Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yesterday I blogged about the release of Apple's new iPhone and the reasons why I won't buy one right now. I'd like to mention that last night, after writing the post, I was in Old Town Pasadena where the nearest Apple Store is located. After having dinner, I decided to mosey on over there to see what the fuss was about. After all, I had never seen an iPhone up close and personal. There was a huge crowd surrounding the display area where you can get hands on with the phone, so I couldn't get closer than about 10 feet. But I will say that after looking at it from afar for about 10 seconds I turned to the person I was with and said, "I have to get out of here or I'll buy one!" and bolted for the door. Damn you, Apple!

The song of the day is "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" by Night Ranger off their 1982 freshman release Dawn Patrol. The first single from the band, it received heavy airplay on early MTV (who was, at the time, desperate for videos to play). If you only know the band from their rock ballads such as "Sister Christian," I recommend you check out this earlier work.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I woke up inexplicably at 5:20 this morning and was unable to get back to sleep. I finally got out of bed and went into work an hour early. Since I get paid by the hour when I freelance, that meant I could leave an hour early which is a good thing since I am completely exhausted right now.

Hello iPhone! Apple's newest, pretty piece of technology hits the stores today. I heard earlier that there was already a line around the block at the Apple Store in Old Town Pasadena. I believe the phones just went on sale at 6pm. I'm all for the iPhone, as I am with most Apple products, but I won't be running out to buy this one just yet. Here's a few reasons why:

1. Price: At $499, the version with less memory (only 4GB) is out of my price range at the moment. Also, I'd like to point out that for a video player, 4GB is not a lot of space to store video files.

2. Carrier: The only way to get the iPod is if your service is through AT&T. I'm not about to switch my service just to buy a phone, especially when the cost to run your iPhone will be nearly double what I pay for my current mobile phone service.

3. Size: Yes, it has a lot of cool things in it, including an MP3 player and a wide screen video player, not to mention the OSX run desktop with full internet. But what it comes down to is the size - all this and it has to be big. A brick is a brick and I don't want one in my pocket.

4. Bugs: Anyone who likes to buy electronic and technical equipment knows never to buy the first version of anything that comes out. The software, untested by the millions who will by the iPhone, is bound to be full of bugs that should be fixed in later models.

5. Evolution: Remember the size of the original iPods? It wouldn't surprise me at all if everything eventually got smaller on this - the size AND the price, not to mention the amount of software bugs. I'm hoping to wait it out for v 2.0.

On a side note, here's a link to a technical support forum where the participants are having a little fun discussing editing with Final Cut Pro (Apple's editing software) on an iPhone. No, it can't be done, but it's funny nonetheless.

The song of the day is U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" off their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. I've always liked this song, but the video is great. It was filmed during a rooftop performance in downtown Los Angeles, and includes footage of the police (the real police, not the band) shutting down the performance because of traffic constraints. This video just proves that cops are no damn fun:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I had a pretty lazy day today. Wally and I didn't get much accomplished. Actually, Wally got a lot of sleeping and fetching accomplished, so I guess he did pretty well for himself. I spent part of the day running errands and part of the day watching a DVD and am planning on (possibly) running when it cools down this evening.

I realized when I was at the Police concert the other night that I didn't know all their songs. This is probably because the only albums of theirs I own are Synchronicity and their Greatest Hits. I heard a song at the concert I was unfamiliar with but really liked, which led me to look it up on iTunes and sample their early music. The song was called "So Lonely" and is off their debut album Outlandos d'Amour (recorded in 1978). When I sampled their earlier stuff I realized two things: 1) that their earlier stuff sounds different from their later stuff, and you can hear a punk influence in it, and 2) that I REALLY liked it. So I went to Best Buy today and bought the only older discs they had: Outlandos d'Amour and Zenyatta Mondatta. I've been listening to them all day and now have new music to run to. It's sort of weird, like becoming a bigger Police fan after the fact. I was only 12 when they released their final album, Synchronicity, and with the Greatest Hits and the constant airplay, I never had a need to buy any of their older records. I may be 30 years late, but I now have a better appreciation for the band.

On a side note about the Police - I used to work in an office with a girl named Roxanne. We used to sing that song at her all the time. She hated it. Really, really hated it. One night, when about 5 of us were taunting her, singing the song loudly during break, she yelled, "I swear to god, I'm going to change my name!" My supervisor, without missing a beat, said, "I wouldn't go with Gloria."

