Sunday, January 31, 2010

Groundwork

All this past week I've been feeling under the weather but for the moment I feel okay so that's why I am writing something before more sinus misery sets in.

My sinuses have been really clogged and causing me headaches and hurting my eyes and gums and in general, causing all sorts of havoc. Yesterday I bought a remedy that I had recently seen on television - Sinus Buster. It sounded promising. I discovered that the key ingredient for this elixir is capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their hot character. Indeed, squirting this into my nose and inhaling caused my nostrils to burn for a while, though it was tolerable. Unfortunately it didn't seem to work very well.

For whatever reason, right now the sinuses seem fine. I went for a walk this afternoon which seemed to be the best thing to clear them up.

Here's a few odds and ends for you:

First off, according to Eat This Not That, the saltiest dish in America is served at P.F. Chang's:


Second, when we got back to the car after having lunch today, the person next to us had parked their car so close to the passenger-side door that Julie couldn't get in so I had to back out the car for her. That reminded me of someone I know who related how that happened to him when he went to the bank, except it was his (driver's) side that was blocked when he returned to his car.

So his reaction was to completely cover the offending party's car windshield with saliva. He said he spit over the entire windshield, leaving not one untouched piece of glass, then drove off with the satisfaction that this person had gotten their just desserts.

Third: I blogged earlier in the week about the KooKooRoo contest to name their cartoon bird mascot, and how I felt my entry should also have been given a share of the prize. Rather than recount it again, please go back a few days to read the details.

On Monday I received a response from their corporate people. Here is the main part of the message:

We did have more than one winner awarded in our NameTheCluck Contest.
Our decision on selecting the winners was based on choosing those with "singular" names. We did not use "parts" of other nominations.

I sent my response to their response. I pointed out that the winning name was not singular but in fact a first and last name. The rules said nothing about the name having to be singular; my contention is that a reasonable person would be able to discern from my entry, "ClarkeBrisbaneClucksworth" that this was not one long name but in fact a first, middle and last name delimited by the capital letters. Since the winner consisted of more than one name, I felt it only fair that since my entry contained "Clucksworth" and "Roosevelt Clucksworth" was the winning name, I should be given my share of credit for my submission.

Also if you notice, in the e-mail response to me, the name of the contest is written as "NameTheCluck" with no spaces between words. It would seem to me no different than my contest entry of a first, middle and last name, right? Any reasonable person can see that NameTheCluck is not one word, it is three words.

Having heard nothing by Wednesday, I sent a followup message letting them know that so far I had heard not a peep, cluck or kookooroo yet and was wondering how they intended to resolve the matter.

As of right now, I have still heard nothing at all from them. The e-mail response from them was written by their Senior Brand Director, who cc'd their Senior VP of Operations. So I am not dealing with powerless staff people.

It is not really the prize that is the issue here, it is the matter of principle, as well as not receiving a response. Naturally they can disagree with my argument as to why I should not be considered a winner in the contest even though "Clucksworth" was part of my entry, but at least say something instead of being silent about it!

Now, what do you readers think? Do you think I have a valid case to be accorded credit for the winning name, or do you not agree? Please take a moment and vote:



Well, it depends on what sort of response (if any) I receive from their corporate office as well as what the poll results are but my brain isn't being idle right now. I'm contemplating the next step in this real-life Seinfeld episode! I'm not exactly sure what that will be, but let's just say the power of internet media is not to be underestimated. I do promise not to spit on any windshields, however.







Thursday, January 28, 2010

Levity

Back in elementary school I had this joke book. I don't remember the title, but I can picture the book - it was hardcover but had lost its jacket, and it was a deep blue color.

It had some of the most stupid, silly jokes I've ever read - sort of like Nancy and Sluggo but in print instead of cartoon form. I don't know why but I was thinking about that book on the way home from work today. Here's some jokes I remember (I can't remember them exactly but well enough):

Moe: Hi Joe!
Joe: Hi Moe! What are you doing these days?
Moe: I sell salt.
Joe: Me too!
Moe: Let's shake!

