Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kal-le-for-nee-ia (the good parts)

Holy jet lag batman.

My mind and my body are in two different places from changing time zones like eight times in the past three weeks. Ah... Where to start?

Well, I guess I can start by saying that Sacramento is a pretty cool city. I give it a B+ on the paten pending Del world traveler city rating scale. It has all the workings of a bustling city like Philadelphia, but seems to be much more relaxed and sprawled.

Just next to the State Capitol building, and nestled in amongst all of the other State office buildings is Capitol Park.

This this park is filled with memorials and dedications to various groups or individuals, many of which I had the pleasure of walking past each day.

One of the more moving memorials was the Vietnam Memorial.

While I have to admit that I have seen sculptures with more emotion, I had to stop and think that maybe that's exactly what the point of these were. To display the shell-shocked, drained, and confused feeling. Almost desperation.

The memorial itself was very informative and conveyed a lot of information about the war itself. Around the outer wall, very much reminiscent of the Vietnam Wall in DC, were the names of the fallen or missing from CA.

Continuing on through the park, I came upon another memorial dedicated to the CA firefighters.

Another very handy aspect of this park is the fact that the vegetation was like a melting pot of hundreds of species of trees, bushes and flowers. I'd be looking at a palm tree and turn around and there would be some sort of exotic Cyprus tree. Each plant in the entire park was labeled for the public. What an excellent idea.

So onward I pushed. Toward the Capitol.

Meeting after meeting. Handshake after handshake. Keystroke after keystroke. And a trip to Sacramento would not be complete if I didn't take a moment and grab a photo-op with the Governator...

(of course I had to blur out my face to maintain the anonymity of this blog...)

All sounds peachy right? I'll post the shitty stuff later when I have more time.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

We'll settle this like men...

Y'all... I mean you all, (Sorry, I've been in MS for a week) know that I'm a big Star Wars nerd fan. And I'm also a big fan of independent films. I'd have to trace the beginnings of this to college where my neighbors where all film students and I got to see (and help) in producing their senor film. (Which, by the way, remains to this day, as the highest graded film by undergraduates at PSU. It was so good, in fact, that their apartment was broken into a week after the film festival and the only thing taken was the master copy of their film.)

So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled on to these films about film students trying to achieve, until now, what only Industrial Light and Magic has been able to. The student in this clip has since scored a job at LucasArts for making this film. His primary goal was to develop a way of allowing independent film makers to simulate the technology that ILM uses for their work. At such a young age, this kid is a genius. Check this out:

There are some pretty neat tricks in there and I was pretty impressed. That is, until I saw The Art of the Saber. If you've got QuickTime, you can see it here. This is one of the best damn student films I've ever seen. It goes to show that fancy aliens and overpriced "actors" do not a quality movie make. Mr. Lucas, are you taking notes?

PS - next stop: Hotel California.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The best laid plans...

I am the personification of the walking dead.

From Thursday to today I moved my grandmother from Erie, PA to GA.

This was supposed to be accomplished on a strict time schedule because I have a flight to MS tomorrow and this moving adventure is a major undertaking.

I will be going from Dover to GA to Dover to Baltimore to MS to Baltimore to Dover to Baltimore to Sacramento to Baltimore to Dover in the next 14 days.

Every hour was planned. Every move was calculated. It had to be. One error and it would send a drastic ripple in my master plan. I was the conductor and this logistical nightmare was my orchestra.

I was to take half a day off Thursday and intercept the convoy around the Winchester, VA area as they made stop number one. I get a call that says my grandmother's car has broken down on the PA turnpike. The fuel pump has failed. I direct the 26 ft U-Haul to continue to stop number 1 in VA, meanwhile the fuel pump will be repaired and they will spend the night and leave first thing in the morning.

The plan was to meet the U-Haul at my Aunt's house in VA and unload the furniture that she was keeping as it would not all fit in my grandmother's new place.

So there I was unloading a 26 ft U-Haul in the rain, trying to keep antiques from being ruined when I sliced my leg on the damn trailer hitch of the truck. Being the tough-guy I am, I shrugged it off and kept moving very heavy furniture and appliances. Due to the rain everything was getting progressively more slippery and it was only a matter of time until I dropped a huge glass armoire on my toe and smashed it. (My toe, that is. The piece of furniture is fine.)

So now I have a broken toe, a slashed leg, I'm soaked, we're minus one in the convoy, and I'm dangerously close to going postal.

I'll spare you the rest of the details and foul ups, but the mission is accomplished and I'm running on about 6 hours total sleep since Thursday morning. (Oh, and I'm completely sore and can't walk very well from the toe.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pack AGAIN for my next flight.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

How Thoughtful

So I was running errands today and one such stop was my bank. It was raining and there was a line of cars at the drive up ATM so I waited patiently and listened to the radio.

The line wrapped around the back of the bank so there was really nothing else better to do but stare at the dumpster and watch the grass grow. That is, until I notice this. (the picture sucks because it was taken with my crappy cell phone.)

On the back of the building, about head-level, was a metal box which very much resembled a typical fuse box. It's hard to see in this photo, but the writing on the box said "BURGLAR ALARM" in big capital letters. Hmm...

So let's just say I'm a hypothetical bank robber. I know all banks have alarm systems. And because I've never served any time, I don't know how to disable all the fancy alarms like they do in the movies. I walk around to the back of this bank (where there was not a camera in sight), pop open this box with a $2 screwdriver and flip a switch.

Bingo. Retirement in Fiji.

Maybe it's just me, but even if it's THAT NECESSARY to put the alarm controls RIGHT THERE, do you really have to label the box? Why not just outline it in neon lights while you're there? In fact, you could even put an indicator light on there telling the public whether the thing is armed or not. No, you know what, how about just hiding the key to the vault in one of those key rocks and sit in on the sidewalk by the front door.

Thank God for FDIC...

Monday, April 03, 2006

*WHEW* That was a close one...

I told you that these damn things come close! You missed me! Probability says that it was only a matter of time really.

In case you haven't heard, we've had our little share of excitement here in Dover today. Read all about it.

You see, I can make wise cracks now, because I know everyone made it out with only minor injuries. Otherwise, this could've been horrific. But it wasn't. Just unfortunate. Kudos to the pilot to put it down in an open field so there was no collateral damage. I was going to drive by the site this evening but I really don't like being shot or bitten by German shepherds that sport MP K-9 collars.

Apparently there was a flame out on one of their engines and the giant C5 began losing power after take off. Look at that second picture. It really lets you put the scale of these things in perspective. Those yellow Air Force fire trucks are massive. And that plane dwarfs them.

It seems I'm destined to be mowed down by one of these things. Because, now that I think about it, not only do these fly over my apartment but they also fly over my office building IN A DIFFERENT COUNTY. Yes, my office building is in the flight path of the New Castle County airport. That airport is home to an Air National Guard base. So I get the joy of trying to talk on the phone and VRRRROOOOOMMMM, past my window they go.

You know, when things like this happen, you've got to wonder - who was flying this thing anyway...