Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Really, this is for my own purposes since my memory seems to be getting shorter and shorter as the years progress.  A year from now I'll hardly remember any details, like my photo organizing debacle earlier this month.  Tried to organize all my photos by date and realized that between switching computers and platforms, all the EXIF data had been changed or lost. So now the baby pictures are all jumbled and I have absolutely no concept when they looked like what.  I suppose it doesn't matter too much as long as the photos are intact.

Trying to recap the beginning part of the year is already a struggle for me... Well, I suppose we got to a very good start by visiting Bev and my cousin Jasmine during an impromptu visit to Portland.  It was partially inspired by Dick Van Dyke, whom we were watching during one of the reruns on Netflix.  He had a long weekend and wanted to take the family to Connecticut, and I thought to myself, we should be able to do something like that.  So we picked Portland since CT was just a smidge too far to drive.  It was a good visit, since we hadn't seen Bev for about 10 years or so and I hadn't seen Jasmine since she visited us a while back.

Then some stuff happened, and in March we went to Disneyland.  It was also about 10 years since we went, back when Jael was just 11 or so, and it was the first time for the kids.  It was pretty much the right age for them, except my children have a pretty unnatural fear of anything dark, fast, or loud.  So we had to either wait or wince through a lot of the rides.  All in all it was a pretty good trip, though it might be the last time I decide to drive to Anaheim.  It's a long ways for one driver to cover.

I suppose the biggest thing about Summer was that we had a few guests, and some stayed more than a few days.  Sam came over something in the summer, a product of a few bad decisions, and it was up in the air if he was going to stay - at least that's what the wife told me.  I think she had it all mapped out, but just wanted to give me the illusion of choice, but after a few weeks, he was a keeper.  This goofy, shaggy, timid little stinkball was going to be the new addition to the family.  He's been good mostly for Daisy, keeping her busy by wrestling with her and allowing her to lick the inside of his maw for countless hours.

The other guests was Joseph and Jane, who came over for a couple weeks when their parents went off to Costa Rica.  Handling four kids were not too bad, since those two are pretty good kids.  They were a little unfamiliar with certain routines and were probably confused on all the hand holding we were involved in.  But it was a good visit overall though the first day without them felt very, very empty.

Perhaps the biggest change this year is my work change.  It's fairly significant since it's a drastic promotion, sort of like moving up from the mail room to the lobby or something.  It also meant that I take on far more stress - since my job doesn't technically end when I come home from work.  From that moment on, I was on the fast track to learn a lot of things in a very short amount of time.  I had to earn my keep fairly quickly and though none of my peers really put that kind of pressure on me, my manager does and rightfully so.  I have noticed a few more white hairs on that head and noticed that my dreams have gotten much more work oriented.

There is of course, a very bright side to that career change, the biggest thing being the more consistent hours that I do work.  There is still "overtime", but it's more time that I can choose to work around.  It a job that has more challenges and possibilities, and feels more like a career than a job that I just show up for.  I still can't really shake the feeling like they could let me go anytime, but I suppose in today's economic climate, it's not an unfair thought to have.  

In the last month though, I'm pretty sure the job has taken a toll on me.  When I went in for my doctor's appointment, my blood pressure is noticeably higher, and the flu did hit me pretty hard.  I think my immune system dropped when I was working overtime to get caught up.

Anyway, all that culminates to right now, when I'm just sitting here alone on the laptop, recapping the year while the kids are sleeping and the wife is working.  2011 looks to be another year of big changes, definitely a sweet vacation and moving in store for us.  

 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowflake Lane

Download now or watch on posterous
p41.mov (11506 KB)

Untitled

Test two

Posterior test

Supposedly this will post on Flickr, Twitter, and my blog all at once. Funny thing is I saw "The Office" yesterday and they had a similar concept.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Dead Redemption

Wasn't thinking about Red Dead Redemption much when I put it into the PS3, wasn't quite sure where the story was going since it took an unexpected turn, but after playing about an hour of it the game took yet another turn that got me quite by surprise. And when I thought that the game would be over by then, it once again kept going. Those writers at Rock Star really have something going. If they turned screenwriters they would do well for themselves, though one would believe they're making far more money with games then they ever would with movies.

Had a good day with the family today, just going down to the park and spending time with them made me think about how much I've missed them. In a way, my crankiness and impatience really just seems like a cloak that I pull over my eyes to cope with how little I see them and spend quality time with them. When I have an extended amount of time with my family, I do genuinely enjoy them, as they seem to do with me.

But another week appears, and we all have to contribute to our respective roles. I'm hoping in the new few weeks, I will be able to get positioned somewhere else in the company because I'm sick of the same old thing. I'm more or less ready for some change because currently I'm just an able body in an underrated job. I'm valued but not appreciated.

Anyhow, let me try out this new video thingie here.


YouTube Video


Friday, October 8, 2010

Issues

One of my biggest challenges right now is probably homework with the kids. Never cared for it much myself, always a procrastinator when it came to my own assignments. Not that I wasn't expecting to do any with the kids at all, I just thought I would have a couple more years before the homework started flooding in. But no, Lake Washington school district coupled with Alex not finishing his work at school and having to finish it at home has made my evenings a little more stressful. I'm probably whining a bit about my part, but on work days I usually am just glad to come home, relax for 4 hours, and then go to bed. I suppose if Alex was more cooperative with school work it would help a lot. Arrrrggh I hate homework.

