Saturday, March 29, 2008

A night at the movies - Horton Hears A Who

hhaw Tonight, me the girls finally got Mom to take us to the movies.

Horton Hears a Who

I am a huge fan of Dr. Seuss.  In college, I used to warm up for my radio show by reading Oh say can you say.  I was also pretty disappointed in Hollywood's version of Cat in the Hat.  But we had high hopes for this one.  It looked very promising.

Here is Rochester, we are still morning the loss of a truly great theater.  A local developer had opened a full service theater.  It was fantastic.  Good food and excellent service.  He later sold that to a chain theater corporation.  This company also owned another movie theater in town.  We hated that one.  No food and horrible service.  They gutted our favorite theater and turned it into a dump.

Last fall, a new movie theater opened up.  Its actually quite a drive for us to go to this new theater, but what do you know, they tried something different.  The provide great food and excellent service and best of all, they offer digital projection.  If you haven't seen a movie in digital project, you need to do it.

Horton Hears a Who was shown in using digital projection and it was beautiful!  What an amazingly beautiful movie.  The colors are bright and vivid and the animation in this movie is fantastic.

I won't go into any spoilers here, I'll wait until another post to do that.  This movie impressed me for keeping to a great story.  Dr. Seuss' excellent prose mixed with a wonderful cast made for a movie that our whole family loved.  Even me.

I'm a sucker for a movie with a great Dad character.  This movie does that.  The Mayor of Whoville is a great Dad example.  He's got 96 daughter and a son. FOF, imagine that.  97 kids.

Horton the elephant, a bit of a whimsical grown-up child, makes a promise.  My oldest daughter made a comment at the end of the movie.  She said, "Daddy, Horton is someone you can trust.  He made a promise and he kept it.  He's a hero."  Lesson learned, honey.

We loved this movie and really recommend it to everyone.  Our family has a Mom, a Dad, an 8 year old and a 4 year old.  Everyone loved it.  Let me know if you catch the reference to a very famous John F. Kennedy speech.  There are many great references in this movie to keep Mom and Dad chuckling.  I love it when they do that!

Go see this movie!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The count down begins!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to stay warm inside

Last night, I was tucking the girls in like every other night. I give OhPrincess2 her fresh coat of love (lots of kisses on the forhead and cheeks).

As I'm leaving she says, "I don't want to wipe those off, I want to keep those!"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Season of Politics - History, Ground Rules and Decorum (Part 2): amendum

Robert from 'Thoughts of a Father' posted an interesting comment that I felt deserved more than the comment reply on my post The Season of Politics - History, Ground Rules and Decorum (Part 2).

In his comment, he objects to my assertion that the defense of marriage group were looking to discriminate against homosexuals. He proposes the slippery slop argument that if we allow same-sex marriages, we then open the flood gate to all other forms of human configurations. An argument that I have pondered many times.

While I do hope that for the most part, people weren't thinking of it as an attack on homosexuals, I do believe that the original intent by those in power, was that very thing.

The notion that this was "Defending Marriage" to me was just such a hypocritical assertion as to be almost insulting to those of us that believe strongly in marriage. Marriage is not under attack from same sex parterners, I believe they are actually going a long way to provide inspiration to marriage.

The greatest threat to marriage in our nation is infidelity and divorce. If we are truly trying to protect marriage, why don't we tackle the big issues? How many kids need to have Mommy's house and Daddy's house? When a celebrity marriage that lasts 10 years is considered a success, how is this not attacking marriage?

One point for me that was lost during this entire debate was the fact that marriage actually has two sources, legal and religous.

In one form, marriage is a legal union of two individuals, pledging to the government that the pair will be a single unit in the eyes of the legal system and to the government.

There is also a religious marriage that happens in a church, synagogue, masque or other house of worship. Depending on your faith, you are pledging your union to your divine.

I think it is important that we keep these two concepts separate. Since marriage has the two different sources and meanings, I feel that the only logical conclusion is that this ammendment was just simply to limit the rights of same-sex partners. From a legal standpoint, I don't care what your bedroom antics are like, if you and a partner choose to legally join to become a single unit, that is fine. Then it must also be followed that this bind should be for a lifetime and monogomous.

The slippery slope argument, interestingly, can be applied to why we allow marriage in the first place. We do we allow men and women to get married and not other groups? I know, I know, that's bit absurd of a notion, but no less logical. We allow it because the idea of husband and wife has been around for as long as we can remember. But then again, so has homosexuality. It is no less a stranger to nature as heterosexual bahavior.

Ultimately, I feel, this is a states rights issue. The federal government shouldn't be defining for the states what they feel is a legal union between two people. Since the birth of our nation, each state has been in charge of their concept of marriage. Let that be.

