Friday, November 25, 2005

Doctor, doctor, give me the news....

"I know that I'd never have given it back to you with it running like this," my friend Joe admonishes me from a chair three feet behind me. He's attempting to fix my laptop, which not only has been running slow, but doesn't like showing video lately. Which made for a fun plane ride as I attempted to watch The American President and Ronin. So here I am, at the 'computer doctor's' home, hoping he can solve whatever it is making my computer run funky.

Could it be the damn Spy Sweeper? The Study Smart Bar Review? Or is it something else? Hey, that's what I have him for. But the early call is that my computer is definitely hosed...

Au Revoir, Mr. Miyagi

Pat Morita, who played Kesuke Miyagi in The Karate Kid, has died at 73. Although most people will remember him more for that role than any other, I can still recall his portrayal of Arnold in Happy Days. When he left, the show didn't seem the same.

And let's face it; The Karate Kid did wonders for Morita's career (he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Dr. Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields. Talk about insults; Ngor had never acted before, and only did 16 more forgettable films in the next 12 years before he was murdered, while Morita's career spanned 40 years plus), but it tarnished Ralph Macchio for life. Not that he was any threat to be a great actor, but outside of My Cousin Vinny, Macchio really didn't get many roles (or much respect) after TKK. It's ironic, that if you look at the cast of The Outsiders, many of them have gone on to considerable success. Some, like Tom Cruise, are leading actors, while others, like Matt Dillon, have made decent careers as character actors.

And now, back to our program....

Dr. Joe has confirmed that he can't find the cause. The only solution: reformatting. That means backing up. That means work. Yuck. He did get the computer to operate faster, but the video is still hosed, so something is hosed and finding it has proven more difficult than anticpated.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Back home....well, sort of....

The flight back to Chicago touched down at 3:57, two minutes ahead of schedule. But like everywhere else in Chicago, there was traffic. So we didn't arrive at the gate for another 15 minutes.

I'd planned on having my parents (who picked me up at the airport, and saved me $40 in cab fare) just drive me to their house, where I could spend the weekend. I'd even told the secretary at BigLaw that I'd see her on Monday.

"But we've got stuff for the apartment," my Mom argued.

So we decided to drive into the city. At 5:00. The height of rush hour. We stopped briefly to use the bathroom, check voicemail and get my mail from my neighbor (note to self: buy case of Sam Adams as thank-you), and then it was back on the road. The trip had taken an hour and twenty minutes.

"Well, at least it's late enough, we shouldn't hit much traffic," Mom chimed in.

Funny thing, traffic. People who hear I'm thinking about moving to SoCal tell me about how bad the traffic is. Indeed, I got to experience it firsthand last Friday, when it took over an hour to get to Rancho Bernardo from Miramar MCAS on I-15/163. And that's just a five or six mile drive.

But Chicago's gotten bad as well. The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290 for nonlocals), is essentially a parking lot no matter when you're on it. And the Kennedy (I-90 - or what you take to get to O'Hare from Downtown) is often just as bad - witness our 80-minute ride. So it was no surprise that we sailed down Lake Shore Drive and down the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94) past the now-quiet U.S. Cellular Field at Comiskey Park, only to stop dead at 55th. We crept along until 95th Street, when the Dan Ryan splits into I-57 and I-94. Only then did the road open up. By the time we got home, it was well past 8:00. Needless to say, it was a long day.

But the nice part about coming to my parents a few days early was spending an afternoon today with my dad and some ex-coworkers bowling. Now, if I could only bowl as well as I used to.

Here's hoping you and yours has a very enjoyable holiday with your family and friends this weekend. In other words, Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Last night blues...

I hate when fun trips end. Even with the interview, the past week has been pretty enjoyable. Today was no exception.

I woke up and headed out for a run, th third since I've been here. Unfortunately, I'm in no better shape than I was a week ago, and my legs felt like butter after just 15 minutes of running. I plodded through a full 30-minute run, still following the 15-3-15 strategy. But the crux of that strategy is to run further in the first 15 minutes than the last time. Technically, I did that. But on the way back, I forgot that I'd turned up Rancho Bernardo Drive on Thursday to avoid waiting for the light. Oh well. I still think I got in a full 3 miles if not more.

After coming back, I took a quick shower, then headed out for breakfast. When I got back from breakfast, Joanie had finally woken up. She got ready, and I called the California Bar to make sure everything was in order. It wasn't, so before we could head out for the day I had to stop at Kinko's. The nice thing was checking the ARDC website, and seeing my name listed as an attorney "authorized to practice law". Now if only I could actually do that.

We headed downtown to the Balboa Park area (named, apparently, for an explorer, not for the Sylvester Stallone character) and dropped in on the San Diego Airspace Museum. It's an interesting place, filled with plenty of aircraft from WWI and WWII. The chance to see an F86 Sabre Jet, among other well-known aircraft, up close was worth it.

