Week Begend – Host Family Chronicles Part 1

Saturday – 2011-07-16
After a 9 hour flight to Seattle, a ~4 hour bus ride to Beaverton, and a 5 minute car ride after Caitlin picked him up Seungkyu made it to our house surprisingly nonchalant toward the ordeal.  He said that he didn’t sleep much either.  He came in and was introduced and we greeted each other; I did my best to get how you pronounce his name during that ordeal.  Sing+cue is the closest English pronunciation comes to it; I’m trying to get comfortable using the foreign inflection.

Caitlin showed him around the house as well as his room. And when he came back down, as is traditional for exchange students, Seungkyu revealed gifts from his foreign land.  For Lorelai he got a nifty magnetic whiteboard and pen with a dog cartoon on it, some booklets with cartoon-ish stickers, and some Hello Kitty crayons that look more like pens because each comes in a Bic-like plastic container.  Caitlin and I got three sketchbooks, some ginseng snacks (tasty!), an and we each got a heart shaped 4GB USB flash drive that’s connector slides in and out.  Pretty nifty stuff.  Also over the course of the last 24 hours Lorelai has obtained a 1000 won note (1000₩ = 94¢ according to Google) and a fingernail care kit from him; I’m not sure he planned to give those up.

The rest of the night we introduced him to our cat, Pixel and various things in the living room that may interest him.  We exchanged phone numbers and Caitlin told him about lots of things like the potluck picnic with all the students and families the next day and things in the area that we can do during his stay.  Lorelai was also cute and entertaining.  Before too long we all headed to bed.

Sunday – 2011-07-17
Morning was pretty normal for our family.  I was up, showered, lightly fed, and doing something worth while on my computer about an hour before Lorelai comes along to get fed and entertained.  I think Seungkyu was up shortly after that wondering what the plans were.  I roused Caitlin about 45 minutes later (8:15am) because she wanted to make breakfast.  We had eggs, bacon, and toast in between chatting about stuff and watching Sailor Moon.

At around 11:40 we head to the potluck “picnic” which got moved into a church because Oregon decided that it was time to act like spring again.  Not many people had arrived yet so I put Lorelai down and energized her by chasing her around the tables and chairs.  Another Korean girl joined in here and there, as well as she could in a skirt and flip-flops; her name was Sea-something.  I think Caitlin and Seungkyu were watching us while chatting with some other Koreans a bit.

People roll in, the place gets packed with people, Caitlin and I get approached by various Beaverton students scheduled to travel to other countries before promptly loosing interest when they realize that we’re just a really young host family.  I’m pretty sure that two Russian girls planned to hit on me before realizing the situation, exchanging something between themselves as if I wasn’t there, then walking away without a word.  That was a strange interaction.

Through most of this initial time Lorelai is being adored by Sea-something (I’ll find out her name, I promise) and the other Korean girls.  I guess Seungkyu is the only Korean man in a group of eight or nine; I told him he was lucky, and he laughed saying that he wished there was just one other Korean man. The room got full and eventually it’s time for everyone to get in line for food. People ate and talked, we got info about how Monday would go then it was time to take off.

After the potluck we went to Target to pick up a couple things before heading on a trek to plot out what Seungkyu would need to know.  We scouted the location of his school up by the Nike campus before heading to the nearby Max station.  From there I took him on a Trimet ride home.  We had a chance to talk about various topics making cultural comparisons.  Buses, bus stops, sports, learning new words, that sort of thing.

We made it home without issue.  We set his laptop up on our wifi, I looked over his shoulder and got a Google-like website from him which I’ll be investigating throughout his stay.  They seem to mostly nothing but pop and techno type music popular over there… kind of like here.  We spent a while in the same room on our respective computers until he went upstairs to charge his computer.

Eventually Lore woke from her nap not feeling well so I played ball with her eventually making it up to Seungkyu’s room including him.  He prefers to head-butt the ball.  The interaction ended with Lorelai playing with his handkerchief and practicing folding it.  We had Taco Bell for dinner and Seungkyu went to bed to catch up on sleep.

There you go, two full days… today should be good fun too.

