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


MOVIE: The Blind Side

This movie, retelling the rise of a (very recent) football star, was a movie I had put off seeing for weeks. My son, Chris, was not very interested in seeing it. But when Chris, Daniella and I went to see it together, it ended up being a very awesome, touching story. I was not aware it was about a series of events "so recent" (until I started hearing references to MTV Cribs and other recent items). I'm the first to admit that Sandra Bullock was hot in this role (maybe I have a thing for her, I don't know, because I also liked her in The Lake House...), but regardless of that, the story was great. If you do not like this movie (judgmental Tony speaking here), you have no feelings or emotions in you. :-P

I could care less about sports for the most part (they're enjoyable to watch on occasion, that's about it), but that was not the focus of the movie, rather the struggles that the star went through to overcome learning shortcomings and a horrific family history (not sure how doctored that was?). See this movie, people.

Oh Captain, My.. Sir Captain

Patrick Stewart has been knighted.


Malena Cruise 2009 - Post Mortem

The cruise is over, it's been a few days, and so I thought it time to post my thoughts.

Chris and Kevin (my son and his friend): They were a blast. I rarely had to rear the "dad" figurehead during the trip. I was able to be "one of the guys", thanks mostly to these two. Their youthful presence and antics kept things moving nicely. On the ship, they took advantage of all the things available to them (and a few not meant for them as they were under 18, but... anyway...).

The ship: Carnival's "Glory" was a great vessel. After getting used to where you did and did not have the ability to "get through" on certain decks, it was easy to navigate. A floating 12 story building with everything you needed to survive and enjoy time away from reality. Food everywhere, fun events for various age groups, and sushi (I took advantage of this almost every night, oh yeah).

Excursions: With very little in the way of "problems", we had a ton of fun at our ports.

Cozumel: We took a taxi ride to a tiny dock and after some brief shopping, went to our boat (upgraded from the small one we were scheduled for - I believe they just consolidated two tour groups - we lost the glass-bottom in favor of a large catamaran and an extra stop on the tour). We snorkeled at three locations, including over a US Destroyer that was part of the coral infrastructure. We got a ton of photos and videos during the stop (my new underwater camera worked quite well, definitely worth the $149 investment for the photos and video I got from it!).

Belize: We were wisked away in a van (which could not drive in a straight line, but the guy was speeding the entire way anyway... ugh) on a ONE HOUR DRIVE (good Lord!) to a preserve where we proceeded to cave tube (after a long nature walk) and then zip line through the forest (after a high staircase hike, ugh!). I was and am out of shape, so the walking and hiking killed me, but after I revived, it was very fun. The cave tubing was odd, as it was many times in less than 6 inches of water, so we got stuck several times. The zip lining's last leg ended up with about 20 people on the last tree, waiting to get down via rope tether (took about 20+ minutes standing there to get down). This was probably the "least run" leg of the trip, but it was not "bad", just a bit tedious.

Isla Roatan: We walked a couple hundred yards to just outside the cruise ship terminal area (a brand new one) to meet with our tour guides. As we were the first ones there, we were given the smaller vehicle for just the three of us, which ended up pretty awesome (the rest of the group was in a bus). We ended up chauffeured around by a nice woman who gave us details about their tiny island, economy, points of interest, etc. We started by petting the monkey (you need to see the pics), were driven up a "mountain" (large hill) to the top of the jungle "canopy" where we walked to the top of a tree (thank you!!) to begin our zip line adventure. This was 10x better than Belize in every way, even when my foot hit a branch (nice scars!) and I lost a water shoe on the next leg (one guide went back and got it for me, awesome). I took some good pics and video here. It was very fast paced, and we could do it one-armed so I could use the camera more freely. The boys and I could go upside down, twist around, etc. The zip lining could have been all we did and we would have been happy. But then our guide took us to two private beach resorts (both were very vacant so we were either alone or with very few people). Swimming, snorkeling, discovering what appeared to be a sand dollar not yet "flat" (see pics - I brought this sand dollar turtel shell looking thing home with me...), and a brief stop at an internet terminal to contact family were the events for the afternoon. Then we were taken to a couple shopping areas where we bought gifts and momentos. This was an awesome excursion!!

