Monday, March 31, 2008

So funny...

I just got done watching this week's How I Met Your Mother - TWICE. It was that funny. And to top it all off, there was a commercial for the new Harold and Kumar film!

Barney was at his funniest. The whittling down of his top 64, the frantic nature of explaining why certain places are great places to pick up women, even the Doogie Howser bit at the end. It was such a great episode. And everyone got in on the zaniness, even Robin, which was amazing.

Anyway, I'm saving it on DVR for Keds to watch when she gets home on Thursday...

Did you catch the episode? What did you think?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Updates and Tidbits

First, thanks to everyone who stopped by on either this blog or Keds' blogs to wish me a happy birthday. I had a great day. It was followed by a rather pleasant Easter Sunday, ironically with a lot of the same people from the night before. Keds outdid herself again making an amazing feast and enlisting some help with side dishes. For dessert, we had a Costco Carrot Cake that doubled as my birthday cake. Unfortunately, we didn't pack enough of it off and we are still finishing it up. But it's still uber-yummy.

Keds and I are gearing up to start the adoption process, once my employment situation is stable. In the process, we are working through some pre-adoption child-raising issues so that we have a game plan we can talk to during the process. My Uncle Mick has been helpful, and we are going to be talking to some others in the coming week. Unfortunately, this is once again one of those areas where I have now jumped in with both feet and want to get it resolved.

Speaking of employment situation, the hope is to have this sorted out soon. I am expecting a job offer today (why won't the phone ring?!?) and have a couple of more options that look promising. I'm just getting frustrated. This waiting game is the worst. I just want it to be over...

I am pretty excited about some things, though. I signed up for recurring deliveries of coffee beans from Peet's Coffee. It's owned by the guys that founded Starbucks, because they remember getting really good coffee there while they were students in Berkeley. The coffee is roasted in small batches and then shipped direct to customers. I enjoy quality coffee and this will be a nice little treat when each shipment arrives.

I also bought a new solar blanket for our pool. With the weather unseasonably warm, I'll turn on the solar heat and hopefully the pool will be ready to go by the end of next week. How exciting!

Next week, Keds will be in LA helping a friend redecorate her master bedroom, and we have Annie and Jason visiting at the end of the week. Life just keeps getting better, if not busier as we get into April!

Update - The offer came in higher than expected. Needless to say, I took the job...

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness 2008

March Madness is one of my favorite times of year. First, you have the drama of the conference tournaments. You can see a team like the University of San Diego knock off both St. Mary's and Gonzaga in a matter of two days to play their way into the Big Dance.

This weekend, you can totally overdose on college hoops. I mean seriously - 12 hours of practically non-stop basketball. Then, it's watching the underdogs give the big guys a run for their money. Who would have thought Belmont would come "this close" to knocking off Duke? And then there are the upsets. I just watched San Diego, who would not have made the Big Dance had they not won their conference tournament, take UConn to overtime, and then beat them. Who'd have thunk it?

If the first day and a half are any indication, this is going to be a GREAT tourament.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Weekend Update

What a difference a few years makes. A couple of years ago, I would have spent this past weekend on the couch watching College Basketball and obsessing over my bracket. Not so much this year. Did I watch some basketball? Of course I did. I did miss the one game I wanted to watch, but I caught the last three minutes of the UNLV game and got to see them punch their ticket to the Big Dance.

Rather this weekend was filled with lots of running. On Saturday, I let Keds sleep in as she was really sick and was up most of the night hacking. I was able to spend most of the morning watching the History Channel, which I never do anymore. It was quite the interesting program on the Apocryphal books of the Bible. Took me back to my sophomore year New Testament class, only without have to talk about the Gospel of Q. I did find it ironic, though, that the Virgin Mary gets more mentions in the Qu'ran than in the New Testament.

After lunch, we headed out shopping as I needed a new suit, for a couple of reasons. First, all of my suits are simply too big. My navy suit is the closest to fitting, but the pants are still a little big. Second, I am out interviewing for a new job. I have a second interview on Wednesday, and wanted to make sure I wore something different. I know that sounds a bit girlish, but I did and I'm not afraid to admit it. Our first stop was the Outlet Mall on Charleston.

As many of you out there know, I am something of a brand snob. I got hooked on Brooks Brothers suits before I moved to Vegas. They aren't too pricey at the outlet mall and they are cut really well. So that was our first store. After purchasing a brand new charcoal grey suit, three dress shirts, three ties and a belt I felt more than a little satisfied. Since it took way less time than we had planned, we decided to shop the mall for spring/summer clothes as we both need them. It was a productive day, and pretty much wiped Keds out.

Sunday started off with me picking up my Mom for church. She got the biggest kick out of it. She was so happy that we were going to Mass together, she could hardly contain ourselves. When I was a kid, I always had mixed feelings about Palm Sunday Mass. You came home with a present (a palm frond), but you had to stand for the Passion. When you are 8, standing still for like 20-25 minutes is a really long time. Some parishes let you sit now, but not St. John Neumann. We stood like real Catholics. One quick funny story - as Fr. Bede was coming around the Sanctuary blessing the palm fronds with holy water, when he got to our row, he "reloaded" and pretty much aimed for Mom. She was soaked. We couldn't help but chuckle (respectfully, of course, since we were in church).

I don't know why, but the Passion definitely effected me this year. As I was listening to it, I could see a little piece of me in each of the main characters. Definitely a learning experience. I enjoy the opportunity to grow in my faith and have it connect with my everyday life.

After church, Keds and I headed out to run some errands. They were all home-related and pretty routine. We rounded out our weekend with dinner with my folks, which was pleasant. I don't know what's up with my Dad, aside from his obsession with our carpet cleaner, he's been really, really cool lately. He hasn't hassled us, and is actually friendly and engaging in conversation. What's even more surprising, there are new stories!

