Friday, February 29, 2008

Up All Night

Tomorrow night (Friday night) I get to start the night shift. In order to get ready for it, I'm trying to stay up all night tonight (Thursday night). My goal is to stay up until 5 a.m., but I'm not sure I'll make it that far. I don't even know if I'll post this to my blog. I just thought it would be interesting to keep sort of a running post through the course of the night of what I am doing to stay awake. Since LW went to bed, here's what I've been up to:

- Put away the clean dishes in the dish washer.

- Put the dirty dishes from dinner in the dish washer.

- I ate the cream cheese rangoon that LW didn't eat from her dinner. I don't think she realized it was in the bag from PE.

- Took the trash out from the garage, kitchen, and upstairs (thank you, Sweetie, for bringing the upstairs trash to the stairs for me).

- Took the trash can out to the curb.

- I brewed a pot of coffee.

- Shopped for some Under Armour running shorts. My friend Loping Squid recommended them. I've been browsing around here and there trying to find the website that (a) charges the least to ship to Hawaii, and (b) has a good return policy. I think I'm going to order from Sports Authority because I can have like six pairs of shorts sent to me in different sizes and colors for like $20 in shipping, and it comes with a return shipping label in the box. All I have to do is put the shorts that I don't like or don't want back in the box and drop it back in the mail to them, and they will charge me $6.50 for the return shipping (subtract it from the amount of the refund). So far, that's the best offer I've found in my online shopping. Then I realized that they have a store right over here in Waipahu, so I figure I should at least drive by the store and see if they have any of the shorts in stock and not pay ANY shipping first. IF they don't have them in the store, then I'll go back to the website.

- I've had American Beauty playing in the background on the TV, but I haven't been playing close attention to it.

- The JO who's going to be on the midwatch with me tomorrow night just emailed and said he's getting ready to play some Wii, so I'm going to turn my Wii on and see if I can figure out what you can do online with it.

- Hooked up the new component video cable for our Wii, now the Wii is doing some O/S update off the internet. OMG - the Component Video cable for the Wii? HUGE waste of money. I think the graphics actually got WORSE. I went into the Wii video settings and changed it from the standard 480i to the ED 480p, but it looks even MORE like an old Atari video game now than it did before. Shoulda just stuck with the standard definition on the Wii.

- Man... I was thinking SURELY it's past midnight by now, but NOPE. It's only 11:10. Thinking ahead - I think I should go for a run about 3 a.m. or so since I'll miss our Friday Command PT.

- Played a game of Wii Bowling. First time I've played in a while and was pretty rusty in the beginning. I pulled off three strikes and three spares in my last five frames though and ended up with a 165.

- Second game of Wii Bowling didn't go as well. Only bowled a 147. It seemed like I couldn't get a strike to save my life. Got a whole bunch of "Nice Spare!" comments though.

0000 Watch and logs continued from those dated 2/28/2008. Plant conditions and equipment status... Oh wait.... Sorry, flashback.

- Put in Vanilla Sky just after midnight. I wanted to see this movie a long time ago and never got around to it. It finally worked its way up on our queue and just happened to arrive yesterday.

- As I type this, I keep getting that song, "Up all night, oooooooooh dancin', oooooh, baby, up all night," stuck in my head. I tried searching for it to add to my blog music for the occasion, but there are a LOT of songs with "Up All Night" in the title. I didn't find it yet. Maybe later.

- Vanilla Sky was a pretty good flick. Now I'm folding some laundry. Poor LW has a fever and has been up coughing and blowing her nose most of the night.

- Reconsidering the idea of going for a run. I want to go, but I don't want to wake up LW or the boys with a shower before I go to bed.

- LW was kind enough to do like four loads of laundry for me to fold. It's giving me something to actually do with my hands, so I have been folding laundry and watching TV.

- It's been interesting watching sunrise creep around the globe and seeing each of our friends log onto their computers in the morning. First I got to chat with my friend Loping Squid and his LW when they woke up on their side of the world. Then I got to chat with Corey when she woke up on the east coast. Then I got to chat with Sam when she woke up in Michigan. Now I'm only 15 minutes from my goal of 5 a.m. Thanks to those of you who chatted with me and helped me stay awake! I'm actually not feeling that tired now - it's like I caught my second wind. ...or maybe it's that pot of coffee that kicked in. Hopefully it won't take me long to fall asleep.