Girl 1: Hey honey child, how y'all doing?
Girl 2: Where'd you get that southern accent?
Girl 1: From drinking out of Dixie cups!

There were also a lot of jokes featuring old Pop Pennypacker but I can't remember them. I can only remember that name.

Then later on there was another joke book I used to read. This one was a lot thicker. Here is one I can remember from that one:

A man attended his first comedian group luncheon. As he sat there eating, people around the room would call out a number. After they did so, everyone laughed. The new guy observed this for a while and couldn't understand what was going on so he turned to the man next to him and asked for an explanation.

The man next to him said, "Oh, the guys here at this lunch are the world's greatest comedians. They've heard every joke in the book. They've heard them so many times that they just assign numbers to each joke. That way, instead of having to tell the whole thing they can just call out its number."

"Oh," said the new guy, nodding his head. Then he pointed to someone across the room who was still laughing uproariously even though the joke's number had been called out some time ago. "How come he's still laughing? Was it that funny?"

"Him? Oh, he probably never heard that one before."


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fa La La

The other night we were watching a DVD of Arcadia High School's Christmas program that someone let us borrow. It turned out very nice and, unlike so many other Christmas, er, "holiday" programs, many of the songs were actually about Christmas.

I did notice, however, that PC crept into the rendition of Deck the Halls. Instead of singing, "Don we now our gay apparel," they sang "Don we now our bright apparel." I was thinking, why even pick that song in the first place if you had to change the lyrics?

Here's three renditions for you.. the last one might provide some insight as to why the lyrics were changed..






Monday, January 25, 2010

Egregious

Back around the end of October my friend Sandy told me about a contest put on by the folks at KooKooRoo Chicken to name their cartoon chicken mascot.

After toying with some names, I couldn't think of anything worthwhile. But later I actually woke up in the middle of the night with a name sticking in my brain: "Clarke Brisbane Clucksworth." That's it, I told myself, that's the name to use for my entry!

And so I did. Well, sort of. When I tried entering the full name in the online entry form, it kept getting rejected and I was presented with an error message saying not to use any spaces or special characters. So I entered it like this: ClarkeBrisbaneClucksworth.

Then I forgot about it.

Sandy sent me a link on Sunday to a press release announcing the winning name. Actually, the winning name was a combination of two entries because the judges felt both were worthy: ROOsevelt Clucksworth.

I looked at that and was thinking, hey, that's the name I submitted! Where's my name in the press release??? Where's my free chicken for a year???

Granted, my entry contained three names that ended up being squashed together since it kept getting rejected when I had spaces between the names. But nevertheless it was there and a reasonable person would have concluded my entry was not one long name but three separate names, a first, middle and last name.

I would also contend that if they could combine two different entries into the winning name, it would have been just as valid to take part of an entry and make it a winner, too.

I sent KooKooRoo a message via their website, explaining what I just explained to you and am now waiting for their response. I will let you know what happens. Now if they don't want to give me credit, I am going to have to play hardball and retain the services of an attorney. Someone that will strike fear into them, like this fellow:






Sunday, January 24, 2010

Misdelivery

No usual Costco visit for Saturday morning! I had to take my car to the mechanic for a minor repair. Today we had lunch at Togo's, thinking sandwiches would be healthier than burgers.

Like its competitors, Subway and Quizno's, you stand at the counter while the sandwichista asks for your preferences as he or she assembles the finished product. Julie went first. I had to bite my tongue because as he asked her which condiments she wanted on the sandwich, I could hardly understand anything he was saying. It was like one of those Candid Camera-type bits in which the person at the drive up order window mumbles everything. Even "salt and pepper?" came out muddled.

Luckily I had a different sandwichista. I noticed my sandwich seemed larger than hers even though we ordered the same type - must be because she unknowingly agreed to the mumble, "make your sandwich smaller than your husband's?"

The other day I wrote about that crossover network upgrade that was on its way from Colorado, due, according to UPS tracking, on Friday. Well, the tracking info told me that it was delivered at 10:19 am and left at the front door but there was no package.