Afterward, we headed over to the San Diego Automotive Museum. It's a small museum, with about 50 cars in total, more than a few of which were race cars. There was a Tucker, though, and a DeLorean. And the museum has quite the collection of motorcycles. Still, it was small enough that we were able to go through it in about an hour.

We walked out, and the sunset was increadible. Joanie said we needed to head down to the waterfront and try to get some pictures. I was able to, but I've had no luck emailing them to myself, probably because I'd decided to change the resolution to high versus lower resolution, which emails better. Too bad, because they are some incredible photos.

After it had gotten dark, we joined Lt. Smash and his wife for dinner in the Old Town area. I was happy, because we hadn't gotten the chance to spend time with them the night before, having gotten placed at the opposite end of the table. So it was nice to chat abot current events, acting, and whatever else came up. After dinner, I suggested that we get some ice cream, so we headed over to Cold Stone Creamery. One ice cream dish later, Joanie and I made the long drive home. One last night before I head back to Chicago. But I'll be back.

After all, the Bar Exam is in February.

Suddenly there's a lot more stuff here....

Yes, there is. I've been writing in my laptop for a few days (having brought it with to watch movies) and I've copied over the loose thoughts into coherent posts. Of course, the plan was to watch movies on the flight here and back, but the drivers don't want to cooperate, so that wasn't much fun. Unless, of course, you like watching a movie where the dialogue and the film aren't in sync.

Today, Joanie and I went to see Mrs. Smash in Birthday Suite, a British comedy which they are performing in Chua Vista through the end of the month (ok, December 4th, but who's counting?) . I may be a little biased, but Mrs. Smash was excellent as Kate, and Joanie and I laughed heartily at the hijinks of four people caught in embarrassing situations.

It all starts when a recently separated man checks into a hotel room rented for him by a friend, who promises to send him a girl to celebrate his birthday with him. Next door, a woman (Mrs. Smash) checks in, expecting to meet a blind date for dinner. When she walks through a supposedly locked door into the adjoining room, the man thinks she's the hooker hired for the night, and things spiral from there.

After the play, Joanie, the Smashes and I met up with the other cast members for dinner at Marie Callendars. Dinner was average, the service was incredibly slow, and the apple pie was boring, but the company was interesting, and I did enjoy talking to the cast members, even if one was a little overbearing.

Tomorrow's the last full day here. The week seemed to fly by, and even though the weather was hot, I didn't suffer as much as I thought I would with long sleeves. On Friday, I submitted resumes on several other positions out here. I don't know what will come of that, but I may wind up out west again soon - and maybe permanently. I have several friends who'd be disappointed, but then, when the weather turned cold there, they'd probably come out here in a heartbeat.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another busy day...

Joanie is a member of BLUESD, San Diego's blues society, and this weekend was the regional finals of the International Blues Competition. The winner of the best group and best solo/duo categories would head to Memphis in January for the final competition.

Since Joanie is a board member, we headed down to spend the day at the House of Blues (who had generously donated the venue) to watch. I saw some great acts, such as Aunt Kizzy'z Boys (who went on first, and who I thought was the best group right off) and Ben Hernandez and Nathan James, who shone as best duo. Anna Troy was also very impressive, and had several people, including Joanie, believing that she might still make it to Memphis, despite not winning (the competition is not mandatory; it merely determines who gets a sponsored trip. One can still go if one has the money or finds a sponsor).

After the event, Joanie and I were supposed to head to SDSU for the Aztecs-Wyoming game. But things got hosed up, tickets were never acquired, and we were hungry. So instead we called Lt. Smash, and he met us up at Outback Steakhouse, where we enjoyed a very nice dinner while we solved all of the problems facing San Diego County, including the ubitquitous transportation woes.

After dinner, Joanie asked if I wanted to do anything. "See a movie," I answered, not having seen one in about a month. We decided to head over to the theaters in Poway. Unfortunately, we arrived about 30 minutes too late or two hours too early, however you look at it. After having a couple of beers, however, Joanie had to go to the bathroom, so we headed over to a local Irish pub down the road. Lo and behold, who should walk in but Ben and Nathan (Joanie had mentioned seeing them as an option, but I'd decided against that). I accused - tongue firmly in cheek - Joanie of planning things as they'd turned out, but we decided to stay and listen to the first set.

Turns out that was a better decision than leaving to see Derailed. Set in Chicago, I immediately spotted at least five or six errors (for example, there's no red line Metra train - the Red Line is a CTA train; the cars used for the interior scenes on the train were of the wrong type; even though it was supposed to be November in one scene, no one was wearing a coat, just to name three) in the movie. Even worse, I figured out the plot fairly quickly, so the last two thirds of the movie were predictible. Too bad, too, because I wanted it to be much better than it was.

Combine the mediocre reviews for The Weatherman and the disappointment of Derailed, and you've got Chicago going 0-for-2 in movies this year. Hopefully, The Break-Up (featuring the film debut of yours truly) and The Lake House will do better next February.