Monthly Archives: November 2004

Black Friday Bust

This morning Mom and I were up at 5:30 ready to hit the major stores. Our first target was Best Buy, which was advertising a $499 Toshiba laptop. Of all the cheapo laptops that were being advertised, this one was deemed the one to get. Unfortunately, everyone else in Phoenix felt the same way. When we arrived at 5:45, the line was already around the block and apparently the first people in line had already got vouchers for the laptop. So we made a b-line for Fry’s which had a runner-up bargain.
In my rush to get to the bargains, I left my cellphone in the car so Mom was unable to communicate with me. As a result, we missed the $69 TV. I did get the laptop and waited about an hour in the checkout line. I almost upgraded to one that was $300 more (also a steal) but I told myself I would only get the cheap one.
Off we went to Home Depot, Office Max, and Linens and Things. Mom got some things she had scoped out. Both of us were pooped by the time we made it back to the house. My one consolation was that I got to set up a new laptop. As I booted the machine up, I noticed that there was 1 pixel on the screen that was messed up. Darn it. I decided to just let it charge the battery and sleep on it.
When I woke up 4 hours later, I decided that I needed to take it back. My intention was just to replace it with another one if they had one. So off I went to Fry’s after dinner. They had to examine the laptop and deemed it re-saleable (after marking it down 20 bucks). They asked me if I wanted to just get another one. I told them that I wanted to look at some others and maybe upgrade to the next one up. When I went to the department (after 20 minutes of paperwork), I noticed all of the same salesmen that were there at 6am were still there!! As I was getting ready to approach one about the laptops, the supervisor came up and told everyone to shut all the computers off and that it was time to go home. This was at 9:10 and the store was supposed to close at 10. So I decided that if they were not interested in helping me then I’d just take my money.
So off I went. I was tempted to get an iPod speaker set for the bathroom, but opted to just leave. So all the hard work and running around this morning was for nil. But I had fun anyway. The best part was after Fry’s I headed over to Jason’s and got to soak in the hot tub for a bit before he needed to go to bed.
A long, exhausting day. Now it is off to bed and then back to work tomorrow.

Arizona for the Holidays

Well I am in Arizona at Mom and Gary’s for the annual indulgence of food and shopping. This time, I decided to fly out of Ontario. Man, flying to Phoenix from the Inland Empire just isn’t worth it. It started out around 3pm when I was finishing up packing. I was lucky to be ER’ed today so I could get a jump on the traffic. When all was ready, I was on the road at 3:30. Traffic was its usual nastiness on the 57 (not nearly as bad as last Friday when I attempted to make it up to Dad’s for dinner). My plane was at 7:30, but I didn’t want to take any chances with traffic. I ended up arriving at the airport around 5:15 and discovered that the plane was actually late. So I had some time to kill in the airport. I thought since I was so early, I would be able to get into loading group A on Southwest.
Turns out that Southwest (and other airlines) allows you to get your boarding pass from home on the same day of travel. So all of these people show up at the last minute with their A passes and I am stuck with a B even though I had been there way ahead of time. Lesson learned: When I go home on Saturday, I will print my pass out just after midnight.
We ended up leaving around 7:50 and arriving at Phoenix at 10:00 local time. By the time I made it back to Mom’s it was already after 22. I am pretty sure if I would have driven here, I would have made it in less time. Then again, I would have been exhausted and still have to drive home on Saturday. I do think that when I come out for Christmas I will drive – that way I don’t have to worry about flying with presents or listening to some Valley Girl flirt with the bad boy next to her. Thank goodness it was a short flight!
Tomorrow it is off to Tucson. We are all heading down to Kevin’s in-laws for the day meal and then coming back home for a night meal. My friend Jason is coming over which will be cool since now that he lives here we hang out even less than before. I’m also hoping we get to go out on Friday night after I get some bargain hunting done in the morning. Not sure that I am looking for anything – maybe some good DVD deals or perhaps a new laptop? You never know!
I need to post something on Spongebob Squarepants – perhaps later.

MT 3.12

Well I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to the new version of Movable Type. So far so good. The biggest change is that now if you want to post a comment you need to be registered with Typepad. Hopefully, the spammers will be gone. If not, the new version has much more powerful tools for editing the comments as well as better compatibility with Firefox. Of course where is the spell check??? You’d think that would be a no brainer.
The installation was actually quite painless too – no major hiccups at all. Now if I can just get organized and get some creative juices flowing so I can redesign!!