Today we just went to Walmart mostly just to pick up essentials, nothing in particular in mind. How we ended up with with a 450 dollar, 2 sided receipt blows my mind. And we didn't even purchase any big ticket items. I wouldn't be surprised if it was one of our biggest shopping bills ever.

Alright, this was a boring blog post. I'm done here.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wake Up Call?

The assembly was packed full of students, all seated on the floor waiting the a game to begin. There are white and blue uniforms in scattered groups, chattering noisily when the game then begins. Visible groans fill the air when a ping pong table is rolled out swiftly and unfolded - seems like it was not the expected event for the majority of students. The match begins oddly, not the high-tension serious match one would expect. The boy and the girl who are meant to be opponents to the death are goofing around. They are doing tricks with the ball, shooting it too far, making the ball do curves around the table - the sense of competition is absent from their match. They are simply goofing around, and I get agitated. In classic passive aggressive manner,I stand up along with some other kids and exclaim loudly to myself that the game is not watchable, and that they're just goofing off. Even though I had no concept to ping pong rules and regulations, that they're just bombing hard at it. I hear cries of protests that I can't leave, but I reassure them that I'm not, I'm just going back to the classroom to wait it out.

I wake up, and the things in the room are trying to line up from their trailing images. The magazines and books all over my room tell me that I'm vastly disorganized, and that I'm no longer in school, but back in my room. I can tell just from the books and magazines that I have various periodicals, comic books, and just clutter all about.

I wake up again, this time in a dark room. I'm almost sweating despite that it's rather cool in the room. It's 3:36 and then I realized that it was all just a dream in my head. Then this overwhelming sadness overcomes me because I realized I'm not in school anymore. In an odd manner, I really do miss school. I miss St. Andrew's in Singapore because it was just pure school - I was who I was, and I looked forward to everyday because there was soccer to be played, jokes to be told, personalities to be developed. I miss Hazen as well, though I had to be fiercely guarded, and being Chinese was suddenly a huge factor to who I was. Still, I had something to prove, there was the excitement of a new experience and yet a harrowing paranoia that I was going to be racially singled out by some jock. Still, there was a potential of new things coming my way. College was exciting as well, so many paths and options, and suddenly for the first time, I could decide which fork to venture down. Unfortunately, I was terminally insecure and indecisive, and after a couple years of blazing Journalism, I went the way of the Independent Filmmaker, proving that passion and responsibilities don't always mix. But it was still such a great culture - a place where people are together to learn, share, and there's a certain transitional feel about college.

I miss all those things so much. Not I'm working at a rather respectable place, though it is certainly not my first choice of ideal careers. It lacks the culture I seek, a place of creativity, learning, excitement, and the median age in my company is seriously in the range of 45. Everyone is self-absorbed and serious. As well as they should be. But I stick out like a sore thumb. I need to reconsider my life a bit and bring some of that excitement back into my life because right now it simply feels like I'm coloring by numbers. I need to write more, create more, and hopefully my day job will change to allow that more naturally. There is so much I feel like I'm missing out by just doing the bare minimum to go to work, pay my bills, be a good family man, and keeping myself distracted by popular media. I need to start molding, writing, creating, fabricating, and leaving some kind of legacy besides the memories I leave in people's minds. Something tangible that can be experienced by others. Otherwise there will be not cure for waking up at 3:36 in the morning in a sweat, then blogging about that jolt to the system.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blogging on a nice day

I know, on a ninety degree day like this, I'm supposed to take the kids out to a park, maybe to the playground or the beach, and have a nice family day. It's been a little drab the last few days, with overcast skies and slightly coolish weather. But I might very well stay at home today, after all, The Weather Channel itself had a severe weather warning about us Washingtonians keeping cool in air-conditioned rooms and taking in lots of fluids. I don't want to disobey warnings - it just wouldn't seem very responsible of me, would it?

No, instead I'm sitting here typing this blog entry on my PS3, using the wireless keyboard and seeing the words appear on a 40 inch TV. Because I bloody well can. I don't really feel up to snuff today. Wife's at work, and the kids seem content to be playing on the computer. It's their last couple weeks of summer anyway, and this is the closest I'll come to a vacation for a little while. Perhaps when I get a little bored later, I might wander out. But it's so hot out.

I'm starting to tire a little bit of Facebook. I think the biggest reason is perhaps I seem to be one of the few people who are aware that I'm broadcasting. I choose my thoughts semi-consciously whereas other people might rant, or spew, or fart out thoughts that are showing me sides of their personality that I really rather not know. That social networking stuff is a little tiring sometimes. I might want to know what you're doing once in a while, but for god's sake, I don't want to live with you. So I might keep posting via Twitter but otherwise keep my distance.

Well, I think I need a little Rock Band now. Yes, that sounds appropriate.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sickly

It comes off as pure coincidence when I get sick during the first nice two days of the summer but I can attest that I really am knocking on Heaven's... Lobby.