I called UPS about that and they gave me the same information that was on the web site. "It was delivered at 10:19 am and left at the front door."

"Yes, but there is nothing there."

Then she went through the routine of telling me sometimes they hide things in the bushes or put it somewhere else to keep it out of sight, but we don't have enough hiding places to make that even a consideration. Besides, with all the stuff I get from UPS, the delivery man in brown is all too aware of which house is mine.

After assuring her that the package was not there, I was told I needed to contact the shipper to initiate a tracer on the package; I couldn't make this request of UPS, the shipper/vendor had to.

Why couldn't they misdeliver a CD or a book or something??? Why this thing I've been so anxiously awaiting??? I wrote to the Ninja and let him know what happened.

This morning our next door neighbor appeared with the box. He discovered it when he got home Friday night but said it was too late to bring it over so he held onto it until Saturday. Whew! What a relief.. I wrote the Ninja again and told him never mind, the package was delivered next door. It must have been a substitute man in brown.

That was the big excitement for Saturday.. at least now my weekend isn't ruined! It was great that the package arrived and the sandwiches at Togo's were not bad at all, despite the difficulty in communication.

Oh, and by the way, if you are wondering what the heck I am talking about with this "crossover network upgrade," you can see a short instructional video that might make it a little clearer by clicking here.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

They Keep Asking

I keep getting these subscription renewal notices.. no, pleadings, from Rolling Stone magazine to renew. I thought my subscription had run out several months ago, and I stopped getting these magazines. Then earlier this week another issue arrived to my surprise, and then another issue along with the plea to renew.

The only reason I got a subscription in the first place was because I purchased something from Amazon and as a kicker, they offered me a year for only a buck. I figured, $1 for 52 issues wasn't bad and maybe it would help bring me up to date on today's music, a topic in which I am woefully lacking (although I really have no regrets about that).

After finding there was pretty much nothing of interest in this magazine, including how it was much too far left for my tastes, I wouldn't even pay $1.00 to renew.

There is only one thing that I would look at in each issue: "From the Vault," which is a listing of the top ten from a past issue. It was interesting to see what was on the charts back in the days when I used to listen to the radio and buy current stuff. For example, in the last issue that arrived, they listed the top 10 singles from January 21, 1970:

1. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head - B.J. Thomas
2. Venus - Shocking Blue
3. I Want You Back - Jackson 5
4. Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross and the Supremes
5. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
6. Leaving on a Jet Plane - Peter Paul and Mary
7. Don't Cry Daddy - Elvis Presley
8. Without Love (There is Nothing) - Tom Jones
9. Jam Up Jelly Tight - Tommy Roe
10. I'll Never Fall in Love Again - Dionne Warwick

Some of these songs vividly brought back my newbie high school days. A couple I never even heard of - the ones by Elvis and Tom Jones. And #9 on the list shows that maybe we forget that the past also had its share of junk and it is not all confined to the present day.

And that's the only thing I find of interest in the entire magazine!




Friday, January 22, 2010

Document Imaging Funnies

Our sales manager sent this to me the other day. I thought I'd share it with you because I found it hilarious. If you don't find it as funny as I did, well, maybe you just have to be in the industry to appreciate it.. the distinction between this video and reality is most definitely blurred.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Here

Just checking in.. don't have much to say. Work, as I think I mentioned before, has been very busy so you may not be hearing that much from me either here or responding to e-mails that quickly.

I've got a package on the way from Colorado - a Ninja-made crossover network upgrade for my speakers.. whatever the heck that is, haha. Actually it is a kit that I have to assemble/solder myself so it is really Ninja-packed, not made.

What do I mean by "Ninja?" That's the name he goes by.. Skiing Ninja, to be exact. I've heard great things about his products so I am looking forward to hopefully working on the kit this weekend.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project

Yeah, I know I should have been doing some work work today, even though the office was closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday but instead I worked on a little project.

That DAC I blogged about the other day didn't come in a cabinet or case so I decided to put the two circuit boards and transformer into something I could keep in the audio rack. But what? Then I spied this nice cardboard accessory box that came with my blu ray player. It was such a nice box that I kept it, even though I had no use for it at the time.

