Posted by admin at July 26th, 2008

Needles to say, LD and I returned from ComicCon 2008 triumphant! 

In our bobble headedness possession:   1).  ComicCon 2008 Collector’s Edition Hiro Two Headed Bobble Head from “Heroes”, 2). Charlie Brown ComicCon 2008 Collector’s Edition Bobble Head with orange shirt, 3).  Disney’s Winnie-The-Poo And Friends Mini-Bobble Head Collection.

Book collection now has:  1).  “Inner Workings” by Dave Pryor and Bob Rissetto (art book with cool drawings)  2).  “Tall Tales” by Al Jaffee (of Mad Magazine fame),  3). “Got Your Nose” and “Izzy’s Very Important Job” by Brandon Ragnar Johnson (off-beat little stories with very hip illustrations), and finally in limited possession, 4).  “The Many Faces Of Snoopy” by Charles M. Schulz and autographed by Jeanne Schulz. 

Our photo gallery now has:  1).  A autographed picture of the original Chewbacca “guy in the suit” Peter Mayhew.

The pin collection now has: 1). Charlie Brown For President and 2). Lucy For President.

First and foremost, what is it with me and Neil Patrick Harris?  He was hanging out at the “Harold and Kumar” display having a meet and greet with ComicCon mavens.  Maybe it’s my thing for the nice guy next door.  Who knows?  I was mesmerized by him yesterday.   Every time he was pressing the flesh or signing autographs, I was right there all starstruck and starry-eyed.  Couch time?  Yes?  No? 

I was especially excited to speak with Jeanne Schulz the widow of Charles M. Schulz.  If you notice, the Charlie Brown Bobble Head was autographed by Jeanne.  How excited was I?  EEEEEK!  SQUEALLLLL!  And the best part?  I got a picture with Jeanne and a picture with Snoopy!  DOUBLE SQUEALLLLLLL! 

Friends D and B showed up from San Pedro and we ended up strolling the grounds with them for the afternoon. 

This year LD had a court date which, horror of horrors, might have cut into our geek hours at The Con.    The trolley from Fashion Valley dumped us right onto the steps of the SD Convention Center where (of course) a wanna be Darth Vader was there getting pictures from other worshippers of The Con. 

We went right in, presented our on-line registration receipts and were soon whisked into Summer Nirvana.  Ah….ComicCon.  Where else do Sweeney Todd and Batman coexist peacefully?  Where else can you find Neil Patrick Harris mugging for a camera?  Where else can you find families of Batman’s and Robins? 

More later.  I ask, is it possible to have ComicCon hangover? Go to LD’s picture site www.vista.howlingpoint.net/g/v/Big+Events/ComicCon-July-2008to see pics of The Con 2008 or “LD and SD’s 2008 Most Excellent Adventure”.

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Posted by admin at July 24th, 2008

IT’S HERE!!!!   If you need to ask what it is then you haven’t been paying attention to the national media, most information sites, NPR or KPBS.  Need I spell this out, people?

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Posted by admin at July 23rd, 2008

While I do wish that I had scads of money around to buy whatever I want, I am noticing that actually sitting down and working with a budget and not going too crazy on credit cards has its advantages.  I see people struggling with large debt ceilings they have built for themselves and now they are paying the price.  OK, so my furniture is a little old, and I would like a big screen TV as big as I can get.  BUT, we are fine and working within our means, a good way to do things especially these days.

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Posted by admin at July 21st, 2008

I’ve been back from GALA Miami for a week now.  Sorry it’s taken a while to post.  Upon my incredibly long return, I had to go to a teacher training straightaway and then I got sick.  Yes, summer colds are not fun but I think having to rush back and the late nights and the cocktail parties and the yappin’ until 2-3 am each night caught up with the old man.  We’re on the mend.

The concert set went well.  Got a lot of enthusiastic response from the audience although we weren’t as well mic’ed as I would’ve liked us to be.  They loved the costuming, the choreography, the relevance of the music.  Jerry, our director, was kind enough to recognize all the newly married couples in the chorus and that was very, very cool.  The audience went nuts.  Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the trip, shall we?