Okay, goodnight all. Hope you all have a good weekend! Not sure if I'll be able to write much before we finish shiftwork in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Farewell Trusty Steed

I'd like to give a shout out to my MIL and say THANK YOU for the Schwinn combination jogging stroller / bike trailer she got for my birthday in the fall of 2002. It served us well over the past five years, and I put a LOT of miles on it. For most of our last shore duty tour in Virginia, I took the boys on a lot of bike rides and runs around the trails in Ashburn Farms. Eventually, ES outgrew it and started riding his own bike. For about the last year we were in VA, I was taking YB with me on my morning 3 mile run at least three days per week. Since we arrived in Hawaii though, I've only convinced YB to go for a ride in it 3 times. Now, like ES, he would rather ride his own bike. :-(

Here are some of the memories that were made possible by this wonderful contraption...

Family bike ride on the trails in Ashburn Farms, Virginia.

YB on the family bike ride.

During a jog on the Ashburn Farms trails,
we stopped to check out this baby box turtle.

Close-up of baby box turtle.

This is what they look like when they grow up.

YB and his girlfriend e, ready to roll.
Ashburn, VA, 2006

The after-ride refreshments.

YB in the jogging stroller with a geocoin
we picked up from a geocache during
one of our morning jogs.

The stroller was still in great shape, and it seemed a shame to have it sitting there in the garage not getting used. We decided to offer it up for sale. While it was sad to see this trusty fitness companion leave our garage for the last time, I am happy to report it went to a good home. My Eng came and picked it up this afternoon to use with his daughter. He's both a runner and a bike rider, so I think he'll get some good use out of it.

Thanks again to my MIL for this wonderful gift she gave us that served us so well. I'm sad that the boys have outgrown it.

For anyone out there considering buying a bike trailer / jogging stroller like this, I highly recommend it. Two pointers I would offer you:
1) Go to Home Depot and buy some of that foam pipe insulation and put it around the cross-bar on the back to protect your shins. This is especially important when you hit something and come to a sudden unexpected stop.
2) To help keep the stroller level while jogging, I hung an ankle weight from the bicycle towing arm that sticks out in front of the stroller (see the black ankle weight hanging from the arm in the first picture with the baby box turtle above). Just a couple of pounds will do. I found it helped to keep the stroller from tipping backwards, especially running on hills.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday Night Food and Fitness


Reason #547 I love my wife: She makes me tacos. :-9 She even makes the taco meat seasoning from scratch in order to protect me from the evil, naughty, blunoz-kryptonite MSG in the pre-made taco meat seasonings from the store.

Reason #547 ½ I love my wife: She makes her own sort of pico de gallo by dicing up tomatoes and onions and putting some seasonings it. I need to go back to my 7 random things post and just add one:
I have this bizarre obsession with onions, or... more particularly, the aftertaste left in my mouth after I've eaten fresh onions. Especially red onions. Call me crazy. Wait... why are red onions purple, anyway? Sorry, getting off topic.

Effective advertising. Having two family members who work(ed) in the advertising industry raised my sensitivity to things like product placement in movies, made me do a double-take when someone says a phrase or sings a tune from an advertisement, and taught me the phrase, "that was effective advertisement."

Tangent / Aside: The last time I remember hearing that phrase from GMJ was when I said, "Man, I wish I had an Easy button." She just about busted up laughing and immediately wrote an email to the Staples management and congratulated them on the success of their ad campaign.

Okay, so all that being said, and in keeping with the "food" topic of this blog, I had two "that was effective advertisement" moments this week:

Effective Advertisement of the Week Award #1:

Okay, to say that our children are picky eaters is like saying they are casually interested in Star Wars (mild understatment?). I have never been able to get either of our boys to so much as LOOK at a bowl of soup much less actually TRY a spoonful. LW made that awesome chicken tortilla soup again this week. As a force of habit, she offered some to ES - fully expecting him to turn up his nose and say, "yuck." Although we were not surprised by his refusal to try some, he floored us both with his statement, "There is a type of soup I would like to try." Oh yeah? He said he saw it on TV. We asked him what type of soup it was. He said, "It was called Campbell's soup." He didn't understand that Campbell's is a name brand, he thought it was a flavor.