Nerdy: Tolkein
Nerdy: Trek in the Park

2011 Birthday BBQ

We had an unneeded extra hour to get things ready since everyone was late, so I spent the time goofing around with Linux.  When Amy arrived I lit the coals and eventually put the burgers and dogs on.  Leza, Evin and various other girly friends of Caitlin came along shortly after the meats were meet-able. Chatting with peeps off and on and somewhere in there I amused myself playing beach-ball tag with Lorelai.  Usually she tries to get the ball, I let her get the ball and as she runs away or runs back my way I tap it out of her hand and bat it around a bit playing like I’m keeping it away from her.  Repeat.

Food was good.  The cupcakes cakes Caitlin got were scrumptious.  Eventually people started trickling out. Caitlin and some others left at the same time.  She went to the American Idol concert, others I’m not sure.  Ashley and her kid-friend stayed around for a while playing some princess game show thing with Jenny.  Eventually the only people left were Evin, Kip, Jenny, Lore, and myself.

Had long talks/listens about various things with Kip and Evin; epistemology and relationship stuff are the topics that stand out to me.  With Jenny we chatted about the history of eastern philosophy, history of marijuana, as well as other stuff.

When Kip and Jenny took off Evin and I watched IP Man which was a fantastic movie.  I have a review in the works if you’re curious.  Took Evin home, put Lorelai to bed, and I dinked around with Linux stuff until Caitlin came home.

Colorado Sunny in the Sky

I’m actually writing this a week and a half after the fact (7/13), but I’ll do my best to make it interesting.  This should have had a post per day really because quite a bit happened.  But here-it-goes…

Friday (7/1)
We got up early (~6am) and took a Southwest Boeing 737 to Denver. The flight was pretty uneventful aside from the take off and landing which I always enjoy. I listened to about 110 minutes of The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris while Caitlin and Lorelai slept. The Denver airport was a new experience. They have trams to get from the gates to the baggage claim where we had to go to a separate claim for our car seat; no sign or anything. We waited about fifteen minutes before someone came along to tell us. We waited about an hour for Jessi and Michael to pick us up in their Subi (Subaru Legacy); during the wait Lore danced, ran around, asked loads of questions, chased flies, and acting the way you’d expect a three year old to act after a flight that lasted multiple hours.

Aside from having to sit longer the drive from Denver to Buena Vista was nice. We chatted about various things that I don’t really remember; catching up and me asking about the surrounding landscape mostly I think. It was hard not to notice the number of gun shops and liquor stores.  At one point during the trip I read something that said, “The second amendment is what makes the others possible.”  True statement.  I slept and Lore had fun randomly waking me with pens and other methods that amused her. We stopped by an old western looking hotel in Fairplay/South Park City for lunch, I had a BLT before making it to our temporary lodging.  They had lots of Kenny and the western-type merchant district; besides that it didn’t seem very South Park-esk… perhaps if they imported more snow and a talking towel.

After passing it a few times we found our lodging place tucked away off the road leading to BV.  It’s a decently sized yellow house with a deck wrapping around the second story.  There were several entry ways on the deck partitioned off a couple bedrooms at a time so separate groups could inhabit and depart individually.  The down stairs had a couple more rooms off of the communal kitchen area.  One of those was the room Lore, Caitlin, and I shared.  Outside the communal kitchen there was a barbeque, a patio table & chairs, and about 5m² of synthetic turf to goof around on without dealing with the dusty desert.  Beyond the turf was a rock planter bed, a bit of dirt with a ants going about their anty business and a steep hill laden with shrubs and woody plants going down to the fast flowing Arkansas River.  The Hartkop parents, Tom and Mickey, were already there waiting for us; they inhabited the other room off of the kitchen.  Lindsay and David came an hour or so later.  We mostly played with the “dragonballs” Jessi got for Lore in between vegging with a drink in our hand and getting various elements of cooking equipment to work.  The igniter on the propane barbeque didn’t work so David had to get under the burners to light it manually and the oven flipped a breaker which is behind a locked door.  It also didn’t take Caitlin long to lose one of the dragonballs to the river.  Delicious ribs, spaghetti, salad and fruit were prepared by Mickey and helping hands.  Lots of talking happened before heading to bed.

