Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Mixing Mystery

I've been working up this new song, and last night I felt like I had a good mix... but it had been a few hours with the cans on, and it was hard to tell.  So I burned a CD for the car today.

The mix, it was terrible.

But I listened to the song a good dozen times throughout the day, and began to realize what was wrong, bit by bit.  The snare wasn't REALLY too soft, it was the bass creating too much "boom" in the mix, it was throwing off the other parts.  Also, there was a part that created a horrible clash at two parts of the song, which was odd because note-wise it was just right.  But the OVERTONES were out of tune?

I came home and sprinted upstairs, spent an hour applying the "lessons" I'd learned, and suddenly the mix "gelled" in a beautiful way.  But I didn't change any notes, or really any sounds... it was just in how they were mixed.

There's probably a life lesson in there somewhere - where you have fixed elements of your world, and rather than pitching any of them over the side, look to fix the mix a little.  

Or maybe not.  Maybe it's just music.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The hardest thing...

The hardest thing about getting a new gig is dealing with the other gigs you had in the pipeline.  I swear I wish I could clone myself...

I had a VERY nice call from one of the prospects asking me to call when this gig is over, and the other one made the same offer...  I also think this means that the Consulting Market is officially "warming up" a little bit.  That, or my resume has got REALLY good.  ;->

The new song has rolled round my head all day, and I'm ready for a second draft tonight!  I'm feeling pretty alive these days.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

On the EBay

I'm cleaning house - I have stuff up on the E-Bay.  A Powercore Compact and a Microwave XT.  Basically the almost last vestiges of "outside the computer" synths.  All that will remain is the big Yamaha, which may go and get replaced by an simple controller keyboard... or maybe not.

I started a new song tonight on the big G5:  "I, Consultant".  It's the first in a series for an epic EP by my new band "Project Manager"...  watch for more info.   The flow is good on this song, and I have high hopes!

To wrap up the posts about the illness in the house - Bella recovered a few days later, but Pamela got it, and she's only just now feeling "up to snuff".  Poor sickies.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still Workin'

I finally got an exit date on my longest-term client (2.5 years at a hospital system) for 3/31 - a date that was apparently selected by the CIO for cost cutting measures, having no regard for where the project was at. I've been working on my transition, however, and was starting to look for my next gig.

I had one opportunity possible through my current firm, and one outside of my firm... Both sounded interesting, but the inside gig was a software eval and RFP, and would require navigating a political maze of Cardiologists. The outside gig was a step back in time for my resume doing a big Data Warehouse, and would have been a 40 minute commute.

Out of the blue Thursday, I got a call from a peer at my current firm, grilling me on some skills I have. By 4pm she had my latest resume. By 2pm Friday I had an interview at ANOTHER hospital - this would be managing development and production environments for a huge system install: Cards on the table, I haven't done this before, but I know what to do. It's in a very hot bit of software, would grow my skills, and it's early in the project, so it's being PROACTIVE rather than reactive. Add to this, I have some friends on the team already, AND it's 10 min from my home.

The interview went VERY well - By the end, we were talking about WHEN I start, not IF. Then I had a conference call to get on for another client - and they let me use an office. While I was on this call, I was watching my email, and saw the proposal, the statement of work, and the approvals all come across, so when I left at 4pm, I knew I had the job.

And it involves a raise too! So no work worries for many more moons, and this sets me up even better for the NEXT gig.

It was a good day.

The new Coffee Shop

After two months of being in the "NEW" space at my client, the espresso shop in the basement is FINALLY open. Now, when I can, I like a post-lunch double espresso to keep me going until my "just got home" espresso before dinner (this is after the two "wake up" espressos before leaving the house... THANK YOU CAPRESSO).

So I went on Tuesday, got a great cuppa in a small 3-oz cup. Went on wednesday, got a great cuppa in a small 3-oz cup. On Thursday, I asked for my Double... and it came in an 8 oz cup.

Immediately, a short woman with a clipped british accent was at my side - apparently the manager in mufti - scolding the employee that she had used the wrong cup, and apologizing to me. Now, I'm pretty used to getting a double in a big cup - not many shops actually have the mini cups these days.

"Oh no, sir, an Espresso is a premium drink, and people who appreciate espresso are premium customers. You deserve the full experience!" I thanked her, but said that since the cup is already dirty, I'll be happy to use it. Then she took the cup and peered inside...