It started off with the sniffles and an inkling of a sore throat, but last night I was just burning up to 100 plus degrees. So I spent most of yesterday just confined to couches and chairs and being dog tired. Woke up feeling a lot better today, but feeling guilty that I missed work. As guilty as not making any money goes.

Got the paystub for my "bonus" though I have to argue that when a third of your bonus gets taxed out, it barely qualifies as a bonus. Federal taxes can bite me.

Thinking of getting on some writing schedule. It was significantly easier during my college years because my word processor was just that, didn't have Internet on it to spoil my quality time with my brain. And I didn't have so many distractions either. Now I find
myself constantly moving from room to room trying to find a quiet place to even contemplate.

Sitting out here in the shade but it's still hopelessly hot. The two kiddy pools are out and the kids and dog are having a ball splashing about in it. Daisy did manage to squeeze her way out of her leash and took off down the street but Elaine intercepted her while I did my best impression of a fat guy chasing down a phantom canine.

Having a couple days off have made me think about what I've got to do to get back in the game. Since I've never been one of those folks who do well in interviews, I've got to create some kind of environment whereby people come to me. I don't really know what that's going to work, but I'm sure going to spend some time thinking about it.

Whew, it's hot in here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th

Not like we had it all planned out, but I suppose that one of the things we weren't really counting on was rain. But here it is, we are hanging out at the mall a little longer with no solid plans in sight when the mall closes. Do we sit out in the wet field in the rain? Or do we camp out in car for three solid hours? Either way, we should be amply entertained. That's one of the upside of having a geeky father. He's got an iPod with monopoly for him and the missus, a DS and a PSP for the youngins to kill some time. I come equipped with gadgets, I'm like the Batfather. And my wife is Robin.

Have been archiving video by tossing it on the computer, then upconverting it to 720p and making them into digital files, which is then backed up to Mozy so it lives in the cloud. I know this interests maybe one person, but it's a daunting but necessary task. Interesting thing is I came across a 4th of July tape from 1998 when my wife was just a friend and a couple kids were just a couple kids. It's interesting to view it all in perspective now, the adults have gotten fatter, the kid now has kids and the other is off to college. It's interesting how some mundane mindless videotaping takes 12 years to pay off in nostalgia.

Was tinkering around with the iPad and it is a fun little device, though I'm still not completely sold on it. There's still too many duplicated functions on my iPod touch, which has the added benefit of being a portable device with cheaper price points for apps. I suppose in the end a laptop might prove to be much more ideal for that type of money. Conclusion? Wouldn't mind one as a gift.

My writing schedule is crap right now, journalling is a mini effort toward the right direction. I've got ideas stewing and needs to be put down on paper.

So last week we got a bit of bonus and a pay bump, and though it's nothing to really write home about, it's certainly a good pacifier for me to cool down for a while. Still uncertain in the grand scheme of things, but I think I'll try keeping my eyes open for other possibilities.

The mall officially closed 16 minutes ago and there's still a good amount of people milling about, avoiding the rainy grass and whatnot. There are three hours left before the fireworks, and likely an hour after that just trying to get out of here. But I suppose that's what being a responsible parent is - taking your kids to see fireworks no matter what the weather is like.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shiny Ass Example

I think perhaps the biggest downfall to being a parent isn't the financial burden or the lack of free time - it's the fact that you have to be a Shiny Ass Example for them to follow. There's a load of people that comes to mind that don't observe this detail, and it doesn't seem to bother them - all the power to them. Unfortunately for me, it's a naggy thing that hangs over me. Am I setting a good example for my kids? Often not. If they based their personalities on me, they would be impatient, quick tempered, and sleepy all the time. Right now the current crisis is that Alex is obsessed with video games. I know I am, and I want more time to play them and love to lose hours to it, but Alex seems to want to take after that. I told him it wasn't a problem if it was part of his life, but he obsesses over them. When he's not playing them, he wants to read manuals and look at the box art. He'll keep looking at the clock for videogame time. He'll talk about what he wants to play hours before. It isn't healthy. I mean, I feel like I've chosen my path to be a gamer with no social life, but he needs to at least explore having a social life. There's a lot of things to see outside that 40 inch television set. So I have to be a Shiny Ass Example and refrain from videogames. Which sucks. I should "go to work" and go play videogames.

Anyway, wasn't really looking to buy anything in particular when we went shopping, but the price of DJ Hero jumped out at me. I think it originally retailed for 120 when it came out last holiday season, and for 40 bucks, it was the sweet spot I needed it to be. Even at 60 or 50 bucks I might have reconsidered, but 40 was a done deal. My impressions of it are rather positive, it's got fun music with a generous amount of hip-hop, R&B, rap, and some rock, and it's got lots of stuff going on to keep these fingers busy. So it's good.

Got a couple nuggets of financial windfall, with a returned check from the hospital and some pay merit and bonuses from work. Sweet. We're not really spending it aside from the DJ Hero, but that's fine for me. The only other thing that I really want this year is Rock Band 3. I'm narrow minded in that respect.

