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Weird week

February 28th, 2015

It’s been a weird week. On Monday and Tuesday I was frantically making final preparations at work for an event that took place on Wednesday. I was in charge of the whole thing so I was really stressed about it going well. There were a lot of people I needed to impress. I was so tired when I got to work on Wednesday morning that I was already ready for the event to be over. But in spite of the high stakes, I honestly expected to breeze through the day and leave that afternoon with a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Unfortunately I was wrong. Actually, the first half of the day was great, but everything went downhill after lunch. The good news, if there is any, is that I had nothing to do with the downward spiral. All of the products I created worked the way they were supposed to, but we uncovered a few vulnerabilities that we don’t currently protect against. Aargh. This means more work for me, of course, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. I eventually escaped from work and celebrated by watching a movie and basically accomplishing nothing for the rest of the evening. Thursday was an even weirder day because I had to work from 11 PM to 7 AM. My plan was to get up at my normal time, get a few things done in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and then go to work at night. It didn’t quite happen that way, though. I just couldn’t sleep when I needed to. I probably dozed off for an hour or so in the early evening, but that was about it. So I wasn’t in very good shape when I got to work at 11 PM. But I powered through. And I probably would have been fine if I could have gone home at 7 AM and immediately crawled into bed, but that wasn’t in the cards. There was an important meeting scheduled at 8 AM regarding my event on Wednesday that I needed to attend. Happy Friday, right? (Not that I remembered what day it was at that point. When your shift spans two days your brain started to get a little confused.) I was exhausted by the time the meeting rolled around. I ultimately got home around 10 AM and I passed out after inhaling some breakfast (or whatever you call the meal you eat after being awake for more than 24 hours). I woke up again around 4 PM feeling slightly better, showered, and got ready to run some errands. Specifically, I needed to pick up my race shirt and bib for the Race on the Base 5K the next morning. (Don’t worry, I’ll write more about the race tomorrow.)

The best news that came out of last week is that I booked my Disney Cruise for next February! If all goes the way I’m planning, I’ll run the Princess Half Marathon ay Disney World on 2/21 and then hop on a cruise to the Bahamas the next day. It’s going to be amazing!

Wordless Wednesday – Disneyland silhouettes 2007

February 25th, 2015

Oscars 2015

February 22nd, 2015

I started this blog post about a month ago, and at the time I thought I was doing a terrible job of familiarizing myself with this year’s the Academy Award nominated movies. But as of the beginning of the ceremony this evening I realize that I’m actually not that poorly versed. I’ve seen five of the eight Best Picture nominees, as well as some of the movies that just have actors or actresses nominated. I even watched one of the foregin language films thanks to Netflix Instant. Strangely enough, I haven’t seen a single one of the animated picture nominees. That might be a first. I still want to see “American Sniper,” “Whiplash,” and “Selma” at some point, but I think I’m fairly prepared to watch the Oscars tonight. It should be fun!

“The Hobbit” (seen on 12/25)
“Into the Woods” (seen on 12/27)
“Boyhood” (seen on 1/25)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (seen on 1/26)
“Ida” (seen on 1/28)
“The Lego Movie” (seen on 1/30)
“The Imitation Game” (seen on 2/14)
“Gone Girl” (seen on 2/16)
“The Theory of Everything” (seen on 2/18)
“St. Vincent” (seen on 2/19)
“The Judge” (seen on 2/20)
“Birdman” (seen on 2/21)

Spring running

February 21st, 2015

Based on my limited activity over the last month, “running” might be too strong a word. After the disaster that was the Surf City half marathon and my subsequent slow recovery from my knee problem, I’m having to rethink the spring races that I registered for before I was injured. First of all, Race on the Base is next weekend and I’ve already waved the white flag and transferred from the 10K to the 5K. I was really looking forward to the 10K because I’ve heard the course is flat and fast. It would have been a good opportunity to set a personal record, and I could really use a good proof of time when I register for future Disney half marathons. But it’s not going to happen this time. No big deal, really. The question is, what do I do about the other two spring races I signed up for? The Coaster Run is at Knott’s Berry Farm on March 8th and I’m really excited about that one. As of right now I’m registered for the 10K, but I probably need to figure out how to switch to the 5K instead. I just don’t think there’s any way that my knee is going be in good enough shape to run 6.2 miles in a couple of weeks. And the fact that I haven’t run at all in the last three weeks doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence either. I’m undoubtedly out of shape. So as much as I hate to admit it, all signs point to the 5K being my best option. And I’ll still be able to run (or walk if I need to) through Knott’s Berry Farm, which will be pretty cool. The last spring race I’m planning to do is the one in Seal Beach on March 21st. Last year the Seal Beach 10K was my very first race, and doing it again this year would be like coming full circle. Plus, it’s kind of hard to pass up on a race that starts a few blocks from your house. I just need to figure out what distance I’ll be able to tackle one month from now. I’m going to wait a while before making that decision. I’ll see how my knee feels during the Race on the Base 5K next Saturday. I know it’s silly, but I’m still hoping I’ll wake up one day and everything will be back to normal. But in case that doesn’t happen, I have an appointment to see on orthopedist on March 3rd. Fingers crossed that I can get back to running soon.