"I see that the espresso was well made, at least" eyeing the crema. She then told me "You let me know if you ever get an espresso with a less than perfect golden crema. True coffee fans appreciate the crema, and wouldn't dream of polluting the drink with milk or (shudder) flavored syrups....".

At this point, I realized I'm dealing with a lunatic the likes of which I hadn't seen since working for Ed Dunn in St Paul, who had very fixed ideas of what was appropriate for people to order: "There is no such thing as a LARGE CAPPUCINO, sir. CAPPUCINO is a drink with a doubleshot of espresso, a thin layer of thick frothed milk, and a dollop of the light froth. IT CANNOT BE MADE LARGER!!!!!"

The next day, the Brit was gone, but the espresso was served properly. I heard she was back to the corporate offices in New York. She had offered the Barista additional training in how to truly prepare exceptional coffee... and the company training center in Milan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Is there anything sadder for a parent than hearing your child puking? Poor Bella walked in the house tonight and let loose on the foyer rug (it was on it's way out anyway...), and then spent the evening spitting up whatever was left, water, pedialyte, oxygen, parameciums, and the cosmic ether, apparently.

It's just so hard... and she's being very polite - telling us to watch out because here comes some more, and don't get it on our clothes, and maybe we should leave the room so we don't get sick too?

Such a sweetie. All indications are this is a fast but fierce one (perhaps related to the evil that waylaid me a few weeks back?)

Back to the bedside! Suffice it to say, the Olympics shall be Tivo'ed and savored at a later time.

Monday, February 20, 2006


So I've had a 30" Philips Hi-Def TV for a year up in our sitting room and used it for movies only... but the other night I watched the Olympics in HD at a neighbor's... and it was a revelation. This coincided with my general "being tired" of having that TV in the sitting room, which is a very cute space and didn't deserve all of those wires causing trouble.

So last night we did a TV Fire Drill: Living room TV to basement in front of workout gear... perhaps that will inspire. HD tv to living room. Hook up the big surround sound.

Today we finished the deal: Traded in the DVR for an HD DVR from the cable company, and voila, I'm watching figure skating RIGHT NOW in glorious hi-def... and have also set up the hi def for movies too... while maintaining an "easy" hookup for Bella's VHS and DVD movies with another player.

Ooooh, it is very nice. And you can sure see the wrinkles. And thanks to Paul Sebastien for his comment about Discovery HD - that's just gorgeous too.

And the sitting room is looking more inviting than ever. I have a new-ish Iain M Banks book that's been dying to get itself read.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cute Girl Moments:

Last night, over the course of play, Bella came up with three dog names:

"Bucket", "Pig", and "Fair and Square"

I need to get three dogs now.

Update: My wife has been napping this afternoon, and it is a delicate dance to wake her up from these slumbers - done wrong, there will be crabbiness. So I have to regularly pop in and ask how she's coming along on the wakeup... Just a minute ago, she (after assuring me thrice earlier that she was AWAKE dang it), she said:

"Just fine - I just finished filling your rubber head cast with plaster"

Oh yeah, she's AWAKE.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I just watched the movie MOOG - a documentary about Dr Robert Moog. Most of it was filmed in 2003/2004, and it's made bittersweet by the fact that Bob was back on top in that era, having released a very excellent update to the minimoog called the "Voyager" that was selling well and getting him many kudos... and there was a big concert in his honor... and then he died quickly last year (2005) of a brain tumor (which happened after the film was released, so it's not addressed).

Moog was a big earth daddy nerd - never fewer than 4 pens in his shirt pocket, and very into his geeky details, but a very gentle, amiable guy. There are scenes where he just looks confused, like when DJ Shadow is telling him about how sampling is just another sort of modular synthesis, and when Rick Wakeman and Bernie Worrell are comparing playing a minimoog to romancing a woman....

But my favorite parts were when he was explaining his inventions - because while he loved the music people made with his synths, HIS love was in making the instruments, and knowing that once they left him, they'd be used to make people happy. He explained that every one of his designs is his artwork, and when you play his instrument, it's like he's there helping you. It made me knuckle away a tear, and really really really want to get one of his machines in here just to noodle with.

