Friday, June 03, 2011

Area 51

The Blue Jays AAA team plays in Vegas. It was bobblehead night for outgoing mayor, Oscar Goodman. My brother is a baseball fanatic. So we went.
The best part of the night was when I bought my hat, featuring a nifty alien head with baseball seams atop its cranium. Although the frenzied scramble for Mayor Goodman to autograph the bobbleheads, and the resultant spray of styrofoam globules was rather amusing.

The game was underwhelming. Shaky pitching from the starter Scott Richmond, consecutive homers off reliever Rommie Lewis, multiple misplays by the 3rd baseman Craig Stansberry and an 0-4 from Travis Snyder accounted for an 8-5 loss.

There was a bizarre infield pop-up that landed between the pitcher and the catcher only to eventually roll foul, prompting many WTF?s. The fan sitting next to us was taking and making wagers on any and all possible outcomes of each at-bat. I should have bet him 40-1 that he couldn't keep quiet for the rest of the game.

That was the extent of the drama at the game, save for a towering foul ball into the stands somehow eluded the well-positioned hands of a fan and clunked him right on the head. A chorus of sympathetic "ooh"s and "ouch!"s rang out. He seemed OK. But quite embarrassed.

However, in case of dental emergency, we would have been well-covered:
team of dentistry

Charlie Hustle

The first celebrity sighting was of disgraced baseball great, Pete Rose. Sitting lonely at a signing table in The Mirage casino next door, I bought a wedding card for my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law, hoping that he would wish them matrimonial bliss.

For a $75 minimum purchase of Pete Rose paraphernalia, I could ask him anything I wanted, get my picture taken with him and have him sign as many items as I wished. Charlie Hustle, indeed.

Instead, I got a photo with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, 2 more reasonably priced celebrities:
optimus, bumblebee and me

Viva Las Vegas!

So my brother is getting married on a Sunday morning. In Las Vegas. After a long day of packing and travel yesterday (the kids are at home with grandparents), we eventually woke up and found our way to brunch.

We walked from our pirate-themed hotel, Treasure Island, and explored the neighbouring area of The Strip: The Fashion Show Mall's fashion show, The Mirage with its domed greenhouse, Caesars Palace in all its opulent massiveness, The Bellagio's stunning lobby with glassy floral ceiling and tribute to America Day.

By then, Shelley and I headed back, stopping for late lunch and getting lost in the Venetian after seeing its Hogwartian painted ceiling. A stop at Walgreen's for a new toothbrush and some rest before a Skype conversation with the kids and Grandma back home.

Sadly, this is as close as we got to Celine:
Celine at Caesars

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Epcot Centre

Fearful that I was turning into "that guy" (the one glued to his CrackBerry mobile device to the oblivion of the magic surrounding him), I accepted Shelley's dare not to use "that thing" all day. (Although in my defence, it was 20 seconds at a time to record the event and then devoting my ever attendant attention to my kids and Disney propaganda).

The day dawned bright and warm, and we arrived at Epcot Centre with little fanfare. Maybe it's the physical layout of the site, or maybe/probably the result of waning legs and energy, but things seemed to be further away today. We purposefully collected our FastPass for "Soarin'", another vaunted extra-sensory experience; I cringed my way through Test Drive, an immersive simulation of what crash test dummies must endure; Shelley and I traded off the kid-minding to fulfill a milder version of a Gary Sinise-hosted space mission; soared over California in "Soarin'" (next time, I'll keep my eyes open for the whole thing); boated our way through Living with the Land.

On to the Akerhaus restaurant for a Princess-themed lunch where I pigged out on venison sausage and Reiko held audience with Princesses Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel.
2 princesses

As we retreated for a mid-day siesta at our retreat, we garnered a Baby Tigger stuffed animal souvenir somehow.

Our evening return was in time for our dinner reservation (grilled Mahi Mahi for me) after which we ventured undersea Finding Nemo. Our party split up after that, Reiko and I completed a Kim Possible mission at the China pavilion while Kai and Shelley had a Turtle Talk with Crush. We reunited under the geodesic dome and thusly concluded our Disney adventure.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Magic Kingdom Redux (à la The Facebook)

The day as presented in Facebook statuses (and accompanying pictures):

09:09 a.m. - lined up for Dumbo - all going according to plan

09:26 a.m. - got funneled to the gift shop after the Pooh Bear ride - these people know what they're doing

09:32 a.m. - on standby for Peter Pan's Flight. Just think I could be arriving at the office on an ordinary week.