(Not quite) Foodie Friday

February 20th, 2015

It’s been a while since I posted a new recipe, but I’m afraid it’s not going to happen this week. I’ve got three different recipes for roasted vegetables in various states of completion, but none of them are ready to be posted yet. Take a look at those pictures, though. Don’t they look delicious? I’ve been roasting a lot of vegetables lately as part of my attempt at a grain free diet, but I’m still perfecting the ingredient lists and cooking directions. Usually I just toss the vegetables with some oil and seasonings, dump them on a cookie sheet, and throw them in the oven until they look done. Not exactly scientific, but I always enjoy the results. I seriously can’t get enough roasted broccoli these days, so I’m looking forward to having a recipe to share soon. The carrots and green beans are pretty killer too. I think I’ll only need to make a couple more batches before I figure out the right oven temperatures and cooking durations. Stay tuned for a recipe next week!

#tbt – Cinderella’s Castle 1982

February 19th, 2015

2015 Resolution #1 revisited

February 18th, 2015

New Year’s Resolution #1: Decide whether to train for a full marathon

I hate to say it, but I’m close to admitting defeat on this one. When I first wrote about this resolution I said I’d have until sometime in April to decide whether I want to train for a full marathon this year, and that deadline is still valid, but the decision has pretty much already been made for me. There’s a reason I haven’t written about running lately. Mostly because I haven’t done any. My knee is still not fully healed. I’ve gone to the chiropractor a number of times, but it hasn’t been the miracle cure that I was wishing for. Despite more than two weeks of rest (since the Surf City half marathon), my knee still hurts in certain situations. Like when it’s bent for too long. Sadly a desk job isn’t doing me any favors in this arena. And when I fall asleep in the wrong position I wake up in pain a few hours later. It’s not fun. The chiropractor appointments definitely haven’t hurt, but the lack of improvement means that it’s not entirely a muscular problem. After I described my current woes at today’s appointment the chiropractor referred me to an orthopedist to get an MRI of my knee. I’m was actually relieved when he gave me the number. I’m still hopeful that this isn’t a serious injury, but I’ll be glad to find out one way or another.

Getting back to the resolution, I have a strong suspicion that marathon training isn’t going to happen in 2015. I was hoping to get an idea of my capabilities while training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon this spring, but I haven’t been able to even start that yet. In January I wrote all of my planned Tinkerbell training runs on a calendar and hung it up in my cubicle at work. I was so excited to tackle a new challenge, but unfortunately that program was derailed almost right from the start. Now I have to set my sights on something else. My only goal right now is to be healthy in time for the two half marathons (and one 10K) I’m registered for in May. I don’t need to be completely prepared for them, but I want to be able to run without pain. Hopefully this isn’t too ambitious. The good news is that there are benefits to putting off marathon training for a year. Assuming my knee makes a full recovery, I’ll be able to participate in the Star Wars Rebel Challenge at Disneyland next January. Also, I’ll be able to take a few more days off in February 2016 to go to Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon weekend. (Including a Caribbean cruise afterwards! I can’t wait!) So I’ll still be challenging myself, just not in the same way. And if all goes well, I’ll sign up for the Disney World Marathon in January 2017. Fingers crossed!

Musicals

February 16th, 2015

“I am a big fan of Disney Broadway musicals so I picked up a copy of the new Tarzan soundtrack at Target the other day. At first I was disappointed because, unlike other Disney shows, it didn’t seem to have a particular song that caught my attention. The Lion King has ‘Endless Night’ and Beauty and the Beast has ‘If I Can’t Love Her,’ both fantastic songs that I listen to over and over again. Then today as I was listening to ‘For the First Time’ I got goosebumps and realized I had found the song I was looking for.”
9/29/06 webpage post

The first of this year’s Academy Awards nominees I saw was “Into the Woods.” (Technically it was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t really count since it was only nominated for sound editing. How the mighty have fallen.) My parents and I went to see “Into the Woods” on December 27th. Being a huge fan of musicals in general I thought I was going to love it. I was wrong. Maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I’ve never seen the play before (how is that possible?) and I’m not familiar with the score, but something about the movie just didn’t hold my interest. None of the characters were particularly likeable, and none of the songs gave me goosebumps like I wanted them to. When I saw “Les Miserables” on Broadway in 1996 something magical happened. The first time I heard “On My Own” I was entranced. I couldn’t stop thinking about that song. I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home from New York and I listened to it constantly for a while. It was fantastic. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that in “Into the Woods.” On the other hand, last week I popped the “Newsies” soundtrack into my car’s CD player and it reminded me why I love that movie so much. (Not just because it has Christian Bale and Bill Pullman either!) The songs just make me so happy that I can’t help but smile. I can listen to the soundtrack over and over and sing every song at the top of my lungs. That’s what musicals should do. They should stir up your emotions until you can’t help but sing along. It’s just a shame that “Into the Woods” didn’t have that quality.

