Sunday, May 24, 2009

Random Updates

I forgot where I left off. I guess the most important thing that has happened in the last week or so is that we got a new puppy. We got Duke last weekend from the Animal Rescue Force. Duke is a Labrador/Basset Hound mix. He's doing good right now, is still having a few accidents in the house, but what can you expect from an almost 4 month old puppy? Lizzie and I had to rush around to get him. After her dance class ended at 11:00 in Coral Springs, we ran up to Delray, met my Mother and decided he would be a good addition to the family. After that we had to rush back to Coral Springs to do the rehearsal for the Dad's dance at Lizzie's recital. Before you ask, there will be no videos or pictures posted.

I've been skating a lot, due to a learn to skate lesson on Wednesday, learn to play hockey on Thursday, and usually one public session during the weekend. I am really liking this, but my wrist has been bothering me this weekend. Everyone at learn to play was asking me if my legs hurt the next day, they didn't (even though I usually work out my legs on Friday morning), but my wrist is. Hopefully I'm not falling apart.

Which reminds me, I want to send a good luck for a speedy recovery out to Erin. Even though her ankle should be telling me that I'm too old to learn how to play, I am still going out and doing it.

Brenda and I saw "Angels and Demons" last weekend. I have to preface the review with the fact that I had "read" (audio book) prior to seeing The DaVinci Code. I thought for the most part the DaVinci Code followed the book, however of course there were some mental images I had that the movie did not follow. Regarding Angels and Demons, I have not read the book. The movie was for the most part entertaining. However, there just seem to be some contrived hokey parts that just wouldn't make sense in real life. I am not sure if those same parts are in the book or not, so I can't say whether it was Dan Brown, Ron Howard or a combination that put those parts together. I would definitely see Star Trek first, but if you have nothing else to do, this is a serviceable movie.

Another serviceable movie that we saw last night is Wolverine. This pretty much did what the title said it would, which was to set up where Wolverine came from (for the most part). The story somewhat jumped and didn't really set up much character development outside of Wolverine, and even with him, there seemed to be something missing from the movie. Once again, the entire movie was a nice escape, but not as good as some of the other X-Men movies. I'm tending to side with Rotten Tomatoes for some of these recent movies.

I think we may see Night At The Museum tomorrow, but at least with that I pretty much know what to expect which is something similar to the first one. The kids will probably really enjoy it. They will also enjoy spending the afternoon with Eric. I'm really looking forward to seeing Up next weekend.

I'm getting a little tired of some in-fighting at work with certain sales people arguing over what goes in which territory, and the fighting is over what I feel are secondary, or even tertiary markets. I feel like there is a huge primary market with low-hanging fruit and nobody seems to want to go after it. I will change this way of thinking this week. I'm also in the process of negotiating a new licensing deal, we'll see how the other company continues to respond.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

In addition to the hockey which I spoke about in my previous post, we had a good time this past weekend.
Brenda and I had arranged for my mother to baby-sit so we could go out on Saturday night. We sort of had an unsaid understanding that my mother would not leave the kids on the leash. Anyway, we had dinner at Bogart's which is located in the upstairs section of what used to be Muvico, but is now owned by Cinemark. The food as always was good, I had the turkey meatloaf, and Brenda had one of their specials for the night which was the kobe beef brisket. I don't think it was real kobe, because it was a large portion and only cost $16.95, regardless, it was a good dish. After dinner we saw Star Trek which was a very good movie. I was never a huge Trekkie or anything (I was always more of a Star Wars geek). I thought the movie and the story were well done. The special effects were great, but really the fact that they were somewhat not noticable speaks to the way the story was done. I thought the overall movie was well cast, although I kept thinking of Sylar when Spock was on screen, and couldn't get Harold and Kumar out of my head while Sulu was there. Anyway, if the same cast and crew does another Star Trek movie, I will definitely go see it.

After the movie, we went and saw some old friends at a local bar. My friend Dave, who I would say I hadn't seen in 10 years, and his band were playing at Turn 3 in Boca. In addition to seeing Dave, we also caught up with more friends who I would say some of them I have seen more recently, others it has probably been longer. I guess I can thank Facebook for putting me back in touch with old friends. Around 1:45, we figured it was time to leave because. . .

We got up Sunday morning to meet my Mother for breakfast at 8:00. After breakfast, we drove down to spend the day with Brenda's mom. All things considered, Barbara looks great. I just hope we didn't push her to do too much on Sunday. After going through some things, and having Brenda help her Dad with some paperwork for the home health agency, we went to pick up some lunch. We got the KFC grilled chicken, which was pretty good, considering it's KFC. After luinch, we all went to BJ's so Brenda's parents could stock up on some stuff. Brenda's Mom, I think, was just happy to get out and about. She got one of those electric carts, and was just tooling around the store with her "bird flu" mask on, and her oxygen tank in the basket. After BJ's they went back to the house, and I went to Best Buy with Johnny to buy them some new remotes. We got back to the house and I was in charge of programming the remotes. The kids went swimming, rode their bikes, and played the Wii. I got the remotes working for what they needed. we hung around a bit longer, then took off around 8:00. After getting home at 9:30, I sat down and watched/skimmed the Celebrity Apprentice, then went to sleep. I think I still need to catch up on some sleep tonight.

