Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rainy Weather Mean More Work

The rain not only means a slower drive to the office. It also means more work. I had a short taped clip played several times on KNX AM 1070 yesterday, and I'm expecting more media work today.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Excavating the Cave

Some of you know about the Cave. A few of you have actually seen it.

The Cave was created in the spare bedroom of the condo early on in our marriage. I was living in South Pasadena, Kori was living in Anaheim. I rented, she owned.

So, I moved to Anaheim.

While living in South Pasadena for the second time, I had an old-school two-bedroom apartment with my lil' sister. I pretty much kept my stuff in my bedroom, and that allowed my sister to keep the rest of the place clean. The entire time I was living in South Pasadena, I was working 6-7 days a week, usually ten+ hours days, often at work or play late and always up early... like before dawn. The times I was home and awake, I toiled away at the desktop.

My room was a disaster.

And then I got married.

Kori and I did not cohabitate before we got married. We met in February and married in December of the same year. Plus neither one of us believed cohabitation in the non-platonic sense was a good idea. There were weekend nights where I'd stay in the spare bedroom at her condo, usually after I had worked at Disneyland Park and would be returning to a shift there the next morning. Often in those cases, she would leave to work an overnight shift at the hospital.

Yeah, it was hard to retire the spare bedroom with a hot babe nearby. But that's where I slept each and every time I stayed over before the wedding.

When we got married, we went on our honeymoon right after. I had moved some essentials into the condo, and place was a mess. When we got back from the two weeks away, we'd found that one of Kori's sisters, future brother-in-law, and parents had cleaned and organized the place. Great!

But then, we still had to move most of my mess from the apartment to the condo. And, most of the mess was eventually sent to the spare bedroom, when I decided it was not good for emotional health of either of us for my wife to keep poring through the casual and formal chornicles of my life... the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It bacame a giant, unorganized closet in there, much to the dismay of my wife. Spare matress and box spring. Old computers. Clothes. Books. An unassembled bookcase. Many, many boxes. I'm a bit of a compulsive info hoarder... magazines, brochures, books, notes, etc.

So today, we decided to move the spare box spring and mattress onto the properly placed box spring, removing the smaller mattress. Still don't know what we're going to do about that. But it is the first step in a new effort to do something about the Cave, because we'll be able to assemble the bookcase, move the filing cabinet, and have a better shot at going through the boxes in a meaninful way.

Hopefully, this is the start of the final effort to make the Cave a spare bedroom again.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Latest Kenversations on LaughingPlace.com

My latest Kenversations column is now up at LaughingPlace.com. In this edition, I talk about the single-season wonder of the Light Magic show at Disneyland Park, which was supposed to be a permanent replacement for the long-running Main Street Electrical Parade. I also review a DVD featuring video the first public preview of the show.

Check it out! Tell your friends!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Kori Gives Ken Great Gifts

We celebrated one of our anniversaries lately. It was my turn to plan the celebration, hence the trip to Vegas and seeing "KA". My actual physical present to Kori was a bracelet that she wanted.

Tonight, UPS delivered her present to me...

Two great books!

One is _Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies_ by Jason Surrell. Jason has certainly given Disney and theme park fans a great resource on the attraction. Plus, he thanks Rick West, our friend at ThemeParkAdventure.com, for his extensive research into the attraction.

The second book is _The Wave Maker: The Story of Theme Park Pioneer George Millay and the Creation of Sea World, Magic Mountain, and Wet'n Wild_ by Tim O'Brien. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Millay when he received his lifetime achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association. Mr. Millay just passed away recently, so if this book has a second edition or a paperback version, it can complete the story of his life. Flipping through the pages, it looks like it fills in many historical gaps for this theme park enthusiast. Great stuff.

Is Kori the best or what?


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What Happened in Vegas

It was a great weekend in Las Vegas, even though we don't drink (actually, I'll have a little wine now and then) and I didn't gamble a dime.

I went in to the weekend without having gotten enough sleep.

On Friday morning, we took Shelby to the vet to board her for the weekend. She was non too happy about that. Last time we left her there, she pretended not to know us when we picked her up.

