The ongoing prattlings of a lifelong geek and his random luck with love, work, children and rediscovering himself.


Family Orthodontics Are Fun! (not)

The entire family except Daniella is now with Braces. Dani gets hers in a few weeks after she has used a jaw expander for a while (yikes! holy medieval torture device, batman!)

My teeth hurt.


Levar Burton Set To Assassinate Paramount Execs

"STAR TREK coming to an end is long overdue. They ran it into the ground and made so much STAR TREK that it ceased to be special. If they bring this back before a decade is out, I will get a high-powered weapon and start picking off studio executives."

I think that is hilarious! And (as much as I appreciate Star Trek in general) I agree with him. 2010 should be the EARLIEST they even CONSIDER putting out anything new in the Trek universe.

Here is a link to the entire article.


Refunds From Allstate Insurance?

Whoa! Getting money you didn't expect (especially in the hundreds-of-dollars spectrum) is good, but getting it from your former auto insurance carrier because they "overcharged" you is just... odd.

I'm not complaining. Just scratching my head. ;-)

MOVIE: Fantastic 4

(I'm still getting used to calling it Fantastic "4" instead of "Four")

As a lifelong comics collector, I certainly had big expectations for this movie (and as well, understood full well that it would be revamped, altered and different than any Fantastic Four that had ever existed before). I also knew the storyline and many details being the internet geek that I am, before seeing the movie.

In all, I was happy with the movie. The effects were "good" (but I was really hoping for TOP of the line, and they were not - The Thing and Mister Fantastic were lacking by far in my opinion).

Doctor Doom was played well, though having him as part of the crew (so he gained his OWN powers), having him CLEARLY not as smart as Reed Richards (more of a Donald Trump mentality than anything) and having him NOT sound different when donning his mask (this could be explained easily in sequels that he alters his voice later with technology) were really frustrating. Also having him totally focused on taking Susan Storm as his own (being one of his primary goals) was a bit off.

The "big finale" was well done, though, in general. I could nitpick this movie to DEATH if I really wanted to (especially as a collector of the series) but I choose to enjoy this "movie version" of the story, just like Spider-Man, just like the Hulk.

Shipping Doom's "body" off to Latveria at the end... now THAT was smart(!). I truly look forward to a sequel with a bigger budget and BETTER EFFECTS for the rest of the FF. They've got Sue and Johnny down pat - let's get Reed and Ben up to snuff now guys!

MOVIE: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

I'm still trying to decide if I liked this movie or not.

It was visually appealing. It was colorful. Johnny Depp did a great job as a "tramautized" Willa Wonka (as opposed to Gene Wilder's "psychotic" Wonka). The kids, including "Charlie", were fine.

But then Boba Fett came in. I mean the Oompa Loompa. I mean the Oompa Loompas (plural). It was revenge of the clones. Why do this? Did Tim Burton think it was a GOOD idea? It was stupid. The effects that tried to make them appear small compared to humans was also not "up to par" (unfortunately this is something you compare to "current technology", not "in general" - in general, these were good effects).

And the music... whoa. I wasn't prepared for SUCH modernization, I guess. I expected the Oompa Loompa song, customized for each child. This was different. It wasn't "bad", per se. It was just different.

I may need to see this again, just to feel more clearly about it (and I guess that means in general I was NOT satisfied with it). Some movies I see again (and again!) because I love them. This one, I may see again just to try and figure it out more.

MOVIE: Herbie Fully Loaded

This movie was cute. My kids certainly enjoyed it. It's always nice to have a movie that you have absolutely no worries about having mature-themed material in it. The most mature item in this movie was the lead characters falling in love (no sex, no drugs, no stupidity, just clean fun).


James Doohan ("Scotty") dies at 85

James Doohan passed away at the age 85 today. Another loss to the fandom, entertainment, and worldwide communities.

The same quote I used when Gene passed away, straight from one of the best episodes ever of ST:TNG: "His Eyes Closed"

Relevate Google News Search here.

The Malena Family Vacation - 2005

The obsessive/anal side of me wants to post major details, spanning many paragraphs, about each day we were in California this year (such as each and every song played at the Video Game Music concert, which was truly awesome, or what I did with J.D., a friend I made while there). But, in the interest of readability, I'm posting as brief a summary as I can possibly muster.

Arrived a day EARLY - that was neat (didn't know that it only took 45 hours to drive Daytona Beach, Florida to Duarte, California - only 42 to the California border).

Spent (most) of our bedtimes at one of the many Best Western Hotels located on famous Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Nothing special overall, but it was certainly adequate, and since we spent as little time as possible in the room, that was fine.

Went to the Hollywood Bowl twice - July 4th for the Independence Day / Disneyland Anniversary concert and fireworks, and July 6th for the first-ever Video Game Music concert. Both were great, but the Video Game concert certainly struck home more with all five of us (and I now plan on at least ONE, up to THREE, new video game purchases after all was said and done).