Learning to Play Hockey

I'm not listening to the inner voice that sounds like Erin telling me I shouldn't try to play hockey. Instead, I'm trying to learn how to skate and learn how to play. On Friday I went to Glacier for their "beginners" clinic. The beginners in the class were me and one other guy who had only started trying to ice skate earlier last week. The other guys in the class seemed way more advanced and were there for some additional ice time. They were nice in the sense that they let us try to work through our incompetence, and they still did all of the drills and such they wanted to. After that ended at 11:30 pm, I went home and went to sleep because I promised Shane that we would do the stick and puck thing on Saturday morning. I find it is somewhat easier to skate in full pads because I am not as concerned with falling, and the shin/knee guard help stabilize my ankles a bit more. I just need to find a way to keep the velcro straps closed. The pads I have seem to be somewhat odd for anyone with slightly bigger calves. If I can't work through it with these, I may have to find other ones that fit better. Well, this week it's skating again on Wednesday, maybe doing the adult learn to play at Incredible Ice, then possibly doing the Friday night thing again, and seeing if Glacier is offering stick and puck again this weekend.

Lizzie's Birthday

As I stated in earlier posts, we went up to Universal Studios for Lizzie's 5th birthday. We headed up on Friday night (5/1/09) and arrived at the hotel around 10:00 or so. The drive up was uneventful except for the construction on the freeway exit we had to use, and closed roads to get to the hotel, but we made it there. The hotel was nice, we stayed at the Royal Pacific hotel on Universal's property. I noticed the "pet park" sign and wondered if we could have brought our dogs. We checked in and got to the room, which was comfortable enough, definitely a hotel I would stay at again.

On Saturday morning, Lizzie woke up and started opening the curtains because it was "morning time, and time to get up." We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and took the boat to Universal Studios. There was no crowd to speak of, which seemed odd for a Saturday, but considering the economy, and the swine flu, I guess people just decided to stay home. We were able to use our room key as an express pass, which made life a little more convenient, but if we had paid for it, I probably would have been upset, since there were really no lines anywhere. When we first arrived, I noticed the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The coaster looks phenomenal and I cannot wait to ride it. We did all of the rides the kids wanted to, including Jimmy Neutron, Shrek, and Disaster. During our walk around the park, my Mother called to let me know that the dogs got out and ran around the neighborhood for a little while, but the neighbors helped get them back. She said she just wasn't fast enough to get in the front door without letting them out. I said that we would just look for another option next time. After we finished Universal Studios, we went over to Islands of Adventure and rode Spider-Man, then we went back to the hotel so the kids could go swimming.

As the kids were swimming, I stayed in the room just to relax a little bit. While I was watching The Matrix, my phone rang, it was my mother calling. I asked her what happened now, did the dogs get out again? She said that Carsen was gone. I said gone? She said gone, gone. She had put them on the leash outside (there is afternoon shade based on how the house is set up) and left water out there for them. She left for a little bit, when she came back, she saw Carsen laying there motionless. We are still not sure what happened, whether he got into something when he was running aorund, the heat, or if he tried to get out of the leash. I had to go downstairs and tell Brenda. We didn't know what to do, but we didn't want to break it to the kids then, and ruin Lizzie's birthday, so we had to keep it from them the best we could.

We all got back to the room and got ready for dinner, I had made reservations for the character dinner at our hotel. The only characters were Shrek and Fiona (as a human). The waiter we had was really good, and got Lizzie a chocolate cake for her birthday, and was just all aorund very attentive.

Sunday morning, for Lizzie's actual birthday, we had the character breakfast inside Islands of Adventure. Brenda and I were still obviously torn up about Carsen, but, we had to try to have a good time so the kids would enjoy themselves without knowing. The breakfast was a small buffet, one item they had which was actually quite good was the green eggs and ham. I'm assuming it was eggs with food coloring, a slice of ham, cheese, on a bun. The characters that came to the table were Spider-Man, who oddly enough carried on a conversation with the table (you don't normally expect that out of characters), The cat in the hat, and thing 1 and thing 2. After breakfast we started on the rides, I went on Hulk while Brenda and the kids did the storm force accelatron . After that, we started towards Spider-Man but is was closed. We went to the water rides and I rode Dudley Do-Right where I lost my Dolphin hat, with Shane while Lizzie played in the water, then we all went on Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. After we were significantly soaked, we tried to talk the kids into going on Jurassic Park, Lizzie went, and I was stuck going on Dudley Do-Right again. We made our way around the rest of the park including doing both Fire and Ice on Dueling Dragons, and the whole Dr. Seuess area. We got back to the water ride area, and I was stuck doing Popeye with Lizzie 5 times in a row as Shane and Brenda did Dudley Do-Right again. We rode Spider-Man, then because I had to dry off, I did the Hulk two more times.

When we got back to the car, we had to break the terrible news to the kids. We hated ruining Lizzie's birthday, but it's the only thing we could do. Everyone cried for a few minutes, then we were on our way home. We are still deciding what to do next. Sandy seemed a bit depressed for the first day or two, but she seems ok now. We still want to get her another friend, but we need to find the time to actually go out and look.