I also realized while surfing the web last night that one of my very favorite bands from the 80s, The Alarm, had released two new albums within the past 5 years. They broke up ages ago, and and the last decent record they put out was Rain in the Summertime in 1987. I learned from an episode of Bands Reunited that the lead singer, Mike Peters, had left the band under less than favorable circumstances (he walked out in the middle of a major performance and never came back). Today, Peters (who wrote most of The Alarm's music) plays with a band that goes by The Alarm MMVI. The music on those new albums sounds like the old Alarm, and of course, I had to order those, too.

Since I've already mentioned them, I might a well use The Alarm's "Sixty-Eight Guns" as the song of the day. It was recorded for their 1983 debut album Declaration. I saw the band open for Pat Benetar back in the 80s and I'd never heard of them before. This is the song I heard that made me think I needed to find more music by this band. Besides the Beatles, I think I own more albums by The Alarm than anyone else.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In the "news" today, "Paris Hilton vows to prove jail has changed her." Does this mean she'll stop being a spoiled rich whore who thinks that the rules of society don't apply to her? I'm anxious to see exactly how she changes in the future. Her jail time, which amounted to only three weeks, explained why she was temporarily released to house arrest: "I was basically in the fetal position, basically in hysterics ... and having severe anxiety and panic attacks." Um...yeah, I think that would pretty much happen to any person put into jail. In fact, I believe that might actually be the POINT of jail - the idea being that you might want to actually learn a lesson because you wouldn't want to return there. Unfortunately, at the time of her release, she had not been cut as I had hoped she would have been.

I watched the DVD for a movie called "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" this afternoon. The movie is an autobiographical tale based on the memoir of punk musician and author Dito Montiel. The film tells the story of Montiel's youth in Astoria, NY in the 1980s, where he watches his friends lives spiral into the abyss. The film, produced by Sting, stars Robert Downey Jr. as Montiel and Shia Le Beouf as his younger self. Those of you familiar with Le Beouf as the prankster from Disney TVs "Even Stevens" will be surprised and pleased to see him all grown up. This film gives us insight into the actor he will likely become as he gets older, and it reminds us why Robert Downey is so good. The movie is reminiscent of "Basketball Diaries" (without the heroin) and "Garden State" (without the jokes). The film also features Dianne Wiest and Chaz Palminteri as Montiel's parents.

Here's a photo of Wally from the dog park today, where he kept mounting another yellow Labrador for no apparent reason. (He never does that!) Not quite sure why the photo is so small and grainy. I'll have to take a better photo for next week...

The song of the day is "Baby Come Back" by Player off their 1977 self-titled debut album. The group, originally a garage band in Los Angeles, went all the way to #1 on the charts with this poppy hit. I went to see Little River Band in concert in the early 90s and Peter Beckett, guitarist and vocalist of Player, was touring with them as part of the band. He performed this song, which I had forgotten about until I heard it that night. Player bassist Ronn Moss quit the band to pursue his acting career which landed him way up there on The Bold & The Beautiful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

After spending another frigid night in my editing bay, I decided it was time to go buy a space heater. A lot of people at work have them, but as all the bays are just as cold, no one is sharing. After going to three places this morning, I've realized that finding a space heater in Los Angeles in the summertime is not going to be an easy task. I think I may have to order one online.

I finished watching The Guardian today. It was much better than I expected, and gives a lot of insight into the life of Coast Guard swimmers. The movie was easily made more enjoyable by the fact that I got to look at both Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher for 2 hours. In wet clothing. If you're like me in that I knew absolutely nothing about the Coast Guard before I watched this movie, you'll probably find it enjoyable. In fact, I actually feel better knowing they're out there on the water in case I'm ever in a sea accident.

I read this article this morning about how Germany has prohibited shooting of a new Tom Cruise movie there because of his ties to Scientology. All I have to say to that is ha-freaking-ha. Eventually Cruise will spout his mouth off one too many times about his "religion" and Hollywood will no longer want him because of the cost to their movie. Remember when his last movie was coming out and instead of promoting the movie, he was promoting his love for Katie Holmes and Scientology? And now the film he's working on can't use a key location. According to the article, "Germany has long contended the Church of Scientology is not a religion but an exploitative, profit-based business concern." Hmm...maybe the Germans have something there.