09:40 a.m. - bathroom break - TMI?

09:47 a.m. - temporary delay at "It's a small world" - still smells swampy

10:54 a.m. - thought PowerPoint sermons were cutting edge - then saw "Mickey's PhilharMagic"... how am I going to get 3-D Smell-o-vision into the sanctuary?

11:25 a.m. - ice cream and popcorn for elevensies; in line for a Tigger-Pooh Bear photo op

12:02 p.m. - spin on the Teacups

12:25 p.m. - respite from the heat and sun; back to the resort for lunch, poolside and down time before returning to Magic Kingdom
caribbean pool

05:18 p.m. - back at it. Portrait with Pluto, picked up FastPasses for Jungle Cruise and waiting for our table at Liberty Tree Tavern. Crayon colouring limited to red and blue (and white)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Animal Kingdom

Up early for the morning warm-up at Animal Kingdom, where Mickey, Minnie and Pluto hyped up the crowd (the mainline church doesn't have a chance against the likes of this "Call to Worship" liturgy).

Much of the day amounted a game of Pokemon Snap! as I tried to capture images of the wildlife in flattering and interesting poses.

mama elephant

And dinosaurs too:

In spite of all that was available, Kai's favourite parts of the day were digging for dinosaur bones (read: playing in the glorified sandbox)
dinosaur dig
and not having to wait long for the bus at the end of day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Now with Pictures

We started in Detroit (Romulus, technically)detroit rock city
and arrived in Orlando onto Disney World.

They cater very well to kids - princesses:
princess rei
and pirates:
pirate kai

An afternoon through Magic Kingdom had some initial trepidation about the "Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin," we got assembled for our mission:

and defeated the enemy.

Apart from Shelley sitting in gum, me leaving my glasses and meal medication in the resort room and a slightly broken camera (which got fixed if you've seen the above posts), it was a well-orchestrated first half day of Mouse Magic.

StV in FLA

After an Olive Garden supper and a hotel night in a familiar-looking room,we shuttled to the airport where we stretched out before the migration south.

After shuttling our way to our Disney resort, we blitzed our way through the Magic Kingdom: jamboreed with the Country Bears; toured up and down Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse; saved the universe's power supply with Buzz Lightyear; filled the laugh can at Monsters Inc.; staked out a viewing position for the Electrical Parade while Shelley Thundermountained. We found an out-of-the-way vantage point for fireworks with supper and kept warm, crowded up for our bus back to our resort.

It was our warmest Valentine's Day ever!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Hiatus

At the Annual Congregational Meeting this morning, I was thanked for a great first 6 weeks; why don't I take the next one off?

In fact, why don't I take the family to Florida and forget about the cold and snow?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Orientation Day

After months of mounting anticipation, I finally got a glimpse of the office that my friends have been raving about. It wasn't so much the spacious corner office with en suite bathroom, wall of bookcases or formidable desk that impressed me, but the waiting stack of blank file folders, fresh Post-it notes, box of paper clips and Uniball Micro pens. Small touches, but very welcoming.

It was a day of many little tasks: adding a new set of keys to my ring, moving boxes into the office, setting up my work email account. The tour of the contorted and sprawling premises impressed upon me the need to keep my keys at hand at all times. I ordered my work laptop, got started on Sunday's worship service, sorted out some paycheque paperwork and booked a lunch meeting for Friday.

Now that day one has come and gone, it'll be a matter of settling into a routine that works for my family schedule and the other staff. One item of concern, though... If I haven't been able to identify who fits the Dwight Schrute archetype in the office, does that mean it's me?

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Tech

In quasi-preparation for the new gig, I upgraded the cell phone and its attendant plan to join the legion of Blackberry users (which should help keep family and friends gainfully employed at RIM). Carrying the Torch in my pocket, I will enhance the dexterity of my thumbs with BBM-ing and the like, as I minister with Calvary United. Apparently, there's been audio-visual improvements at the church with the installation of screens and computer projection equipment last month.