Since the idea of this was to protect marriage, I still can't find how this isn't an attack on homosexuals and thus legal discrimination. It does nothing to protect marriage. It only legally says that non-heterosexuals may never have the same benifits as heterosexuals. How is this not discrimination?

There is no easy answer to this debate. I am personally, not a religous person, but I am a HUGE proponent of lifelong marriage and family. I know this concept can seem foreign to some, but it is possible to not be religious AND still be a family/marriage person. It is in a house filled with love, respect and commitment that we build our future for our kids. It is in this environment that kids get the best start. I'm also deeply in love with my wife and can't imagine a day without her at my side. Go figure.

I believe that the government has no business enforcing morality. Government should be about enforcing civility and protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of its citizens. To do this, you have to use a very metered hand and at times do like parents do. Let the kids fight and argue.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Come'n get em!

The Twins tickets arrived today. Yeah! This goes along way towards
cheering me up!

Look, they even came in this cool box!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How about a big round of applause for...

The K & G family! No doubt, my recent diagnosis of strep is from reading their blogs. These here internets be infectionated!

Just kidding...about the source. I'm sure one of the two petri dishes that live in this house have brought it home. I love my wife's kids! (I actually really do, I just hurt, I was bitter).

Maybe some blogging later, right now...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Season of Politics - History, Ground Rules and Decorum (Part 2)

I've really thought hard about what to talk about next, but in the end, I think its very important to talk about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

These are, without a doubt, the two most important documents to the fabric of our nation. These are the cornerstone of everything that we believe in. If you have no idea what is in these documents, you owe it to yourself and your family to read them and understand them. They are really that important.

All elected members of government are sworn to protect these. Even the president.

These two documents, together, describe and limit the scope of our government. They also describe how things are two be done. Such as elections of certain offices and their removal.

One interesting thing that I hear people ask is why do we have a census? Well we have a census because the Founding Fathers decided that a representational government would need to have a head count of the population so to determine where legislative boundaries would be. Yes it is expensive, but without it, Powerful men in Washington would in turn decide what the population was, and my guess, is those numbers would be most self-serving. The number of members of one house of the legistlature is determined solely by the census. The people, the bigger the House of Representatives. The Senate has 2 members from each state. This was created by the Great Compromise...a different post.

The Bill of Rights was created because it was felt the constitution needed a clear definition of what each citizens rights should be. While the constitution defines the framework of government and some basic rights, it does not clearly define what the people can expect. The Bill of Rights also constitutes the first 10 amendments to the constitution. If it is not clearly defined as a right in the Constitution, it is defined here.

Here is where I've been thinking about making this two posts, but this point is also very important. These two documents state clearly that there is to be a separation of powers with defined checks and balances. This was not created to stand in the way of justice, but to preserve it.

The United States was created as a nation run by the rule of law. Many types of government are run by the rule of man or deity. While these are neat and all, they fail to protect the most basic principals of liberty and justice. Our nation was created in away as to protect these ideas.

While congress has the ability to create laws, they have no power to enforce them. The executive branch has the power to enforce laws, but they can't create them (this is debatable - rules are one thing, but technically, not laws. Congress has given the President and the cabinet the ability to create rules). Lastly, the judiciary has the power to interpret laws and determine if laws can be enforced or should exist at all.

What about the will of the people?

The will of the people is limited by the power of the constitution. While most people believe the United States of America is a democracy, this is only partially true. We've chosen a representative republic. We elect people to represent us, and we have a constitution that prevents us from doing things that ultimately are wrong.

This concept is rather difficult to understand. To quote Spock from Star Trek - the Wrath of Kahn, "It is logical. The needs of the many out way the needs of the few, or the one." In someways this is true and important, but in others, this is just plain wrong. Our constitution defends the needs of the few or the one. Its a check on our own need for power. The majority of the people can not chose to remove the liberty of another person just because the want to. It is very difficult to make these changes for a reason.

To make an amendment to the Constitution is a very difficult process. This is on purpose. The American people have very interesting mood swings when it comes to the issues. Our attention span is short. We seem not to be able to must much change in our Constitution.

The last few amendments have all died along the way. Term limits (I would say we already have them, its called the ballot), Equal Rights Amendment and protecting the family (a veiled attempt at saying it should OK to discriminate against homosexuals) didn't have the political will to over come the difficulty in changing the constitution. Although the ERA still has a chance.

On a personal note, I'm only in favor of one amendment right now, and that's one establishing the Writ of Habeas Corpus as a defined right in the constitution. But that's for another post.

Our entire system is designed to be a pain in the ass for the simple reason that if anything becomes to easy for one branch, the others have a source of remedy to return things to the way they should be.