This business of archiving my videos is interesting to say the least. I've forgotten how much video I've taken and video is this strange perspective because it is exclusive to me - in that everything that was captured on video was at one time, what I viewed. So it's virtually a visual memory of 10 or so years ago replayed right in front of me. It's great because though the quality is slightly dated, it's still a very nostalgic thing for me to go through the footage. It's safe to say that I have hundreds of hours, what with the personal home videos, the movie projects, and the weddings. Though I haven't imported any of those other projects. Mostly because they had nothing really to do with me. In a personal way anyway.

Summer's been cool so far. At least not having to wear a sweatshirt is somewhat of a plus. I wonder if I really do miss the hot summers.

Watched 2012 with the wife yesterday and we was just a ball of nerves. I think she chipped off all her fingernails. I found it entertaining in a "end of the world" sort of way, although I wondered out loud yesterday if John Cusack has some kind of clause whereby he has to appear in a suit while in a movie. He's always in a black suit and a black tie. It's odd. Kept the Blu Ray another day just to review some of the tragedy. Hey, it's not like it's something you see everyday.

Out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day Off

Didn't mean to take the day off today, but after a few hours of sleep I woke up with a stomachache and then the allergies just took over. Sneezing while you're lying down is a somewhat hazardous activity. Plus I just couldn't sleep. So I just got up and went downstairs, hoping to get tired enough or something. Ended up calling in sick because I knew I just couldn't make it till the end of the day. There was just no way.

Did end up taking a nap in the morning and woke up in somewhat of a daze, but we went out and did Tennis with the kids for the first time. They didn't do too bad, although Zoe didn't want to go for the ball much and overheated rather quickly, while Alex just wanted to play baseball. Trying to teach them that control was more important than hitting the ball hard, but I suppose they did pretty well regardless.

Boy, I hope the kids outside my backyard realize that they're tramping around in Daisy's bathroom.

Having a career crisis of sorts. The situation at my work ended up being nothing more than a typo, but essentially I got worked up because I was begging to get a title promotion, and they basically said there was no such thing. Then my co-worker goes to apply for the position and there it was. But like I said, it was a typo. I didn't have anything against my co-worker getting it, I was just sour that they didn't want to even admit that that position existed. In the end, much ado about nothing. The day got better though, when an engineering intern who was probably 19 or 20 came and had to study what I end and run some time trials on what I do. To top off the whole affair, this kid is from Western, which was my college. So it really felt like a bad joke from the Karma God, and I felt absolutely terrible about it.

Thing of it is, I really have to start doing what I love again. Even if it's not a paying position, even if only ten people see it. I have to do it again. It makes me happy. When I was in the shower yesterday, feeling sorry for myself, I reflected on the things that I've done. I've written 2 and a half feature length movies, a play, been published as part of a college curriculum, and taken a few honorable mentions at some festivals. It ain't much, and it all happened like eight years ago, but that felt so good. If I'm working on a movie and a tree falls on me, I wouldn't even mind someone saying that infamously cheesy sendoff, "At least he died doing what he loved. Because I do love doing that crap.

Been listening to podcasts as usual, nothing new there, but one of my new discoveries is the Kevin Pollak Chat Show, whereby this Comedian/Actor interviews assorted celebs. The surprising thing about most of these folks is the commonality of insecurity, self-doubt, and absolute blind ambition they have. The only thing difference perhaps between myself and them is that they were younger when they started, and they were in California. Well, most started elsewhere, but they pretty much ended up there or New York. Now I don't have to necessarily move there, since I do most of my own material anyway, but right now my biggest obstacles are time and money. Although it might be true that those two factors are obstacles for almost any scenario.

Anyhow, that is what is up right now. Stole this cool Arc wireless keyboard from my mom to type this blog and it's working out pretty good. Might tell her that I might borrow it permanently. Whatever gives me the illusion that it'll help my writing, huh?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sporting a New Look

Didn't really intend to spruce it up, just happened to see the little teaser so I redesigned the site with a few clicks. I don't think anyone will notice it anyway but it makes me happy.

Trying to get back into writing is tough, since I have to really decide between writing for the screen and writing a book. I'm far more experienced with writing scripts, but not much. Scripts don't necessarily sell either, whereas I can always self publish my book. I suppose in the end it doesn't matter much. As long as it gets me writing.

Rock Band 3 news came out today and it pretty much solved my unofficial resolution to learn some musical instrument. It encompasses so many things and a pro mode and even has some improvements to the hardware that I want to get my hands on. Perhaps the biggest deal is that all the previous songs work forward to the future installment. That's love from a company. Harmonix is truly a company that cares about its customers.

Anyway, that's about all I got. Got some bills to pay now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Writer's Itch

Been thinking a lot about writing lately, being my last resort at sanity, being my only lifeline to achieving the goals I want in life. My last grasp at not being average for the rest of my life. I think writing is like spending quality time with he kids. There's no tangible reward that's immediate, and I may never get published, but I think there's a satisfaction that fills in the gaps I have in my self-fulfillment canteen.

I've been thinking about making up lists on facebook, writing up novels, screenplays, but nothing yet. I think I just gotta get to it no matter what the scale may be.