Using some screws, washers, felt pads, a plastic food storage box from the 99 cent store and other odds and ends, I put all the pieces into one box. That was my project for the day. It actually looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. Here is a picture of it sitting on top of the blu ray player. The camera flash resulted in a not-so-flattering picture, as you can see. In indirect light when it is in the equipment rack, however, it looks just like the other black components sitting there and unless you look closely you can't tell it is a cardboard box.


Here's a picture of the innards.


After I finished putting it all together, I tested it out and it still worked, so I guess I hadn't accidentally severed any wires. And after doing more listening tests comparing this with what came with the CD player, I couldn't hear any difference. Someone suggested that it needs to have a break-in period, so that's what I will do - keep using it and see if the sound changes.

This was definitely more fun than doing work work today! (today being Monday)




Sunday, January 17, 2010

Golden Ears

First off, I have to report that I have no Costco report for you. Yup, I didn't do my usual Saturday morning Costco run! I came down with a cold on Friday, waking up with a sore throat. I must have caught it from shaking hands with one of our sales reps at work. We had meetings with them all week and it seems I am now victim of one of the pitfalls of shaking hands with people. I am going to have to be more reclusive from now on.

There was an interesting post on the audio forum that I frequently read (like every day all day) from someone who said they purchased this DAC and was extremely impressed by how much it improved the quality of sound from his CD player.

What is a DAC, you might ask. DAC stands for "digital-to-analog converter." Basically what it does is convert the digital signals that are generated by a CD into analog signals that can be amplified by your audio system so you can hear them through your speakers. Apparently some devices convert these signals better than others, or so said this fellow who wrote the post on the forum.

He claimed that when using the unit he bought on E-Bay, the sound was noticeably clearer and more lifelike, etc., etc.

After trading some messages with him to get more information, I decided to purchase one as well. The seller is in Hong Kong so it took a while for the package to arrive, but it showed up late in the week. Here's a picture of it:


Today I soldered some connections together and connected it between my CD player and the preamplifier, turned it on and.. no sound. The blue light on the circuit board was lit so I knew it was getting power, but there was no sound. First thing I thought of was what a hassle it would be having to return this thing somewhere in Hong Kong. But after examining the board, I noticed that there was a little jumper pin that needed to be set differently. After doing that, it worked!

Now, even though I wrote too much above, there is more to it than that (stuff having to do with switching op amps, etc., which I won't write about and bore you even more). Let's cut to the chase. Was there that dramatic difference that the guy on the audio forum raved about?

No.

I spent a good part of the afternoon doing comparison testing, switching back and forth between the old and new, playing the same CD tracks over and over again to see if I could hear a difference. The new DAC from Hong Kong had a louder volume so I had to adjust the volume controls when comparing; otherwise, the louder one would have had the psychological advantage of sounding better simply because it was louder (hint: if you ever compare speakers or hi-fi equipment at a store, make sure everything is playing at the same volume because otherwise, the louder one almost always wins).

After listening to very specific parts of the songs, I had to conclude that there was really no difference. I don't know if that is because I am too old and my hearing is not all that good, or because I have a cold, or because there really was no difference. Having a cold doesn't seem to have affected my hearing, though, so it is either reason 1 (too old) or reason 3 (there is no difference to hear).

I can definitely hear differences between speakers, though. And I thought I would hear differences today between devices - I was expecting to! But each time I thought I heard a difference, I went and played the section back and after comparing again, nope, no difference.

So.. did I waste my money? Haven't decided yet. It was relatively inexpensive so let's just say this is a learning process. At least I proved I could solder something. The smell generated by the soldering process brought back memories of making slot cars, long, long time ago. At least I didn't burn myself.

I am going to do more listening tests tomorrow. Julie thought I was nuts.

"Why do you keep playing the same songs over and over again?"

"I'm doing comparison tests."

"Oh, so you can justify spending all that money on your electronic gizmos."