All of this was started because, we the people of the United States of America want nothing to do with a king or a tyrant. No one in our great nation should ever be above the law or the Constitution. It is not a guide, it is the rule of law. We as citizens are obligated to defend this document more than we are obligated to defend our president or the leaders in Washington. At the core of our system, is the Constitution. Not a person. Not a party. But a piece of parchment. That is what we stand for and that is who we are.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Guitar Hero III - One Married Couples Story

I can officially say that my wife and I love playing Guitar Hero III. I've admitted it, now what to do.

Probably the single biggest reason I haven't posted anything this week is the Mrs and I have been playin GHIII until 'There are blisters on me fingas!' No real blisters, but Co-op Career mode makes for a great husband and wife activity.

This week, we got to the final song set of medium and its kicking our butts! Word on the street, it is just that hard. Stay tuned! We will conquer this yet!

Work has been coming along and I'm learning A LOT! No more getting lost in the hospital and I've got this shuttle thing down pat. Yesterday, I even tried to branch out our transportation options. We parked the car in a Park & Ride lot and I caught the bus for the ride home. Worked out pretty well. I could save even more gas if the parking lot wasn't two miles away from home. Not exactly a distance I want to walk in the summer with a coat and tie on.

One of my long time co-workers at my old job, and a very good friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I've known her and her husband since I started at that job. Thankfully, we found out that her surgery went well and they are pretty sure they got it all. Whew! We are just keeping her in our thoughts for speedy recovery!

Tonight is my hometown's big St. Patrick's Day dinner. Another confession: I am a former King Erin. Every year, the Irish of my hometown pick a king that reigns for one year. I was the king for a year. Tonight, they are honoring the past kings. Should be fun. The kids are really excited because they get to spend the night at Grandma's house and wake up after a 'sleep over!'

Éire go brách!

I'm working on the rest of the series of posts The Season of Politics - History, Ground Rules and Decorum. I've really liked researching the subject I plan on writing about. As the election draws nearer, hopefully, everyone who reads this will get off the tuckas's and vote! Like I've said before, you can't bitch about anything, unless you vote. Our lives depend on it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How about a big Thank You!

Earlier today, I noticed an email from Charlie Blockhead with the subject line of my last post. "Oh great, more comment spam," I thought to myself. I better go read what it says and delete it if its offensive or too stupid.

What's this? I've been what?

Big thanks to Father of Five for nominating my blog for "Best Daddy Blog."

Click here to find out what this means and what is left to do!

Again...Thanks Father of Five!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Season of Politics - History, Ground Rules and Decorum (Part 1)

Welcome to the Season of Politics also known as Presidential Election Year.

For many of you, this season comes around once every four years and is very short. I understand your trepidation. I also hope that you realize our lives are stake and will participate with energy and enthusiasm. No, seriously, our LIVES are at stake.

The purpose of this posts is to set some back story, ground rules and define proper decorum in a political conversation. I hope to explain why politics is important to me and hopefully, it will become something that you consider important enough to learn about. I don't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat as long as you care and voice your educated opinion by voting and participating. Again, our LIVES are at stake.

Let's get one thing straight from the beginning, I will never be offended if you disagree with me as long you defend you argument well.

What do I mean by this? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if your rebuttal is that you are right because I'm wrong, I will rhetorically rip you to shreds. The negation of one argument does not prove another. Also, no matter how much anecdotal evidence you have, you still have not proven your argument. There is an old joke in debates. How many anecdotes does it take to prove a point? (That's the joke, sorry if its really not all that funny). Anecdotes are NOT proof. Only stories and hearsay about what people interpret as happening.

I enjoy an argument that is well founded, well researched and articulated clearly. Most people think of arguments as angry hostile altercations. A disagreement is not a bad thing. It is through discourse of our differences that we change the future. Feel free to disagree with me at any time. Just do it in a way that doesn't make you look like an ass.

This political season looks to be as nasty as ever. The Democrats are racing into their convention with no clear primary winner. This ain't gonna be pretty.

Once people get to know me, they learn that politics, and in particular, the study of the U. S. Constitution (the document, not the boat) are very important to me. They are the cornerstone of our society and more importantly, the basis for our freedom.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Signs of spring

Look! Dairy Queen is open! Its 20 degrees outside today, but this is a
sure sign of spring.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A night at the theatre

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Working Title

I started blogging a while back. I'm not really sure why, but I think I did it because I have lots of things to say. I have an opinion on everything. I really do, just ask my family.

Something I discovered after blogging a few months is that I think it really helps your writing skills to force yourself to write all the time. I'm not sure if this is just me wishing it to be true, but I think my writing has improved in all of my posts since the first entry to today.

Lately, however, I feel I've been neglecting my writing. I actually found myself at work today think hard about writing. About doing this post. I found it strange to be thinking and wishing I could be writing. I actually missed writing. I never would have thought that 20 years after taking college composition, I'd look forward to and wish I had more time for...writing.

My first two weeks at my new job, I really forced myself to do some writing everyday. I really felt in the zone. Since then...I've been missing this.