Grand Cayman: Our last cruise stop began with a bus ride to the northside marina on the island, where we took a boat out to the open ocean... where we ended up at a 4-foot deep sand bar. It was very weird being so far from shore, and standing in the middle of the water. But more importantly, we were surrounded by stingrays, which was truly awesome. They swam (or swarmed?) around us, and we picked them up, fed them, kissed them, watched the tour guide stick one of their barbs into his mouth (stupid) to prove we weren't going to be "Steve Irwin'd", and generally just had a blast interacting with these awesome lifeforms. Having your thumb almost ingested by one of these was intersting as well (they didn't just want the squid I was feeding them...). One tour guide had his nipple "bit" by one which was very funny! Then we went to two more snorkeling stops (found another sting ray by itself which I filmed). The snorkeling was fun, and probably the best visual features of all the excursions. The boys were "freezing cold" on the way back (poor guys). This was a great wrap up to our cruise stops.

The cruise home: Food, fun, sun, whirlpool to loosen up the overused muscles... it was great. More sushi. Overeating at dinner (we thought). I ended up losing 8 pounds on this trip, so obviously food intake (as much as we were eating) was superceded by the exertion on our excursions. I mean, I would order plentiful appetizers and main courses with extra portions ("yes, I'd like two lobster tails with that"), and the boys put me to shame, yet we came out ahead.

The boys whined/"cried" multiple times during the drive home from Miami (playfully, but still... it was pretty pathetic... in a good way). I told them I had a Visa and we could turn around and go again... but alas, logic prevailed. We got home and were content with our memories.

For pics (and eventually video), visit my family website and click the Media link.

MOVIE: Avatar (in 3D)

I really don't feel that this requires a long post, so...

Story: It's "Dances With Wolves" crossed with "Fern Gully".

Music: Very nice soundtrack by a long standing movie music alumni.

Special Effects: The crowning achievement of the movie. Very well done generally speaking.

If it had been something of an original story idea, I might have given this rave reviews. But I find it to be a "good movie", not necessarily something that needed to have SO much promotion (I'm really tired of all the commercials).


Malena Cruise 2009

Chris, his friend Kevin, and I, are about to take off for Miami to board the Carnival ship "Glory" and cruise for over 7 days in the Western Carribean! Dude, I'm stoked. So's Chris and Kevin. Packed, electronically equipped (including duct tape for the video camera to be attached to my helmet while we zipline, and waterproof digicams), excited and only frustrated that the rest of the family ended up not going for various planning and random reasons (but we're looking at doing the whole family next summer now).

Zip lining in two countries, snorkeling in three, tours of rain forests and tubing inside caverns are among the excursions we have planned. This is going to be a BLAST!!!

Be back in about 8 days!


Alcohol And Minors

I don't care if you are a pastor's daughter, a long time friend from high school, the MOTHER of a life long friend, or a parent... if you are giving a person (UNDERAGE especially) alcohol for ANY reason, you deserve to be castrated, sewed shut, thrown onto a penal island, and generally just excommunicated from society.

Did this happen? Apparently so, and frankly, I wipe my hands of the person(s) involved, and hope that my offspring does the same. Opening that "pandora's box" is something, like virginity, like a first kiss, like being exposed to the horrors of real life, that can never be taken back. Damn you!


New (to me) Car

The Taurus is starting to make odd sounds, and at 225 thousand miles, it's probably not going to last long. So I did some (very brief) car shopping, and ended up with a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse. I'm quite happy with it. It's an awesome car at a VERY awesome price, in mint condition with an awesome sound system and a stick shift (exactly what I wanted). Pics soon.

MOVIE: The Boondock Saints 2 - All Saints Day

What a GREAT MOVIE! The first Boondock Saints movie was awesome. This movie measured up in almost every way. It was different, yet it maintained the great pace, storytelling technique and outrageousness of the first movie. I'd say the original was SLIGHTLY better, but that's not saying much -- they BOTH are awesome. The final scenes were pretty amazing as well, with a relatively unexpected cameo, and sequel-requiring "cliffhanger". It's too bad that it's been in severely-limited release mode since it came out about a month ago. It really deserves a wider audience.

MOVIE: The Twilight Saga - New Moon

If you are male, run. Sprint. Do anything necessary to avoid the theatre. You are invading a very private female moment if you are in the theatre watching this movie.