Saturday (7/2)
I got up with the sun, showered and went outside to avoid waking anyone else.  I spotted two antlered deer which were already running from me.  Wandering around I saw an old military convoy truck, cacti, weird dirt mounds that I presumed to be evidence of moles, and a little rabbit.  It was pretty spectacular to see the rolling and rocky mountains raising up in a 360° display.  Five or six swallows were darting up and down the hill leading to the water catching bugs.  I was sitting and watching them on a large rock bisecting the planter-bed when Tom let Lorelai outside to find me.  After getting her dressed I took her on the meandering route I took over the surrounding desert-ish field of sparse, sharp little plants.  Then we ate a bit and played with balls and couch pillows as people started waking up and coming down for the Solar Roast coffee that Tom put on.

People went various places while Caitlin, Jessi, Lore, and I went in search of a park for Lorelai to play in.  We got a tour of the little town before settling for a tree-shaded little play structure and swings.  Taking a path across a water channel we got to play on some boulders too.  Before too long we met up with Michael, Tom, and Mickey of which Michael was in search of a deli that sold an egg sandwich with croissant as bread.  No such sandwich was found so after Tom and Mickey went to meet on of Tom’s old college buddy’s the rest of us went to a steak house and had various foods other than steak.  Jessi, Michael, and I tried an amber beer from Colorado’s Dillon Dam Brewery… the dam beer was tasty and good for a couple chuckles.

After lunch the Subi took Lorelai and I back to the lodge for a nap.  People went to the store or something at some point.  David had his Canon EOS out snapping photos and eventually ended up showing Lorelai how to take pictures with it.  Some time after waking and playing with the balls some more I think guitars were brought out.  I got to act like a guitarist, even though I was mainly playing bass lines and power chords, as Michael led the way with what chords he knew and Tom followed along on his banjo; yeah, dad would fit right in with this back porch melody tinkering.  Eventually Lindsay and Mickey’s food concoctions came out for us to eat.  Chicken, corn on the cob, a green salad, a noodle-ish salad with artichoke hearts and (I think) a good amount of vinegar.  If it was vinegar that’s probably why I had a couple helpings.

After dinner I got to help finish off Tom’s Jagerita concoction, Jagermeister with margarita mix blended with ice, that got left in the freezer from the night before.  After that was some fruity pink thing with tequila. We did various things vegging and talking.  Caitlin showed Tom Weird Al’s I Perform This Way video and a couple others while Lindsay was off on the planter bisecting boulder braiding Lorelai’s hair.  David was wandering around with his camera and I think Michael was in Tom’s room softly playing on a guitar.  Jessi and Mickey must have been cleaning up because I recall them coming in and out here and there.  I also impressed Lorelai with how high I could through the dragonballs and catch them.  Eventually the eight and a half of us eneded up in the 8 person hot tub chatting about life, business, and acting silly until it was time to head to bed.

At some point in there I was watching an ant carry a crusty worm for a while when David came along and we talked about various nerdy things like the roaster he’s designing and some other stuff I don’t remember.

Sunday (7/3)
The next day Michael, Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I headed to Pueblo not too long before noon.  The mountains were amazing as the route we took (HW285-50) went along the river.  More sleeping and being awoken by Lore.  We took the spine of a mountain along Skylinedrive which looked over HW50 on one side, Cañon City on the other, and had a great view over miles of land stretching to peaks of the Rocky’s.  Stopped for lunch at Pizza Madness in Cañon City before later arriving in Pueblo, dropping our things off and chilling for a bit before going to a 4th of July party with friends of Jessi and Michael’s.  We were shown the layout of their home and their gardened yard area.  Very nice place you have here.

That party started outside with tables, lawn chairs, and potluck type foods laid out.  I met the hosts Cain(?I think) and Jenny. There were others there but I don’t really remember their names.  While hanging out winds started picking up and throwing stuff everywhere so we all moved inside.  Caitlin and Jessi went to the video store while everyone was in turmoil.  Michael, Cain, and I sat in the kitchen and chatted about stuff.  Lore was going between the guy and girls groups.  I think the girl group had some science tarot cards or something; I’m not sure what that was about because I only glanced that way to check on how Lore was doing while paying attention to Cain and Michael’s conversation about plants.  Eventually Caitlin and Jessi came back with movies and we headed back to the home to watch Battle for LA before heading to bed.

Monday (7/4) – 4th of July
Another long and busy day.  I woke before everyone, showered and got ready.  Lore and Michael woke at some point.  I put a Aristocats on for her and drank a french press with Michael. Michael took off to do business stuff at Solar Roast.  Jessi was awake at some point and I helped her get the kitchen ready for breakfast.  I dried dishes and cut up watermelon.  She did everything else including the preparation of eggs, bacon, and other fruits.  Lorelai was well into Singing in the Rain by the time we ate and Caitlin got up.

