Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Voice, No Problem

Christmas came and went. Sharkey and I came and went to Minnesota. You know, you do not truly understand how cold, cold is until you step outside into a -8 degree climate with gusting wind. Yes it is true. It was frigid. First day we were there, -8 was the high. Second day we were there 0 was the high. The next day the temperature shot to 22 degrees. That felt like summer! The even more insane thing was that when we hit Pennsylvania on our way back this past Saturday, it was 73 degrees!! Think about that. From the time we arrived at MN to the time we hit the PA border we had an 81 degree temperature shift!

I have to admit. Minnesota is sort of a blur to me. We got there and it was go, go, go... The time just flew by. Wrapped presents, went shopping, thawed out windshield wiper fluid reservoir, wrapped more presents, cooked food, ate food, went to visit grandma, unwrapped presents, played with kids, played with dogs, ate more food, played guitar hero world tour w/ Sharkey, Character Builder, and CB's Husband (now that was fun!!!!), drove home... This description is my recollection of this past Christmas.

So from Minnesota to PA I received my last "present" for the holidays. Between Wisconsin and Ohio I picked up "the head cold." You know what I mean? It's the "Barbara are you up, Barbara are you up....I'm up now....I can't sleep, my throat's all scratchy...I'll get the aspirin and Sucrets...aspirin and Sucrets?" I'm on stage three at this point. No more sore throat. Just the dry, choking cough and lack of voice. I cannot talk w/o sounding like either James Earl Jones or Peter Brady in that "Time to Change" episode...

It is going to make this weekend interesting. I am supposed to cantor this weekend. I may have to get a sub....

I know I need to man up, but the truth is, I am the biggest Mamma's boy when I get sick. I want to just go to sleep and not get up until I am better. Sharkey on the other hand is the total opposite. She gets sick, she moves around, and still does stuff. This is a total foreign concept to me. I shut down like the East coast does when snow falls... I have gotten a bit better in the 8 years we've been married, but I still like the sleep, read book, watch movie, play video game method of recuperating. I do hate not being able to talk though. It is very limiting, but then I remembered, I have a blog, I still have a voice....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the Road Again

Sharkey and I are off to the Midwest for Christmas. Yesterday, I shut down my PC after putting my out of office on and setting my phone to voice mail only. IT FEELS GOOD! We had decided months ago to road trip it from PA to MN because gas was at like $4.50/gallon and it would've cost us like $1500/plane ticket to fly, plus board Maggie, plus rent a car, plus pay for gas when we got there... Fortunately, Sharkey and I both love road trips. And since we are driving, Maggie can come with us. She is a great traveling dog too, we are sooo lucky she is... I grew up w/ multiple road trips for family vacations. My Dad loved to drive, and drive we did, all over the USA and a bit into Canada as well.

We actually got off to a good start today. Usually we do not make it out of the house until 11am-12pm, but this morning we were up and out by 8:30am. What you need to understand is that neither of us are great morning people. We would like to be, but it is just not in the cards. Sleep always wins. The funny part is that this morning, all of us, including the Maggie-Moo were nestled all snug in our bed. So I am surprised we were able to get going so early. But here we are in a nice, warm hotel room in glorious Toledo, Ohio. We made good time and we can unwind for a few hours before we all hit the hay and then get up and do part 2 tomorrow.


You may think Toledo is a weird place to stop, but it is about 1/2 way between where we live and Sharkey's parents, and more importantly there is a Texas Roadhouse restaurant next door. So driving all day I am thinking about a salad, loaded baked potato, and medium filet with warm cinnamon buttered rolls. You know, driving long distances requires incentives!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Do These Songs Get Passed On?

Sharkey and I have the most stimulating conversations. We solve earth shattering issues. We discuss ethical dilemmas currently facing our country. We plan strategies to solve many of the common man's problems. Our last topic was especially stimulating. For this session we discussed the way certain songs are passed from generation to generation from geographic location to location. Case in point, the Jingle Bells, Batman smells song:

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg...

Batmobile lost its wheel so the Joker got away...

The Jingle Bells, Batman smells songs transcends gender, generations, and geographic location. You could go from East to West coast, north to south, and find someone who knows this song by heart and can sing the entire thing back to you. So how does this phenomenon happen? I know the song has been featured on The Simpsons, Family guy, and on various TV shows, but the interesting thing is that even before those shows, back in the 70's (yes we were little kids of the bell bottom, long hair, bad clothing era), Sharkey and I both knew that song. How does that happen? I lived in NJ. Sharkey is from MN. That's like 1000 miles. So would you like to join our deep, insightful conversation and lend your theories? =)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nubs and Stressin...


Maggie Moo had a grooming session yesterday. She is now all nice, soft, and pretty smelling. She is a girl after all, so she should smell good, right? She decided last night while we were watching Top Chef NYC that Mom looked comfy.


Those are my girls. Aren't they both Sweet!


Sharkey didn't even reposition her for the pictures. Maggie totally put herself into her relaxation poses.


Today was "one of those days." It started so well too. I got up on time, was productive, and reasonably happy, well until I received the phone call at 11am. "JP, you know that thing you helped us with? We think it caused a major problem with..." Yeah, those calls SUCK!!! And then my day went totally downhill from there. I spent the next 5 hours fixing things, verifying other things, and then explaining things to the person who called me. I got everything straightened out, but it was exhausting and I could feel the tension in my shoulders and neck. I had to sit back in my chair, close my eyes and take some deep, relaxing breaths. That calmed me down a bit and then I was able to refocus. I'm hoping for a quiet Friday at work!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Public Speaking Tip #1

I just finished a Graduate course. In this course, all the students were required to do two presentations in front of the class. A lot of people in the class, including me, used Power Point slides for their presentation. Now, I am not new to public speaking. I have taught classes which ranged in sizes of 50-80 people at national conferences. I have delivered a speech to about 200 Japanese American people. So giving a presentation to a group of 26 people for a graduate course is no big deal. You learn a few things the more and more you public speak. You learn what works and what does not. You learn how to read your audience to see if "they get it" or "if they don't get it" and if you are losing them or if you have their interest and attention. But most importantly, you learn to use your presentation tools properly. So here's a tip for you all who do not public speak very often or have something coming up where you're thinking about using Power Point. When you have to speak in front of a lot of people and use Power Point, use your slides as speaking points. They should not have everything you are saying on them!! To illustrate my point...