The vet was in the opposite direction of Vegas, and so that added hours to our trip. I was a grumpy hothead all morning.

My friend Rick had called me before Kori was even awake, and he called me again while we were by the vet, fueling up. He'd call up many more times to check on our progress. "No, we aren't there yet!!!"

Finally, after 11am, we were on the road, in lovely southern California traffic. It was after 1pm before we were into the Cajon Pass. We stopped in Barstow for In-N-Out. There was an accident - and thus traffic - near State Line. We ended up in rush-hour traffic in the Vegas area, since it was well after 5. Rick wanted me to call when I hit the offramp he told me to take, and then had me call back a few more times along the way to his place, because he said the directions were complicated. They really weren't all that complicated. But, hey, he got us there.

So there was Rick, his wife, and their little daughter, who is a really adorable kid. She was one of our flower girls, after all.

Rick took Kori and I out. We ate at a cafe in Luxor and talked about family. Then we went to the Bellagio for the water show, and forgot where exactly that we parked. That was fun.

We then hit the Wynn, where Rick and Kori played the penny slots. At one point, while Kori and I were watching Rick, a woman was walking our way and Kori got out her driver's license before the woman could even ask. Rick turned around and was like "I didn't hear any of that." I told him it was because no words even needed to be exchanged. Kori looks young, lucky me.

We went back to Rick's, where Rick fell asleep snoring on the couch while Kori and our hostess bonded and had really deep conversation past the wee hours of the morning. I was on my back, on the floor, tired as hell. About ten minutes after 4am, I went over on to my stomach and fell asleep. Next thing I knew, it was 4:30am, our host and hostess were gone (upstairs), and Kori was in her pajamas. We took out the sleeper sofa and went to sleep.

Saturday, Rick, the little girl, and I went to get something to eat at the Gold Coast buffet, which Rick wanted to try.

After we finished, ee went back to drop off the girl and pick up Kori. The three of us went to Caesar's to check out the Forum Shops and the show there, where the acoustics just don't work for the show. What a shame. We walked across the street to Harrah's, where Rick and Kori again played the pennies. (Kori only played a total of two dollars all weekend, and broke even as far as that goes). We had to get back to Rick's so Kori and I could get ready for the show that night.

I decided to tell Kori we were going to see Cirque's "KA" at MGM when it was time to get ready, so she'd have some time to be excited about it, rather than wait until we were sitting in our seats, like I had done with the Sarah Brightman concert. She was very excited. We had great seats for the 10:30pm show. Kori hadn't eaten anything all day, so while we were waiting for the show, she had a muffin and some milk and I had an apple fritter. I should have had something with caffeine, because I struggled to stay awake all through "KA". It wasn't boring... it is just that it was dimly lit, the seats were comfy, and the music and the movements are a little hypnotic. Struggling to stay awake was a distraction. The show was great. It had come highly recommended by friends who are able to properly judge such things, and they were right.

After the show, we drove out to stay with a different set of friends - Deena & Vito. We stayed up until 4am... all of us talking.

Sunday, we got up around noon and talked some more. Finally, we went to a "local" place with a buffet, where we treated Deena & Vito. At least, we tried to. They redeemed some frequent customer points so that one of them was free. It was our one meal for the day. The line was long there, thanks to the holiday weekend.

We finally got to our hotel after 6pm, and weren't able to get our room until 7pm. It was the Renaissance Las Vegas, part of the Marriot company. It opened up about a year ago just off of the strip (near the Las Vegas Hilton) and used to be dilapidated apartments. I went to sleep before midnight while Kori stayed up late watching the Olympics.

Yesterday, we checked out of the hotel before noon, then went back to the Wynn for their buffet, which Rick says is the best. It was good. We went back to the MGM so that we could check out the stuff next to it... the M&Ms and Coca-Cola stores. The places were really crowded. I saw a former Disneyland coworker who had hired in about the same time I did and quit last year before to go to Las Vegas. He was working the register and was too busy, I so simply used a "secret code" to get his attention, and he looked around and saw me. We exchanged nods, and that was it.