Anyway.

Monday, April 5, 2010

10 Tips for Disneyland

A lot of this might be common knowledge or tips I picked up from my co-worker, Mike, but it's still worth noting. In case anyone is curious.

1. Bring food. Although it is listed that no outside food is allowed in the park, the bag searchers have no problem with it. We mostly brought snacks and beverages, and even that saved us a lot of dough. Seriously, meals for a family of four of 2 adults, 2 kids without beverage is anywhere from 30-40 bucks. If you had to eat there like we did, skip on the sugary snack like Churros and Cotton Candy. They are expensive and do not fill you up.

2. Fast Pass Everything. It's not much of a secret, but a lot of people still don't know about it. Mike gave me a very helpful tip, which is Fast Passes do not expire if used on the same day. That saved a lot of trouble and you can even line them up after your time allows you to get an additional Fast Pass. I had 3 different rides lined up at one point. Do it whenever you get a chance, and you might have to walk back hours later to board the ride, but it's better than standing in line.

3. Set Time Limits. This only works if you have multiple days, but for the first four days we didn't line up for anything over half an hour. We would hit those either early or late in the day, when the lines were shorter. We hit the Nemo ride, which is usually a 50 minute wait, on our early admission day and it was far shorter. You'll save yourself a lot of grief.

4. Pins at City Hall. Unfortunately we didn't get ours till the last day, but it was nice for Cast Members to wish me "Happy Anniversary" when I was just passing by. By the way, we did celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary at Disneyland.

5. Souvenirs. This is relevant only when you have kids, but I decided on the first day to get a couple little things for the kids to tide them by, and the only other day to buy stuff was on the last day. So for the other three days, when they wanted stuff, we just said, "On the last day." That saved us a lot of begging. Also, we spent $40 and more on lunches and dinner so on the receipt was a coupon for 20% off the main store merchandise from 9am to noon, which we used on Friday. Saved us over 50 bucks that way. The other tip is that only buy things that you will use outside Disneyland. I saw so many people wearing Goofy hats and Mat Hatter hats that they will probably never use outside the park. Of course, this is a personal preference, but that's how I felt about it. I also only bought things that said "Disneyland".

6. Highjack people's memories. Haven't done this myself yet, but should work in theory. I didn't want to spent too much time snapping photos and stopping the whole family and missing out on the experiences, so most of my photos are meh. Also, I only had 2 hours on my Flip video, so I had to ration my video to just the kids' reactions and their participation, which meant I had to delete the parades and shows. Good part is that there are so many youtube videos and Flickr photos of the rides and shows that I'm just going to highjack them for my collection. There are way better photos and pretty good videos of the same experiences I had.

7. Single rider/Parent Swap/Handicap Access. The kids and wife don't like Indiana Jones? Well, I googled and indeed, the ride had single rider access so I got a pass, went in through the exit, and got on the ride in about 20 minutes compared to the 50 minutes for the line. I got stuck at the end of one family but it was awesome just getting to the front of the line.

8. Time Management. Sleep later. Wake up early or be ready to stay up late. Rest when you're waiting for a parade or a show to start, which is usually from a half hour to an hour for the major shows. Don't spend your day waiting in line. Look for a seat before eating. Eat off-schedule to avoid lines.

9. Supermarkets and McDonalds. Going back to the food thing, going to Supermarkets and picking up some muffins for breakfast or going to a late dinner at McDonald's saved us a lot of money. For the most part, we only ate one proper meal at Disneyland, and then dinner outside. Aside from saving a few bucks, you will also tire from rich D-land food fairly quickly if that's all you eat. The thing I was impressed with was that kid's meals were almost always complete, with some fruit and juice or milk alternative. The adults meals were shortchanged, but the kids got by fine.

10. Do your research. My big resource was Mike at work, but a lot of that information is also on a lot of Disneyland fan sites. I was surprised to how much I missed 10 years ago because I didn't do the research. Knowing more about opening times, parade times, and other info can save you a lot of time and maximize your vacation.

Disneyland 2010

Day three and our legs feel like alien appendages. They're sore, stiff and generally dog tired from the foot travel. The one saving grace and likely deciding factor about the time of year we return is that the weather has been pretty mild. The warmest days and coolest nights have been in a nice comfort zone. I remember our summer a decade ago when it was so unbearably hot it made waiting for anything ten times worst.

---

Seeing a lot of bad parenting here. People not minding manners, cutting or weaving just to get ahead, and last night there was a mom in line while the kids were elsewhere, then the kids just wiggled through swarms of people to cut in. The lines are structured so tightly that there isn't much room to do that anyway. On the flip side, there's a lot of good vacationers as well, people picking up dropped toys from strollers, some ladies letting our kids stand next to the curb after I unsuccessfully attempted to place a sixty pound boy on my shoulders. Most parents are empathetic.

---

On the first morning, I saw my co-worker at the ferris wheel. I didn't know she was taking her vacation either and for as to run into each other in the midst of thousands of people is pretty cool. After an hour, we ran into each other again. I guess it is a small world after all.

C'mon you had to see it coming.

