have earplugs and eye guards. These will help you sleep if you're hotel room or sleeping accommodations are noisy or too bright. In your kit also have some tape or thumbtacks to secure the curtains if necessary. You want to keep your room as dark as possible so that you are not falsely awakened before you're ready to get up. Finally, be sure to take sunglasses with you. Scientists in Edinburgh have found that people can adjust their body clocks when travelling to different time zones by altering their light patterns. See the story here: click.

  6. Pamper yourself: Lastly, find something you really enjoy doing and pamper yourself. Take a hot bath, get a massage, splurge on a fine meal, go see a play. Whatever it is that floats your boat, treat yourself. I like to sneak out and catch a movie when I'm on the road. Try it: Pamper yourself a little bit and you'll be surprised at how much better you'll fell about everything.

So that's my take on the big J L (jet lag). Hopefully these tips will help mediate your exposure.

All the Best!