Movie Roundup

It’s time to get caught up on a few movies that have come my way recently:
The Incredibles: It is a testament to an animated movie that when you are watching it, you forget you are watching animation. Not a perfect movie, but darn near close. I was surprised that it felt more adult than the normal Pixar movie, but personally, I like the fact they are willing to branch out. There is something in this movie for everyone, and I think it is the first movie I have seen twice in the theaters in a long, long time. Unfortunately, the preview for Cars was not nearly as good as the preview for The Incredibles was last year. Let’s hope that it was just a fluke.
Team America World Police: On the other end of the spectrum is the crude, but hilarious movie from the South Park Team. This one was a little more uneven than Incredibles, but if you are in the mood for some belly laughs and some marionette sex, then this is the movie for you.
The Concorde: Airport ’79: Now I haven’t seen this movie in ages. I picked up the Airport Terminal pack used at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. Clearly the worst of the Airport movies, but still full of some good cheese. How can you put down a movie when the pilot of the Concorde (George Kennedy as Patroni) tells a female stewardess “There’s a reason why they call it a cockpit”. I nearly lost it on that one. And let’s not forget Charo – who has full title billing – appearing for two minutes as a passenger trying to smuggle a chihuahua on board. Can you say capitalizing on her 1979 fame?
Category Six: Day of Destruction: This was the Sweeps event on CBS this past week. Of course it was bad (goes without saying) but at least none of the characters were as annoying as the scientist in 10.5. It had all the great elements of a good disaster movie, but I thought it was a little lacking in big event disaster. Sure the St. Louis Arch collapsed and Randy Quaid got sucked into a Tornado, but I really wanted to see the Sears Tower and other Chicago buildings get shellacked. I guess in this post-9/11 world it is taboo to show a building collapsing.

Comments Gone

Until I upgrade to MT 3.x, all forms to post comments are gone from the site. Been busy with Comment Spammers and have had over 200 in the last few weeks. Sorry guys, but thanks for all the previous comments.

The Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake of 10-23-2004

Here is some information on the quake Daniel and I lived through while in Tokyo. Perusing the web, it is interesting how much we didn’t know due to the lack of good information in English the first few days after the quake.
Initial report in the Japan Times (I have the hardcopy I bought at Tokyo Station)
Story about the people on the derailed shinkansen
The most moving story of the quake is that of Mayu, Takako, and Uta Minagawa who were buried in a car. Little Uta survived after spending four days buried. Two hours after he was recovered, his mother was recovered and pronounced dead. Little Mayu’s body had to wait 15 days after the quake until it could be recovered and sent to the father Manabu who was away in Tokyo during the quake.
More Google news on Niigata
The Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo has a page with some information.
And let’s not forget the good old USGS: Quake info page for the main quake (which they now have at M6.6), list of quakes for the last 30 days (notice 9 earthquakes over M5, 2 over M6 in the three hours after the quake.)

Stay Tuned

Been fighting off a bug. As usual when I get home from traveling, it takes me a bit to recover and get back into the swing of things. Its funny, I was fine until about Thursday and then it hit me. I’m feeling better today and should be back at full capacity tomorrow. I was all set to post the Gorn photos and then realized I missed about 10 of them so a little more work needs to be done before I post them.
I also haven’t even looked at all the new Tokyo Disney photos to post. Yowsa. I need some more web space.

Election Night

I went out and voted tonight. Here in Orange County we have this new fangled electronic voting system. Based on the instructions in my ballot materials, I thought it was going to be confusing and difficult. I think the instructions were just legalized (i.e. approved by lawyer committee). When I stepped into the voting booth, I actually found it to be quick and fun. I was glad there was a check your ballot feature because I think I was a bit caught up in the process and accidentally voted yes on some weird state proposition.
From watching the returns, it looks like we might have another long night ahead of us. Hopefully, it won’t take weeks again!

Tokyo Wrapup

So once again I find myself living the same day again. November 1st x 2! I love time travel – I see why they do it in Star Trek all the time.
Here are some highlights of the trip:
1- Backstage with Mariko and Eric at TDR
2 – Riding the rollercoaster in that spooky amusement park in Himeji
3 – Visiting the Golden and Silver Temples in one day
4 – Go from the Ordinary to the Imaginary…Draaamaaaaatic Dis-ney-Sea…Dramatic Sites to seeee.
5 – Discovering new shortcuts to places in Tokyo, and then wandering around forever trying to find old hangouts.
Gorn photos coming soon when I get some sleep. Thankfully, I have all day tomorrow off to try and recover!