---

One thing one really has to appreciate is the amount of detail in the park design, but for me I'm really impressed at how they do crowd control. Parking itself is a thing of beauty, all the spots are escorted so the line moves smoothly in one direction, no spot hunting or hoarding required. Then everyone gathers on the tram and we're taken to the park. Very well organized. They keep the lines and crowd moving and keep people well informed so that they can micro-manage their own schedules.

The parking enters in one spot and exits in another, so you don't have that confusion as you would in a mall parking of being disoriented. Also the escalators go directly to the floor you need for the most part, so you have to take four flights to get to your floor.

---

When Heimlich, who is that German caterpillar from A Bug's Life gives riding instructions in his accent in Spanish, it amuses me.

Also, while I was pretending to eat the giant watermelon on the ride, the water that squirts on you does not taste like watermelon, just smells like it.

---

Our diet of over expensive fast food is killing my appetite. I honestly am dying for some instant noodles or something. I an tired of outside food and paying thirty plus dollars to feed a family of four. Seriously in a single day without buying any gifts or souveniors it averages about a hundred bucks just on food and parking. And we even bring our own snacks and drinks.

---

"Doinnng!"
"Ahhh!"
Soft sobbing.

That is Alex running into the spring stopper on the bathroom door, scaring himself, and then being upset about it.

---

The Ramada Limited is living up to it's name, having one of our worst hotel experiences ever. Last night after we turned in early for the night, we woke up to idiotic guests who were loud, chattering at full volume, and some even rattled and tried to open our room doors. I was pissed. But sure, that's not necessarily the hotel's fault, but let me tell you what is.

The TV that was magnetized and now shows a discolored picture on the sides, the old microwave that reeks, the fridge that doesn't work, the room that is musty and old, the garbage outside that is too small, the towels stuck under air conditioners to stop the leaks, and the toilet plunger in the front yard. That's the hotel's fault. Aside from the location, there is absolutely no redeeming factor to stay here again.

---

We've attempted to break them into rides with polarizing effect. They hate roller coasters, rides with big drops, dark or loud rides, or rides that seem ominous. They hated the Pirates of the Carribean, cringed through the kid coasters, but really enjoyed the kids rides. Alex started crying in anticipation of the Roger Rabbit ride, and we had to calm him down with Pocket God on my iPod. But afterward we went again right after with a fast pass. I was a little annoyed at first because I was sorta looking forward to the Indiana Jones ride and the Captain Eon show, as Elaine was for Splash Mountain, but that was all nixed. But I came to the resolution that all the kid rides they're on now will be unbearably boring to them when they're older, so it's just a matter of timing. They're be ready in a few years. When they retire the rides.

---

Getting a lot of blogging done waiting to meet the princesses. I think we've been here for close to 40 minutes. I'm not even positive Zoe is all all psyched to meet them. She gets shy around them and just deadpans her excitment.

---

Hahahaha. I'm in the single rider line at the Indiana Jones adventure. I just skipped about a fourty minute line. The wife and kids weren't too keen on this ride and rightfully so, so I have this opportunity to fill in an empty seat.

Finished the ride and I'm glad I went solo. The kids would've been miserable throughout and it is rather frightening. I had a big smile when I came off the ride though. Something nostalgic about it, you know, being a former adventurer and all.
---

In these seemingly alien conditions, I think the true personalities of the kids really come out. Alex is game for anything and but struggles with complex instructions, but genuinely has a good time regarding audience participation. He is still a little shy, especially when approaching princesses and being asked by his annoying father to bow to the princesses. Zoe is extremely reserved, often not even cracking a smile and avoiding eye contact. She shifts around when someone is talking to her, but is generally compliant. She would rather not participate, and hides her emotions behind a look of indifference.

Alex hasn't shown much interest in meeting characters, and Zoe only mentions it in passing, even if she's eager to meet them. Both got pulled to join a street fair and they seemed uncomfortable and slightly miserable. But I'm sure they were having fun.

---

The vacation was planned pretty well. Two days each for each park and now on the fifth day we're basically finishing up the rides we missed and repeating the ones we like. Zoe got her third Winnie the Pooh ride and it is precious because she's got this toothy smile on her face. I think Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear is Alex's favorite, because of all the shooting. I admit they might be mine too. Ride plus videogame always equal win in my book.

---

Driving back to Redding, CA as our overnight stop and we're only 150 miles in and I'm exhausted. Hopefully some coffee and Dennys will wake me up a little more. I did call in to request for Monday off so that I can rest after the vacation and two days of driving but so far, the kids will be going to school the following day. I kinda feel bad for that. I need the day off just to reorient myself back to normal life. Get geeked out again.

---

Never drive to Disneyland from Washington. Unless you have three drivers. And any children you might were were suspended somehow. The drive there was so-so, but during the drive back we had rain throughout, some sun, and snow at Mt. Shasta. Heavy, sliding snow. Your back tends to get all cramped too.