Haha.. yeah, sort of. Tomorrow I'm going to try some different CD's and see what happens.. you know, sort of like Einstein's definition of insanity.

Here's a couple of my test songs (not these particular versions, which come from a DVD; I used the CD versions):





Thursday, January 14, 2010

Freeway

Well, I am quite swamped with work, so for those folks to whom I owe e-mail replies, my apologies for the delay!

I saw a couple of things on the freeway I thought I would share with you, since this doesn't take too long.

Driving home the other day I was alongside an Original Tommy's Hamburgers truck. On the side they were advertising their most impressive combo: A TRIPLE chili cheesburger, with a side of chili cheese fries, and a 44 ounce drink. Now I can imagine there are actually people who will eat this monstrous concoction, and of course everyone is free to eat what he or she chooses to eat.. but c'mon, that is going too far!

The first time I ever ate a Tommy's burger was back in high school, after a Chicago concert. We went to the original location (at that time the only location) on Beverly and stood in line with the rest of the hungry crowd. Oh man, what a bad case of indigestion that caused! Not good when you are out on a date!! I managed to make it home okay that night but just think how much more damage that huge combo I mentioned above would do..

Okay, sighting number two on the freeway, this one on the way home today. This was another truck with something written on it - this time it was for furniture. I made a mental note to blog about it because I thought it was funny, but when I got home I couldn't quite remember the exact wording. So I googled an approximation and wouldn't you know, someone had posted a picture of it on Twitter. Here it is:

The picture speaks for itself.. I don't know why but for some reason, it brought today's YouTube to mind..




Okay.. back to work..

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Busy

Just a little advance notice, things are busy at work and I may be having to do some of it at home in the evenings so the entries here might get sparse. But then maybe not. It just depends, I guess. Oh, who knows.. just check back and see. If you see nothing new then you know what happened.

Work feels like this:





To get things done, you just need a more authoritarian approach. This guy had the right idea:





I think it would have been interesting for him to have met Robert DeNiro during that "You talking to me?" scene from Taxi Driver. Chuck Connors could have said the same thing back to him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Porky

Today we went for a cheap Costco food court lunch at our usual location (Azusa), and lo and behold, I spied the new Kirkland pulled pork sitting in the refrigerated case! So sometime between my asking and being disappointed yesterday morning to the time we arrived today, someone stacked some boxes.

We brought one home and tried it tonight. Let me just say, if you like pulled pork, you have to try this. It has no sauce but does have smoke flavoring and I thought it was delicious. Julie said it had too much fat but then you have to expect that from pulled pork; actually, compared to what I have had before, the Kirkland version seems to be lower in grease and fat - though still not the healthiest thing to eat, of course! I bet chashu (char shu?) has just as much if not more fat plus plenty of carbs. The pulled pork has zero carbs.

Two pounds cost $9.59 and there is plenty of meat. Beware, the nutrition label considers a serving to be 2 ounces, which will add 190 calories to you. If you ask me, four ounces is a decent portion so 380 calories for some heavenly pulled pork that is as good as any I've ever had at a restaurant is not too big a price to pay, once in a while.

After church and before going to Costco, we stopped at Big Lots. I like checking out their food section. While they have a lot of standard label stuff that you see in the markets, there are also some products that I've never seen anywhere else. Stuff like habanero sauce from Francis Ford Coppola. Potato chips from producers I've never heard of, but sound good from looking at the label. Various sauces and condiments.

It made me wonder what route these items took to wind up at Big Lots. Were they overstocks? Products that didn't sell very well or people didn't like? They don't seem to be the brands you find at the regular grocery stores, though. Direct sales to Big Lots? Doesn't seem like it, unless that happened because the grocery stores didn't want to buy them in the first place.

Then I thought about all those books that wind up in warehouse stores that sell overstocks and clearance items, or on the markdown bargain bin table at places like B&N or Borders.. what must the author be thinking when they see their treasure wind up there? Or when you see sellers on Amazon or Half.com listing it for a penny?

On the other hand, one can say, and rightly so, at least the books got published. Or, in the case of the food shelves at Big Lots, at least the food got made. That's in itself is an accomplishment.