You cannot believe how many people write every word of every sentence into the Power Point. Then they get up and say exactly what's on the slide. Less is definitely more! And I have news for you people that's not presenting, that's reading!!! Microsoft named the software Power Point, because you are only supposed to show major POINTS and specific IDEAS. I think after listening to each of the 26 presentations 2x, there were only like 3-4 that were decent. The rest were akin to chewing on tinfoil and made you want to stick a pencil in your eye.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Cow I'm on FIRE!

Every 1st weekend of every month I get to do the liturgy at church. It is not a big deal. I do the cantor part. So I sing (yes JP sings) this part, the congregation responds, I sing another part, they respond, etc. I also do the readings from time to time and help out with communion as well. This morning I helped with communion. The Pastor does the bread, I do the wine. The people come up and circle the altar and he gives them a little bread from a loaf and I hand them a little plastic cup of wine. And we go around until everyone has each of the elements. Well, we are now in advent and someone had the bright idea of putting the advent candles on the altar. Two of them are lit right now. As I go around, I pass really close to the candles, and the robe I am wearing is my choir robe and it's made out of a poly blend, the absolute best combustible fabric you could possibly wear. You can sort of see where I am going. Sharkey comes up to the altar and looks me straight in the eyes and tells me, "Be careful of those flames." I get through, just fine, but I still have this picture in mind of how it could have turned out....


UPDATE... I am really shocked by the lack of comments on this post. COME ON PEOPLE?!?! JP almost catching on fire is hilarious!! Do you think you could really offend me or you do not want to say anything because this post has...gasp...Christian tones to it!! =)

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Hunt Takes a Twist

Thanksgiving came and went. I went to bed around 10:30pm so I could grab 6 hours of sleep before beginning my yearly quest. To my surprise, Sharkey was not in bed when my eyes opened at 4:30am. She came walking into the bedroom and asked me when I was leaving. This is monumental as I have always gone on the hunt on my own. Sharkey usually stays behind in our warm bed. We went to Target around 4:45am to stand in line for the 6am store opening. After combing through the ads, the only thing I really wanted to score was Guitar Hero World Tour for the Nintendo Wii. Sharkey and I play Guitar Hero III quite often and we were looking forward to getting a new set of songs to rock out. So there we were in line. It was about 37 degrees and there was a slight breeze. The first 30 min were OK, but the last 30 minutes were a bit uncomfortable. And mind you we had our parkas on w/ gloves and ear muffs.


The doors opened at 6:00am and we went fast walking in with the masses. By the time the doors opened, there were about 600 people in line. We shop at Target quite often for the essentials so we know the layout of the store. We went back to the video games to find an empty shelf of Guitar Hero games. They had plenty of XBox 360, but none for Wii. I pulled a red shirt guy aside and asked him if he had anymore, because Sharkey and I were like 50th in line and lots of the people in front of us were there for the cheap LCD TV, so I thought maybe they didn't put the games in the right place. The red shirt scanned the barcode and said he had more in the back and he'd come back to the aisle with them. GREAT, way to stock door busting items Target!!! By this time, Target had about 4 people per square foot in the store. I waited by the aisle as told and answered other people's questions about the Wii game and that the red shirt was bringing more out. The red shirt came back and got within 5 feet of where I was and he was mobbed. People were rushing up to him, taking the games right out of the trolley cart he had. He was yelling at people to stop, but the mob ruled. One of the guys who I answered a question for earlier saw I did not get one and he did, so he gave me his to be fair, which was totally cool of him. The hunt was complete! A lady next to me then said she had wanted one for a child and that's when Sharkey came walking up. Sharkey asked her if it was a gift for her child and she said yes. So Sharkey looked at me, and I looked at her and nodded. I gave the woman the Guitar Hero game. The season after all is about God's love, redemption, and reconciliation, so if we could show just a bit of that love to someone else it was worth it. So we left empty handed, but we felt we did the right thing. Besides, like I said before, the thrill of the hunt is always better than the end. JP out...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Closing Time, The Hunt, Doors

Closing Time...

Sharkey and I managed to close down two places tonight. Our church has a tradition where after the Thanksgiving Eve service we all go have pie in the fellowship hall. We're Lutherans, so you know there is always food a plenty around the services and especially around the holidays. =) We ended up talking with our Pastor and his wife until we were the last ones in the hall. Shortly after that, we went to Max & Erma's for a quick bite to eat and before we knew it we were the last two in the restaurant. We managed to close two places in one night.

The Hunt....

As you all know or maybe do not know, I am a hunter of hard to get items and bargains, cause let's face it, retail is for suckers! I try to get things for the family for Christmas, and well, eer, umm, I manage to sneak a little something in there for me too... Also, if you are like me you also know the thrill of the hunt is more fun than once you have said item in hand. But I digress... At this time of year, we come to one of the most prime hunting seasons and additionally the greatest of all days for "The Hunt," Black Friday. So today I received all the advertisements of who has what for sale at what time on Friday. So I am plotting my strategy to get the things everyone else is trying to score. So I may lose a little sleep, wait in a line for a couple hours with other crazed shoppers like myself, but if I can acquire the target(s), it's totally worth it. Oh, and I don't fall for the stores' strategy of getting you to buy other stuff by luring you in for the door buster items. I am all about getting "the item" and getting out. Yeah, I admit I can be a bit crazy, but I think it is somewhat fun. Besides, I'm helping the local economy! Watch out people, man on a mission. Adrenaline rising.


My door issues continue. To recap I have issues with doors. I don't know whether or not to push or pull. I am not sure what side hinges are on, so I end up pushing on the wrong side of the door. You think automatic doors are no issue? Well that would only be the case if you happened to choose the right side to be on when the door slides open. Remember this?


So my newest difficulty is the automatic, revolving door. At work, the door I use to go in and out of the building is an automatic, revolving door. You scan your badge to get in and it automatically revolves you into the building. You hit the button next to the door once you are inside and it revolves around to let you out. My issue is the out. I hit the button and the door revolves 2x, every single time. For everyone else it revolves 1x. I have been able to get out, but so far the door has smacked me in the butt, clipped my heels and everyone in back of me is afraid to follow me out the door. So far I think I am the only one this happens to. Doors are out to get me. I think it may be a portal conspiracy. I just need more evidence. Oh, and I am not exaggerating. These things really do happen to me. And if I didn't think it were so funny, which I totally do, I think I could perhaps be mental about my struggles with doors. JP out...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Special Presentation

For those of you who can relate, remember this???