---

An interesting footnote to this trip is that Disneyland experienced a slight delay when the earthquake in Mexico rattled Disneyland. We were literally driving away from natural disaster, even though there was no damage or injuries in Disneyland.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gasworks Park

 


I like the rustic structures at the park.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dragon dictation app

I don't know if this is going to work or not but I'm going to give it a shot. I am trying this new app by dragon dictation for the iPod touch, and I have to enuciate my words more than I usually do. I am also saying the exclamation marks and punctuation marks in order to make sure that it's formatted correctly, otherwise I will have to go back and edit it manually.

Well, I guess that is working pretty well. I just had to go back and change a few words, and I suppose that's not too bad of a way to go.

So work has been going pretty well, despite the fact that I have to learn quite a few new things that rattle my brain quite a bit. My new job has to do with databases and queries and Microsoft Access, a lot of new concepts that I'm not familiar with. But over all, I think it's going quite well.

I'm getting quite psyched about Disneyland, especially after my coworker at work loaned me a Disney vacation planning DVD. There's really not so much new information on there, but it was the first time that my kids have seen anything about Disneyland. I think I'm the most excited about just taking some time off, and having some nice weather for change. Not that the weather in Washington has been so bad, since we had a pretty light winter.

One of the things I have been enjoying lately is the new This American Life App, that's put out by the WBEX. I enjoyed the weekly podcast quite a bit, although if you missed one of two weeks and it doesn't archive on the RSS feed. It only features the latest week's installment so this app allows me to access the archive for free basically, except it has to stream. This App also has a bunch of bonus episodes from the TV show that isn't readily available, so it's quite a bonus. If you never heard about this American life, be sure to check it out.

Well I suppose this app has to have some kind of threshold, because after a while it stops recording in order to keep the messages short. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things, It's not a bad thing.

I'm just a test that out right now and see if it records my conversation in the normal speed instead of having to talk a lot slower than I usually do.

I have a strong suspicion that my dog is actually a Brazilian Terrier, which is quite a departure from the previous assessment that it is a rat terrier. This is quite a revelation considering that we were never quite sure what breed Daisy really was.

I think this will be a good time to stop, since I'm not quite sure how much editing I will have to do with this entry. I did think about starting a podcast, maybe a voice podcasts for my blog entry. However, I don't think anyone would ever listen to it so it might be a complete waste my time. So I'm a try this for now , and see how it goes.

----—

I guess when I dictate my blogs, the stories seem more random than usual. Maybe I'll learn to relax more in time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hmm

I wouldn't call it my new job per se, I'm simply working in a different position in the company but still paid the same. In a lot of ways, I'm like an intern of sorts that's training to know all these things but there's a chance that it's all for naught. But so far, it's been a steep learning curve comprising of new programs, new concepts, just new everything. On one hand, my old boss is loaning me out on a week by week basis, while meanwhile my new boss is having my own computer installed in my own cubicle. Weird. The biggest plus in this whole adventure is that the hours are awesome. No more 10 hours days of waking up at 4:30am and going to bed by 9:30pm, instead it's a 6:00am wakeup time and a almost 11pm bedtime, which makes me very happy. Granted I did lose my Fridays off, but I do feel more like a regular human being with normal operating hours. Instead of feeling like a human am/pm. It's difficult to say much about the job since nobody has really solidified any decisions, but it's a nice progression. I could get used to this. Another upside is that I get to see the kids in the morning, which is kinda nice even if I'm not terribly talkative at the table. It at least is an attempt in normalcy.

Well, the gauntlet is thrown and the plans are made and hotels are booked. We are going to Disneyland in the spring. After some frustration and
money crunching, I decided that flying wasn't really a great option since it would've bumped up the bottom line quite a bit. About a grand, actually. So we are driving to Anaheim, with a stopover at Redding, CA, whose only distinction is being the middle of our driving route. But we are taking it fairly easy, with four full days set aside for commuting and five full days at Disneyland. The last time we were there was when Jael was 12 or so, so it was about ten years ago. California Adventure was still under construction and not even open yet. We are looking forward to it all even if we are likely to skip many of the crazier rides.

This afternoon I was shown my cubicle and I got pretty pysched. I don't know how long I'll be there, but now I have my own computer, my own extension, and a voice mail which says my name. Special!

Well, gotta get up. Elaine is making me motionsick with her shaking on the couch.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Write On

I haven't sat down and cranked out any script since college - talk about quitting at the prime of my young career. Ever since there has been some writing activity here and there, but nothing overly ambitous or noteworthy. Well, after discovering the Creative Screenwriting podcast with Jeff Goldsmith, I've kinda fallen in love with the idea of writing screenplays again. Listening to their process, struggles, and their journeys have inspired me to maybe start putting something back on paper. Or in this case, thumb some words into the iPod. I purchased a screenwriting app for the iPod and it syncs with Final Draft, so now I have no excuse to not do it. Just to find the time and the inspiration to commit something to a draft. I actually have a couple solid ideas, like a kidnapping drama and also a lighter comedy with loose thematic ties to the afterlife. There's also the matter or revamping Cells, a three act play I wrote in college but most likely not. Anyway, I'm prepping my brain to take on screenwriting, so that may very well be my half assed new years resolution.

