Merry Christmas!

Weee Hooo, half day at work today and then no more work until Wednesday, when I imagine the news that I’m leaving will start directing excrement towards the fan. But between then and now is Christmas! There are packages littering my living room, many of them are for me (the fam is fond of me) and I’ll be honest when I say I have no idea what any of them are, especially the coffin-sized one my stepdaughter and her friend bought me….maybe it IS a coffin. Huh. Well, I seem to be one of about 7 people in the office, so I’m going to go ahead and do the news right after this post and then get to finishing the backlog of filing that piled up whilst I was away. I can’t do much more for my boss than at least leave things tidy on my end. So that’s what I shall do.

Renaissance News Report

Whole lot of stuff to catch up on after a week away. I’ll try to hit the highlights for you. Doubt I’ll offer much commentary as I’m multi-tasking this with writing a manual for my successor….yeah, I’m considerate like that. My welcome to this job was a six foot high stack of back filing. Tracy, if you’re out there, just want you to know…that sucked.

*New Jersey legalized same-sex civil unions, which should make its former governor happy.

*There was a fricking giant blizzard in the middle of the country that caused, among other things, my luggage to be delayed. People may have died or been otherwise inconvenienced, but let’s stick to the relevant details.

*Former VP candidate John Edwards announced he’ll be seeking the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. Didn’t do it on The Daily Show like last time. I was disappointed.

*President Bush said he’ll support a $2.10 hike in the minimum wage as long as it comes with tax cuts for business. The current minimum wage is $5.15. The plan would raise it over three years to $7.25.

*The President’s plan to increase the size of our military will take time, according to the Pentagon. One hurdle is the $1.2 billion price tag…the other would be that whole signing up for the stupid war thing.

*The President signed a postal reform bill that will hopefully stabilize the USPS, and delaying any future rate hikes in postage. Oh that won’t prevent the three cent hike that’s coming this spring though. Use your 39 centers now. It’s gonna be 42.

*Starting next year, China will no longer allow foreign adoptions by anyone deemed “unmarried, obese, or disabled.”

*Experts fear that theft damage to Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, one of the world’s most famous images, may be too extensive to completely repair.

*Minnesota Twins pitcher Brad Radke retired after a 12 year career, the latter part plagued by injuries.

*The Toronto Blue Jays locked up outfielder for the next seven years at a cost of $126 million.

*The lineup for the most irrelevant all-star game in sports, the NFL’s Pro Bowl, has been announced. The Chargers lead all teams with 9 players named, the Bears were second with seven players.

*Longtime Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt passed away at the age of 74.

*The New Jersey Nets may move to Brooklyn, giving the city their first pro team since the Dodgers bolted 57 years ago.

*Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was suspended 15 games for being an ass and sucker punching someone in a brawl….idiot.

*The above story is one of the primary reasons that the Nuggets acquired 76ers star Allen Iverson via trade. Iverson has long been unhappy in Philly. Now he can start being disgruntled under 3 feet of snow in Denver.

*JK Rowling has released the title of the final book in the Harry Potter series. The seventh installment will be titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

*Kevin Smith, Zhang Ziyi, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Patrick Stewart will be among the voice actors for the CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie due in March, and yeah I’m actually kind of excited about it.

*Animation legend Joe Barbera passed away at the age of 95.

*Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness opened at #1 with $27.2 million, beating out Eragon, which finished second with $23.4 million.

*The seven finalists for the FX Oscar have been announced. Three of these films will be actually nominated for the award: Casino Royale, Eragon, Night at the Museum, Pirates 2, Posiedon, Superman Returns, X3. For my money, I’d like to see Casino Royale, Superman, and X3 get the nods.

*The upcoming third Resident Evil film will be the last in the series.

*Golden Globe nominations are out. Babel lead the way with 7 noms, several other films had six nominations. Leonardo DiCaprio will compete against himself, getting two nominations for Blood Diamond and The Departed. Likewise, Clint Eastwood was nominated for directing both Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.

*Director JJ Abrahms confirms that they are aiming Star Trek XI for a 2008 release.

*Composer Ennio Morricone will receive an honorary Oscar for his body of work, composing scores for over 300 films. My personal fave of his-The Untouchables.

*Everybody Loves Raymond star Peter Boyle passed away at 71 from complications from heart disease.