And that may lead to the question, why am I writing stuff like this??? Have I been diligent with my book that I said I am going to write?

Well, every time I sit down to try and work on the book, my mind goes blank. It does get frustrating at times, as you can see from this webcam video that I took of myself the other day:






Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday the 9th

Today it was back to the traditional: morning visit to my favorite store, Costco! I did manage to keep it under $100. Sorry, no pictures today.

There were a couple of disappointments. One, they had no Honeycrisp apples! I had to settle for the Fuji variety. Now it used to be that Fuji's were my favorite, but after tasting the Honeycrisp kind, those were even better and I got spoiled. But yes they had no Honeycrisps today.

I'd heard Costco was putting out their own Kirkland brand of pulled pork, which was supposed to be in the stores this week. I had eagerly put that on the shopping list and went up and down the aisles looking for it but I didn't see it. I asked the woman who was stocking the refrigerated items if they had it and she said no, it hadn't come in yet!!! Life is cruel. That was disappointment number two.

Today for lunch we ate at what has become our main hamburger joint, T-Burgers in Monrovia. Trying to avoid beef, I ordered a chicken soft taco and Julie and I split an order of fries (she had an egg sandwich). We like the food there, and the place itself is clean, with an airy feel because of lots of window space.

For dinner we took a trip out to the west side of town and ate at 2117, a Japanese-French fusion place in the Sawtelle district (the name is the address). That's where we had our first date many moons ago, too. The food was good; Julie had Kurobata roast pork and I had a peppered salmon dish. I have to say though, examining it with a critical lens, the pork was a bit on the tough side from the sample I had, and the flavors in the sauce for the salmon could have blended better. The balsalmic stood out too much. It was still a good dinner, mind you, but those are the two things I noticed.

Now, in terms of the satisfaction meter, I was thinking about how I would rate these two meals. Dinner was obviously fancier (and more expensive) than lunch, but was one more enjoyable than the other? There's a place for both, I'd say. The taco and the fries were mighty tasty, plus the place itself is so informal and comfortable. 2117 is also a fairly informal place, far from stuffy, but of course it is still formal compared to T-Burgers and you can't just sit there and make a pig of yourself, haha. I think what is great is being able to partake of both in the same day!

Oh by the way, in case any of you were wondering what was with the perhaps cryptic Youtube from yesterday with no accompanying text, maybe if I tell you that it was a birthday dinner at 2117 tonight that will shed some light on things.

Here's a present I got, something I had on my Amazon wish list. Does anyone remember this movie? I always got a kick out of watching it; the last time I saw this was back in the 60's or maybe early 70's.





Full version:




Now, I didn't have a birthday cake (didn't want one) and if there was one, it wouldn't have had any candles because that probably would have burned down the house, haha..

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Much Going On..

You may have noticed I haven't posted much this week. Well, work has been real busy but also, there's really been nothing worth writing about. Normally I still feel obliged to offer up something, however lame it may be, to fill the void but I figure eh, if I can't think of anything then why write anything?

Let me ask you something - when you are with others and no one is talking, do you feel compelled to be the one to break the silence? Sort of like how you leave the television on when you are home by yourself even if you're not watching it? I used to feel like I should speak up but now if I have nothing to say then I leave it that way.. makes things more efficient, I think.

So how's 2010 treated you so far? Even though I have nothing exciting to tell you yet, I can't complain. I'm glad the weekend is upon us, though. Gotta liven things up!




Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Miracle

I must confess that at this onset of the new year and decade, I can't seem to muster much enthusiasm for my job. I have this urge to do something on my own, to work independently instead of doing the conventional, although I am not quite sure exactly what that means.

So I've been praying about this. Now, when you tell people you are praying for something, or wishing for something, a common response is, "be careful what you pray (wish) for because you just might get it," meaning yes you may get more than you bargained for, or get something that has a Twilight Zone ironic twist to it.

I have to admit that thoughts like this have acted to hinder me because I start thinking, what if my prayers get answered by my losing my job? I mean, yes, I said I want to do something on my own but that's not how I meant to get started on it!