Also been catching up with movies, having just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. I have to say, I'm a semi casual fan of the series, but having watched the first film with the kids and then the latest one puts things into perspective. Seeing how a lot of the story links up, the characters grow up, and how one film ties in with the other is pretty amazing. I was even seeing things in the first film that foreshadows the later ones. That Rowling is a pretty smart one. I wouldn't venture so far as to reading the books per se, since I'm a illterate monkey with a short attention span.

Been working a whole bunch lately, but not even as much as my coworkers. I clocked in about 23 hours overtime last week but I believe my coworkers came closer to thirty. This coming week though, I might get quite a bit. That said, it's bedtime for me.




Thursday, January 7, 2010

Travelogue

People pack their best when they're on vacation, and for some reason I decided that Oregon should see me as a human potato. Or a really confused Desert Storm deserter. I was rocking the beige top and pants. No one really commented on it, I just caught a reflection and was instantly appalled. Then I danced around like a hot potato for effect.

---

Travelling with a dog is somewhat challenging, especially when the hotel doesn't allow you to crate the dog by itself. She spent most of the vacation in the car, so I felt a little bad for her, but at least she got to see Oregon. Wilbur is crazy jealous, from what I gathered from his expressionless face. Daisy spent all the commuting times on Elaine's lap, kneading her thighs and shedding all over my poor wife. If she had any more fur on her, PETA would've picketed my wife. Daisy also got herself riled up over other dogs, cats, and bold red Oregon squirrels, and decided to take it out on her leash. Her retractable fifteen dollar leash. Damn dog.

---

We never visit friends and relatives in other states because we usually don't have any, but in this rare case we had an opportunity to visit Bev, who is my wife's ex mother in law. It's not as awkward as it sounds, since she's a pretty nice lady. Easy to chat with, very warm, very grandmotherly even though my kids have no blood relation to her at all. I'm glad we got to see her, even if it meant an hour of driving through hellish, rainy traffic.

I also got to see my cousin in Oregon, and meet her husband Patrick. I haven't seen her since Alex was less than a year, so yeah, it's been a while. We had dim sum and I ordered like a maniac with the full intention of picking up the bill, so when they did I felt a little bad because their palate was on par with Elaine's, which is to say they were willing to try new things, but they usually stuck with what they liked. I wished to spend more time with them since it's not often I get to spend time with peers who are related to me, but they had jobs and we had a timeline to adhere to in order to get home in time for kids bedtime. But still, it was a good visit.

---

A milestone I hoped to never reach was realized when I innocently went to the bathroom at the motel. What was to be a routine drop slowly unravelled into a horror show when my deposit failed to swirl into obilvion, instead swirling upward in a rising pool of unusual undigested byproduct. In a panick, I started bailing filth into the bathtub with Daisy's dog dish but it kept overflowing, because the stopper in the toilet bowl was also not working. I reached for the valve to shut off the water but instead cranked up the pressure, flooding the bathroom floor with some really bad soup. Finally I shut it off, and yelled for my wife to get a plunger from the front desk. The manager, who did not seem to understand that I had a reputation to uphold, sent in a housekeeper.

I avoided eye contact as she undoubtedly was emotionally scarred by cleaning up after me. We left the room promptly soon after with a tip to cover the cost of hand sanitizer.

---

The ironic thing about Science Centers are that the kids love to tinker with the physical props and ignore the actual Science. They don't care what propelled the empty soda bottle, they just want to make it go. Meanwhile, I'm trying to learn something I should already know, but because of the kids and their desire to hope from exhibit to exhibit, I find it easier to just ignore the words and play with the toys.

Perhaps the most eye catching exhibit aside of the giant submarine docked outside te Science Center is the pre-natal section, basically about childbirth and all that. In the middle of the floor is a section with an almost full circle enclosure which is black. And at eye level, there are glass displays of fetuses from early conception all the way to near full term. Surprising to me at least, was that all the fetuses, maybe thirty or more, were actual fetuses.

I suppose some people might raise a fuss about it, but i think I was rather glad that it exists. It's not like it caters to any morbid curiousity, it was done rather well.

---

The highlight of the Oregon zoo had to be one of these three things: The Zoolights, seeing the Bat exhibit, or watching a monkey pick anothers' posterior, insert residue in his mouth, and then spit it out. That was a lesson for many of us that day. The baby elephant was pretty cute too.

---

It was a claim that didn't seem true, more so when we were seeing it in person. The second tallest waterfall in the US. Didn't seem that tall. Reexamining the photo I took, it was actually the second tallest continuously running waterfall in the US. Tricky.

We tried hiking to the top of the waterfall, but it was quite a trek. Pretty cool though, even if I'm usually not the kind to enjoy nature much.

---

Irony is when your windshield wipers don't work and it's pouring down rain, and when you finally switch the left and right wipers, it stops raining for the rest of the vacation. The first Two days were like trying to wipe down windows during a downpour with a wet towel. I depended mostly on large shapes to drive.

---

When a large man approaches you at a gas stop in Oregon, he's not trying to rob you I found out. To cover my embarassment, I went inside and tried to pay for a full tank. That's when the attendant told me that he had to fill the tank first. I'm so cool.

---

It was a much needed trip really, it should hold till Disneyland in the spring.