On Monday, we had dinner with the Bowens. A traditional St. Patty's Day feast of Corned Beef, Cabbage and Potatoes. I am personally not a huge cabbage fan, but the corned beef was awesome! Keds once again pulled together an absolutely fabulous dinner.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm sure I'll post something later on this week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What kind of city do you want?

As many of you know, I am getting more and more involved in the issues that effect our community to compliment my involvement in politics. There is a saying that all politics is local - that being that issues that effect us closest to home are the issues that shape our general political views.

In an effort to be more informed, I attended the NLV Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday night. Without boring you all with details, what struck me most was the Commissioner's lack of ability to see the forest for the trees. From what I've seen of zoning changes passed by City Council, I would have to guess the same since only now that there is some organized opposition to some zoning changes to build apartments that they are taking a serious look at certain issues.

What happens is that first the Planning Commission, then the City Council review and vote on proposed zoning variances or changes. Both meetings are open to the public, but are usually sparsely attended. As the Commissioners, Councilpeople and the Mayor vote on issues, you would think that they would have some sort of master plan that they use as a guide. Well, they do. However, they are constantly ignoring or changing it. In fact the latest Master Plan is only a few weeks old and has already been either ignored or modified slightly.

Here is a perfect example. When the El Dorado tracts were purchased by Pardee in 1988, they agreed to specific zoning, including 15 foot minimums for backyards in residential neighborhoods. Well, the first item on the agenda was a request by Pardee for a zoning variance to allow for smaller backyards. Planning and Zoning Staff recommending denying the request, given the 'hardship' was self imposed. The variance will allow them to introduce a low-cost housing (sub-$200K) product in this parcel. Pardee positioned themselves very well - since the land is zoned for as many as 25 units per acre and they are proposing less than 9 units per acre, they should be given the zoning variance. To introduce the same product given the zoning restriction that have been in place for 20 years would have reduce the subdivision by about 9 lots. So that left the Planning Commission in what I like to call God's Little Acre - either approve low-cost housing or let Pardee build apartments. What disturbs me the most is that Planning Commission members were helping Pardee's attorney make her own arguments!

When Keds and I bought in Aliante, it was under the assumption that this was the "new" North Las Vegas. However, if this keeps happening, it will be the same old North Las Vegas. If the Planning Commission, City Council and Mayor's office are fine with North Las Vegas remaining the blue-collar suburb, that's fine. Just say it and move on. However, don't be surprised when the City doesn't hit their new Vision 2025...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Let the Madness Begin!

If it's March, it means two things. First, my birthday. Yes, I'm still a little childish when it comes to celebrating my birthday, but my folks always made a big deal out of it, so it's still a big deal to me. But, it also means that it is time for March Madness!

What other time during the year can you absolutely overdose on college basketball? I realize most of this blog's audience could care less (except maybe Jennifer if BYU makes it in and Lora if UNLV does well), but this is just such a fine time of year.

Other than the Super Bowl, how else can you make some easy money from your co-workers and not have them get mad at you?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

When do new episodes return?

Given the overwhelming response to my posts from the other day, I figured I would put something up that may be of more interest (yes, please note the sarcasm). I am so glad we start seeing new episodes on Monday of many sitcoms, and a month from now on many hour-long shows. It will be a welcome break from some of the strike-filling drivel and the glut of reality TV.

This year, we've passed on our American Idol obessession to continue our Biggest Loser obsession. We both find The Biggest Loser to be less filled with BS, though it does have it's share. We were both very sad when Bernie was voted off this week. Ironic that he was the Biggest Loser the week previous, and sent home the next. I just want Dan sent home. If he makes the final I will be slightly upset.

Is there anything keeping you occupied on TV as we wait for new episodes?

Monday, March 03, 2008

An odd fact that interests only me, and maybe Denis

Did you ever wonder what happened to Mindy Cohn? For those of you a bit younger than I, she played Natalie Green on The Facts of Life. Well, it turns out she's back in TV - sort of. She's the voice of Velma on What's New Scooby Doo? currently airing on Cartoon Network. If catch the Scooby Doo-themed DirecTV commercial, listen closely and you can totally tell. If you don't believe me, check here.

Active Particpation

As I was sitting in church yesterday, listening to the priest's Homily, I was struck by something. No, not a bolt of lightning or a rock. And it certainly wasn't the kid behind me kicking my chair. What struck me was while we all have different callings when it comes to how best to serve our communities, the answer is the same - we need to be active participants. This may not what he was saying exactly, but it's what I got out of it.

Being an American is hard work. It's advanced citizenship. It requires us to be aware of our community and do our part to help make it better. It means understanding the issues that face our community and ensuring we elect those we feel will do the best job addressing these issues. If they aren't, it means voting them out of office, but we should not ever judge them solely on their soundbites during the 6 or 11 o'clock news, what the candidates say in advertisements, what they or their surrogates spread as rumor or innuendo or what scare tactics are used. We need to do the research and decide for ourselves.

However, community participation goes beyond voting smartly. It requires us to be engaged in our community. We should not be content to sit back and let other people worry about our communities. We need to be out there doing what we can. We also need to be active particpants in our family life. Too often in today's society we are relying on our teachers to raise our children. This is not fair to the kids nor is it fair to our teachers. Teachers have at least 30 kids per class, and if you are looking at middle and high school teachers, that number gets closer to 150.

It is by getting involved and being active participants in our society that we can start to turn back some of the ills that we face. Don't expect someone else to do it - get off your sofa and do it yourself.

PS - Sorry if this sounded like a lecture, but this is something that's been stewing for awhile. Yesterday's homily just gave me the impetus to bring it all together.