First and foremost, how do people live down there?  Goodness, it was like walking into a steamy sauna bath every day.  I would get all changed and powdered and then as soon as those doors to the hotel lobby opened.  GAAACK!  The  humidty hits you like an unwelcomed wall of goo.  I was literally soaked again in 10 minutes and that was just by standing in one place.   Remind me never to go to Miami in the summer time.

I got to meet basketball star Patrick Ewing in the hotel.  He was staying there for a night and he and his entourage were very kind and gracious. 

The best part?  SOUTH BEACH.  WOAAAAHHH!!!  Now that’s what I call night life.  OK, the chic clubs are cool, but guess what I spent my time doing?  You guessed it….SHOE SHOPPING.  The Steve Madden Store on LIncoln Road was having a summer sale and all men’s Madden’s were 40% off.   And much to LD’s chagrin, I nabbed me a pair of those puppies.  I even have a desinger shopping bag to prove I was there. 

Next, can we talk about the sheltered life I’ve led in San Diego with our Mexican neighbors?  OMG…I think of myself as pretty good when it comes to Spanish, but get me in the Cubano/Puerto Riqueno side of things and I am one lost puppy.  The accent, the emphasis on phrases threw this Mexican hearing kid into a tizzy.  And the food….geez!  Not a tortilla or aguacante (avocado) in site.  I did have one of their Cuban coffee’s in the little tizas.  That knocked me for a loop.  Strong stuff.  Also tasted some of the plantanes in their different preparations.  Also delicious.   Then there was the pork roast.   I was in heaven. 

Of note…a pair of newly weds from Scotland that my bunkie and I made friends with in the lobby the last night.  They were a little overwhelmed with the gayness of the place.  They were way too cute though.  Aw, to be 25 y.o. and have the world in front of you.  The cabbies to and from the hotel were doubly interesting.  In bound we had a Muslim that knew the entire history of the world and continued to let us know about it.  Out bound we had the stereotypical New Yorker with the bad accent and the pushy attitude with the hand on the horn to go with it. 

All in all, it was  wonderful trip.  The guys in the chorus that have never been to a GALA before now understand which is a great way to lay the ground work for generating enthusiasm for GALA’s to come.

I, however, am glad to be back with LD and the puppy.  And BTW, I didn’t ever whine about the rainy day on Monday, July 14th.  Don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise.

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Posted by admin at July 10th, 2008

Every four years, GALA Choruses hosts an international music festival where member choruses diverge on an international city to entertain each other by singing our hearts out.  So, I’m on my way to the humid and warm city of Miami, FL for Festival 2008 and will, once again represent The San Diego Men’s Chorus.

This is my fourth festival having attended Denver (1992), Tampa (1996) and San Jose (2000).  I am very excited to perform our set and if I say so myself, I think we’re going to knock those delegates dead. 

It will be, however, very disconcerting to be away from LD and Diego.  This is the first time we’ve been apart for more than one night.  They promised me that they will be completely miserable without me, that they will pine away the minutes until my return and call me and text me every minute we’re apart. 

Right.  I made meals for LD and Diego for each day that I’ll be gone.  I labeled them clearly with instructions on how to heat and reheat them.  I hope they’ll be OK.   Right.

Our set in Miami will consist of “Let It Be” (by The Beatles),  selections from “Jersey Boys”, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, and a salute to disco where we honor the music of “The Bee Gees”. 

We’re off early tomorrow morning.  I’ll talk at you later.

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Posted by admin at July 5th, 2008

4th of July 2008 is now in the LD/SD record books.   A good time was had by all. 

Our own celebration started with LD getting up early to make a strawberry cheese pie.  Of course, we took one to my family celebration and left one for us.  It was delicious. 

In the afternoon we headed down to the now infamous Coronado Cays Park for the Arnayro 4th of July Celebration.  Nothing special really.  We’ve been doing it this way for many years now.  Rod and his buddies from high school stake out a place and everyone brings chairs and food.  There’s eating, volleyball and lots to chat about and catch up on. 