Effective Advertisement of the Week Award #2:

Have you seen the Goldfish Cracker advertisements where they swim around in this little community under the bed in the kids' room? On the one hand, I think the concept is cool and the ads are cute and funny. On the other hand though, the thought of a bunch of goldfish crackers under the bed in my boys room with all the dust bunnies, toys, boogers, and dirty underwear just grosses me out and makes me absolutely NOT want to eat Goldfish Crackers. Apparently, I was not the target audience for the ad though. No sooner does the ad finish on the TV screen then YB chimes in with, "Mommy! I want some goldfish crackers!"


It was a pretty darn good week for me fitness-wise, especially considering how it started out last Monday. If you recall, I tried going running last Monday for the first time following a nasty head cold. I couldn't run more than a mile and a half and coughed the entire time walking back home.

There was some bizarre alignment of the planets that occurred on Tuesday though. I felt much better than I did Monday. I got home from work and tossed out my usual offer to take the boys for a bike ride, but for the first time in a long time, they said YES! So I put the boys on their bikes with their bike helmets and their camelbaks and we headed out. It was the first time I've taken YB out on the bike path on his new bike - a two-wheeler with training wheels. We made it out to Best Buy (1 mile out) and turned around. We got about half way back and YB refused to ride his bike anymore, got off and started walking. I would've broken my back if I tried pushing his bike back, so I ended up carrying it back the last half mile. Even so, it was a good workout for me. I ran some sprints to the next telephone pole and back to the boys again, so I think I probably did about 2.5 miles from the doubling back.

Wednesday, I was bummed I couldn't go to Command PT with the PT Nazi (we do interval training Wednesday mornings at Bloch Arena with a personal trainer who really kicks our butts). I had to be on the boat for a walkthrough with the shipyard commander. Talking to the guys who went to Command PT though - ouch! They were all absolutely drenched in sweat as they came back from PT. She had them do spinners on the exercise bikes, and whenever anyone stopped pedaling, they had to get down and do 40 pushups. I've heard spinners is pretty intense, but I've never actually done it before.

When I got home that afternoon though, the boys were all excited and wanted to go for another bike ride. So I got them geared up and we went and did the same route again. This time, YB stayed on his bike the entire ride. However (comma) I don't think he pedaled at all. I basically pushed him with my hand on his back the entire ride. As a result, it was by no means a FAST run for me, but I sure had my heart rate up.

Thursday I didn't ask the boys if they wanted to go because ES and I had to bake and decorate our cake for the Cub Scout Blue & Gold dinner on Friday night.

Friday at Command PT we did our usual warmup, stretches, and calesthenics in the gym. Then we went for a run from Bloch Arena down South Ave along the perimeter of the base next to Hickam. We ran all the way to the end of South Ave at the water's edge and then turned around and came back. It came out to 3 miles.

But alas... I was a lazy slug all weekend and didn't do any PT.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's not his fault...

Public Service Announcement: Acronym Change.

First, I'm going to change abbreviations. I know I confuse myself sometimes between ES and YS with the two S's in there. I've decided I'm going to change YS to YB for either Younger Brother or Youngest Boy. I think it will help differentiate between the two.

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It's NEVER his fault.

It boggles my mind that when LW or I will tell YB to do something that he's supposed to do, we'll tell him a dozen times and he won't do it. We both feel like broken records. And yet, when he gets into trouble for doing something he's not supposed to do, it's never his fault. He has adopted the but-he-told-me-to-do-it defense. [Aside: My fifth CO would have called this the I'm-a-victim-it's-not-my-fault defense when JOs or Chiefs would try something similar.] Usually he blames it on ES. As in: YB, don't jump off the bed! "But ES told me to do it." Tonight, he blamed it on the neighbor's boy. YB, don't eat cookies right now, it's 5 minutes until dinner time. "But J gave it to me." [Aside: LW and I have a hard enough time getting YB to eat his dinner WITHOUT him eating a cookie 5 minutes before dinner.] I cringe because I sound like the stereotypical parent with the counter-argument, "If ES told you to jump off of a cliff, would you do it? No? Okay then!"

