Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Day

The girls and I are leaving tomorrow for the big Celoria get-together known as Thanksgiving. There will be 17 people under one roof. That's just our immediate family!

Things I am looking forward to:

1) Seeing my awesome nephews and my niece (grown ups are okay too)
2) Mom's amazing cooking (none better)
3) Apples to Apples (fun card game)
4) Lord of the Rings Risk (this is a Thanksgiving staple)
5) My bro's Nintendo WII (Mario Kart, baby!)
6) The mystery dinner (my mom is going all out this year)
7) Watching Abigail bounce off the walls

Things I am not looking forward to:

1) The drive over and back (though I've had worse)
2) The James Bond marathon on TBS ( I swear, I'm going to hide my dad's remote)
3) Sleeping in one house with 17 people

I'd say the pluses outweigh the minuses! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Funky Fresh Senior Adult Choir

I dare you to watch all 5 minutes of this video and then read the explanation below.



Per the minister at the church who did this video:

This was the opening video for our Student Fall Retreat called "You've Got Talent." Everyone is asking what inspired this. Here it goes...

1) We needed a great opening video that caught everyone off guard, and set the the tone for the weekend.

2) With this idea in mind, we thought we could use this video as a great object lesson about media choices (kinda creepy hearing your grandparents sing some of this)

3) This has been a GREAT transgenerational culture experiment. It has totally bridged a gap with our Senior adults and our students. Hope you enjoy!


This kind of creativity leaves me speechless. I can't imagine how a Baptist minister pulled this off.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tribute to John Williams

Those of you who know me know that I am a HUGE "Lord of the Rings" fan. Both the books and the movies. I have to confess that listening to the movie soundtracks on my drive to work is a regular routine for me. I think that Howard Shore's music makes the movies truly great. He did a great job of evoking emotion through the score.

To a lesser degree I am a fan of the Star Wars saga. Especially the original trilogy. The best part of Star Wars is undoubtably John Williams' excellent score. How many hummable tunes has this guy composed?

So I got this video emailed to me and had to post it. Truly funny stuff here. Enjoy and may the force be with you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

China Trip - Day 9

It's Saturday morning, and I just finished vacuuming the house. We're getting family pictures taken this afternoon. This will be our first family picture in two years and the first with Isabelle. Man, I hope she cooperates.

Back to China...

Our tour guide, Lynne, picked us up and whisked us off to the Forbidden City. What an amazing experience! It was absolutely massive. I could envision what it was like to live in the emperor's palace hundreds of years ago. There were tons of tourists which is to be expected. We started at the back of the palace and made our way to front gate which, of course, is on Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square was exactly that - a big square. Those two stops alone took up our whole morning.

Our tour guide, Lynne...



Approaching the back gate of the Forbidden City...



This might be the best one...



The back gate...



Interesting rock formation...



In the emperor's garden...



Magnificent carving...



Ever roof corner had these little dudes...



One of the many statues...



Lots of folks...



The architecture incorporated patterns and symmetry...



I was treated like a rock star at times...



Outside the Forbidden City...



The Tiananmen Square...



Chinese Parliament...



Me on the square...



After lunch, we had a busy afternoon. We went to the panda zoo, a silk factory, the Summer Palace, and a pearl factory. The zoo was what you'd expect. Lots of Pandas. The silk factory was really cool. We witnessed the process of making silk. The Summer Palace was where the emperor spent his summers. The palace was built on a lake in order that the breeze would keep he and his family cool during the warm summer months. I found this location to be much more beautiful than the Forbidden City.

Entrance to the panda zoo...



Panda in the tree...



Must have caught them during nap time...



Us...



The silk factory...



Sacrifices must be made...



This is not a joke. They actually sell pillows stuffed with silk worm excrement. Supposed to be good for you...



A statue at the Summer Palace...



A dragon...



The Summer Palace...



Aren't we cute?



I could wake up to this every morning...



Stone bridge...



What's that pungent aroma?



Relaxing boat ride...



Some of the doors at the Forbidden City and Summer Palace were blocked by a small piece of metal that a person can easily step over. It was explained to us that it was there to ward off demons. I'm not sure if it's because demons are tiny or if they can't pick up their feet. Anyway, I had to find another way out...



Passing by the Bird's Nest...



Wednesday proved to be an exciting day. It was fun just touring and not being anyone's special guest for a while. I'll try to continue with day 10 soon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In the Line of Fire

I refuse to whine about it. Barack Obama is our new President, and I'm ready to take a bullet for him. GULP!

God bless America!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

China Trip - Day 8

Not too much happened on Day 8 that makes for interesting blogging. We started off by visiting the caverns at Zhangjaijei. We only had until noon to squeeze in a little sightseeing before we had to check out of our hotel. Honestly, after having seen Carlsbad Caverns, these particular caverns were a bit of a let down. It's funny but the most beautiful part of the tour was the walk up to the caverns. Here are some of those photos.

A grass covered building. What is this? Hobbiton?



Made me sad to see a statue promoting Darwinism...



Various images...







My camera didn't take any good pictures in the cave except for this shot of some guy's handbag...



After checking out of the hotel, we went out for one last lunch with our two pastor friends. While there we had an incident. There was a giant Chinese cockroach that crawled under Pat's chair. She was about to freak out and was whispering for me to please kill the thing before it crawled up her leg. Of course, I did and proceeded to hum "La Cucaracha" the rest of the trip for her benefit.

After lunch, we drove to the airport and said goodbye to our friends. Our flight to Beijing took about 3 hours. Two things stand out from the flight. One was watching Cathy cry her eyes out from the in flight movie, "P.S. I Love You." The other was Pat's deception. She tried to get me to eat the one of the unidentifiable in flight snacks. Turns out it was dried fish guts and she knew exactly what it was. See if I ever kill la cucaracha for her again.

Me and the pastors at the airport...



Guess jet lag is a common occurrence in Beijing...



Buddha welcomes us to Beijing...



When we arrived in Beijing, our tour guide, Lynne, met us. What are the odds that our tour guide would be named Lynne? For those of you who don't know, my administrative assistant is named Lynne. It was comforting and disquieting all at the same time. Just kidding. I love you, Lynne!

After eating a hearty supper, we retired to our new accommodations. It was time to see Beijing, but first....sleep.