The best part of the day was LD and his leading his volleyball team to a hollow victory.  When we arrived there was a game going on with all the adults having a good time.  Usually, the adults stay on and keep playing.  I guess age and the amount of beer consumed played tricky stamina games on Rod and his “old” friends and as that transition of adults was leaving, a bunch of little kids who thought they knew how to play jumped on…..and so did LD.  I was trying to motion to him to not play this round but he just kept smiling his winning smile and took his spot on the court….with 5 other 10 year olds. 

Aside from bumping out a couple of the small ones so he could make a shot he still does really well for not having played in a while and would have been good on the adult court.  But LD amongst a group of 10 year olds?  He was the MVP!  

LD on the US Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team in 2012!!!!

Also, remind us to NEVER take Diego to the Escondido Community Fireworks Show again.  He was fine for the first few minutes.  However, as the booms and bangs got bigger and more frequent,  not so good.  His canine instincts kicked in and he wanted to run and hide.  So being the good doggy daddies that we are, we left early and called it a night. 

4th of July 2008….who would’ve thought that at the 4th of July 2007 celebration that we would have had a puppy and wedding bands on our fingers?  I didn’t see either coming.  But it is nice to see that our lives are moving in that direction where you have places you need to be, and you plan according to how it was done last year. 

Our little family rocks!

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Posted by admin at July 4th, 2008

An annual barometer of summer for me is the arrival of the drum and bugle corps season.  And in usual form, like the swallows returning to Capistrano, I dragged LD to a local show which highlighted some of the top drum corps in the country.

LD and I arrived in time to watch the last five corps of the night.  I know, call me a drum corps snob, but I guess when it comes to watching this stuff, I’ve run out of patience for the lower division corps.  Open class?  Yea…later folks.  I  am not interested in watching it when I don’t have to. 

So, The Academy (AZ), Pacific Crest (Diamond Bar, CA), Santa Clara Vanguard (CA), Blue Devils (Concord, CA) and Phantom Regiment (Rockford, IL) rounded off the top five last night.    All turned in good performances, but the last three, SCV…BD…PR, were extraordinary.  Each of these corps had their own unique twist to this ever changing activity.  Some brought a superior sense of brass and percussion excellence while others brought story telling and creative staging to the drum corp table. 

SCV’s  ”3HREE”, was a play on the mind, body, soul notion.  Their music was from the modern era (The Chairman Dances to name a few) with great choreography from the color guard.  Their sound is what makes them unique not to mention the fact that they always kept the show moving forward and didn’t wait for applause.  Their sets were intriguing to the eye.  Textured forms, use of motion…wow!  Can’t wait for the color guard book to be finished and for the guard to have uniforms. 

PR told the classic story of “Spartacus” based on the ballet music of Aram Khachaturian.  The color guard was dressed in slave costumes and entered the field with chained hands.  Spartacus himself was one of the featured guard members.  Love, enslavement, the quest for freedom,  battles between slaves and soldiers — it was all there.  What is missing with PR is the ability of the CG to tell the story.  They looked more annoyed that they had to do choreography and the fight scene.  C’mon PR…you’re PR….get it together CG and engage us. 

And, of course, BD.  They are the reigning champs and won the DCI crown last summer in Pasadena.  Clean precise drumming, a CG that can dance (although they could stand to send the energy to the audience more) and spin and that wide open jazz sound was the winner for the night.  Their drill design was way too cool.  What looked like regular kaleidoscopic changing forms had parts of drill sets breaking away in a stylized “running” movement motif.  That caught my interest right away.  One note for BD though.  Honestly?  I need more from BD than just technical excellence.  Sure everything is right but they are just a little soul-less to me. 

Sooooo, DCI now packs up its circus tents of glitz and glamour (in my eyes anyway) and heads towards the grand boo bah of outdoor pageantry and marching arts…the DCI World Championships in Bloomington, IN.  Stayed tuned for more and yes, I will be checking scores.

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