I wonder how many times we'll have to go through this pattern of he-told-me-to-do-it and the canned counter argument before he understands he needs to take responsibility for his own actions and not just blindly do something because someone else told him to do it. I mean, jeez, if a stranger drives up in a van and tells him to come help him look for his lost puppy, is he going to do it "because he told me to"???

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Future Chess-Master(s)?

Tonight the boys' bath took less time than I anticipated, so we had some time after getting their pajamas on before they had to go to bed. I asked if they wanted to play a game and listed off a bunch of games we could play like connect four or blockus or UpWords, but the boys chose chess.

It's been about a week since we last played. I was impressed that both ES and YB were able to set up their sides of the chess board on their own without any help. YB doesn't know how all the pieces move yet and just moves the pieces that I tell him to, but I was pleased that he knew which pieces started out where.

ES really impressed me with his analytical skills in playing chess tonight. He now understands that when I move a piece, there is a reason for it (I'm really not just moving the pieces around at random!), and he searches for that reason and then analyzes what to do to prevent me from achieving my objective.

I still won, but he made it a challenge. It took considerable effort to work through this substantial fortress he made with his queen and two rooks, but I managed to get check-mate because he left his king back behind a row of three pawns (after castling previously in the game), so when my queen got to the back row he couldn't do anything to either move his king out of the way or put anything in my way to block or take the queen. However (comma) I remember the first (and last) time my Grandpa won because I had done that, and he taught me the importance of leaving an escape route for the king. I suspect I won't be able to catch ES with the same trick again.

This photo is from just over a year ago back in Virginia, but it went with the topic. I love this picture - me in my pokey hair, the boys in their jammies, me with my coffee and YB with his apple juice, playin' a little chess in the mornin'.

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Movie Reviews

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. I took the boys to the Sharkey Theater to see this new Veggie Tales movie this afternoon. It was pretty good. The boys and I enjoyed it. It was not based on a Bible story like most of Veggie Tales' previous movies. The plot outline was similar to 3 Amigos (which I'm sure someone smarter than me will tell me that plot was copied from something else by Shakespeare or some other classic). They added a whole bunch of one-liners from other movies, like, "Say hello to my little friend!" ala Al Pacino. It kept me involved because I was trying to remember what other movies each of those lines came from. I also really enjoyed the spoof on the B-52's Rock Lobster at the end.

BTW - I need to go back and add Sharkey Theater to my list of Hawaii favorites. It's the base theater on the sub base. Active duty get in for FREE. I paid $1.50 for the boys to get in, and spent $6 on two popcorns, two bottles of water, and one medium soda. Can't beat those prices at any other big screen movie theater!

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New Video from Paula Abdul

I haven't been a big Paula Abdul fan in the past. LW and I watched two episodes of American Idol on the DVR to get caught up, and saw this debut of Paula Abdul's new album. I don't know what it is about it - it's just mesmerizing. LW just said, "Paula Abdul is hot isn't she?" I guess I can't disagree with that. It took me until the second time I watched it to realize that Randy (one of the other American Idol judges) was playing the guitar in the video.

[Don't forget to scroll down and stop my blog music before you click play on the video.]

Blue & Gold Dinner

Tonight was our Cub Scout Pack's Blue & Gold Dinner (an annual banquet to commemorate the founding of the cub scouts), which included a father-and-son cake decorating contest. Last night, ES and I started by baking the cake together.

LW got a good laugh watching us make a mess of the simple task of putting eggs in the mixing bowl.

ES kept wanting to crank-up the speed on the mixer, but I told him no. I know, I'm no fun.

Fresh out of the oven!

The theme of the cake contest was "transportation." ES wanted something like a CH-46 Sea Knight or a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter. I used ES's dry erase board to plan out how to cut the layers of the cake. I ended up using a pattern like the one in the lower left corner.

I had a really hard time getting this first layer of chocolate frosting on the cake. I kept swiping the knife with the frosting across the cake surface and just coming away with a bunch of cake crumbs stuck to the frosting which was still stuck to the knife. As if the Lord saw how frustrated I was getting with this experience, the phone suddenly rang and it just happened to by my MIL, so I asked her how to do it (LW was outside somewhere). MIL explained to me to put a big glob of frosting on the cake, then wet the knife and use the wetted knife to spread the frosting around. It worked MUCH better than my original attempts.