Thanks to YouTube I found this snippet. So to get back into character remember the era. Here's your inspiration. It's the 70's. You are in the living room with your parents. They are on the scratchy green twill couch and you are lying on the shag rug on your stomach with your head on your hands watching the console television set. Mom reminds you not to sit too close to the TV because of the radiation it gives off. The TV Guide listed that "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" was going to be on tonight, so you made sure you setup the time with the parents to watch it, because there are hardly any cartoons on TV and Charlie Brown with Snoopy is only on for the holidays and it's one of your absolute favorites. And if you miss it, you'll have to wait until next Thanksgiving for your chance to see it again. So 1 minute before 8:00pm CBS flashes the special logo, your heart races a little, and you think how great your life is at that moment. It is all you need to be happy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Sharkey made me some chocolate chip cookies. She has been promising me these cookies for about a month. Yesterday I came home from work and when I opened the door I was greeted by the smell of fresh baked cookies.

Maggie turned 4 today. That's 28 in human years. Tonight she performed the canine Jedi Mind trick on me to get a bite of cookie:


Yeah, it worked! My little girl is growing up. Hard to believe she started at our home like this:


And who can forget dog skateboarding, the new Olympic sport:


And now she's crashed out on my lap. It's tough being Maggie you know. =)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Volume Control...Need It? Got it? Can It Be Taught?

There is a skill most of us are taught by our parents. It is called volume control. You know what I mean right? Small kids totally do not have it, but parents try their hardest to teach them to whisper or speak in their soft, quiet voice. Recently at work I was moved to another team and that meant I had to relocate my cube to another aisle. The aisle for the most part is not too bad. I am very easy going and I get along with pretty much everyone so no problem there. However.... I have this woman in my aisle who talks really loud. I mean I can hear every conversation from 3 cubes away. And to make matters worse I catch snippets of what she says and I find myself saying, "Are you kidding me? That totally is not true...." Like this:


It's like listening to Cliffy on Cheers explain the expansion of the universe or the mating habits of the New Zealand humpback whales. Needless to say I have a hard time blocking her out. I have to admit, some of the things she says amuses me at times and I think she's in her own little world, but I just wish I had a remote control to turn her down. Until that device becomes available, I guess I'll just have to rely on the good old iPhone and my headphones...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Fit Is Go

Sharkey and I are sitting her watching "The Office" like we always do on a Thursday. The Honda commercial comes on plugging "30 Rock" and their slogan comes up...

The Fit Is Go

I think we are not the target market for the vehicle, because we cannot figure out what the hell this marketing means. Sharkey thinks it is something to do with velocity, like "The Fit really goes." Now I am of the mindset that maybe this deals with like the old Thunderbirds slogan, "Thunderbirds are GO!"

Bottom line is neither one of us knows what this slogan means. Can anyone explain to us what the heck this means?????

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Philadelphia Phillies Win the World Series --- 9:58PM

WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Time out of Graduate Class -- 8:00PM

Time to stop at Wawa for a hoagie -- 8:15PM

Time to get home and take out the trash and let Maggie out -- 8:25PM

Time to change out of shirt & tie into #8 Victorino Phillies Jersey -- 8:27PM

Time for inning 6: 8:35PM

GO PHILLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Scary Christmas

Every year King of Prussia mall puts up their "ginormous" Christmas tree. It is pretty impressive and well, um, sort of scary. Let me explain. First the impressive part. It is about 4 stories tall, has animated toys all over it and is at the center of the mall. I have never been there when they've been putting it up, but I happened to go there this morning right when the mall opened. So here's a picture of the structure.


So what do you notice first? Can you see all the surge protectors all plugged into each other winding all the way up the tree? Can you say, "Fireman Bob we have a problem?" I am thinking this setup is not UL approved.

If that were the only thing with the tree, I could stop there. But, nooooooo. There are the ornaments they put on. First the Jack in the Box Clowns. Now I don't know about you, but I think clowns are scary. Besides that, who the heck puts this many Jack in the Boxes on a tree?

JackInBox Clowns

I think that the fire hazard and scary clowns both pale in comparison to the dolls though. For as long as I can remember, they always put these dolls on the tree. They all look like the Chucky "I am going to kill you" dolls. They are very creepy.

Christmas Tree Dolls

So in short there's nothing like taking your kid to the mall to sit on Santa's lap in front of a large incendiary tree with scary clowns and creepy dolls hung on it. Maybe they're just trying to combine the holidays and make it a "Hallo-Mas" tree?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Class Over, Time for Some Mac & Cheese

My Statistics class from hell is over!! Yes I received an "A." I mean come on, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Applied Mathematics. I better be able to get an "A" in a statistics class or something's dreadfully wrong!

I took today and Monday off from work. Sharkey's Mom is in town so I thought I could use some down time and some family time. See, not only have I been dealing with the class from hell, but I have also been dealing with the project from hell at work. So I need down time and away time from work.

Today we went to the PDN Photo Expo in NYC. It was a lot of fun. My goal was to get as much free stuff as I could from all the vendors there. Yeah, I know that sounds lame, but it's what I have fun doing! It also cracks me up that all of them talk to me like I am Ansel Adams and have a huge photographic background. It must be the Asian carrying the Nikon stereotype. Truth be told I couldn't tell you anything of worth about taking photos, and I went along to be a pack mule for Sharkey. Heee Haaaawww.... But I like the convention thing and the expo was awesome! It was huge!!

Afterward, we took a cab to the Village for a bite to eat at S'Macs. Sharkey and her Mom shared the mac sampler and I had the Alpine mac & cheese which is gruyere with slab bacon...


Yes everyone, bask in the cheesy, gooey goodness of it all. And can you believe this photo was taken with my iPhone? Damn I love that thing. It's a good thing we don't have a place like this nearby or Sharkey and I would probably weigh like 300 lbs each!! Yes it is TOTALLY that good...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Halloween Candy

It's that time again. The air is colder, the kids are picking out costumes and it's time to stock up on candy. Sharkey and I make sure to always pick up candy that we wouldn't mind eating. I think we overdid it a bit last year because I ended up taking a ziplock bag to work filled with leftover candy. So here's the JP/Sharkey fundamental list of required Halloween Candy:

Kit Kat
Hershey's Almond
Hershey's Plain

What candy do you stock at this S~P~O~O~K~Y time of year?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Did Newton Have Days Like This?

You know that there aren't many Mathematics majors out there when you are in graduate class and the professor asks who has a degree in Mathematics and you are the only one in the room to raise your hand. It was like this....