Then a voice inside told me, O ye of little faith.. And I realized, indeed, what sort of faith in God am I showing by praying but putting restrictions on how those prayers will be answered? Like, please answer my prayer by selecting from one of the following results: And then I go and provide a set of multiple choices for Him from which to choose.

Haha, it doesn't work like that! No, I need to have complete faith that my sincere prayers will be answered in the best way, whether I can imagine what that might be, or not. But that can happen only if I'm willing - and then His will, not my will be done.

Be still, and know that I am God, it says in Psalm 46:10. Or a more relevant translation, Cease striving and know that I am God.

I feel confident that my prayers will be answered, in due time (His, not mine) and in the best way, too, if my faith is unconditional.

So as we begin 2010, I don't want to sound preachy or anything, but that's what I felt I needed to write here in this blog because I know it to be true! I'm putting it in writing for all to see..




Monday, January 4, 2010

Palindrome

We spent much of Saturday (January 2, 2010: 01-2-10) at a wedding and the dinner reception that followed. Our choir director got married to one of our church's pastoral interns.

I think this is probably the first wedding I've attended in which the bride and groom were young enough to be my kids! Oh my, just another sign of getting older, I guess. I actually do kind of look upon SJ (the bride and our choir director) as sort of a daughter because of that age difference. During the ceremony I was thinking it may not be that long from now when Greg and/or Katie are walking down the aisle.

The reception was held at a Chinese restaurant and with about 400 guests, they took over the entire place. There was a rented photo booth where guests were invited to snap a set of 4 pictures. Two sets were printed, one to paste onto scrapbook pages for the newlyweds, and the other to keep. That was a nice idea, one that I had never seen before although we haven't been to very many weddings.

There was the usual tapping of the silverware (well, actually plasticware since there were chopsticks and not forks or spoons) on the glasses to signal that the guests expected the newlyweds to kiss. This time, however, the emcee threw a wrench in the proceedings.

He held up a bag and said it contained the names of twenty couples, chosen at random. Each time the tapping on the glasses occurred, he would draw a couple's name from the bag and they would have to come up front and kiss; the newlyweds would then have to stand up and kiss in the same manner.

That was a novel approach to an old custom.. as well as one that caused much fear and anxiety in all of us! I would liken the anxiety that built up as the names were called out as no less than finding out what your draft priority number was back when the draft was in effect. Potential cardiac arrest twenty times in one night!!

Well, luckily we escaped unscathed, as did everyone else at our table. All in all, the food was good, the company was good, the ceremony and festivities were fun, and it was a great way to begin the year.

I have to tell you, it was such a refreshing change of pace from the receptions we get exposed to when going for our Saturday night Chinese dinners with Julie's side of the family. Often part of the restaurant will be reserved for a wedding party and there is plenty of very loud music (with that annoying bass thumping) and horrible, horrible singing. Saturday's wedding was much nicer! Yes, a great way to begin 2010.




Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolution

You say you want a resolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world..

Oh wait, that's supposed to be revolution, not resolution. Never mind!

So here we are at the beginning of a new year. A new decade, even. Seems not that long ago when everyone was a headless chicken over the Y2K overrated scare, doesn't it?

Are you in the habit of making New Year's Resolutions? If so, why not share them in the comments section (anonymously, of course). I'm sure I must have made my share of them in the past but they are long forgotten and I am sure, long broken, too.

What do you think - is 2010 going to be a broken record or is this going to be the year of accomplishment? I have to tell you, I dread going back to work on Monday. It's so easy to get used to having days off - for me that's a big motivator to find a way to make that happen all the time!

That's my resolve - to make good on that 5-year countdown plan to somehow be financially independent concurrently with the payoff of the mortgage. It's a 4.25 year plan as of today (according to my countdown register that keeps ticking).

And thank you Donna for your nice blessing in yesterday's comments about having thousands of words to write - like miles, the journey begins with the first step (or first peck on the keys).

To all of you reading this blog, be there any, may you all have a very blessed and happy 2010!