Here's a composited panoramic shot I took of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales last month. I don't usually try to take panoramics, where you have to stitch several photos together, but this one came out pretty well.

To continue on in the Canadian vein, the song of the day is "Cuts Like a Knife" by Bryan Adams off his 1983 album of the same name. Aah...early MTV. I remember this as a summer song, sitting around the tv room watching MTV for hours and hours while school was out. I still cringe when I see this one and see the girl dive into the empty swimming pool.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I friend of mine has been in town over the weekend on a work related golf tournament. I met him at a hockey camp in Tahoe last year but he lives in Calgary, so needless to say, I haven't seen him since. By "in town" I mean that he's been in Orange County. When he first asked me if I wanted to come out and see him while he was here, he thought he'd be staying in Newport Beach, so I said no problem. Newport Beach turned into Dana Point turned into, "Hey, can you meet me in San Clemente?" This is how I ended up putting 150 miles on my car last night. I don't often cross through to the other side of the Orange Curtain because when I think of the OC, I think of lots and lots of traffic. (I went to a Ducks game after work one night and it took me 2 hours to get there). Thankfully, it was a Sunday, so I didn't encounter any traffic getting down there. Since it's such a rare occasion that I find myself in that coastal part of Orange County, I had forgotten how beautiful it is. I'd also forgotten how much nicer the freeways are, wider and cleaner, without graffiti tagged on every offramp.

So I drove down to San Clemente where they were having a banquet/party for the golf tournament at a place called Casa Romantica which was a really nice historical estate. It was fun to see John again and to get to catch up. When you meet someone at a hockey camp, most of your conversations take place between drills on the ice when you're both out of breath, or at a bar after ice time when you're sore and everyone is drunk. So, it was nice to be able to sit down and get to know him better. Not to say there weren't a lot of drunks there. Out of maybe 100 people there, I would say 95% of them were Canadians. If there's one definite thing you can say about the Canucks is that those people can DRINK. I don't mean regular person drunk. I mean they can put away copious amounts of alcohol and just keep drinking and drinking. By the end of the night, everyone was pretty hammered. I followed them back to their hotel once the party ended at 10 and we all sat around in the bar there until they stopped serving at midnight. When I left, a decent sized group of them were still down there finishing up their night. And after about 6 hours with a bunch of them, I came away saying "eh" and "aboot" and all those other things they say that make them so endearing.

In honor of the Canadians, the song of the day is "Limelight" by Rush off their 1981 album Moving Pictures. I guess I lied earlier when I said "Tom Sawyer" is the only song I like by them. I can stomach this one, too. Truly, every Rush song reminds me of my friend, Jason, who spent much of his adolescence wearing a Rush t-shirt everywhere. I'm sure Jason would be more impressed if I picked "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" but I don't see it ever happening. (I'm sure if Jason ever decides to procreate, his child will be named Geddy, Neil, or By-Tor (regardless of sex). What can I say? I only like commercially-successful-Rush, not 10-minute-long-songs Rush.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Police concert last night at Dodger Stadium was great. It was surprisingly easy to get both into and out of the stadium area, something I've never experienced before. Admittedly, we DID get there early, and even though we left after the show like everyone else, the fact that my friend and I weren't drunk and stoned probably helped us get to our car and out of the lot quicker.

I haven't been to many concerts in the 12 odd years I've lived in L.A. for a couple of reasons. One is the huge venues, the hard to get and often expensive tickets, and the fact that there's usually several opening bands causing the headlining act to hit the stage sometime around midnight. I knew the Foo Fighters were opening, which I was looking forward to. What I wasn't expecting was to be a spectator for the band Fiction Plane, which hit the stage when there were probably only 1,000 of us in the arena. The main thing I have to say about them is that they totally blew. Seriously. Their sound level was way too high, they sounded like a lame rip off of Soundgarden or some other early grunge band, and the lead singer couldn't seem to find a key and stick with it. I couldn't figure out why this band was opening for the others - two very popular and well known bands. With all the musicians in L.A. you would think they could have found someone (anyone) who was better. Jokingly, I said to my friend, "What, is this guy Sting's son or something?" Well, as it turns out, it WAS Sting's son, Joe Sumner, and Fiction Plane is his band. I checked out some of the band's music today on their MySpace page, and it sounds ok-ish, but man do they put on a horrible live show.