Next, we used some of this green spray frosting stuff. I think the color of the chocolate frosting and the green spray combined to make a pretty good sort of camouflage green.

Just to show that I didn't do it all myself, here's ES decorating it with some lights and writing "USMC" on the side.

Here we are at the Blue & Gold dinner with our cake. Not exactly pretty, but it sure tasted good!

Things I learned about baking cakes during this experience:
- You need to let the cake cool off before you put the frosting on.
- If you make a multi-layer cake, you're supposed to put a layer of frosting in between the layers.

ES earned four belt loops during the awards ceremony...

They were Computers, Map & Compass, Bicycling, and Chess.

ES and his friend J check out the new belt loops.

These were the winners of the cake contest. 3rd place on the right was a bus. 2nd place on the left was a race car. 1st place in the middle was river rapids with bears (Teddy Grahams) riding inner tubes (mini chocolate frosted donuts) down the river.

Under very close and careful supervision, I allowed YS to hold LW's camera, and he took this photo of LW. It's a little blurry, but I thought it was a nice picture of her.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Funny Things Kids Do and Say

Weenie Dance. Last night I got the bath ready for the boys and told YS to get in the tub as I picked up his clothes off the floor and took them to the laundry hamper. I came back into the bathroom to find YS standing-up in the bathtub, his arms stretched up over his head, his head down so his chin was on his chest, and he was dancing sort of like a belly-dancer wiggling his hips back and forth and singing, "Weenie, Weenie, Wee-NIE! Weenie, Weenie, Wee-NIE! Weenie, Weenie, Wee-NIE!" as he watched his private parts wagging back and forth. I just about died laughing. Maybe you just had to be there to see the humor in it. I wish I could post a video of it to YouTube, but I'd get arrested for posting nude images of my 4-year old.

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President's Day. Rewind back to Monday night at dinner. We started talking about why it was a holiday. LW and I talked with the boys (6-year old ES in particular) about how it was President's Day in honor of the birthdays of two our most famous presidents. I asked ES if he knew which two presidents. He thought about it for a moment, and said, "George Washington?" I said, "Yes, very good [ES]. Do you know who the other president is?" He thought for another minute and said, "George Lucas?" LW and I busted up laughing and told him George Lucas wasn't a president. ES said, "Yes he is! He's the president of Star Wars!"

I told LW at the table that night, this is the first time the expression has come to my mind, "I am SO blogging that!"

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Sleeping In. Going back to my previous complaint about the boys getting up at the butt-crack of dawn on weekends, I was actually pretty successful on this front over the holiday weekend. Luckily, ES can tell time. I told him he wasn't allowed to come out of his room until after 7 o'clock or he would lose video games for the rest of the day. They actually stayed in their room until 7 each morning! It was like clockwork though. They must have been sitting there staring intently at the clock waiting for it to strike 7, because their door came open and they marched downstairs to the computer at precisely 7 a.m.

Now, I know LW is chomping at the bit to post a comment as she reads this, so let me just give a shout-out to LW and say THANK YOU, sweetie for allowing me to sleep in all three mornings. (I was still sick and taking cold medicine and dead to the world each morning).

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Random Photo du jour. Lastly, my screen saver just popped this picture up and it made me smile. I thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment.

ES swimming at Ko Olina Lagoon #1
Christmas Day 2007

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I got tagged...

C over at Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Sanity tagged me with this meme.

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Um... Are you sure you want me to write SEVEN things??? Given that I tend to be verbose, I would grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable, because this might take a while.

1. I'm a direct descendant of Chief Justice John Marshall. I did a term paper on him for one of my undergrad classes, and in the USD Law Library I found a collection of his private letters. It was so cool to sit and read letters written by this long lost relative of mine to and from Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

My favorite candy is orange sticks (milk chocolate on the outside with orange jelly stuff on the inside). It's the thing I most look forward to when I dump out the contents of my stocking on Christmas morning. The flavors of orange and chocolate together are just sooooo good. I also love the Mocha Valencia (orange flavored mocha) at Starbucks.