This situation also poses a problem if you are the only Mathematics major in a graduate statistics class full of MBA majors and you look around and it looks like someone shot them with a tranq gun... Um, yeah... Math guy,....Math guy ova here!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dancing Stormtrooper

Today LucasArts released a new game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Being the Star Wars fan boy I am, I of course could not wait to get my hands on it. I went to Circuit City at lunch to get it. Here's how this trip to Circuity City went:

JP: Do you have the new Star Wars game for the Wii?

Teenage Store Clerk: Uh, did that come out today or yesterday?

JP: I'm pretty sure it released today.

Teenage Store Clerk: Did you check Gamestop? I don't think we have any (Teenage Store Clerk guy doesn't even look at his computer or ask anyone else)

JP: Um, Gamespot? (JP starts laughing!) This is Circuity City right, don't you want me to buy it from you?

Teenage Store Clerk: (shrugging shoulders in a, "I don't know what the hell I'm doing" posture) sorry sir if you want to check back later, maybe we'll have some...

JP: OK, I'll just head to Best Buy after work.

I go to Best Buy on my way home, they have the game and I check out and because I bought the game on release day, YES CIRCUIT CITY TODAY IS RELEASE DAY, I received a free T-shirt. I get home, Sharkey takes it out of the plastic to see what geeky clothing I'll be sporting around the house. She starts laughing. She turns the shirt around and says, "Honey, what kind of flaming dance is the Storm Trooper doing?"


OK, so if the Stormtrooper had a top hat and cane, I could totally picture the "Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime girl" song playing in the background. And well, yeah it does look sort of gay, but it's free people...

Addition... Found this on YouTube... Hee heee....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Win...And the Universe Balances Itself

So a few weeks ago, my partner and I lost the golf playoff. Nothing new there right? My back was gimpy and while I said I did my best, it was fine, no regrets, etc.,... it still sucked rocks to lose. Well, the universe tends to balance itself out and redemption lay right around the corner.

At the end of each season we have a final afternoon of golf and a closing season dinner. The final night we do one more competition using a little different format. Instead of playing against another men's team, we are paired with a women's team and we play a scramble format. No handicaps are used, no points given, just straight up golf the way the good Lord above intended it. Our team against 20 other teams. We played very well. My back is all good and one of the things I love to do the most is smash the ball down the fairway, and smash I did. The ladies we were paired with were really nice and my partner and I showed them a good time. They were a bit "older" than we were, but they were a lot of fun and made some decent shots/putts. They said, "youth has its advantages and that we were really nice men." Funny how we never get paired with the young, hot women's teams, but I digress... Anyhow... We finished -4 for 9 holes of play. So what that means is that if the par for 9 holes is 36, at -4 we scored 32.

We finished our round, turned in our scorecards, then hit the bar for a couple beers and enjoyed the closing dinner. We were sitting there after dinner and they started the awards. My partner and I were sitting there and they announced "the runner up for the scramble at -3 was..." I turned to my partner and said, "Dude, I think we won." He was bewildered and said, "No way." We watch the runners up get their awards and walk off, and my partner is still sitting there saying "no, way, no, way...." Then they announced, "the winners of the season ending scramble at -4 is JP, Bri, Char, and Nan." We went up and accepted our awards and went back to our seats (um, the ladies were eccstatic, they hugged us in front of everyone and were jumping up and down...it was cute). We're sitting there and my partner is still saying "no way, no way." I took a look at our award, and what we won was equal to what we would've gotten if we had won the playoff match. I then turned to my partner, Bri, (who is still in shock that we won, still saying, "no way, no way") and said, "WAY!!! SCORE!!!!" Once again, equilibrium has been attained in JP's life...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

See the Resemblance

So remember that 1956 yearbook picture of me?


Here's my Dad with his sisters and niece. This picture was taken after he and his family relocated to Seabrook, NJ after the war. There was a photographer who was cataloging the events of World War II and the treatment of the Japanese Americans after being placed in internment camps. He took pictures of my Dad's family and their "together" time.


So notice the resemblance? Oh, and an interesting fact about this photo. My Dad could not play the piano. This picture was totally staged. Nice to catalog accurate, historical events, right? =)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Would You Tell Your Kid?

Today was beautiful. Perfect in fact. There are few days that compare to blue sky, sunshine, clear air, and high pressure. And the back is all better. I still don't go full at the ball, but that is also a good thing. But this post is not about my golfing, not about my back, not about the perfect day. It's about something that happened at the driving range when I was enjoying this day.

The place where I hit balls has a go kart track and miniature golf course. Where I practice sits in front of the path leading to the go kart track. Lots of times, families walk by and I overhear them as they go to the karts. Today, I overheard a family walking to the track and one of their sons thought it was great fun to make ethnic remarks at the Asian guy hitting golf balls. Yeah, me. So I heard things I've become somewhat, mind you only somewhat, accustomed to growing up: "Aaaa-soooo, ching-chong, chink, chung, wok-socky, chop-chop, hitty ball..." I think the thing that bothered me more than what the kid said was his parents reaction. Absolutely nothing. They did not bat an eye or say a word. The kid said this stuff all the way to the go kart track and after they were done, he said the same crap going past me. So this behavior was acceptable and normal for them I guess.

Now growing up, my parents helped us deal with all of that stuff as well. They learned from their parents all about the way people judge you on your looks more than what's in your heart. They probably had it worse because they lived through World War II and the Japanese internment camps. They taught my brothers and me to ignore ignorance and to transcend others by our actions and accomplishments. I have to admit what they instilled in us works well most of the time, but still after all this time, there are times I do not feel like being the silent American.

In time if Sharkey and I are blessed with a child, I will pass on the same things my parents taught me. The content of one's character matters more than their physical appearance. There will always be ignorance, but you will need to be better and take the higher road. And while you may encounter such individuals, there are more good people in this world who do what is right and have honor in their hearts.

So my question to you is what would you tell your kid?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dad, That You?

Sharkey told me to try this site tonight. So I went there and uploaded a photo. I scrolled through the pictures and 1956 really caught my eye. Here's what I "look" like in 1956:


The crazy thing is, I totally look like my DAD!!!

Now if I could just (sigh...) be that thin again. =)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lost, But Intact

Thursday the back was about 80% good from when I injured it on Tuesday, but I didn't want to forfeit to the jerkstore, so I downed 4 Advil and went out to go at it. In short I lost, but the loss wasn't until the last hole. The final score was 5-4. So even at 80% we were tied going into the last hole, and I was able to make some decent shots to tie the match on the 8th and go into the 9th feeling pretty good. Most importantly, I didn't make my back injury any worse by playing. So it wasn't the outcome I wanted, but at least I gave it my all and did not get crippled in the process. In my book, it's a win!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Karma Is A Bitch

I am invincible. I can do anything. I am stronger than I've ever been. I am smarter now and can think my way out of any problem.