Jessi and I cleaned, corked, and packed a cooler while Caitlin prepped herself and Lorelai.  The cooler didn’t fit in the Subi’s trunk.  So Jessi put the stuff in a bag.  We went around Pueblo getting shown the sights and stopped at the downtown Solar Roast location to meet with Michael.  We sampled some wares, which were very tasty, while being shown the layout and the present roaster that David designed and built.  Eventually we went away, came again for Michael, then headed up to Bishop’s Castle.

The drive was pretty, as usual.  Bishop Castle was pretty cool.  We explored the main portions of it and traveled up the highest tower.  I had Lorelai firmly in hand because she didn’t want to be left behind.  Caitlin didn’t mind being left behind at all… she pretty much insisted upon it.  The meeting hall was the most impressive part; the steel, glass, and wood work Jim Bishop was capable of made an impressive display.  The dragon head coming out of the front of the building was pretty radical too.  We stopped by the gift shop to fulfill some requests as well as getting Lorelai a red gem and myself a globe pencil sharpener.  The lady at the cash register was nice to us when we came up a few cents short; after walking away I vowed to my comrades to donate $50 to the place but upon reflection (which may have actually been something pointed out by Michael) she probably just didn’t want to deal with the card charge.  I plan to donate, but just a more meager amount to compensate our shortage of cash and the awesomeness of the location.  There’s a lot to say but most of it you can get from wiki.  My impression of it was wonder and curiosity.  Jim Bishop is a dedicated fellow and I admire him for his individuality and resolve to maintain his freedom despite government objections. 

Heading back we had lunch at a road-side restaurant, I had another BLT, then went back to Solar Roast to buy coffee for people back home and let Michael get his car.  Lounged around back at the house.  I got to lay in a hammock for the first time ever… so could have fallen asleep rocking in that thing.  Jessi helped Lorelai make a path rock with her hand imprint in it.  We went inside and watched The Town to avoid the mosquitoes.  It was a pretty good movie, one of those worthy of watching if you’ve already seen the block-buster movies.  Tom, Mickey, Lindsay, and David happened by for one last interaction.  After the movie it was time for bed.

Tuesday (7/5)

We all got up early, packed up the rest of our stuff, and said goodbyes to Michael. Jessi, Caitlin, Lore, and I stopped for McDonald’s on the way to the airport.  We talked and Jessi told us about a couple things along the way.  We said our goodbyes infront of the big tent airport, I hadn’t noticed how tent-ish DIA was when we arrived.

Caitlin went to get us food while Lore and I hung out and watched people, planes, and a moth similar to the ones we were chasing the night before.  Boarded the plane, took off, landed in Reno where people departed and others boarded, we took off, and eventually landed in Portland.  My mom picked us up and drove us home safe and exhausted.

The Music in Me

Last night Caitlin and I were watching American Idol two hour special where the judges (Simon, Ellen, brunet chick, and black dude) narrow the contestants down to 75 people before telling us about the top 24.

After that Caitlin randomly turned the channel over to MTV which was playing Ke$ha’s Tik Tok, prompted a conversation about the identity of youth reverberating styles from past identities. There’s a ton of crap that reminded me of the 80’s in Tik Tok. Tie-die-ish t-shirt with a neck hole that’s large enough to drape a ways down a shoulder, sitting on the ground next to a boom-box busting out her lyrics, while sporting big styled hair. The bling-cycle is pretty 90’s, imo.

We didn’t talk about this, seeing them just brought up an idea to ponder of where are we going next? We were in awe of the what’s already come about in within our available memory. When I was in late elementary school most classes had a Macintosh which rarely got used. I don’t remember there being a computer lab. My middle school was brand new, just made, and it had a small lab of Mac II’s that were on rolling tables! High school I was in a different school district and every teacher had at least one PC with Windows 95/98, there was a tech room, and a couple computer labs with 40+ more PC’s per. Today I have a phone more powerful than those school computers.

Fyi, the subject goes back to music in the paragraph after next.