The Foo Fighters put on a great show as I expected they would. They sounded great and put on an excellent show. Dave Grohn even made it a point of getting off the stage and running around the ground area with his guitar so he could get closer to those of us WAY back from the stage. I'm sure it was a disappointment for the Foo Fighter fans in attendance who came just to see them because, since they were the openers, they only played for about an hour.

The Police finally hit the stage sometime after 9pm. It was awesome to finally get to see them live, since I'd been just a little too young to see them on their final tour for Synchronicity. It would have been nicer if I had been close enough to be able to watch the guys in person instead of having to watch the video monitors, but they sounded great. I'd been worried that their type of music wouldn't lend itself well to the stadium arena, but it was fine. I had forgotten until I heard them play hit after hit how inspired they were by reggae music. My biggest letdown of the night: the version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me" was much closer to the 1986 redo than the original version.

For guys who haven't played together in over 20 years, they sounded excellent. Stewart Copeland was right on the mark, and though Sting couldn't hit the high notes anymore, he was Sting full of all those off-rhythm vocal ad libs. I would have to say the weakest part of the band was Andy Summer who managed to miss his cues on several occasions, and I'm pretty sure, played a song in the wrong key for the first verse. All in all, I was just happy they put this reunion tour together so people like me could finally see them live.

The bands weren't the only entertainment there, either. There was Freakishly Obsessed Foo Fighters Fan who did a lot of air drumming. There was Annoying Drunk White Guy Dancing Like A Fool And Pissing Off His Girlfriend. And finally, there were various air guitarists and air bassists (who would choose to be an air bassist?). Some idiots were doing the wave between sets. Apparently, being in the stadium made them feel like they were at a Dodgers game. Other than the bands, it was the same old could even buy a sundae in a helmet. Looking out over the crowd in the darkness, all you could see were open cell phones as concert goers texted friends and called people. Perhaps the concert itself wasn't entertaining enough. The best part was when the stoned guy in front of us tried to shoot a photo with his cell phone through his binoculars, in the hopes that they would work as a zoom lens. The better part was when he seemed frustrated that he couldn't make that work. It was a very entertaining night.

I was so glad the Police didn't do something stupid like play any Sting songs. They did exactly what everybody wanted them to do - they played all the great old songs we know and love. I'll still use Sting for the song of the day, however - "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" off his debut 1985 album The Dream of the Blue Turtles. The album was released only a year after the official break up of the Police (though I didn't know of the breakup at the time). It marks a departure from reggae-rock to a more jazz based style. I loved this album when it came out, but I can't say I saw it as the start of such a mammoth career for Sting and as the definitive end of the Police.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm one busy person this weekend. I'm working Saturday and Sunday (I have Wed/Thu off for now to avoid having to work every night of the week), going to the Police concert tonight, and driving down to Dana Point Sunday to meet up with an old friend.

I read an article on the web yesterday about Cameron Diaz who was in Peru carrying an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and a famous quote from Mao Zedong. The Peruvians, who once suffered decades of violence from Maoist guerrillas, were not amused. I have the same bag that I picked up in China last summer, and upon returning to Pasadena (frequented by many Chinese-Americans) I've often wondered who I might be offending. I hardly use the bag anymore. The Mao quote is "Serve the People." It seems quite innocuous until you consider that, for the Peruvians, the phrase is synonymous with the death of 70,000 of their people.

In honor of the Police concert tonight, the song of the day is "Don't Stand So Close To Me" off their 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta. I was surprised when I looked up the date to see how many of their hits were actually recorded in the 70s. The original version of this song is SO much better than the redux recorded in 1986 for their singles album. The song relates the thoughts of a teacher as he fights against his inappropriate attraction to an underage female student. One thing I've always loved about the Police and their songs is the lyrics and I often wonder if this is the only successful pop song to use the word Nabakov. I didn't realize until I was much older that it referred to the book "Lolita." This is one of my favorite songs by the band, and I can't wait to hear them perform it live tonight.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I returned to work today (for HGTV) after a reasonable amount of time off. It's the first time I've worn pants since I returned home (I've been wearing shorts, not walking around pantsless). I slept horribly last night. It felt like was waking up every 15 minutes. I would have fallen asleep today at work if it weren't for the fact that it was approximately 40 degrees inside my edit bay. Thank god for the pants.