Not a fantastic movie (there are some sort of painful "music jam" moments that are perhaps lingered on too long) but a fantastic guy and worth viewing for that!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


It's been 5 days since getting home and I'm only now starting to feel like I'm really BACK. I feel like I've been in a bit of a haze (solving client crises also made the time FLY by). I've also consciously NOT blogged for a few days so that my full trip would stay on the main page... but as of now, you officially need to click on the "February" link on the right to see them all. SORRY!

Today was very quiet at work, so I spent my work time listening to radio shows in german again... I tried in Spanish for a while, but it was very distracting - for some reason German is more soothing. Dear god what am I SAYING?

The blog is called Jimventions - and part of the reason is that I was going to make up a crazy invention every day or so. The problem is that I actually came up with some pretty interesting product ideas, and they're LODGED in the brain demanding that I draw up designs for them, and they're effectively not letting anything else out. So my apologies - you'll just have to wait until I get my bajillion dollar idea fleshed out a bit before you'll get my "automated ketchup slicer" or whatever.

And here endeth the random posting for the night.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sea World and Home again!

Yesterday, we did Sea World:

First we had breakfast at the hotel: Now, no blaming here, but Pamela did manage to drop the camera onto the pavement upon our re-arrival in San Diego - and this was the third time it had been dropped... this time, the body busted open. We were talking about it at breakfast, brainstorming solutions, and the manager, Anna, walked by and heard us mention Duct Tape... and minutes later, she was AT the table with Duct Tape and scissors. Anna was a sweet woman, and this did keep the camera working for the day (we're up to over 500 pictures, by the way!)

It was a slightly cool but very clear day, which made for pretty small crowds all day at Sea World! We managed to see everything! We started with the Shamu Show, which was in the "smaller" arena (off season and all). Man, those are some big whales. Then we hustled over to the Seal comedy show, which was predictably mild, but the pre-show comedy bit was one of the only things Bella stated as her favorite bits of the day...

We visited Penguins, Walruses, Manatees... All SOOO cute. Bella and Jenny were a bit crabby for the day, but whenever we entered an aquarium area, they were RAPT - they loved the fish... except for the sharks. Bella hollered that she didn't want to see any sharks, she doesn't like them, she doesn't even want to see them... until the very end, when she DEMANDED to be brought back in for another look.... Another moment was when she was exploring the "Polar Bear Cave", and a recorded ROAR filled the cave - her eyes widened and she bolted for mom (she just retold me that story at bedtime tonight)

They had a Pets show with dogs, cats, geese, pigs, etc. That was impossibly charming... with trained Cats? I honestly had no idea that could be done, but here they were all running around climbing stuff on cue! All I could think was that there were a LOT of treats hidden around for them - I can't imagine them doing it for love like the dogs do. Nothing against cats - I just don't think of them as able to be motivated in the same way as dogs.

Bella also pet a starfish, a Dolphin, and gave a good college try at petting a Manta, but the water was a bit too deep for her (but I did pet the Rays - LOTS). We also saw the Dolphin show, which was just great for a few reasons, two of which were PILOT WHALES - it was just amazing to see those big whales in the same ring as the Dolphins! Also, they TOTALLY fooled us with a gag - they had a family sitting to the side in "honors" seats, and the "Dad" leaned out to take a picture and fell in... to be nosed around by dolphins and a pilot whale... turns out he was a trainer in disguise, but they had us hooked!

The food was very good for lunch - the Annheiser Busch people have a flagship area (with Clydesdales wandering around, including a baby!), with a surprisingly good kitchen and beer tasting. I enjoyed tasters of a Lager and a Stout, which I had no idea the Bud people were selling, but hey, they were great. Went well with the beer brat!

By the end of the day, the girls were ready to chill out... so we caught the bus back to the Dana, and did room service, and the girls watched Chicken Little (which I sure wonder how that worked for them - it was all sight and reference gags and some surprisingly mean spirited revenge bits... but maybe that was only at our level - the girls thought parts were funny and it didn't damage their psyche).

The funny line from last night - Bella was being a bit pokey on finishing her mac and cheese, so we assumed she was done, and asked if she wanted dessert... She waved it off and said she wasn't done. 10 minutes later, she calls over to us: "HEY MOM: is THIS done enough for ya?" Holding up the empty mac and cheese bowl with a big grin... and then she took her dessert. Absolutely out of nowhere this was.