These are the statements of youth. I have said recently to people that you're as young as you think you are. I have always thought that. Until today. See I have a playoff match on Thursday. It is against one of the most obnoxious men ever. When we last met, I stuffed him. It was one of my finest moments. 9th hole, 6 foot putt to win the match and I hole it out. All he could do was watch. I loved it. But that was 3 weeks ago. That was then. This is now.

I had a bad day. I had a series of things go wrong. I walked out of work 1 1/2 hours late. I was wound tight. I went to the driving range to practice and let off some steam. On my 5 ball out of 75, hitting my approach wedge, my back did something funny. After this "funny" thing happened, I couldn't move too well without pain. Right now I'm sitting, chewing Advil like Tic Tac's and thinking about how I got to this state.

I have a match Thursday. I'm definitely questionable. I am vulnerable. I may not be able to play. I feel quite weak. I'm thinking how stupid it was to get myself into this spot. What did I do to invoke such bad karma?

These are the statements of a middle aged man (sigh...).

Monday, August 04, 2008

This Grinds My Gears...

I have seen a phenomenon lately that is quite disturbing. I am not sure if this unexplained action is widespread across the United States, or if it is just limited to the north east. The frequency I see this weirdness has been increasing to more than a few times a week. What have I witnessed do you ask? Well simply, I have seen people driving these:

Wearing these.....

Sony Earbuds

Call me old fashioned, but my Dad taught me that driving is a full time job and it just seems so wrong to see people with earbuds in while they are driving. I realize that people listen to the radio or stereo loud in the car, but total sound block out just seems like an accident waiting to happen. Is it just me or does anyone else see a problem with this?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

ABBA Anyone?

Tomorrow Sharkey and I are taking my Mom to see Mamma Mia at the Academy of Music. The real Mamma Mia. Not that movie that just came out with James Bond belting, screaming, um, yelling, um, sort of singing ABBA. Hopefully the weather will hold up for us. They are calling for possible thunderstorms in the city. We saw Mamma Mia already, but my Mom has been wanting to see it for a while, so for her birthday I purchased tickets. I do admit I love live Broadway shows, and I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit it. I have seen Phantom (2x), Les Miserables (3x), Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia, Singing In the Rain, and The Boy From Oz. So tomorrow we'll be basking in the ABBA goodness:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

iCommitted, iCrazy, iWaited

For those of you who wondered, did JP and Sharkey get iPhones or didn't they? Here's the answer:


I "convinced" Sharkey to go with me last Friday to get an iPhone. Granted she wanted one too, but she's less committed to the hunt than I am. But as you know I am all about the hunt. I prepare. I read. I plan. I research the product. I make sure all my ducks are lined up in order. I am the Tech Hunter. We woke up at 6AM last Friday to go to the local AT&T store to wait in line for the 8am store opening and subsequent launch of the iPhone. We arrived in line at about 6:50am. We were about the 45th in line. So the store opened at 8am and the nice AT&T people came out and announced they were all out of iPhones by the 40th person in line.

So I wanted to go to King of Prussia to "see" how the line was there. I again "convinced" Sharkey to go with me. OK, I pretty much kidnapped her, held her hostage, but she loves me and she allows me a great deal of lattitude from time to time. So we get to the Apple store around 8:20am and we waited in this line (blue "x" is the start, green "x" is the finish):

apple iphone line

The wait was long. We didn't get into the Apple store until about 1:00pm. If you didn't know, Apple and AT&T had major issues on iPhone launch day. These issues caused us to have the long wait. But that's just part of it. It seems both companies didn't really fully test the upgrade process for current AT&T clients so once we hit the store at 1PM we were at the Genius Bar until about 3:50pm. They use these handheld devices to look up your AT&T account and activate the iPhone. Unfortunately because of the system issues, they could not locate our account and therefore we were not permitted to purchase the two iPhones that were a mere 6inches away from us on the counter. The Genius Bar guy, John who was working with us was awesome. He was working our issue every way he could and he found a resolution and called AT&T to implement it. After it was done, AT&T told him it would take 24 hours to take effect. UGH!! At the end of that time, we were still iPhone-less and we were tired, hungry, and a bit ticked off. The wonderful Store Manager at the Apple store had a really pissy attitude and he had the customer service skills of a 5 year old playground bully. He told us if we were not able to activate by midnight the iPhones would go back into circulation (actually he said any iPhone not activated by 12AM which they scanned for us would have to go back to the warehouse for reprocessing, which I think is BS) and he was not willing to bypass his handheld billing things or give us anything for waiting all that time. I was getting ready to bag the entire thing, but the Assistant Manager at the Apple store stopped us on our way out of the store, listened to our whole ordeal and really took the time to do everything he could to accomodate us. He gave us the option to try again later that night or come back the next morning and we could go to the front of the line. But he couldn't guarantee that they'd have iPhones the next day.

So we left there at 3:50pm and I had an Apple pass that the Assistant Manager signed to let us back in the store without waiting. I had to take Sharkey home because she was going out with her friend to dinner. I was beat. I got home. Took a little nap, grabbed a bite to eat and by then it was 9PM. The Apple store was open until 11pm that night for launch, so I decided to head back and see if we could get those Apple handheld's to look up our account. I got to the store, the Assistant Manager was there (thank God he was and not the jerkoff Store Manager who I wanted to back slap and verbally berate), thanked me for coming back, and immediately hooked me up with a Genius Bar person. The line outside the store even at 9:30PM was still insane. The accounts worked and I walked out with 2 iPhones at 10:00pm. I was beat, but mission accomplished!

PS. I know you think nothing is worth that hassle, and I do totally agree. I would do it different next time. But that being said, the iPhone is AWESOME!! It is a great all in one device. I haven't seen anything that really comes close to it. And now that I have it, well, I'm lovin' my technology something fierce!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rock On!

While Sharkey was in Minnesota staying with Character Builder and family she played Guitar Hero. She told me on the phone how much fun it was. So we were at Best Buy yesterday and Sharkey was showing me the game in the store. It looked like so much fun, we bought it. Yesterday and today we were rockin' it out! Sharkey was jammin to some Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pride and Joy. Notice the similarities?