The world has gotten exponentially smaller since the computer and the internet came around. The Iran elections. The not so closed preceedings of the Prop 8 trial. China’s cyber attack on Google. These are just a few examples of how the internet is changing the world into something more transparent. Every aspect of media is being affected… the business side of it is just insane to think about how fast the ground shifts lately. How many different styles of music have come about in the last century?

When I let my imagination ponder the situation I see a blurred picture. Perhaps its bias, but it seems central to America: piano, guitar, various drums, wind instruments, other strings, bells, banjo.  All of these different sounds being brought from their origins to hands who don’t know their ‘proper’ place. They try and figure out what sounds good. I think my brain is breaking trying to think about it all at once.  It’s every bit as complicated as trying new foods from the super market and just making something with what you have.

For my generation and a couple that came before it, at least by my interpretation, music and language was a means of expression and setting yourself apart from your parents. Among other things it’s expression toward whoever the authority is and declaring individuality. My generation is already desensitized to the crime and the language.  It’s hard to believe that my daughter will find a new shock factor to throw at me. Will my daughter find a new alienation factor in her generation? Maybe she’ll talk as fast as the Ke$ha chick sings, that would be kind of annoying I guess.

Right now I’m thinking that thinks will keep going like a string vibrating where these styles aren’t really anything new, just different arrangements of what we already know. It will be interesting to see how humanity changes over the next hundred years now that all nations and cultures can talk to each other. Computers will obviously get more refined, practical, and hopefully more reliable; but that paradigm is done shifting for the most part.  The next big thing that’s going to blow minds is nanotechnology. The possibilities of some new stuff I’ve heard of will change the way we think about matter.

I let myself ponder this on the drive to work this morning and I inevitably came to a point that I got to when talking about behavior vs emotion in animals… I wont go into that though.

On My Mind
Learning: Peaceful Days, I found the guitar tab I wanted, now I just need the fingers to do it in time.

Writing: Getting to working out my expression on the Venus Project and the IshTube group

Active: I want to do 50 jumping jacks and 10 pushups every morning and evening

Stuff I found of interest while online today:
Hilarious: Stache Power
Funny: Training the cat wasn’t working out
Funny: If he hollers let him go
Funny: Calvin & Hobs on religion vs. science
Funny: Ash Wednesday
WTF?: Peeing baby toy
Interesting: NY Times Graph Economy vs Stimulus no idea how true it is.
Interesting: Road to recovery since Bush administration again, no idea of validity.
Interesting: Some Perspective Regarding the Above graphs
Interesting: NY Times: Obama Approved Nuke Power for Georgia
Interesting: Tampa getting religious perspective
Interesting: OKcupid makes a case for dating older women I didn’t read all of it.
Interesting: The next Mars rover?
Interesting: Why Space Exploration? I agree with him
Interesting: Cricket mothers pass information to young
Interesting: Scientology Exploiting Haiti
Interesting: Catholic Church Bails on DC Foster Care… Then Blames Gay Rights. It didn’t matter

The Vows

A few people asked for our vows to be posted since they couldn’t hear very well.

My Vows to Caitlin:
Hi Caitlin,
We both know I have been a slow and methodical person when making big changes in our life; but I hope that my slow deliberation over the years helps to steady your confidence that these vows will hold true as long as I am.

  • I vow to continue pushing myself as a husband, a father, and a human. Communication is said to be the key that you never get to stop jiggling; I will do my best to listen, express myself, and… yes… ask for help.
  • I promise to remain faithful to you as long as this body is mine. And speaking of bodies, you will always be MORE than pretty enough for me.
  • I promise to remain grounded as best I can to looking out for your well being, and our offspring’s well being, in the long run. No matter who or what side of something you jump into… I will always do my best to be your beacon home, just as you have been a beacon for me.
  • Last but not least: I, Dustin, take you Caitlin to be my wife, my constant and dear friend, my faithful partner, and my love through anything and everything from this day forward.

Caitlin’s Vows to me:
Since you and I have been together you have had 4 jobs, lived in 5 different places, owned 3 cars, had 3 computers, several hobbies, including, but not limited to: kendo, archery, boffing, Japanese pop culture, ancient languages, religions, star wars, chemistry, physics, calculus, drawing, ways to read faster, astronomy, writing books, making video games with flash, starting your own tech business, running long distances, and doing a hundred push-ups in one go. Plus, you have wanted to get degrees in political science history, philosophy, obtain your MCSE, and become a helicopter pilot.