After gassing up the car, we were on the road home around 3:15pm. When we got to Baker, traffic slowed to a stop and literally inched along for many, many miles. Apparently, due to a couple of accidents and holiday traffic, the entire way from State Line to Barstow was bumper to bumper by then. Ugh!!!

Things got better as we approached Barstow, and we stopped at McDonald's (like everyone else, apparently). We ended up getting home around 9:30 last night. I had to get up this morning to go to work.

Office stress erased just about all of the relaxation from the trip. That's life.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Back From Vegas!

We're back from a holiday weekend trip to Las Vegas, which doubled as our celebration of the second anniversary of our first date. We usually keep Valentine's Day low-key and avoid the crowds by placing the emphasis on our own personal annivesary.

I'll have to fill you in on the details of the trip at a later time. It is past my bedtime, thanks to some lovely bumper to bumper traffic.

...Thus sayeth Ken

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ken Quoted About Intersection

Pasadena Star-News - Intersection a Motorist's Nightmare

There I am.

>>BASSETT - What can government officials do to improve an intersection that has 86,000 daily vehicle trips, three sets of train tracks, up to 60 daily train crossings, and is near five freeway onramp roads, three offramp roads and a river?

For now, the answer for the intersection of Valley Boulevard and Temple Avenue is "nothing," according to area traffic experts.

For years, motorists have been clogging the intersection, which engineers agree is probably among the most congested spots in the San Gabriel Valley.

"Let's put it this way, it's beyond saturation point, way beyond it," said Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. "It's a really, really bad intersection."

The county rates intersections from A through F. A has the best traffic flow. F has the worst. The Valley and Temple intersection in Bassett is "way past F," Pellman said.<<


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Shelby the Maltese Doggy Was at it Again

We went out to run some errands.

When we got back home, Shelby was exceptionally good in not barking.


The coffee table looked okay.

It wasn't until a few minute later that we could hear her, sitting on her chair, eating something that was crunching.

That little furball was finishing off a packet of graham crackers!

Was she ever in trouble!

It's a lovely Saturday morning, and things are going well.

A little over a week ago, we had a fairly busy Friday. It was filled with appointments, including a business one for me. In the evening, we got together with my father and his wife for a long-overdue dinner. It was at a lovely place in Long Beach, along the shore - Parker's Lighthouse, and my father and his wife graciously picked up the tab.

We hadn't seen his wife since our wedding, which had been about 14 months prior, and my wife had seen very little of my father. This was because there had been a bunch of hurt feelings that were not addressed soon enough.

[Life lesson: Even if you think that someone's reaction to your actions is ridiculous or unwarranted, don't ignore it or think it will go away. Someone's feelings are real, even if they are based on misunderstandings. By addressing it, you just may learn how you could have handled the situation better, gain insight, or at least show that you care.]

The dinner ended well, and we exchanged overdue Christmas and birthday presents.

It wasn't until a couple of days later that I realized that the situation with our wedding was inevitable, given that it was the first big whole-family event since my parents ten years before. Not since then had my entire biological family - my three siblings, my mother, and my father - been together with my father's wife and her three adult children. There had been no deaths, births, or wedding that had drawn the entire lot together, and my father and his wife married about six years before our wedding.

It stinks that Kori was subjected to the outcome of this reality. If I would have figured this out sooner I would have tried to set something up (besides a wedding-related function) months before the wedding. Not that it would have been possible to get everyone together.

The rest of that weekend went well, and we had some people over for the Big Game.

The week was pleasant enough. Some things may come out of it that we can discuss later.

Heard good news about our friend Carlo, who has been showing amazing endurance against a medical problem, so that was good news.

Kori and I are looking forward to our second "First Date" anniversary. It is close enough to Valentine's Day that we combine the two. We switch off on who is responsible for the special occassion planning. I'd be happy staying right where I wake up in the morning, as long as she was going to stay there, too. But I think she needs a little more creativity than that.

My advice to any unmarried men is to find a gal who's birthday is either on Christmas Day or Valentine's Day, and then get married on the other day. Cut those four occasions down to two. Okay, so I'm kidding. Sort of.