Sharkey Rockin It Out

And look at the finger work:

30 Years of Clarinet

Her parents would be happy to know that the 30 years of clarinet come into good use playing Guitar Hero. Seriously you should see her play. She's money on that game and kicks my ASS!! I am still playing the EASY mode with 3 frets and she moved on to the INTERMEDIATE mode with 4 frets and faster notes. My hands feel like I'm mashing the frets sometimes and she's moving along like it's a walk in the park. I need to step up a bit I think! Rock ON!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tension and Wound Too Tight

Plates on sticks spinning. Don't let them fall. Keep them spinning. Keep an eye on all of them and focus. Don't lose your focus or one of those plates will fall and break. Everyone's watching. Everyone wants to see the show, see your skill. Don't let them down. This show has been going on for 2 weeks straight. It's exhausting. I'm getting tired. But I only have to keep the plates spinning for the act and the show must go on.

That's exactly how I feel. It's what I've been living at work. Sharkey tells me tonight I'm too intense and I'm hanging on too tight and quickly heading to burnout city. Sharkey's right. God what would I do without her? Hope I never find out. But I pour everything I got into what I'm doing. It's what I do. It's what I've always done. But I think I need to back off a bit, take the edge off and find a pace that's more balanced.

I realized just how tightly wound I've been when I went to Sharkey's concert at Longwood Gardens tonight. She had to go warm up with the band, so I walked around the grounds. It did me a world of good. Lush gardens, fountains, and rolling meadows as far as the eye can see. And in one of the gardens I sat down at an elevated patio in a rocking chair. At that moment I took a huge, deep breath and the spinning plates were all gone. Relaxation is good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PC's Humble the Wise

I work with computers. I convert large quantities of data for a living. I am also a problem solver. And most importantly, I do not give up. EVER. I give every issue I encounter 100% every single time. And I cannot let things go. These qualities are good, but it gets me into some really great predicaments. Tonight was no exception. You see, I am our church's resident IT person. I give input on hardware, software, and I have networked all the PC's in the church and setup the building with secure wireless. So last night I received a phone call from the treasurer saying Excel was not working. I decided I could fix the problem in a few minutes, so today I went to the church. I had Excel back up in about 15 minutes, and the treasurer walked in and was excited I fixed Excel. Then he asked me if I could take a look at another issue he had with another software package. As soon as he showed me the message I knew what it was right away and immediately I knew what it would take to fix it. And here's how I felt:


See the problem is I installed software for my Stewardship committee on the church's computer to track member assignments and it conflicted with the treasurer's program. Essentially, the computer flipped me the bird. So I had to "revert" to my software support persona and figure out the software conflict. So 2 hours later, I resolved it and then went to On the Border with my brother for a 20oz Dos Equis

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A World Without Sharkey

So Sharkey is currently in Minnesota helping out CharacterBuilder's family while Catherine is recuperating from her brain surgery. I had to come home last Sunday because I have some time sensitive projects going on and being that I am the "new" guy I have to be at work to show my Japanese work ethic off. It has been 7 days all by myself. I drove Sharkey and Maggie to MN last Friday and now I have the house all by myself. This span of time has been the longest that Sharkey and I have been apart since we've been married. You think I'd be golfing, watching loud movies, staying out at all hours of the night, and just enjoying the bachelor life. Well, yes I have been doing all of those things, but at this point, I want Sharkey back! We talk every night on the phone, but you just cannot replace the "together" time you know. Also, being all by myself with no wife and no dog, just.... SUCKS!!! This Friday I fly back to MN to drive Sharkey and Maggie back home. T minus 5 days and counting...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Am a Sucker For...

Marketing. Yes it's true. I have mentioned this before, but I fall for everything that's shiny, iPhone 3G gadgetry, iPhone 3G and new iPhone 3G. It could something that's very similar to something I already own, iPhone 3G but if they make it a different color with marginally better qualities I find that something irresistible. Like the iPhone 3G coming out on July 11th at the local At&T store.

Tastykake and snack chips. I grew up with these sweet treats called Tastykake. I cannot help picking up pies, Kandykakes, Creme filled coffee cakes, and Krimpets when I go to the supermarket or Wawa. And whenever I see a new snack chip or some other chippage that is BOGO at the supermarket I'll 99% of the time get it. It's really amazing that I do not look like a balloon sculpture eating all this crap.

One of Character Builder's kids. Much to my dismay, and this surprises me as much as anything, I found myself dropping gobs of cash at the local cheese festival when I was in Minnesota to win crappy stuffed animals made in China for this little girl. I think it was the way she looked at me and how excited she was when we where there. Truth be told my view is that it's only money and the look on her face was totally worth it. But the lesson here is that I am in such BIG trouble if Sharkey and I have a daughter.

So those are three of my things, are you a sucker for anything??

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Limited Edition Krimpets and Wii Fit

I have found that the universe balances itself out. You know, things like good and evil canceling each other out. Seemingly awful situations spin to have not too bad outcomes.

Case in point, I was at the market picking up milk, yogurt, and veggies (all good for you stuff notice...) when I came across these:

Pancake Krimpets

Yes my friends, Pancake Krimpets. Cake with a butter cream center and maple frosting. Limited edition tasty treats. The bells go off, I figure that all the healthy things I have in my basket surely offset these beauties and into the cart they go. OK, not really. It is crazy, but these things taste really like pancakes. If it wasn't so really bad for you, I could totally take them for breakfast in the morning instead of my coffee, yogurt, and Kashi bars (man I sound like a fossil).

But in universal balancing fashion, Nintendo releases the Wii Fit and of course this thing is a JP must have. I wasn't smart enough to pre-order one, so of course I had to perform the ritual electronics hunt. I wasn't giving in to the eBay vulture/scalpers who do not even own Wii's and just buy them for profit and monetary gain (Pssst, scalpers YOU SUCK!!!). So I ran the typical pattern for when I wanted the latest and greatest electronic goody: websites and weekly trips to Target, Walmart, and Circuit City to ask the high school kids working there if they have any Wii Fit's in stock. So yesterday I got to work, logged on, answered my e-mail then decided to check some websites to see if any Wii Fit's were for sale. Well as fate would have it, the local Walmart had them "In Limited Stock" so I took a "break" from work, cough, cough, at ahem, cough 8:45AM and went to Walmart to get one. I give you the Wii Fit:


So I figure I can eat boxes and boxes of Krimpets as long as I play Wii Fit every day!! See my friends, UNIVERSAL BALANCE!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Sound that Wakes the Dead

3:00AM - BANG!! CRASH!!???!!! The dump truck at the YMCA is emptying trash. Those guys should be shot for waking me out of a dead sleep. Well of course having the windows open doesn't help either, but it's been such nice weather you have to sleep with those windows open.