But throughout all these many changes in interests, I have been the one continuous thing you have kept in your life.

I love that you are constantly trying something new and different. The truth is that my favorite thing about you is your determination to always be improving yourself and how you encourage me to do the same.

You want to be the best version of yourself and today I promise to always be the best version of myself for you because today isn’t about us going forward as individuals, but as partners.

My Welcome Guts

I could have sworn that I’ve written since November… it’s been a fast couple months.  Caitlin starting working at Bare Essentials to make us some extra money.  I went two weeks without a job due to it being slow.  Lore I think has been sick at least twice since then.  Caitlin just had a tonsillectomy last Friday as a preliminary for getting a biopsy on some lumps in her neck.  She doesn’t get results until the 6th of Feb.  On the up side she says she’s able to take deeper breaths with her tonsils out.  She’s been pretty hungry since she’s only able to eat soft foods.  Mashed potatoes, jello, popsicles, etc.  On one hand she’s looking forward to the weight loss, on the other she’s just plain hungry and anything she eats tastes too salty because of the condition of her throat.  It’s also been hard on her not being able to play with Lorelai… Lorelai doesn’t seem to mind, but I don’t think that helps Caitlin’s much.
Anyway, a lot of other stuff has been going on.  I’m taking three classes at Institute for Jedi Realist Studies.  Jedi Studies 101, Personal 101, and Meditation 101.  I’m hoping that if I put in the time, maybe allow them to help me unlearn some things my mind will open to something new.  It’s a generally positive thing over all.  In Personal 101 the instructor gives a perspective based on the theme of the lesson; such as Greatness.  We’re asked to discuss a couple of our heroes by describing their admirable traits.  Then we’re asked to compare those admirable traits to ourselves… the point is self realization of your own influence and greatness.  We were also asked to describe a quote about how a person’s greatest fear is their own greatness… interesting.
I lost my flow, so I guess I’m done with this post.


Finally, after a couple months of having a computer I’ve loosened my compulsion for the solitary society of Facebook and re-found my blogs.  Upon looking back, this is my third blog, I’ll link to the others and their succession in one of the side panels here; not that I expect anyone other than me to explore my history.

A lot has happened in seven months.  The biggest part, of course, is Lorelai, but it’s hard to keep track of her progress.  She’s been a busy blessing over all.  I’ll talk about my job and other aspects as I think of them… Lorelai will come up later on.
Back then I just passed the two year mark working for Stream, a call center where I was tech support for media software.  Well, June they fired me for being six minutes late.  It counted as a partial day occurrence, my last straw.  What’s funny is that if I had used a full day occurrence, as in skipped out, I may still be working there.  Go figure.
After a long month of job searching it worked out.  Siemens hired me and the first thing they teach in training is that Siemens is a German company founded and named after an inventor named Werner von Siemens… I wonder why?  Siemens has been around for quite a while, but I didn’t know squat about them besides their global status.
Anyway, one of the leads for the project brought me in for an interview… the client for this project is Nike, the ginormous shoe/advertising company with it’s fingers and toes in every aspect touching the words ‘sport’ and ‘athlete’.  I was brought in back in June and it’s been a pretty interesting ride.  The energy of the Nike campus and it’s inhabitants is pretty addicting.  It awoke what’s left of that athlete I left behind in my freshman year of high school; which is another story.  I’m working towards being active again; not sure the specific what of that.  Either basketball, some martial art, or just running in general.  I’m leaning martial art because it would be a good thing for Lorelai to get into also; discipline, resolve, self defense, coordination… I could do all of the above, and likely will eventually.  But with my schedule and finances I can only squeeze in one.
Not to long, in my opinion, after getting hired at Siemens I proposed to Caitlin; who said yes, of course.  We’ve moved her out of her mother’s home, where I was pretty much living myself since that’s where my family was.  We’re still in Beaverton, near the Scholls Ferry Rd. McDonald’s.  A two bed, two bath apartment with washer/dryer in unit and relatively new building (2003 I think).  I’ve technically been living here since the day after Lorelai’s birth, though I’d only sleep here once a week tops.  I had a room mate up until the point we moved in.
Anyway, we’re still kind of adjusting to fit and afford living.  Caitlin’s taken on a part time position selling makeup at Washington Square in addition to going to school.  I’m taking lunches to work and use computer and Internet for entertainment.  Over-all, once we’re in a groove I think we’re going to come out in a comfortable spot with more elbow room; time will tell.
Barak Obama is president elect, that’s new!  That’s a different story and discussion from me though.
Let’s go with that for now.  I’m going to take a nap.