That's all for now.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another workweek behind us. So much to say. But not now.

Survivor is about to come on.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

710 Freeway

Pasadena Star-News - 710 Backers Suffer Setback

The 710 Long Beach Freeway, which runs from near the shore in Long Beach north to Alhambra, has long been left "unfinished" because it was supposed to cut through the middle of the small city of South Pasadena and connect to the 110 Pasadena Freeway and then the 210 Foothill Freeway and the 134.

I grew up in South Pasadena, and a lot of us opposed this "completion", because it would have radically changed and nature of our suburban small city. You have to understand that South Pasadena, CA started with a spirit of protection and isolation. It was one of the earliest cities to incorporate in the County of Los Angeles, and part of the reason to keep the town "dry" instead of booze-selling, like Pasadena. It has long had its own school district, fire department, and police department.

Anyway, having driven on the 710 Freeway fairly regularly for my entire adult life, I know full well that "completing" the freeway will NOT solve traffic woes. This is quite apparent as I get on the northern end of the freeway in Alhambra and head south. Since the freeway just started up from a surface street, it shouldn't have heavy traffic, right? WRONG! The 710 soon crosses the 10 Freeway and the 60 Freeway, and regularly backs up to a crawl. How would having 110, 210, and 134 traffic from the north help that at all? It would make it worse!

As for the northbound side, many trucks head northbound on the 710 from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, because the 710 crosses the 405, the 91, is the terminus of the 105, then crosses I-5 before it gets to the 60 and 10. The trucks can transition to all of those freeways. If they could keeo going straight to the 210, many would.

>>ROSEMEAD - A committee of San Gabriel Valley cities has rejected a call to rank the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension as the top priority for the region.

Instead, committee members voted to continue a policy of listing all unfunded transportation projects without rank, rather than risk further dividing the region over the controversial project.
The decision was a major setback for officials from Alhambra, Rosemead and Monterey Park, who had lobbied to place the 4.5-mile extension at the head of the line for any funds that flow from a public works plan proposed by the governor.
Opposition to the freeway extension is strongest in South Pasadena, the city through which it would run. There are also interest groups in Pasadena and several foothill cities that have fought the project out of fear it will draw truck traffic from the Long Beach port onto the Foothill (210) Freeway.

One possible solution to the impasse is an underground road that prohibits truck traffic. Longtime freeway opponents have agreed to consider the proposal.<<


ABC News: Army Teaches Troops How to Pick a Spouse

ABC News: Army Teaches Troops How to Pick a Spouse
Army's New 'Rules of Engagement' Teach Troops How to Pick the Right Spouse
The Associated Press

>>U.S. Army chaplains are trying to teach troops how to pick the right spouse, through a program called "How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk."

The matchmaking advice comes as military family life is being stressed by two tough wars. Defense Department records show more than 56,000 in the Army active, National Guard and Reserve have divorced since the campaign in Afghanistan started in 2001.

Officials partly blame long and repeated deployments which started after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and stretched the service thin.

Troops also are coming home with life-altering injuries.

Many come back better people, others worse-off but either way, very changed from who they were when they wed.<<

Marrying the right person is good for military strength! Yet another reason to choose a spouse wisely.

>>The "no jerks" program is also called "P.I.C.K. a Partner," for Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge.

It advises the marriage-bound to study a partner's F.A.C.E.S. family background, attitudes, compatibility, experiences in previous relationships and skills they'd bring to the union.<<

Hmmmm... have they talked to eHarmony.com? It worked well for us!

>>It teaches the lovestruck to pace themselves with a R.A.M. chart the Relationship Attachment Model which basically says don't let your sexual involvement exceed your level of commitment or level of knowledge about the other person.<<

I can see negative reactions now... "How dare we spend taxpayer money on pushing morality!" But this should be common sense.

>>Though the acronyms and salute make it sound like something the Pentagon would come up with, the program was created by former minister John Van Epp of Ohio, who has a doctorate in psychology and a private counseling practice. He teaches it to Army chaplains, who in turn teach it to troops.

It also is used by social service agencies, prisons, churches and other civilian groups.<<