3:30AM - Almost asleep. ZZZZZZ Wait, what's that sound??? Sounds like a drain going gurgle, gurgle... That's no drain. What's that small shape on my side? The noise is coming from that... What the heck?? It's a small dog...Maggie Moo is puking in the middle of the night!!!

4:00AM - "Sharkey, I let Maggie out and Oxycleaned her McPukee spot next to the bed..."

4:23AM - Almost asleep... ZZZZZZ

6:24AM - Eyes open and JP hopes when he glances over the clock is at 5:05AM. NOPE, gotta get up at 6:35! Crap!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Water? What Water?


Sharkey- JP I think somethings up with the dishwasher
JP - Nah Honey it's fine I don't see anything wrong with it


Sharkey - JP I think the dishwasher leaked water on the floor last night
JP - Sharkey I think maybe it's just a spill from Maggie or when I was taking the dishes out. Let's give it another try tomorrow


JP - Sharkey I think there's something wrong with the dishwasher the hardwood l00ks wet
Sharkey - Yep

Tuesday Night at Lowes:

Salesman: Yes we have that Whirlpool in stock and we can install it within 72 hours.


Lowes: Yes Mrs. JP we can schedule that dishwasher to get installed shortly
Sharkey: Um, what about the guarantee you have for installation within 72 hours if the appliance is purchased Mon.-Fri.?
Lowes: Um, well, um, that's for other appliances, yeah that's the ticket, other appliances
Sharkey: No it's not. If you walk out of your office to appliances, that's advertised 2-3x above all the dishwashers and it is also on your website
Lowes: Oh, well, I'll have someone call you today


Installer: OK, all done she's ready to go.

JP: =)

Sharkey: =)

Friday, May 16, 2008

The TV at 3AM

Sharkey and I are on different sleep schedules now that I am not working virtual anymore and she is virtual. My Sharkey is a bit of a night owl, so it is not uncommon for her to go to bed at 1:00 AM or later. When she comes to bed, she usually will turn on the TV, put the sleep timer on it and drift off. One night last week I woke up to the TV on and showing some really, really bright show. I looked at my clock and it was 3:17 AM. I thought Sharkey had forgotten to hit the sleep timer, so I got out of bed went to hit the button on the front to turn it off, and when my finger got within 2 inches of the button, the damn TV turned off. Clearly Sharkey went to sleep around 2:17 AM. So I dropped some colorful metaphors lurched back to bed, put my arm around Sharkey and fell back to sleep.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whack a Ball in a Gopher Hole

It is that time of year again. The flowers bloom, the grass greens up, the days are warmer, the nights are shorter and I am out in search of perfection. I play that silly sport where you take a bunch of crooked sticks and try to get this tiny, hard, pock marked ball in a hole, while avoiding sand, water, trees, and high grass. It is my obsession. I started playing out as something I could do with my Dad to make him happy. Now I am hooked. I think about my swing. I work on my short game. I look at all the golf magazines. I wear the clothing. I watch it on TV. I spend countless hours at the driving range where the guys at the counter know me by my first name. I am like Norm from Cheers walking in there. I take lessons. I watch the Golf Channel. But what can I do? "Golfus Ergo Sum = I golf therefore I am." JP out....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Meet the Bloggers 08'

So last night Sharkey and I went to meet more of her "internet" friends (aka bloggers). Sure I suppose I am a blogger, technically, since I have been writing posts monthly since 2006, but I do not really feel like I am part of the blog community. Mostly I think that's because I only read and comment on Sharkey, Kranki, Q's, and Character Builder's blogs with any kind of regularity. I haven't really gone out and found any more blogs that interest me. Maybe it's also because I am old fashioned in that I sort of think I should know someone before reading and commenting on their posts. Although I must admit meeting Q and the Hubs totally did not turn into the axe murderer, stalker, weirdo encounter I thought it was going to be, so perhaps I need to be more open minded.

The evening started out with Sharkey and I meeting Mainline Mom & her husband. We met at JB Dawson's in Plymouth Meeting for dinner. Again, like the Q and Hubs encounter, both of them were totally cool (no axe murderer, stalker, weirdo vibes detected) and dinner was yummy.

After we finished, it was off to location #2. William from Poop and Boogies had a role in a local community theater play, and Sharkey really, really wanted to meet William and see this play he was in, The Philadelphia Story. We get to the place and I think it is a renovated church building. It was pretty cool though. It had some great local art pieces and a portion of their proceeds go to charity, so hey win/win, right? We find some seats (seats are not assigned there) and wait for the play to begin.

Act I. begins. OMG!!! I was going cross eyed and was having issues focusing. It's not that the play was bad, but the dialog used references from the 1930's and it was going way, way over my head and I was having a hard time interpreting what the heck the actors were talking about? During this time, I was thinking, "I love my wife, I love my wife, I support my wife, I love my wife." Also during this time, my mind drifts a bit and I zone off thinking "I wonder if Sergio Garcia is still leading the Players tournament" and "I tee off at 8am tomorrow, I need to get my balls marked and into my bag before morning" and "I hope Tivo records my Battlestar Galactica episode tonight." (....WILLIAM IF YOU ARE READING THIS POST PLEASE DO NOT STOP HERE....)

Intermission hits and I go out get some water stretch the back and neck out and shake my head back and forth to get some blood flowing back. I give Sharkey the "No really Honey I am having a fine time" smile and then back into the theater we go. Act II starts and then something interesting and unexpected happened. I started to follow the dialog and really was getting into the depth of the characters. I was totally engrossed at this point and I started to think about how Tracy and Dexter's marriage was and how she totally was not right for George, and I wondered if Mike will see through all the superficial layers of Tracy. Needless to say I was enjoying the play at that point and William did an awesome job in the character of Dexter. The play ended and get this, I liked it so much, I was thinking I want to see the version with Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Catherine Hepburn.

We stayed a bit for a reception after the play. Sharkey and I were able to meet William and he is true to how he writes in person. He was freakin' hilarious. Sharkey and the others spoke their blogging language, traded ideas for future local gatherings and in short a good time was had by all. JP out...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Superman has Kryptonite, JP has...