The Imitation Game

February 14th, 2015

Tonight I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a somewhat unorthodox manner by going to see “The Imitation Game.” Strangely, it’s actually the first of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in the theater. I realize I’m way behind where I was this time last year, but I’ve got plans to see a few more of the Oscar nominated movies before next weekend. But anyway, I figured “The Imitation Game” was one of the most anti-Valentine’s Day film offerings, and therefore perfect for the evening’s entertainment. And it was amazing. It excited my mind. I’m going to say something a little crass, but for an engineer like me “The Imitation Game” was like porn. It lit up parts of my brain that are dormant a majority of the time. Those neural pathways usually only kick in to gear when major problems present themselves at work. I have a little bit of experience tackling crazy problems, sometimes even under very restrictive time constraints. Nothing like the elaborate encryptions that Alan Turing’s team was struggling with, but I think I have some idea of their work process. And I’m in awe of it. Based on my admittedly short career in the aerospace industry, I know what it’s like to work with a limited set of tools to try and solve a complex puzzle. It’s like trying to perform surgery with a spoon. You learn to be creative in ways your college courses didn’t even begin to teach you. You invent new paradigms when you have to. Learning on the job becomes trial by fire sometimes. It’s a humbling experience and it makes me realize just how amazing an achievement it was to break the WWII codes. While watching the movie I started thinking about how I might start attacking something like Enigma. My brain doesn’t work on anywhere near the level of the folks depicted in “The Imitation Game,” but I probably could come up with a rough framework for where to start. I’m no mathematician, but that didn’t keep me from comprehending the remarkable work of Alan Turing and his colleagues. I just hope my scientific brain helped me appreciate it a little more than the average viewer.

2015 Resolution #4 (sorta)

February 13th, 2015

New Year’s Resolution #4: Blog about events in a timely manner

As hard as it’s going to be for me to comfortable wear a bikini this summer (gulp!), this resolution might be even more difficult. I’ve gotten into a terrible habit of waiting so long to write things that happen in my life that I never get around to it at all. Like my trip to Orlando last month. In spite of my knee injury during the Disney World Half Marathon it was a great vacation, but I’ve barely blogged about any of it here. I hate that. Granted, I don’t have the most exciting life, but the purpose of this webpage is to share my experiences. Even if no one wants to read about them but me! So to try and stem the tide of blog amnesia (did I just coin a phrase there?), here’s how I spent my week.

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, in anticipation of working all weekend I took last Friday off. It was supposed to be a nice relaxing day for me to unwind before spending Saturday and Sunday working. And it mostly succeeded. I know you won’t be surprised when I say that I started Friday off with a with a morning visit to Disneyland. I hadn’t been there in a few weeks and I love the smaller winter crowds. Unfortunately there were a few more people there last Friday than I expected. I ended up walking around for a while, seeing the “Cinderella” sneak peak in California Adventure, buying a pin for a ride that’s closing forever soon (Luigi’s Flying Tires), and going home after a few hours. The rest of the day was extremely relaxing considering I didn’t do much but watch TV (I’m trying to catch up on Oscar Best Picture nominees from the last few years) and do a few chores. When the weekend officially arrived I ended up working 10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. Although I got a lot of work done when there wasn’t anyone else around to bother me, it was just a drop in the bucket of everything I had to complete. On Monday I was still working like mad on my own projects, but I had to split my time between that and another activity that was going on. I worked 10 hours on Monday, 14 hours on Tuesday (that was rough), and 10 hours on Wednesday. That’s a grand total of 54 hours in 5 days. It wasn’t fun, and I was completely exhausted on Wednesday night, but I got everything done that I needed to in the short term. And I had earned a day off! So yesterday morning I met a friend and her daughter at Disneyland. It was an extremely hot day for February (I really hope winter isn’t over already), but we had a lot of fun. We went on every ride and attraction that the two year old wanted to, including Ariel’s Undersea Adventure twice. It was a lovely day despite the heat. I need more days like that. And per this New Year’s resolution, when they roll around I’ll make sure to blog about them in a timely manner!