Here's how I know Blogger is full of crap. I decided I wanted to use an Asia song for the song of the day today, but I couldn't remember which one I had used before. I searched my blog for Asia and came up empty. How could that be? I searched the song title I thought I'd probably used, I searched "Wetton," I searched "Alpha" - nothing. How could it possibly be that I've picked a unique band from the 80s every day for over 200 days straight, and somehow overlooked my favorite band of all time from the 80s? How?

The song of the day is "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" by Asia off their 1983 album Alpha. I didn't even need to look up the year. In 1983, I was 12 years old and just getting ready to start junior high school. We had plenty of records around the house but none of them were mine (except that ELOs greatest hits my sister had bought me). I was at K-Mart with my mom and I got to buy two records. I must have had money from something, because I bought them myself. One was Frontiers by Journey and the other was Alpha by Asia. I still have both albums and can't believe I didn't wear either of them out. I can't even imagine the amount of times I played this record, over and over and over. "Don't Cry" was the more commercially successful single, but from the first time I heard it played, this was my favorite song off the album. The video rarely played on MTV, but thanks to YouTube, you can watch it here (it wouldn't let me embed it).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Diane was asking yesterday for photos of my garden, so here they are. I'm not sure it can really be considered a "garden" if it has no flowers in it. Well...there are rose bushes but I chopped them all down. First, here's an old photo of what part of the front area looked like the day I moved into it:

Now, some photos I took yesterday:

Yes, I still need to trim those big bushy tree things. Keep in mind that before I tackled this, it hadn't been touched in a year and there were weeds about knee high EVERYWHERE. The soil is very hard and dry. I asked my dad in Oregon about this and he asked the obvious, "Do you water it?" The answer is no, but sprinklers come on every night. Do I need to do something to loosen the soil up (which sounds like a lot of work) or can I put new soil on top of this? Or bark chips or something?

My days are all messed up and I totally forgot that yesterday was Wally Wednesday and no one reminded me! I found this tiny little Poloroid I took of him when he was a new puppy. Somehow, this seems to be the only true puppy photo I have of him. I don't know if I didn't own a camera back then or what, but here is the little man when he really WAS little:

The song for the day is "The Reflex" by Duran Duran off their 1983 album Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Second to Rio, this is my favorite Duran album. I have a distinct memory from this song. I was in the 7th grade and were were in gym class on the way to the "old gym" in the school (we had two). While we were sitting near the door, waiting for our gym teacher to show up with the keys to let us in, one of the older kids (an 8th grader!!) started singing this song. I'd only heard it once or twice by then, but the kid was older (13!) and he was hot, and the song that I already liked became all that more cooler for me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I have to admit, the fact that I've been off work and not interacting with anyone, reading or watching the news, or doing anything of interest has made it difficult to make an interesting blog. Today I finished cleaning up my garden. It took another 2 1/2 hours and another two Hefty bags. At least it looks 1000 times better, even if there still are roots to some weeds. Wally should be much happier now that he doesn't have to take a machete with him to go take a leak. I also went to the chiropractor. (Chiropractors are much better than dentists). Finally, I also went running again. Very slowly. Yawn. Boring, boring day.

I did read that President Bush (do I really have to keep calling him "president"?) vetoed the stem-cell research bill. It's times like this that I really, REALLY would like to just bitch slap the guy. (Not that I would, Homeland Security People).

The song of the day is "Wild Horses" by Gino Vanelli off his 1986 album Big Dreamers Never Sleep. I have to be honest - I don't know a thing about Vanelli, except that he's the guy who sang "I Just Wanna Stop." In fact, until I looked him up on Wikipedia, I didn't realize he was Canadian. After reading the entire Wikipedia article, I still don't have anything interesting to report about him. What a boring guy. This is one of those songs I discovered going through old 45s at the radio station I used to work at. I liked this song at the time and lifted the single. I found it a few months ago and played it, only to be disappointed. This is truly proof that I will soon need to resort to reusing artists for the song of the day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Slow and boring day today. I had to go to the dentist this morning to get my teeth cleaned. I loathe getting my teeth cleaned, so it wasn't a lot of fun. I haven't had a cavity in years, but now have two. Yay, me! I get to go back in 2 weeks to get those filled. Took Wally for a big walk and then spent too much money at REI. We're now getting ready to watch the final episode of this season's The Shield.

