Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Currently Reading: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

You know, I think you have to be an adult to really appreciate toys these days. I was walking through the toy department on the way to the groceries the other day and of course they have the latest toys on display right at the ends of the aisles where everyone can see them. Right now there's a big push for Spiderman toys because of the movie.

I stopped and looked at a few of them and they really are pretty cool. You can get little shooting things to strap to your wrists that shoot silly string (the cans and shooting things are smaller now than previous versions). The action figures don't just move their arms and legs either. Now they come with all sorts of spring-activated action moves. They also come with props too. Back when I was a kid, they just came with a gun. Now, you get a gun or two or three, maybe a few swords in the mix too. You also get something for your super hero to knock down or throw or pose on or any number of things depending on the super hero.

Did I mention a lot of these things talk now? Oh sure. Who wants a boring old action figure that just sits there and you have to supply the words? What about a gun where you have to actually go BANG when you fire it? No, not these days. These days damn near every toy gun supplies its own sound effects and a lot of them actually fire something.

I guess most of this is caused by video games. Back when I was a kid, video games were blocky, they didn't have much of and they hardly transported you to a mystical realm where all sorts of cool things happen to cool people. If you wanted that sort of thing, you had to do it yourself. Not anymore.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ninja Warrior; Updates

Currently Reading: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Ok, first the updates. Still working. Almost done with grooming school. Getting better at grooming, thank goodness. Lost another bather, this time through more interesting circumstances but I can't go into that here. CC's doing her seminars over in Manila for the next three weeks or so and yes, I'm a bit grumpy about that.

I am also happy to say that after 4 days, the apartment hasn't fallen in on itself. There aren't any piles of garbage anywhere, no rodents the size of small dogs hanging out with us. I've kept the place in fairly good order though I really do need to finish up a few chores. My "to do" list on my PDA keeps getting longer and longer. The problem is, you see, CC left on Friday. That means all the stuff she normally would have done Saturday and Sunday became my chores and they'll remain my chores until she gets back. We had all the housework split up pretty well between us but now it's all mine so I've got to cram it in when I can.

What also makes this a little tricky is that we've lost another bather, as I said, so my schedule got changed up a bit and I ended up having to work an extra day to cover. At that point it's simple math. More chores plus less time equals lost of things left undone. Not to worry though, I'll get to them either today or tomorrow. I've finally reached my weekend :-)

There's a show I've been watching lately over on G4 Tech called Ninja Warrior. They're rebroadcasting a Japanese show, one of those game shows where you have to work your way through an obstacle course. It's the sort of thing that would never take off over here because we just don't like our TV that way. You see, since they started doing this show 10 years ago, only two people have ever made it all the way to the end. Two winners in 10 years. Think about that. We lost interest in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after just a few years because there didn't seem to be enough winners.

Anyway, the second winner is a guy I've seen several times. He's been doing the course for years but never made it all the way through until the last one. Here's video of all 4 of his stages. You can see this is NOT an easy thing to do.

This guy is a fisherman. He spends his spare time training for this competition and is one of the regulars. The other regulars are a gas station manager (who does the course every year in khakis and his work shirt), a fireman, and a gymnist.

It's a pretty cool show and it runs on G4 Tech. It's probably one of those channels you just flip on by when you're channel surfing but if you happen to come across Ninja Warrior, give it a look.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Ramblings

Currently Reading: The Gallic War by Julius Caesar

And here we are, safely through Lent and able to eat what we want again. I may have mentioned in a previous post but if you missed it, I gave up pork for lent. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Hot dogs, for example, are easily found made of beef. Same with bologna too. True, I couldn't eat brats or a pepperoni pizza but I managed to get by. What was killing me was the meatless Fridays. I'm not a big veggie fan nor do I eat much fish so taking away my meats pretty much means I go vegetarian for the day. Fortunately they're doing marvelous stuff with soy and I was able to get by using that.

I'm having a very long weekend at the moment. CC and I went out for Sunday brunch at Texas de Brazil so I had to get Sunday off. That wasn't really a problem and so it was looking like I'd have a three day weekend. Ah, not so fast. You see on Thursday I went to work and found out that corporate wanted us to reduce the amount of hours budgeted to the salon by about a third or so. It happens from time to time, no big deal. In my case though, it ended up extending my weekend by a day. Since Thursday was so slow anyway, my boss told me to take the day off. So now my three day weekend is up to a FOUR day weekend. Not bad right? But wait, there's still more! I stopped off at the salon on the way home from my parents' house and checked to see if there were any changes I needed to know about for this week. Turns out I'm also off MONDAY too. It's now a FIVE day weekend for me! I haven't had this much time off since I took a vacation a while back.

What's going on here is that we're transitioning from the old schedule to the new one. The past two times we did this, I ended up working a six day week and a 9 day week. This is sort of balancing that out. My days off were at the end of last week and in the transition they're at the beginning. The week after that we'll slip into our normal schedule, assuming it hasn't changed again for some reason.

So, what have we been doing with all that free time? Not much really. I had a total of 1 afternoon's worth of chores and 5 days to spread them over. Instead of doing most of the work, CC and I ended up doing quite a bit of shopping and/or browsing. Thursday was the exception. I just totally blew off Thursday. Friday CC also had off so we went out to the mall looking for a few things. Didn't find any of them though. What we DID find was a HUGE crowd. A whole lot of people took Friday off this year and a good chunk of them decided to go visit the mall. We also saw Blades of Glory, the new Will Farrell movie. DAMN funny, especially if you like Farrell or figure skating. It might not be everybody's cup of tea but it sure had us laughing all the way through.