This morning came early - 6am wakeup, and a quick shower for me... and then the water main busted and the whole hotel was out of water. So Pamela had to wait until tonight to hose off! We did go to the hotel restaurant, where the Manager (Anna again) was determined to serve, water or no water: She filled up tons of water glasses and made a dozen pots of coffee right when she heard about the water troubles... so everyone got what they needed. She was getting worried about dishes, but told us "The people need to be fed - I will serve them on Paper Plates if I need to". Anna was a treasure.

A quick drive up to LAX, easy checkin, easy flight again. Bella was a real trouper AGAIN: I mean, 2 hours drive, the bustle of the airport, and a 4 hour flight, and she was still in a great mood... Nothing hilarious to report... though to kill the last hour, Bella and I read the SkyMall catalog from end to end. She liked the giant fake rocks you can use to hide unsightly septic plumbing - she thought they'd be good for protecting flowers from the rain.

When we got home, I bolted out to get a Burrito in that girl. It's 9pm now, and she's just winding down - but she is VERY excited about being home - she started dressing her dolls and setting up a "party", and was telling me what she liked about her week, and even asked when we get to go to Disney again!

And this ends the vacation BLOG - it was an amazing week, and we got SO much out of it - and I would have never expected we could have achieved so much with a 3 year old in tow, but she was really a great traveler, and always game for adventure!

Thanks to y'all for reading!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Back to San Diego

The drive from Disney to San Diego was very smooth - Bella passed the time watching Dora on the iPod Video, and then singing songs... We checked into the Dana Inn - which is just up the block from SeaWorld, and was billed as having a massive renovation... which they did - from the Lobby eastward, it's all new, in classic white spanish architecture, updated facilities, etc. Of course, we're in the western end of the property, which is still forest green MOTEL units... but it's very charming in a retro way.

The squirrels raced over to the pool (a toasty 80 degree pool) and swam for an hour, then Randy and I went out to get... IN-N-OUT burgers! Ah these sweet little burgers - so delicious! And their menu is so minimal: Burger, cheeseburger, fries, shake. That's it! Everybody wears white, the counters gleam, and they're so darn polite... Sort of the Disney of fast food? All I know is that my tummy was happy.

The girls watched The Rescuers on the laptop while we noshed... and then it was off to bed. Today we go to Seaworld!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On the way out...

Two details on the way out of Disney:
1) We watched a Koi feeding frenzy outside of the hotel: The nice guy was letting any kid out onto the platform to grab a handful of fish food and have them swarm, giving "fish kisses". These fish were so excited they were leaping out of the water. Bella and Jenny were fascinated, but declined the honor of feeding them.

2) At our Brunch with Goofy, guess who showed up? Burt from Mary Poppins - this time as a chimney sweep (yesterday he was dandied up). He of course remembered Bella and Jenny, and plopped right down to sing and color again, and was there for around 20 minutes, completely NOT going from table to table. And he waved over Pluto and Goofy and we all had a very casual playtime - Bella was frolicking with Pluto quite a bit. She was dancing and laughing - she was just enchanted by Pluto!

Goofy took my water glass and went out to the porch to put his feet up, so we joined him for some loafing off... We got some great pictures of us all just kicking back with Chef Goofy.

You know, you see these ads for Disney showing families getting quality time with "characters" and you think "oh sure, THAT'll happen". And here we were getting all sorts of great one-on-one time with Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Mary Poppins, even the Mad Hatter?

One slightly grim image sticks with me as the "tell" of the Disney Experience: A very well dressed "manager" type standing over a pile of kid-puke on the sidewalk, politely waving people to either side, waiting for a clean-up. At other times, I saw gardners and clean up guys giving very detailed directions and even carrying things for people. Service is truly an art for these people!

We left Disney very very impressed and satisfied.

Final Disney Morning

Today we're off to San Diego - but first a "Character Brunch" at Goofy's Kitchen...

Today's Word from Bella is "Tiperator" (tip-er-ay-tor). She's used it in the past too, but today she said "It's Tiperator, and that means I want to keep it FOREVER!" A few days ago she said "It's fine and tiperator, and that means it's FANCY!"

So Tiperator it is.

To conclude the evening last night, we had very good Neopolitan Pizza, and hit the park for a last run: The Enchanted Tiki Birds were wonderful (and retro-tastic). And we got in one last Carousel, Dumbo Ride, and K.C. JR Circus Train... and that closed the park.