I came across this very cool video today by a band called No More Kings. I certainly might have missed this when I was out of the country, but I checked KROQs site and didn't see their name on the now playing lists. At any rate, the song is called "Sweep The Leg, Johnny" and the video is a send up to the original Karate Kid movie. It was directed by William Zabka who portrayed Johnny in the Karate Kid film. Zabka reprises the role in the video that also reunites all the males from the cast of the film, with the exception of Pat Morita (for obvious reasons). I think I like the video much more than the song. Any of you who have watched the movie 100 times like the rest of us who grew up in the 80s, the video is a must see.

The song of the day is "Closer To Fine" by the Indigo Girls off their 1989 self-titled debut album. I've never been "into" this band per se, but the first time I heard this song back in the 80s, it really struck me. It was nice to hear women performing something that was neither hard rock nor wimpy ballads. The duo is made up of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, whose folk rock music has come to be closely linked to the lesbian movement. I'm just proof that it's OK to like the Indigo Girls and not be gay. Just like it's ok for Kings Fan to love Fall Out Boy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I went running for the second time in a week. I always feel funny calling it "running" because that word evokes gazelles or Kenyans. I go through the same motions, just a lot slower. I've never been a big fan of running as I've never had the speed or endurance for it, but the last time I got into running on a regular basis, I was in much better shape and able to skate much faster, so I'm trying to get into it again. It would be easier to do if it weren't such a miserable tiring sport.

I wanted to let everyone know that I have a complete addiction to The Shield now. A friend recommended it to me some time ago, and I've been able to watch the first 5 seasons on DVD at my own speed (sometimes 4-5 episodes in a single day). When Season 6 started, even though I wasn't done with the DVDs, I Tivo'd all of the episodes for when I would be ready. I'm now halfway through the season and have a hard time turning the TV off each night. On one hand, I want to rush through the remaining 5 episodes to see what happens. On the other hand, I'm trying to savor every moment because I know when I finish watching THIS season, I'll have to wait...and wait...and wait for the next season to air next year. I wish I hadn't started watching until after the show was off the air.

I find it hard to believe that I've never used John Parr for the song of the day, though Blogger says it's so. The song of today is "Naughty Naughty" from his 1984 self-titled debut album. I always liked this earlier hit of Parr's compared to the pop ballad from St. Elmo's Fire that became the bigger hit, co-written by David Foster. "Naught Naughty" is a lot ballsier. Unfortunately, Parr only ever had those two hits before slipping into obscurity. I wonder if he still wears that sweet 80s mullet?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

As I believe I've already mentioned, jet lag is really kicking my ass this time around. I don't think it helps that, for the time being, I don't have a job to wake up for in the morning and, ergo, no real rush to get out of bed. I'd gotten my schedule turned around a bit and woke up pat 9:30am yesterday. However, I had a 10:45 hockey game (we won against our nemesis) and I proceeded to go to Denny's with some of the guys after the game (it was the only place open with food) where we hung out bullshitting until 2am. I didn't get to bed until after 3am, and of course, didn't wake up until very late today. Sigh! I will need to turn this around in the next few days as I start back up at HGTV at 8am Friday.

Sorry for the extremely late post, but I've been waiting until I could finish getting up the rest of my photos to the web. You can go to this page to see them. I took over 600 photos. I believe I posted about 260. Click on the city links at the top of the page to view the photos from that portion of the trip. It's easiest if you use the Slideshow setting.

I watched the movie Deja Vu with a friend this evening. If you're unfamiliar with the film (as I was), it stars Denzel Washington as an ATF agent trying to solve the case of who blew up a ferry in New Orleans, killing over 500 civilians. The movie, also starring Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel, follows his journey as he interacts with a group of scientists on the same case as they attempt to utilize new techno,logy to solve the crime. The film has very noble intentions, but the technology is just...well...quite unbelievable. You should watch it for yourself and look for all the story holes. Nevertheless, relatively entertaining and fun to watch, if only to tear the story to shreds.

Also finished this week, Carl Hiassen's "Nature Girl." I bought it in Australia and just finished reading it. I've long been a fan of Hiassen and his amazing ability to weave together numerous stories and characters into a single, coherent tale. This book is no different, and if you like this author, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It follows several seemingly unrelated stories. One is that of a single mother with unmedicated bi-polar disorder as she tries to teach a rude telemarketer a lesson. Another is of a young Seminole trying to hide from the authorities for a death he wasn't responsible for because he doesn't trust white men - even though he himself was known as "Chad McQueen" for the first 16 years of his life. These stories and others come together in an amusing and entertaining way, as is always the case with Hiassen. Highly recommended for easy and enjoyable reading.