So what's been going on?

Work is going very well. I've learned a lot! I've been really worried since starting there that I'm in over my head. Its a confidence thing, but more recently...I'm getting that confidence back. I think I may actually contribue something!

Guitar Hero III - This game is AMAZING! My wife and I really love this game. Kids go to bed, the axes come out and Mom and Dad jam it out. Last night, we finally made it past Santana - Black Magic Woman.

Mom and I have also tried to spend more quality time with the girls. We both been so busy, we sometimes forgot to just laugh and play with the kids. This week, we've been playing video games as a family and board games. Its so nice that both of them are old enough to enjoy this.

I really want someone to explain to me this whole global warming thing. I have to walk .7 miles to and from my car everyday. Its March and I'm freezing my a$$ off EVERY FRIGGIN' DAY! I want global warming back. Does anyone know where it went???

I'll be working on some political/legal/issue posts in the next couple of weeks. The election is heating up and I can't wait to chime in. Also, the RIAA and the MPAA are starting to get the just dessert in the courts system. I'm sure I can piss someone off...that's what blogs are for right?

Ah, I've done some writing. I missed this. I feel better now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

iTunes Meme

Thanks Kaja for the cool meme. I had to wait until I could get back to work, this is where I listen to music the most.

Instructions: Open up your iTunes and fill out this survey, no matter how embarrassing the responses might be.

How many songs total: 18,661
How many hours or days of music: 53.5 Days
Most recently played: The Thin Ice - Pink Floyd
Most played: Spirits in the Material World - The Police
Most recently added: Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat) - Bob Dylan

Sort by song title:
First Song: The A-Team Theme Song - [Not sure how that got in here]
Last Song: 99% - Soul Asylum [gotta love a good MN band!]

Sort by time:
Shortest Song: 5 sec - And That's the End of the Ballgame - Jock Rock, Vol. 1
Longest Song: 23 min 29 sec - Echos - Pink Floyd

Sort by album:
First album: Abacab - Genisis
Last album: 9 1/2 Weeks Soundtrack

First song that comes up on Shuffle: Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) - Cracker

Search the following and state how many songs come up:

Death - 39
Life - 318
Love - 1181
Hate - 71
You - 2121
Sex - 86

I think I have a music problem. My goal for a while has been to collect every song ever recorded. Couple more hard drives to go and I think I'll be there!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Can't think of a busier time

Its been awhile since I got a chance to sit down and do some writing. All I can say is "Whew!" that week is done!

We had our Pampered Chef party on Wednesday night. That went pretty well. We had one couple show up. The really well part was they brought their kids. There daughter and Ash are about the same age. Well, the other really well part is we all had lots of good food to eat. If you are in the market for Pampered Chef, just let KT know.

With that out of the way, I spent the rest of Wednesday playing in the Mookie. My favorite online poker tournament. No big finish this week, but I did make it to the final 3 tables. Better luck next time!

Thursday night was spent getting ready for the big poker night at our house on Friday night. We needed to prepare for 26 rounders to descend upon our basement. There's lots to do in preparation for a poker tournament. This was the last night to get ready for it.

Thursday and Friday were also big days for me at work. These were the first days I got to spend a lot of time in the department that I'll be writing and maintaining code for. This is exciting work. The department I work for cures cancer using radiation. Absolutely amazing work and amazing people. Thursday was so much fun for the simple reason that outside of lunch, my entire day was scheduled out.

Friday was all about the tournament. How fun was it? Not sure what everyone else thought, but I had a blast.

Yesterday was spent going to the Twin Cities to visit a sick relative. The Mrs also got some some shopping in. Em and I had a great time. Miss Muffin and my wife were shopping at the Baby Superstore so we took a chance and headed next door to Best Buy. This particular one has a fantastic demo room. In this room was a $5000 projector showing Ratatouille. I love that movie! We got to watch most of the movie in there. We actually forgot to look for what we said we were going to do there...bad Daddy!

Mom knew I was pretty tired from the night before. Heck, I got most of the stuff cleaned up before going to bed. She agreed to allow me to only drive half way home from the cities. A good thing since I started head bobbing just a bit before there. Since Miss Muffin was with us, she really wanted to sit in the passenger seat. What the heck, I've never sat in the back while the kids watched a movie. Ash talked about how cool it was to have Daddy in the backseat all day today. She giggled for about the first 5 minutes after we headed back down the road. I love being a Dad.

Today was the first warm day here in Southern MN in a long, long time. It was in the 40s today! So we sent the kids out to play in the water while I attempted to find my office again. When I quit my job of ten years, I brought home 10 years worth of crap from my office. Ugg! As of right now, I can actually work at my desk here at home. Fantastic!

Night everyone! Oh! Before I go...check out the new look of my poker blog!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

And this one?

Like my hat?