Bella fell asleep in the stroller again, so night night was easy, though she woke up a few times in the night shouting about rides or sites, so I'm pretty sure her brain is chock full of the experience, and one more day would probably make her explode. I know OUR feet are KILLING us, and I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing drive down to San Diego... and no plans for the night. Tomorrow, SEA WORLD!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Midpoint Report

Allright, forget all about sequential: I need to tell you about what happened this afternoon! We had a great day in general, and were on our way back to the hotel for swimming, when we spotted Mary Poppins and Burt strolling along, so we tailed them. They sat down at some tables in a cafe and we walked up to them. They were politely not signing autographs, but invited Jenny and Bella to sit down and do some coloring with them.

After a little hesitation, they both plopped down, Bella by Burt (the Dick Van Dyke character), and Jenny by Mary Poppins. And they grabbed paper and crayons, and colored. And talked to them, and sang songs together... for over 45 minutes.

Bella and Jenny had a 45 minute private playtime with Mary Poppins and Burt, COMPLETELY impromptu. It wasn't exclusive, but lots of people just ran up wanting autographs and pictures, and they weren't giving either - they invited people to play if they wanted - and a few kids did on and off, but Bella and Jenny were SO into it. And I can't stress this enough - even though other kids came and went, Bella and Jenny were really getting the one-on-one treatment.

This was just one of the most incredible things yet on an incredible vacation.

Which we needed, because this morning, both girls woke up a bit grouchy - and who wouldn't after all of the stimulation of the days? They really needed some downtime, and so after a quiet, separate morning, we met at Toon Town, which is sort of a free form playland, where bella also got to meet Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

Finally, about the consumerist frenzy from the night before - Bella did not let us forget it - right away this AM she said she wanted a toy... and we had put her off yesterday by saying "tomorrow". So we stopped in many shops and we held all manner of toys in front of her, and she would give an imperial shake of the head NO.

But when we went into Tomorrowland, she immediately fixated on a SILVER ROBOT Pluto, with lights that walked, and she gave the queen's nod - this would be her toy.

And after all of the princess stuff and the mickey and minnie and everything, it warmed my heart that at the very end of it, she picked a DOG and a ROBOT. My little girl is a geek at heart.

More later!

One more thing about Superawesome Day

The Mommys did Space Mountain - did I forget to mention that? They were very proud of their bravery, and they got a picture of themselves screaming. Again, I post: "THE MOMMYS DID SPACE MOUNTAIN!!!!!!"

It's the next day now (Wednesday), and Bella slept in to 7am! Randy and Mae are out having a morning "date" for coffee and pastry, and we have the Squirrels for a little while.

A big day ahead - lots on the agenda!

Jimmy OUT (and off to find some espresso!)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh - there's a fire

There's a huge fire someplace near LA - there is a huge plume of smoke over the horizon and the sky has a yellowish tint in places... and there's ash floating down over everything!

Yesterday the smell of smoke was strong (but not acrid - more like a fireplace), but today it was better.

Yet strangely, my asthma has not kicked in even a little bit! And that's the story of the fire.

Superawesome DAY

So Bella woke up at 6am again... and I ventured out to find some stronger coffee, only to find that (after walking all the way up and down Downtown Disney) that everything opens at 8, except for the coffee shop 20 feet from the entrance of my hotel, which had been open the whole time! A Quad espresso got the day started right (along with my constitutional walk...)

The park opened 1 hour early for Hotel guests, so we had the run of the place from 9-10, which let Randy and I do Astro Blasters, Space Mountain, and the Matterhorn (what a charming old ride - but very jarring!) Pamela and the girls did tons of the Fantasyland rides like the Teacups and Small World (sparing me the horror!).

Randy and I hightailed over to California Adventure for some more rides - worried that the lines would start forming... turns out we needn't have - someone forgot to tell the world that that park was open today - every ride we did, there was NO line. In the course of 2 hours, we did the Tower of Terror (the 13 story elevator drip ride), the Soaring over California (IMAX flying movie with hanging chairs and dangling legs), the big California Screamin' roller coaster (TWICE), and two other non-premium rides. After this, my "jones" for rides has been satisfied. And my Inner Ear was letting me know in no uncertain terms that enough is indeed enough.