The song of the day is "Kids In America" by Kim Wilde off her 1981 self-titled debut album. The song was actually penned by Wilde's brother and father (both recording artists in their own right) for Kim to record. It sparked a successful career for her, and she went on to become the highest-selling and most charted British female soloist of the 1980s. The song was a summer song, and I always remember it as such. This is a classic 1980s song that everyone knows.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I got out and actually ran yesterday. I went out in the evening when the temperature had cooled and ran a 5k loop in the area. On the upside, my knee didn't lock up and I was able to finish the run. On the down side, it look me just over 33 minutes. Pretty depressing when I used to be able to run it in 27.

I read about this news story out of the Seattle Times on a friend's blog this morning. On May 14, French customs officials quarantined a 35mm film print on its way to Cannes. This is the story of the film: a film crew was shooting a low-budget independent horror film called "The Evil Eye" in islands off Turkey and Greece during the summer of 2006. The crew used a 33 meter long ship as both a principal location and sleeping quarters for the crew. While attempting to shoot a staged explosion at sea on a smaller vessel the director, cinematographer, and sound man were all killed when the boat exploded. Reportedly, another actress had died during additional shooting when the prop knife being used in the scene turned out to be real. The videographer on set, Nick Brown (son of British film editor Barry Alexander Brown), took the footage home and edited it together into a feature film called "Last Looks" which shows the crew members actually dying the screen. Brown says the seizure of the film is "a disguised act of censorship" and went on to say, "One way or another this film will be shown at Cannes, and I predict that people will find, in spite of all the rumors swirling around, that it is a very entertaining movie." I could go on a lengthy rant about all that is wrong with this guy trying to profit off the death of these crew members, but I think I'll assume that you already get it.

The song of the day is "So Alive" by Love and Rockets off their 1989 self-titled album (which was actually their third album). The band was formed in 1985 by two former Bauhaus members. Though the band released several albums and had a decent following, this is the only hit they ever had. I don't believe I've ever heard anything else by them, but every time I hear "So Alive" I have very distinct memories of screwing off in journalism class my Senior year.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I kept thinking I would put off posting today until I had my photos up on the web and ready to be viewed, but that's taking much longer than I anticipated so it will have to wait. I woke up pretty late today. In fact, I don't think I've woken up before 10am since I got back and that will have to change soon. It would help if I actually had an appointment or some reason to get up in the morning, but I don't, and even Wally won't wake me to go out unless he's about to burst. He has a bladder of steel.

Speaking of Wally, I discovered on his collar yesterday a new dog tag that someone put on him when I was gone. In fact, it was Madeline's boyfriend who put it on him. It said:
#1 Anaheim Ducks Fan
2007 Stanley Cup Champions
Poor Wally. He's a Kings dog all the way (no matter how pathetic that might be right now).

I attacked my front garden today. I only have a tiny patio area, it's maybe 10'x10' but there are some rose bushes and other stuff, a lemon tree and such. It actually looked really nice when I moved in, probably because the person who used to live here actually knew how to garden. My ex-boyfriend wasn't good for much, but I could usually make him go out there 3-4 times a year to clear out weeds and cut back the bushes. He's been gone for a year now and the garden hasn't been touched once, aside from a bad job of tree trimming and some dead heading of roses. I was starting to worry I might get a notice from the Board of the Home Owners Association, so I decided to take action. I went out with the few yard tools I have and cleared out a bunch of weeds, trimmed back what I believe is a bush (it might be a weed - I'm truly not sure) and trimmed the horribly overgrown rose bushes. After 2-3 hours I had cleared (badly) about 1/3 of my tiny garden and filled two huge Hefty bags. That is the most gardening I've done EVER in my whole life. I really need someone to point out to me which are weeds and which are bushes so I know what to pull. I should have taken a before photo, but I forgot. Needless to say, I'll have to get back at it again in the next couple of days.