Saturday was another shopping day of sorts. I had a prescription that needed to be refilled and CC needed to grab a few things for her trip. That didn't take long so we decided to check out the outdoor mall. Hit the bookstore, had coffee and cheesecake. Ok, I had chai latte actually, CC had coffee and instead of cheesecake she had some sort of chocolate thing that was REALLY rich but you get the idea. That pretty much took care of the afternoon and that was about all we did Saturday.

Today, busy again and a trip to yet ANOTHER mall. We had our Easter brunch, as I said, but it was so early when we finished that we decided to kill a little time downtown. We also need to walk off all that food we'd eaten.

Our first stop was the Peabody hotel, which is right next to where we ate. CC had never been inside before and I figured she'd like it. We walked through the lobby and over to the central fountain where the ducks hang out during the day. Every morning the ducks are paraded down from their rooftop home to the lobby. This is done with a lot of fanfare and it's a trademark of the hotel. Then, every evening, they're taken back up to the roof.

You can get really close to the ducks if you want. The lip of the fountain is only about a foot across and the ducks swim right up to the edge. If you wanted to, you could reach out and pet one I suppose. For some reason one particular duck decided she was going to wash herself right in front of me so I got splashed quite a few times. Didn't bother me any though. After working as a dog bather as long as I have, it takes more than a little water to make me flinch.

After the ducks we ran across a really fancy Chinese imports gallery. They seemed to deal mostly in jade and ivory. The pieces they had, sculpture, were HUGE. Well not all of them, but they had several HUGE pieces, let's put it that way. They had two or three sets of carved tusks. And when I say tusks, I don't mean the small ones you can put on a shelf or over your fireplace. These are the ones you can almost use as the archway to a DOOR. There were also several ivory pagodas that were hand carved. The biggest one was selling for $125,000.

We worked our way back to where we parked which meant going through another mall. It's much smaller than the two we'd visited on Friday and Saturday. We decided to stop in at the arcade there. It's a LOT better than the one at the big mall from Friday. The games we played Sunday were a lot more work really. There's a police trainer/shooter where you have to do a lot of ducking. It's not the one where you hit the little pedal and your character ducks. Oh no, if you want to duck in this game you have to actually bend your knees and DUCK. It's really fun but the longer you play it the longer you realize that probably you're not used to doing this much ducking on a daily basis.

Then we played two games of Hyperbowl. Have you seen this game? It's fantastic.

You stand in front of pedestal which is really just a HUGE trackball made out of a bowling ball. You roll and spin this ball down a SERIOUSLY complex bowling alley made to match various themes. I played San Francisco first where you roll the ball down one hill, then another, then a third, all the while dodging street cars, then UP a final hill where the pins sit. Talk about tough. After watching me, CC tried her hand at Yosemite which was basically bowling through a forest. Then we did a two player game using the Rome set. Just had a blast playing that game.

Went to my parents' house after that for the rest of Easter. Spent some time with the family and played a few MORE video games with my nieces. Got home around 6:00 I suppose and that was pretty much the weekend.

Hope your Easter was as entertaining as our :-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Almost there now.

Currently Reading: The Gallic War by Julius Caesar

Before you ask, yes, THAT Julius Caesar. It's not a play on words or some author trying to cash in on a fortunate family name. The book I'm currently reading was written by the late emperor, the first in the line of emperors from that family, stabbed to death on the floor of the Roman senate, avenged by Marc Antony and Caesar's nephew Octavian, later named Augustus. Still with me or have your eyes glazed over?

I'm making progress in grooming school. Three days a week I'm officially in training, two days a week I'm just another guy working in the salon as a bather. This setup is supposed to allow me to earn a little extra money. The problem is that the three days of training pretty much balance out any commission money I make on the other two days so it's a wash.

Anyway, back to grooming school. I'm doing shaves at a much more regular rate now. Every day I do at least two and with more practice, I'm doing more and more of the work. In fact, I've had a few already that were done as soon as they left my table, no corrections needed. That's always cool when I get it right the first time.

I must say though, I do miss my three day weekends. Yes, I know I don't get much sympathy from the audience but it's true. The four 10-hour days really could be a pain in the butt sometimes but having one full day to just blow off and do nothing was great! Now I'm back to a normal schedule and just like everyone else, I find myself complaining a little that the weekend just doesn't seem to last long enough. I know, I know, you're shaking your head saying something sarcastic like, "poor baby!"

CC's getting ready for another trip to the Philippines. She's going to be delivering a seminar there. Actually she's going to be doing SEVERAL of them over the course of a few weeks. It's totally going to suck of course. Oh, not her seminar, that'll rock, I'm talking about her being over in the Philippines and me over here. See, she's going to be gone almost a month which means I'll be taking over all those little things that she normally handles. All the bills, they're mine. Rent, utilities, all that stuff has to be done by ME this time. Thank goodness she'll be making a list because I have NO idea who gets paid what and when.

This also means that I'll have to do the grocery shopping by myself (BORING!) and do all the ironing (BORING!) and all the housework (all together now! BORING!). So, if you happen to run into me during the time she's gone, expect me to be a little grumpier than usual.

On the lighter side, we'll be getting a decent vacation after she gets back. We don't have any firm dates yet but we're planning to go up to Nashville and check things out up there since we'll end up moving there in a year or so. We'll also probably check out Franklin, the little town CC's boss will be living in. It's not too far outside Nashville you see. We need to get familiar with the area and what's available in terms of . . . well in terms of just about everything. We need to look at apartments and shopping and all of that.

No video this week. Sorry. Just scroll down and play one of the cool ones from one of the previous blogs. And wouldn't you know it, after all this time I've been adding video to the sidebar, Blogger finally gets around to doing an automated version where you can just plug in the links. Well I'll show THEM. I won't even USE their little gadget! YEAH! :-)