To put in perspective, the guidebooks say to plan to hit ONE or TWO of these rides in a typical day at the park. We hit FOUR in two hours. To all the people in the world I say, the first week in February is an excellent time to come here. I'd suggest homeschooling your children just so that you can take them this week instead of waiting for a busy time.

For lunch, we went to Ariel's Grotto - and it was a PRINCESS EXPLOSION - my god. Ariel, Belle, Mulan, Snow White, Aurora (?), Shoshanna, Trixie, Zlontar... actually just the first 5. They went from table to table signing autographs and talking to the little princesses, and taking pictures.

At some point, Disney started working this Princess Cult thing, and the little girls go flipping NUTS at the concept of these ladies. They wander around the park at a slow saunter and little girls in princess dresses flock after them like ducklings!

We did more rides, and got home for a quick nap... 5 very busy hours followed by 2 hours of rest. Halfway through naptime, I got up and made my way to the arcade. 4 pinball games, and one round of Dance Dance Revolution - an indignity made better by the fact I was dancing to a Specials song, and there was NO one else there.

After naptime, it was back to Disneyland for more rides - Autopia for driving, the Pooh Honey dream, Peter Pan, the Storyland boat. And maybe the only disappointing meal - Mexican food done very much in the "mess on a plate" style of ChiChis. We closed the park down at 8pm and started back home.

Bella had her first meltdown about not being able to buy something - we let her just cry it out... for 20 minutes... oh well! In general, she's holding up VERY well considering how much we're packing into these days. I wonder if us Adults are holding up as well...? One sleepy daddo signing off for the day.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Bellman's Lament

While bringing some luggage up to Randy's room, the Bellman was telling us about the sad state of employment at Disney: Back 20 years ago when this guy started, a Disney job was very coveted by teens, and they paid a good dollar over minimum wage. These days, they have a hard time hiring - and they only pay $.40 over minimum.

Add to this, they have pretty rigid rules for conduct and appearance: No piercings (one pair earrings for females, none for guys), no visible tattoos, no facial hair on men. He said they hold orientations, and half of the people drop out by the midpoint - this is an 8 hour day!

In summary, the Bellman lamented that kids weren't as into the job as he was (and is), and was extrapolating conclusions about the general state of kids and their work ethics, while also questioning management decisions, while hoping they'll move to a more career-focused pay scale which might encourage more professionalism.

With all that said, I have to say that every single person we've interacted with here has been enthusiastic, polite, and extremely helpful. If there are problems, it's certainly not showing to the public!

So much to tell

Yesterday at the San Diego Zoo - I forgot to mention the kid show we attended: Creepy Crawly Critters. Now, all the kids were in front, but I was off to the side... There was one participation bit where people were asked whether they thought the walking stick was a boy or a girl.. I didn't answer to either because I just didn't know and didn't want to make an emotional decision... and the presenter lady called me "sleeping guy". Several more times, she picked on "sleeping guy"... and at the end, "sleeping guy" was invited up for a extra special treat: To eat BUGS. You all must know that Bugs are my big phobia. So it was pretty big of me to crunch down those dried mealworms and not hurl and scream and run from the park.

Today, we made it up to Disneyland! And we were supposed to meet Randy, Mae, and Jenny at 4pm or so, but the MAGIC just started right away - they were in the lobby right when we walked in! We did split up though, they had Princess business to start and we needed to unpack.

We Monorailed - wait - I just need to say this. Mom, Dad, I have harbored a secret resentment for years - I always wanted to ride the Disney Monorail, but we never did. Today, I rode the monorail, my dream since youth... and the driver asked if I (we) wanted to ride up front in the pilot's car! Just us and a retarded guy, and that was just fine, because I think ALL of our dreams came true. Ok, back to the story.

We Monorailed into Tomorrowland (which has been redone with a retro Jules Verne look, better than the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers look of the 70s it had last time I was here. I immediately went for Space Mountain, and it was FANTASTIC - A pure thrill ride! And it instantly transformed me back into an 11 year old boy. I was yelling and laughing the whole time!

When I got out, there was a message from Randy - he had some Fastpasses to Space Mountain when I was ready (these are a "reservation" to the front of the line - VERY cool) - so 10 minutes later, I was on the ride AGAIN.