Winter Begins, Change Keeps on Happening, and I Return to Work

Well, yesterday I quit my job. This is actually something I’ve been planning for a long time, but yesterday was when I gave notice. It’s under 2 weeks and that sucks, but given how my work usually treats people who give notice and my financial sitch, they made it impossible for me to do it any other way. I was concerned that this would cost me pretty much my only friend out here, my boss, Olivia. When you spend 40 hours a week cooped up in a stressful office with someone, you either bond or you quickly kill each other, and we’ve been through a lot. However, she was happy for the new opportunity I have at my new job (starting 1/2) and it worked out.

The airlines lost my luggage on the way home and I just got it last night at 9pm, so I’m still trying to settle back into west coast rhythms. I’ll probably post news later, but I’m trying to get everything in order for my successor so no promises.

Marriage, Movies, and Other Things That Families Do

Here I am on the eve of my return to California, so I’ll try to sum up my trip as quickly as possible. I would take my time and give these events the weight they deserve, but my sister is sitting next to me watching some costumed drama that involves manners and insufferably over-dramatic Victorians. Friday we jaunted up to Richmond and saw the TransSiberian Orchestra in concert, and if you haven’t then you have missed out. Something about flamethrowers and Beethoven that just cannot be matched. Saturday I told my parents I’m getting married. Yeah, I tend to drop stuff like that in the middle of paragraphs to annoy people. This really wasn’t a suprise for them as I live with my fiancee, have dated her for 4.5 years, and…well that should really do it, shouldn’t it? I don’t have the time or the inclination to describe the hows and whys of my family’s opinion of my relationship, but suffice it to say that they’ve come around (I think meeting her and beholding her awesomeness had a lot to do with shutting people up) and instead of the dramafest I feared, it was a very congratulatory experience. My parents took me out to dinner Sunday to celebrate (peppered me with questions about the actual event that I have no answer for, I might add), and I think my favorite thing was that my mother told me that Jan makes me a better man. I’m a better man with my Jannie than I am without her, and that’s exactly why I’m marrying her. It made me feel good to hear that from my mom. It meant a lot. My dad, brother, and I saw both Casino Royale and Apocalypto and if you’re only going to see one, pleeeeeease see Bond. I’m no Bond fan, but after watching what is quite possibly the best movie of the year, I can’t wait for the next one. Today my brother and I played video games and talked. I miss my brother when I’m out west. He’s one of my best friends, and I don’t say that just because I know he’ll read this and feel guilted into coming to see me soon. He’s a good man and he makes me laugh. He took off for Richmond a bit ago. He works at the Federal Reserve doing…something involving numbers I am unclear on….whatever it is, he probably has more power than you and he definitely knows it. I’ll be here in Virginia until tomorrow evening, when I fly home to Colton. I know my sister wants to do something before my flight, but that’s about my only agenda. It’s been a nice trip, much nicer than I thought it would be, and I’m blessed to have the family I do on both coasts. So why am I still nervious, then? Ah, that. I have something unpleasant to do Wednesday. I have to prepare for it now. It might cost me a friend and I hold those that I have very dear. We’ll see how it goes, and I leave you on that.

Cross-Country Hercules

So I probably shouldn’t have picked last week to finally watch United 93. I flew in the same model plane (though on American Airlines whose planes only hit the towers not crashed into the ground) from Ontario, CA to Dallas, TX, where I cooled my heels for three hours. As airports go, DFW…eh. Not that much to do. Ate at a Manchu Wok and counted cowboy hats (22). From there it was another 3 hour flight to Norfolk, VA, where my family resides. I spent most of that flight thanking God for tranquilizers and the ipod as the woman in front of me felt it necessary to fully recline, placing herself so in my lap that I could have cleaned her teeth effortlessly. Got to the house around 12:30 am EST and started on my herculean task.

Here’s the thing. When I moved to Cali to live with Jan, I left 95% of my stuff behind. Hence, in past trips I’ve filled my luggage as full as I can, but I haven’t really had space in our house to put my stuff so I’ve been parking it here. With our new house in Colton being so much more spacious, I finally can look at moving my crap out there. Today I packed eight boxes full of stuff and hauled them to the post office, where the unluckiest clerk in the history of the postal system had to weigh and insure my 300-400 pounds of stuff that I shipped. Props to my sister for her crucial help in holding my place in line as I dashed back and forth with giant boxes, and a giant tip of the cap to the postal clerk for not spitting on me when she saw the stack.

Y’all are on your own for news while I’m on this trip, because computer time is at a premium. Tomorrow, we head up to Richmond to meet up with my brother and check out the Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert. I am now going to find a soft surface and acquire a coma upon it. Deep burn….oh its a deep burn….hard work being a crucial hercules.

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