Went to Knott's Berry Farm for the day (courtesy of the kids' grandparents) which was even more fun than I anticipated (they've gotten a lot racier than when I was a kid). We also went to Magic Mountain (on a Monday, which was awesome, no crowds) and I learned what a ping pong ball feels like. EVERY SINGLE ROLLERCOASTER treated me like one. OUCH.

We took a day cruise to Catalina Island (the city of Avalon, which is a subsidiary/unincorporated part of Long Beach, California, I learned) and even fished (I caught the biggest and most edible one, by the way).

There was a lot of driving done - Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, Long Beach, all over the San Gabriel Valley (my stomping grounds while growing up) - Duarte, Monrovia, Arcadia, Pasadena - then all the Los Angeles "cities" (unincorporated ones, including Hollywood and the surrounding areas).

We had an afternoon trip right next door to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to see Q and the gang from West Coast Customs live! (they are the makeover mavens from the "Pimp My Ride" TV series). I bought a t-shirt and had those who were available sign it (Q, Q.O.D and Ish). Took a bunch of photos of them and the kids together. It was truly righteous, yo. (snicker)

We went to several movies: Star Wars III (again, because it was at the Cineramadome at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood - a major experience in itself). Fantastic Four . Herbie - Fully Loaded. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

There was a visit to the LA Arboretum (in Arcadia). It was VERY sunny so we did not stay as long as planned (mainly due to my inability to use sunscreen the entire trip and my "bubbly skin"). :-P

We walked around Hollywood, went into the Guiness World Record museum, the Hollywood Wax Museum, and snapped photos of various crazies along the streets (plus photos of the hand and footprints stars have left in the cement outside the world famous Chinese Theater). We also drove around some stars' homes in Beverly Hills (note: buying a map of stars homes to try and find them is pretty much a waste of time, in my opinion - you aren't going to see squat, and it's tedious anyway).

We ate at quite a few nice restaurants, but of course I definitely made a few trips to Gene's Grinders in Monrovia, as well as In-And-Out Burger. The Elephant Bar was good, too. I went to a place which had an band playing live all night (never even got IN though J.D. and I stood outside sipping our drinks and chatting to death for over four hours). The $2 per plate sushi place was "pretty okay" as well. It was called something irish, and I've completely forgotten the name now.

I visited as many friends as I could find:

  • Martin Atencio and his Family - went out twice and had food, took pictures, chatted

  • John Rigali and his Family - went out, had food, took pictures, visited his dad Bob as well

  • Mike Porter - still can't find him - he disappeared years ago, plus this time, I couldn't even get ahold of his family at home after several attempts, despite constant shifting of the vehicles there - perhaps... it's a message.

  • Chris Thomas and Family - could not locate

  • Daniel Carreker and Family - lost their phone number and then did not encounter them when I attempted a visit

  • Aunt Francine and Family - visited, ate with and took photos of (including the cousins I barely know who are pretty much grown up now)

Others... unfound. Saw a lot of familiar faces at my original church, Calvary Road Baptist in Monrovia (where I also ended up graduating from High School from). The church has changed yet again (and unfortunately I couldn't help but wonder if it's having problems based on how it operated while I was there, but that's based on two Sundays only).

We stayed an extra two days, mainly to spend another afternoon chatting with Marty and family (originally John was going to join us, but everything changed in-progress).

I'm quite sure I missed some things, plus some special events happened with J.D. which certainly made the vacation even more memorable (and made leaving even more unbearable - I was in tears at one point, leaving the area, and leaving her). I may have to come back and update this entry if it's something major.

Pictures are slowly making it to my website. We took over 1100 of them, and I'm just putting them up grouped by "day taken". No computer during the vacation was one of the smartest things I ever thought to do. Leaving the Hollywood Bowl tickets at home was not (replaced at the gate, of course).

All in all, it was a major success for all (if I read my kids' attitudes properly).

There WAS a minor mishap on the way home, AND an infection I had earlier this year started to come back as we drove home, as well. It was as if the elements and/or some unseen force were telling us "go back, stay there"...


California Trip Done

...but I'm not ready to post details yet. Not about the trip, the auto accident, the medical problem OR the lost/stolen cell phone. :-) I only filled 4.7GB of my 6GB Microdrive CF card in my camera (though I did actively remove a lot of bad pictures during the trip, plus accidentally removed two videos which I mistook for bad photos (Grrrr).

More to come. Home = good, but...


California - In Progress

Well, the first week in California has been a blast!

Movies, touring, boating, more movies, and today we're walkin' Hollywood (Hollywood and Vine vicinity).

There are a ton of pics so far (not going to bother trying to post any from this terminal as it will only allow me to browse forward from the beginning of the microdrive and I'd need to go forward about 800 pictures, as it slowly displays them, so oh well).

Tomorrow is Knott's Berry Farm, then Sunday or Monday should be Magic Mountain.

mmMMmmmmm Gene's Grinders = STILL Good!!

That's it for now...