3. As if it wasn't obvious that I love food and my life seems to revolve around the search for good food, good restaurants, and good service. One of my Sailors pointed out to me that whenever I give somebody directions or try to describe a geographic location, I always use restaurants as landmarks. It was on the midwatch one night on deployment. We were bored and reminiscing about some of the places we looked forward to going when we got back home. One of my guys said, "Have you noticed all the landmarks you use to describe geographic locations are restaurants, sir? You'll say, 'Go down highway XYZ past the Wokery (best Chinese place around), hang a left at that little red wooden shack with the awesome lobster rolls, and it's down there across the street from the Indian place."

4. For most of the 7th and 8th grade I was on crutches due to a series of surgical procedures on my legs. I had my first surgery in the summer before I started 7th grade. My dad was Navy and we had just moved to San Diego that summer, so I was a new kid starting at a new junior high school... on crutches. So while all the popular kids were skateboarding or surfing, I stayed home and played on my computer. Do you think that may have had an influence on why I was a nerd in high school and I'm still such a computer geek today?

5. International travel is one of my favorite experiences in life. I was always envious of my Dad getting to visit so many foreign countries in the Navy. The first time I got to leave the country was when I went to Japan with my mom when I was 7 years old. We had hosted several Japanese exchange students, and so my mom took me on a trip to go visit several of our exchange students and their families, and we got to tour all over Japan.

I was blessed with parents that raised me to be pretty independent and gave me a pretty long leash. They allowed me to go on my first unaccompanied plane trip when I was 8 years old to go visit my grandparents in Colorado. After I got scuba certified when I was 14, I went on several one and two-day trips down into Baja California, Mexico to go scuba diving with complete strangers from a dive shop in San Diego. After my dad retired from the Navy and we moved to Oregon, I used to go on weekend trips from Portland out to the Oregon coast (~3 or 4 hour drive) to go scuba diving off Newport and Tillamook. In high school, I got to travel alone by air to Canada (EXPO '86 in Vancouver), to Japan, to Korea, and to England. It was a deal I had with my parents - maintain good grades and get to fly someplace in the summertime. In the first three cases, I flew alone and then stayed with friends who lived there, and in the England case it was with an organized exchange program, so I was never on total independent ops while I was on the ground. Still, I know a lot of my friends' parents were nowhere near as trusting and would never have allowed them to go on those trips like I did. I know many of my high school classmates in Oregon had never left the COUNTY much less the STATE much less the COUNTRY before.

Since I joined the Navy... whoa... I mean, that's one of the reasons why I joined the Navy and why I've stayed in the Navy was to see the world. I've been to Norway, Florida (hey, leaving your homeport of Groton to go to Fort Lauderdale in February is AWESOME), Puerto Rico (dozens of times), Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, the Suez Canal, France, Gibraltar, Japan (a few times), Korea (several times), Okinawa (I know, part of Japan, but it's separated a bit), Guam (too many times to count), Australia, Saipan, Hawaii (a couple of times for port calls before actually being stationed here), Canada, Alaska, England, Spain, Portugal, the Panama Canal. Oh, and I'm a bluenose and an emerald shellback.

Okay, enough with #5 already. I guess that was a little bit TMI for a "random fact" huh?

6. I love Gilbert and Sullivan. My favorite song is the "Modern Major General" song from The Pirates of Penzance. My grandparents instilled in me an appreciation for classical music and performing arts. They would take me to musicals, ballets, and plays growing up
, and they were big fans of Gilbert & Sullivan. I actually went to a performing arts school near LA for 3rd through 6th grade. One day not long after I started 3rd grade there, I was walking along and heard a familiar tune from a classroom down the hall. They were singing, "We sail the ocean blue, in our saucy ships of beauty, we are sober men and true, and attentive to our duty..." from HMS Pinafore. I walked down the hall and peeked in the door. The teacher saw me and asked what I wanted. I told her I knew the song and I was looking to see who was singing it. She gasped, "You KNOW this song?!?!" I don't know if it's possible for a 3rd grader to be drafted, but I soon found myself as a member of Mrs. K's school chorus preparing for a big Gilbert & Sullivan show at Cal State Dominguez Hills. (Aside: I later got to play the kid in The King and I - "Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect - I'm afraid...").