Pollen!! It's that sucky time of the year where my eyes itch, my nose runs, and I sneeze out of my shoes. Yes my friends it is springtime and the trees are mating and giving off all of the wonderful pollen that coats everything, turns pools of rainwater into bright green puddles and that wonderful substance turns me into a quivering, miserable mess. Thankfully, I practice better living through chemistry, so I pop one of these every day:


It works pretty well, but I cannot wait until everything is leafy, because once the leaves are out I know the pollen is not being mass produced anymore and I become a sane person again. But for the time being, I'll medicate myself and just deal. JP out...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vacation in The Magic Kingdom

Vacation started last Sunday at about 5AM. Sharkey and I had to catch an 8:30AM flight so we had to be at the airport by about 7:00AM.


Our flight was "mostly" on time and we landed in Orlando and met up with Character Builder and family around 11:00AM.

Day 1: The Magic Kingdom

As we arrived in Orlando we stood in our first line for the week, for the Magical Express Bus. I think the most impressive thing was that I was in like a 5 queue line, but only had to wait like 5 minutes before I was checked in.


The Disney Cast member told me they were going to transport 1200 guests in one hour. My head spun with the logistics of that, but hey they are Disney. They have their stuff together. For anyone going to Disney, the Magical Express is awesome. You check your bags at the airport and you do not see them again until you are in your Disney hotel room. And from the time you board the bus, you are inundated with Disney media to get you into the vacation mood. Even the seats on the bus have magical, sparkly patterns. (Wide Eyed JP--Disney is great... great.... I love the mouse... mouse....)


We arrived at the Port Orleans Riverside resort and checked in. We were able to get adjoining rooms with Character Builder and family.


After a quick lunch at the resort, off to the Magic Kingdom we went. After a few rides, viewing a parade, and getting through what I will refer to as "The Dumbo Incident," we had dinner at the Crystal Palace. The kids were able to see their first characters for the week up close (i.e. Pooh, Tigger, Eyore, and Piglet):

(um, guy in the right part of the picture is a "passerby")

After dinner, all the girls went back to the hotel and CB's hubbie Jason and her son Alex and I went on all the "big boy" rides. You know, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and The Haunted Mansion. After our "boys night out" we caught the buss back to the resort and turned in after a long day.

Day 2: Animal Kingdom & The Magic Kingdom take 2

Our next day we were off to the Animal Kingdom and to get anywhere from our hotel you have to take a bus or a boat. So here's Sharkey and Lauren sitting at the stop:


Upon arriving at the Animal Kingdom we saw the Tree of Life:


And after viewing that architectural marvel, we quickly realized everyone needed food, badly. So we stopped at Pizzasaurous for lunch, and while everyone was sitting down, I beat feet over to get a fast pass to the safari ride. As a Disney veteran and knower of everything Mouse related, I knew that a fast pass was a great idea for the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. So after lunch, we decided to split into girls and boys groups again so the boys could go on the thrill rides and the girls could find some other less adrenaline pumping attractions. So Jason, Alex and I headed to Expedition Everest:


The girls went to the Finding Nemo stage show and take a few pictures with Lilo and Stitch and we were able to get in the Dinosaur Countdown to Extinction ride:


We also were able to take the self guided safari tour and saw lizards, bats, monkeys, and tigers up close:


The tiger was the coolest! Not sure what they use, but I was a foot away from the big kitty. I was thinking I wonder what this glass is made out of. And why does the tiger keep pacing back and forth in front of me?

We headed back to the Magic Kingdom to meet our dinner reservation time at Tony's Restaurant. Before dinner we were able to fit in the Buzz Lightyear ride. After dinner we did the Monsters Inc. comedy room and got our place for the nightly fireworks extravaganza. Then after that show was over, the kids still had pretty good energy and since all we'd be doing is wait for a bus anyway, we decided to go on some rides. So we all went on the Indy Speedway Motor Cars, the Dumbo ride, and then Sharkey, CB, and the kids went on the Tea Cups several times, and the Carousel. And after a very long day, we went back to Riverside and all crashed.

Day 3: Hollywood Studios

Day 3 marked Character Builder's birthday and my 8th anniversary with Sharkey. We were off to Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios.


Our first stop was the Indiana Jones Stunt show:

After that show, we went and grabbed fast passes for the Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster


Soon after we took the Backlot Tour and saw a few neat props:

This is the bone cage from the Pirates of the Carribean 2 movie:


This sci fi looking piece is from none other than Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:


And the piece de resistance is Ear Force 1, Walt Disney's personal aircraft. Way cool!


Our day ended with dinner at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Sharkey and I love this place. We had a few alcoholic beverages, and enjoyed a dinner with abuse from our server, Aunt Memory. Yah, we pay money to get slapped around at dinner. She even force fed Sharkey the green beans she didn't finish, before she could get dessert.


And so day 3 ended.

Day 4: EPCOT

Day 4 marked the other big occasion for the week, CB's daughter Lauren's 5th Birthday! So off to EPCOT we went because we had made reservations to have breakfast with the princesses.


This breakfast was like the best idea ever. Not so much for the princesses and breakfast, but we were able to get into the park before it was opened and walked around like we owned the place. It was awesome! I was able to snap some photos without gobs and gobs of crowds in the picture.


After breakfast we did more pictures with characters and rode on Soarin', Mission Space, and Test Track. After our rides in Future World, we walked around the World Showcase so Alex could get his EPCOT passport stamped in each country and grabbed lunch around the world in different countries. You know, quiche in France, udon / snowcones in Japan, burgers & fries in the USA, pretzels/bratwurst/chocolate in Germany, and snacks in a few other countries. While in Japan we also caught the Taiko drummers:

By 8:00PM we were all spent, our dogs were barking, lower backs were aching, and energy was reaching a low level, so we went back to Riverside for a low key night and grabbed dinner at the Waterwheel food court there.

Day 5: Downtown Disney

Our final day was our shopping day, so off to the docks we went to catch the boat to Downtown Disney:



We arrived and had lunch at the golden arches, Mickey D's:


We then went to shop at the World of Disney store:


And then hit the Disney Pin hut for Alex and into another shop where I found a Jedi Mickey figure for my work desk and the mystery bag of Disney goodness. Sure it was a bag full of a few clearance items, but the mystery bag could have contained anything. It was too enticing to pass by. Yeah, Sharkey didn't get it and berated me for falling for the marketing, but who am I? What's my name?

The only thing at Downtown Disney that was disappointing to me was that Ghirardelli's ice cream fountain was closed from remodeling. So NO HOT FUDGE SUNDAE!!! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!! Well, I guess that means we'll need to return soon for my sundae fix right?!

And so ends the Disney Vacation for 2008. It is back to work tomorrow, and I do wish I had like 5 more days to just decompress, golf, and sleep, but I figure I have 20 more days of vacation for 2008 so there's time!!

JP out....