A weekend gone

The weekend went by a quicker than I’d like. There was so much plan hopping that in-between lazy times were scarce and short. Friday night was the birthday of Caitlin’s bro, Evin. There were video games played, communing with friends, presents opened, and Golden Compass was watched. Then more video games and visitation until around 1 or 2am the next day. Highlights were interaction times with games, talking about games of old, minor speaking of politics, and more. Occasionally I’d drop by Caitlin for kisses while she chatted with Jenny or one of the others. Sometimes she’d come to me too. By the end of the night I merely listened as Kip and Meghan chat about family and property law while holding my limp little girl. I love holding Lorelai even when she’s an exhausted beyond hope of rousing. It was her first night being babysat, and she’s always tired after a busy event with lots of people. Good times were had all around.

Saturday all I remember is getting up earlier than I’d like letting Caitlin sleep for a spell longer since Lorelai decided to stay up a few hours longer than us. I got a bottle ready for Lorelai. Meghan stayed the night, so she was there and ready to feed Lorelai while watching Little House on the Prairie. Don’t think that was her first choice of shows. The baby would be traded off here and there as people changed their doings. Evin playing Mario Galaxy while I topped off my belly with cold pizza. Leza was around doing house things.

*The names of dogs below have been changed for their protection*

Began at the doggy daycare around 2:30. There were 3 dogs hyper-active dogs boarding. A German Short-haired Pointer (Holly), a Springer Spaniel (Thomas), and some kind of Terrier of medium size with a furry muzzle (Tramp). The Holly and Thomas recognised me from previous boardings. All kinds of jumping, whining, and happiness. Walking around the edge of the room is a good way of getting them active (and hopefully tired) since they inevitably interact while climbing over one another and proceed to chase each other around the room. Then they wrestle pull each others ears, etc etc. Very effective and entertaining. Pretty typical night once they were in the kennels. Holly bouncing on the chain-link walls whenever I walk by. Thomas sits there wagging his tail rappidly looking awkward. Tramp usually just wagged his tail expectantly.

Sunday I woke late. Went to Caitlin and Lorelai for 10 minutes before departing for The Hitman with Evin and his dad, Brent. Movie ends, book it to Caitlin and Lorelai again for 45 minutes before work.

Doggy Daycare: Four boarding. Holly and Thomas are still there. Then we also got a little chocolate colored Terrier (BamBam) with big pointy ears and a Black Lab (Pam). They were both pretty uneventful and often overshadowed by the hyper sporting dogs. Holly really shined when I brought out a ball. She’s a real leaper, easily able to snatch the ball with my hand at about head level. I’m 6’2″ and she comes up to my lower chest when on hind legs. She could probably jump out of her kennel if she tried. Poor Thomas rarely got the ball Holly was so fast. The lab and terrier had no clue what was going on so they would just come play with me or bark at the two sprinters excitedly. Scrub scrub, mop mop, go home to Caitlin and Lorelai for the night. Lorelai was awake and active, so I played with her until she became disinterested and wanting food.

For Now

Golden Compass (Movie)

Quick and sweet:
I liked it. Dakota Blue Richards played Lyra perfectly, imo. The plot came at you rapid fire, the fictional technology was fascinating.  Armored warrior polar bears, gypsies out for revenge, cute animals, and a wise old cowboy pilot with a sixshooter. Just remember that it’s a fantasy and you’ll sink right in.

Long winded and chewy:
First off, I read the first part of Golden Compass… I stopped reading between page 75 and 100 because it was just too slow and I get distracted easily. But from the small bit of the story I gleaned from the book I’d say the movie did a pretty good job of telling the part I knew. And unlike the book, the movie is very fast paced. The same rapid pace I felt when watching Arthur and the Minimoys/Invisibles. I think this aspect actually did the book credit in my eyes; now I want to take another stab at reading it so I can fill the in-betweens.

As I said above, Dakota Blue Richards played Lyra perfectly in my opinion. In the book I found it hard to believe how Lyra’s lies and stories got through to anyone, children included. Dakota showed it to me. I actually like her character more now. Pam, her daemon, was also portrayed well.