Last spring back in Norfolk, I was really excited when the Norfolk opera house was putting on a kids' show of Pirates of Penzance. It was a kids' day at the opera, and they had lots of kids activities set up on the grass in front of the opera house. I don't know if my kids got much out of it, but it brought me great joy to share that with my boys. (Except I missed my favorite song because YS had to go pee RIGHT at that moment...)

My hero or the person I have most admired in my life is my Grandpa Ernie. Man, if you thought I wrote too much for #5 and #6 above, I better just stop here for the night and save this for another blog post. (Heck, I coulda written a whole blog post just on topics 5 and 6!) I just hope that I can teach my kids half as much as Grandpa Ernie has taught me, and I hope someday my kids and someday my grandkids will look up to me as much as I look up to my Grandpa. I regret that in the busy life of parenting and navy life that I lead now that I have not been good at keeping in touch with Grandpa as an adult, but he had such a profound impact on my upbringing that he is always in the back of my mind. I think of Grandpa when I sing Gilbert & Sullivan songs to my boys in the bathtub, when I take my boys hiking, when I try to get my boys to appreciate foreign cultures, languages, or foods, when I help ES to learn the planets in the solar system and the Greek Gods the planets were named for, when we go to a science museum, when we launch rockets, when we see the Blue Angels... Like I said, I could be here all night if I started writing about my Grandpa. I'm sorry I don't do a better job of keeping in touch, Grandpa, but you are always on my mind.

Wrap-Up: I'm still pretty new to blogging. I think most of the other blogs I read are people who have been around awhile and already done this meme before, so I can't come up with seven people to tag. I will tag One Crazy Adventure, The A Team, and Black Shoe though, since I couldn't find any blog posts with "7 random facts" or "tag" or "meme" in them.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Night Food and Fitness


Layered Mexican Chicken casserole. LW did her usual excellent job of making dinner for us this week. My favorite meal of the week was this new one she tried from a WW recipe. LW said she used low-fat sour cream instead of fat-free, but she used less of it than the recipe called for. This meal put me in the flashback machine. One of my favorite meals that my mom made when I was growing up was a recipe of my Grandma's called "Tortillas and Sour Cream." This WW recipe tasted just like it, but it had chicken and black beans added to it. I took some in to work with me the next day, and it tasted great as leftovers, too. Two thumbs up! (Photo is from the WW website).


It wasn't a very good week for me fitness-wise. I had a nasty head-cold and felt like death-warmed-over most of the week. Each morning I would spend about 30 minutes to an hour coughing up all the gunk that had accumulated in my chest and sinuses over the night, so I didn't go to Command PT. Luckily, I maintained my weight. I suspect dehydration may have been a factor in that though.

This morning, I was still coughing a little bit, but doing much better than last week, and I really wanted to start running again. We didn't have our usual Monday Command PT because it's a holiday, so I decided to go for a run out on the bike path. I forced myself to jog at least the first 1.5 miles to get ready for the upcoming PRT, but I was coughing a lot and had to stop and walk the remainder of my usual 4-mile route after that. I coughed all the rest of the way home. Maybe it was too much too soon after being sick, but I really felt like I needed to get SOME form of exercise.

Warning: Tangent Ahead. This post soon departs the "fitness" topic at hand...

It's actually been a while since I ran on the bike path. I've normally just been going to Command PT and running on the base or on the treadmill at the gym. Running on the bike path made me think of another "pro" to add to the list for moving back to the east coast. I miss the nice, clean paths and the fresh air in the parks in Virginia and lots of other places on the mainland. You would think in a place with as much natural beauty as Hawaii that the residents would be more respectful of the environment and not just totally trash the place. I suppose if they've never traveled anyplace else, then maybe they don't appreciate the beauty of their home state. It just makes me sad to see so much trash along the sides of the bike path and elsewhere around the island, and the stench that comes from the trash makes me nauseous. I wonder if that's why the boys don't like to go running with me here like they did in Virginia?

It also surprised me that they don't have a recycling program here. I think everyplace we've been stationed before this had SOME form of a recycling program where the city picks up recycling right alongside your trash can. Not here. If you want to recycle here, you've gotta do it on your own and take the stuff in to a recycling center like at the NEX. At least you get some cash-back that way, but they still won't accept nearly as many types of recyclable products as they would in our previous duty stations.