The song of the day is "I Think We're Alone Now" by shopping mall star Tiffany. I hope you all realize what a pain in the ass it was to share the same name with her during since I was in high school at the time and we were the same age. It just never got old when people sang that song at me. This song was a remake of the old Tommy James version and she managed to not completely massacre it. I can't say I ever appreciated Tiffany - her music was far too poppy for me - but I've always appreciated the fact that she doesn't take herself too seriously. Whether it be posing for Playboy, taking part in crappy reality shows, or spoofing herself on sitcoms, she seems to be able to laugh at herself. It makes me not feel so bad about laughing at her on my own.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I need to get back into the swing of things. I keep forgetting to post!

I had a bunch of things to do today like pay all the bills that have been piling up since I've been gone. I also needed to go to the bank. I had some New Zealand currency in my wallet that I forgot to convert while I was still at the airport, and since a friend had told me I could convert it at my bank, I stopped in there to try to get it done. The teller could not have been more put out about converting the money. He kept having to go confer with a manager to figure out what to do. Mind you, this is only $160 NZ which is roughly $120 US, but after being out of work for a month I could certainly use the money. He finally told me he could do it, but it would take 20 minutes. I'd already been standing there for about 15, so I said, "Forget it, I'll just take care of it somewhere else." Then he said if I gave him my account info and the cash, he could get it converted and just deposit it into my account and I wouldn't have to wait. I told him that was fine. He got a copy of my card and license and wrote out the amount of cash, then the problem. I asked for a receipt. He went to confer again and came back to say that he couldn't give me a receipt because he didn't know the exchange rate yet. I sighed and tried not to point out the obvious fact that my computer could tell me in about 2 seconds. I told him, "I just want some sort of receipt to show that you have received this money from me, in case it doesn't end up in my account for some reason." He laughed and said, "Well...we're pretty good at this." Yes, B of A just overflows with competency. This is why I try to never have to actually enter the bank and deal with actual people.

Some of you have asked me about next season of BL and when I'll be going back. The fact of the matter is I will not be returning next season, at least not at the beginning. I got promoted to my position when the editor I worked for left to do a pilot with the same production company. My promotion came with the caveat that if his show got canceled, he would return to take back his position. Well it did, and so did he. They offered me my old job back but I didn't really want it, nor did I want to push out my own assistant who had also been promoted. They did say they were happy with my work and that I would be the first person they'd call if another opening came up. In the meantime, I'm going back to freelance editing for the company that does a lot of HGTV shows, and am looking for a union job as hard as I can. Wish me luck because I don't really have an extensive resume for editing.

The song of the day is "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" by The Models off their 1985 album of the same name. I quick scan of their Wikipedia sight will show that several musicians came in and out of the band over their nearly 10 year run as a new wave/glam rock band out of Melbourne, Australia. This particular album was their most commercially successful, and in fact, this is really the only song I remember from it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm home! I finally got in yesterday around 3pm after a 12 hour flight from Auckland. It wasn't too bad except for the emo girl behind me who managed to kick or bump my seat about every 10 seconds. And the guy sitting beside me who really smelled. And the infant two rows up with the chronic cough. Other than that, not too bad.

I managed to sleep a bit on the plane (thank you, Valium!) so I was able to stay up all yesterday. I actually managed to stay up until about 10pm, and then woke up at 6:30 this morning feeling good and happy to be on a regular schedule again. I was all proud of myself for waking up that early and not being jet lagged or anything. But it was really comfortable in my own bed. Plus, I had absolutely NOTHING to get up for. So I fell asleep again. And then again. And again. Before I knew it, it was nearly noon. Damn you, jet lag!

Today, I went and bought some food (I didn't have much left in the house), and then sifted through a 2 foot high mound of mail which resulted in approximately 10 pieces that I actually needed. The rest was all junk mail. I was happy to find a final paycheck from work and a vacation check. Whoo-hoo! I also forgot to exchange my New Zealand currency so I need to go to the bank to do that, as well.

Wally has been ecstatic to see me, as I'm sure you can imagine. I was happy to fall asleep on the bed last night with him laying beside me. It's Wally Wednesday, by the way. I haven't had time to take any photos of him, but here's one from his 7th birthday that Madeline took while I was away. He's not that unhappy - he just squints any time you use a flash!

In honor of my trip, the song of the day is "Vacation" by the Go-Gos off their 1982 album of the same name. Nothing sums up happy music like the Go-Gos! And though the lyrics don't necessarily describe my trip, the tone certainly does.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Images from Sheep World:

Yes, that last one is a tiny baby pig playing with sheep dog puppies. :)