My biggest disappointment when comparing the book to the movie was Lord Asriel portrayed by Mr. Bond, Daniel Craig. I thought he basically played his bond character. Warm and witty. Outwardly a well-shaven fellow with something to hide. One can easily tell that he’s on the good side. Reading the book I envisioned someone similar to Arthas from Warcraft III. Larger than life, intimidating, ruthless and on a mission. He’s on his own side, but you don’t know much more than that. Off his wide shoulders drape fur hides making him look even bigger. He’s short tempered with a cold demeanor. No one dared cross him to his face, including Lyra. Lyra feared and respected him profoundly. She also cared deeply for his well being and for her standing in his eyes. I noticed the movie’s portrayal because his character is my favorite so far. I look forward to reading about him and Stelmaria later in the books. Speaking of which his daemon, Stelmaria, was not as intimidating in the movie as I remember from the book either. Luckily his character doesn’t show up much in the plot so a watered down interpretation doesn’t break anything. All in all I think I see why the change helped this flick in the end based on a certain family secret. Describing further may be a spoiler to some. Read comments for further explanation.

Everyone liked the warrior polar bears. Even people who didn’t like the movie as a whole enjoyed the bears. They were awesome. I wont go too in depth about them because it would be hard to not ruin some great moments. Worth waiting to see, definitely.

Something I was in-awe by that others may not have noticed was the technology. The zeppelins and other floating ships were propelled by some kind of booster engines with gyroscopes. They(the engines) looked mostly a bronze/copper color so they had kind of a steampunkish feel about them. The body of main zeppelin was a regal red color. I love floating ships. They also had bronze/copper wind up bugs and of course the golden compass with twirling gears. Cool cool cool.

The daemon animation and portrayal was pretty cool too. Pam, Lyra’s daemon, would shape shift in the blink of an eye. A cat, a lynx, a mouse, a sparrow, a gull, a ferret to name a few of the shapes. Way cool. In the book he turns into a dragon to scare off a gypsy boys daemon. “No imagination,” he says smugly. The movie didn’t show that, unfortunately.

I may add more later if anything comes to mind, but I recommend seeing this one. I don’t think the big screen really added to the experience though.

Moving eh? Wait, since when did you care about politics?

I figured that I should post a positive blog for once. My blogs in general are few and far between… and they usually happen when I’m ranting. This one is no exception, but I’ll wait to bore ppl with that later 🙂

Hopefully if everything goes according to plan I’ll be moving to Beaverton this weekend. 5 minutes from Caitlin and both jobs will be awesome on many counts. Commuting half an hour per trip 7 days a week isn’t exactly good for my car or my wallet (or the environment from what pple say). Its a really nice apartment built in 2001ish, all pristine and shiny. 2bd, 2bth, decent sized kitchen, washer and dryer in unit, down Scholls Ferry Rd.west of 217. Yeah, I get my own bathroom; which gets shared with visitors. Not a bad gig. I’ll post again after the move to confirm how wonderful it is.

On to the other agenda, while at my phone support job I figure that with all my mindlessness that I can keep up with news and stuff on the side. Before that I would just pick up on random things that people ranted about, pick up my own opinions on various matters, then apathetically move on with my puny life. It’s funny that once I started actually educating myself on domestic and national events around me I suddenly started giving a damn. I’d find myself saying, “WTF? What are they thinking? What are we thinking!?” Just in time for the primary too. The most important thing that I came across was a video of a class called Constitution Class for Patriots of the USA Republic. Yeah, the guy is kind of radical and he kind of sounds like he’s pushing an agenda; but he does it for a reason. He wants people to stop being apathetic and to start paying attention to what our government is doing to us and to others. If you’re old enough to vote, the United States government is your responsibility. These aren’t his words. They’re the words of our founding fathers that setup this government in the Declaration of Independence and the united States Constitution. I think he does very well in describing the history and text of the document… I’ve only seen the first three and a half videos so far (it’s an eight our class), but I’ve stayed engaged all the way up to this point and I want to watch it all.

The first video is here, try to watch the first part. Tell me what you think. You can follow the links after that if you want.  Video

I also ran into the philosophical/religeous side of U-Tube and the rebuttles… wow. But that’s another story. 🙂