In other news of technological upgrades, new Keiser exercise bikes were unveiled for use in spin class tonight. Despite a silent, smoother ride, the seat felt a tad too hard (not quite broken in?) and the digital readout of tension/gear and RPMs revealed just how much farther I had to go in keeping pace with the instructor. Of course, he decided to inaugurate our ride with a full-out 2 minute sprint. I'm really beginning to dread the song "Paradise City" by Guns N'Roses.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Cleared Schedule

This afternoon as we were filling in the new family calendar for January, I was a bit unnerved by the absence of anything to write in. Shelley has her evenings booked and trips to Toronto and Montreal coming up; the kids with music lessons, school days and daycare; I had nothing.

I'm sure that will change on Tuesday when I venture into Calvary United's office for the first time. I do have a lunch date on Wednesday with a friend who also starts a new church job. Until then, it seems I've got time on my hands.

Friday, December 31, 2010

KFC: Kenji Fried Candy

With Jeffy's arrival, we undertook the arduous New Year's Eve task of grazing through a gauntlet of appetizers. Featured atop the menu were Deep Fried Snickers/Mars bars:

KFC - Kenji Fried Candy

Some Settlers, Hey! That's My Fish and decidedly cut-throat Blokus, managed to keep us awake until the magic hour. For all of our hard partying, I'm glad all the vomiting had concluded by mid-morning.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

(Shirt) Buddies

Our dear friends arrived for the annual New Year's Eve family visit, Cheryl and her 4 kids with Jeffy coming tomorrow. The kids separated themselves by gender - some dolls and Polly Pockets in one room, cars and Transformers in another.

Overheard: our 5-year old son to the 6-year old boy, "Let's hang out like real teenagers."

When I was visiting them in October, there was some chagrin that the outfit that matches mine couldn't be found. We corrected that today:
shirt buddies

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boxing and Scrubbing

Well, Christmas came and went; with it, my last duties as minister with Glencoe-Appin Pastoral Charge. After morning worship on December 26th, I packed up the remaining books, files and sundry office items. Yes, I literally spent Boxing Day with boxes.

Except I remembered that the desk drawer that I had saved for last, I didn't get to so I went in today do some final packing, report writing, and general tidying. The church laptop has been cleaned as best I could, trying to remove all trace of my computing for my eventual successor. Although the time to delete some 35, 000 files today took longer than I had time for - it seems there will be one final visit to the office to drop off the machinery.

And then, for real, I'll close the door and walk away.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bands of Silliness

The craze with school kids these days is flexible bracelets of shaped elastic. Trademarked as "Silly Bands" it does seem rather inane. Our kids are going to be popular at school after this Christmas.

Christmas morning

Xmas Rei 2010
Zhu Zhu Pets abound.

Xmas Kai 2010
I think he's excited. I can tell by the whites of his eyes.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Snow Day

With dire weather warnings, closed schools and travel advisories today, I was reminded of this bit of brilliance from EasyIEPHelp -
There was a note of explanation that followed:

Dear Ms. Davis [teacher],

I want to be perfectly clear on my child’s homework illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint surrounded by male customers with money.

I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.


Mrs. Harrington [mommy in question]

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Stocking Stuffer

It's practically a tradition now: decorate the tree and Kai puts his stocking on his head. Yes, he's feeling somewhat better.

His sister is more reserved.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Croupier

Kai's been under the weather for a couple days: fever, barking cough, raspy voice, lethagic, no appetite. Last night he was up every 90 minutes with coughing and wheezing. There'a a colourful array of medicine dosing cups with residual banana berry red Tylenol and raspberry blue Advil on the kitchen counter, reminiscent of a shooter bar ("what's a shooter bar, Daddy?" - "uh, sometimes people get drinks in small cups and drink them fast").

We got into the doctor today who diagnosed a viral infection, suspected croup and prescribed 9 mg of steroid followed with a pudding chaser. We'll keep him out of daycare tomorrow and hope tonight's a quiet night.

With a blogpost title like this, you'd think there'd have been more gambling references beyond the casino bar.