Then we did Star Tours, which was a Star Wars inspired "bumpy movie" ride - which was pretty fun, but it made me a little woozy... The design of the LINE environment was actually better than the ride I think... While we were riding, the girls were hearing a story read by a princess, and got to sit with her and get her autograph. Jenny was in heaven.

I should say that Disneyland was VERY spare today - most rides were a 5 minute wait, and even the hottest were not more than 30.

We went back to the hotel for some Swimming - Bella was a bit timid, but Jenny was a swimming MACHINE - the lifeguard asked her to swim all the way across the pool by herself to prove she could do the waterslide - and she DID - to even Randy's amazement! Good old Foss Swim School!

Dinner was at the Blue Bayou - which is inside of the Pirates of the Carribean ride (???) and the meal was delicious - like good even outside of a Theme park good. Pamela got the Pork Tenderloin, and no kidding, it was well over a pound of meat - the pictures will prove it.

Then off to the big Parade, where we got some great seats on the route just 15 minutes before the show... and lo, we were at one of the "performance stops" - which means they stopped the parade do do a mini show right in front of us. We got some great pictures, and Bella and Jenny got special attention by ALL of the princesses!

Are you getting the picture that the day was about as perfect as you could possibly get? The weather was warm but not hot, no lines, and things just kept falling into place. Little bits of MAGIC kept happening.

We ended with Pirates of the Carribean and the Jungle Adventure. Bella loved Pirates - she said "I liked ALL of the parts of it". She was a bit disappointed to learn that there would be no pirates in the Jungle Adventure. (apparently headhunters and animatronic Hippos weren't exciting enough.. she started nodding off). Time to go home!

On the way back to the hotel, both girls fell asleep in their strollers, and were out by 8pm. We just needed to transfer them into their beds, and our work was DONE.

So the first day of Disney was as good as it gets... wonder what'll happen tomorrow?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

First update - ADDENDUM

Dinner tonight at the hotel: A "Footlong Vienna Hot Dog" for me. What I was not prepared for was that it was over 12 inches long, but over 1" in DIAMETER - this thing was MASSIVE. Honestly, it was hard for me to even start it. I didn't even eat half of it.


First Update from CA

Allright, this is a blog, so I'll blog about the vacation! The flight went smoothly yesterday, with Bella and Jenny being VERY well behaved on the plane - they only got squirrely at the very very end. Then, two hours by car down to San Diego from LAX. In a Land Rover LR3. I got an upgrade through Hertz Gold (a perk of AMEX - along with the Worldclub permissions too.) But that doesn't explain it all - yes it is ridiculous luxury. But it's fun!

Last night, we were pretty cashed by 5pm, bella was getting loopy, so we just did room service and watched the Wallace and Grommit movie on Pay per View. The resort is "Paradise Point" - owned by the same people who own Little Palm Island that we loved.

On the way down: a sexy sports car with the following BLINGED out license plate holder: "MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST". Only in So-Cal, baby.

Today, breakfast at the marina. A huge Kingfisher sat a table away... looking quite regal, yet surreal.

Then it was the San Diego ZOO, and we had a complete blast. We were there for 6 hours, and saw almost everything. We took the bus tour, two sky rides, saw Elephants, saw a Rhinoceros' willy... ate food.... were harassed by a peacock. Basically, this is the best zoo on earth - such lush greenery too, we were just intoxicated by the environment.

The Hippo gave a good show - running around on the floor of his pool. The Meerkats were adorable, as were the Foosa, which I didn't know actually existed (I thought they were made up for Madagascar).

On the way there and back, the talking GPS-directions unit kept us on the straight and narrow - but every time it says "point five miles ahead" Bella groans "Oh no, FIVE MILES?" Because right now, in her brain, FIVE is the biggest number. So she thinks this unit is telling her to have INFINITE patience!

It was a bit chillier than expected (60s) so swimming is out, as is beach lollygagging. What we'll do this evening is anyone's guess. But tomorrow... DISNEY!!!! Also, we'll meet back up with Randy, JeMae, and Jenny (who are visiting family right now, which is why Bella may be a bit stir crazy).

That's it for now. Pictures will be posted at the end of the trip, superfriends.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Off to Disney

Posting will be even less frequent than usual as the family goes to southern California today for a week of Disney, Seaworld, and the San Diego Zoo. I'll post stories as possible, but that's the scoop!