Okay, sorry, I'll get off my environmentalist soap box for now.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend!

It's the Little Things...

When I was at Blockbuster this weekend, I had an amazing experience. I had an encounter with someone with manners! I was just browsing the movies on the shelves, and a lady and her son were browsing in the opposite direction. The lady said, "excuse me" and admonished her son for walking in front of me while I was looking at the movies. She most definitely was not from around here. Now, this isn't intended as a slam against Hawaii in particular. I made the same observation soon after we moved from California to Virginia. That time it was in a grocery store that someone said "excuse me" before walking between me and the dozens of varieties of laundry detergent at which I was looking. It's such a simple little thing, really. I don't know why it's not customary in California or Hawaii.
Tangent: This is making me think of one of my favorite movies - Blast from the Past. There's a great line in there about how being polite isn't meant to sound snooty or superior, it's just a sign of respect and courtesy.

Speaking of grocery stores, they should seriously hire a traffic cop for the commissary here. I went to the commissary yesterday, and it was an absolute ZOO. It was just so congested with people going in all different directions and totally clogging the aisles. I had a flashback to the commissary in Groton where they had a defined traffic pattern with one-way aisles. As a young JO, I used to laugh at the little old ladies who would get mad at you if you violated the traffic pattern. I guess maybe it's yet another sign that I'm getting old, for I would now side with the little old ladies and tell other arrogant young whipper-snappers like use-ta-me to follow the arrows. Not following the arrows just leads to chaos and anarchy!!!

Getting back to yesterday's commissary experience... Normally, the checkout lines are horrendous and wrap counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the store past the frozen food deserts in the front, past the dairy products on the side, and into the meat section along the back wall. Much to my surprise yesterday, the lines actually weren't that bad. ...but you wouldn't know that unless you walked by the FRONT of the store.

Luckily for me, I couldn't find the apple sauce. I got to the end of the store and hadn't found any, so I started back-tracking. As I walked from the dairy section back by the front of the store, I noticed that the REAL checkout line was only like ten people long. [Aside: In this commissary, like some others, you get into one line, and when you get to the head of the line you go to the next open cashier for checkout.]

However (comma), a few people who obviously were familiar with how bad the lines normally get at the commissary were strategically staging themselves with their shopping carts right where the line normally comes out of the rope-cattle-chute-things at the front of the store and back along the frozen foods. They did this so if the line DID start to get long like it normally does, they could then quickly get in line and hold a spot while their significant other was off grabbing whatever remaining odds and ends they needed.

Unfortunately for some other people in the store who didn't forget where the apple sauce was, they expected the line to be long and wrapped back into the dairy section, so when they saw a few people with shopping carts standing there, they thought that was the line and they got in line right behind those . I'm mildly curious how long it took for either (a) those poor people to realize they weren't really in line and go on up to the REAL checkout line, or (b) the line got long enough that those people suddenly BECAME the real checkout line.

LW chastised me for not going to the Hickam commissary instead. (See last paragraph of previous post on how the Hickam and Kaneohe commissaries are typically a lot less crowded).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of All Who Threaten It

Making the YouTube rounds tonight...

Many thanks to Bubblehead for posting the SWCC videos posted by the Navy on YouTube. If you click on the user name, UnitedStatesNavy, it'll take you to this profile page. I really liked the personal information provided for this "user":
Name: United States Navy
Age: 38
Actually I'm 231 years old, but you have to be at least 18 to join the U.S. Navy.
Hometown: There are so many places I consider home...primarily the United States, but you can find me throughout the world.

Occupation: Defender of Freedom Everywhere
Interests and Hobbies: Defending freedom, delivering food, water and shelter to those in need, rescuing people and saving lives, keeping the world's oceans safe, open and free of sea pirates.
Music: Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful
Books: The Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights...
There are some pretty cool Navy recruiting videos in there.

In the links to other "related videos" though, there were some funny ones the USNA mids have put together like this "Accelerate Your Life - Naval Academy Style."

Wendy over at All Ahead Full posted a Valentine's Day video from an E-2C Hawkeye squadron, the VAW-113 Black Eagles. I started perusing some of the squadron's other videos. They've got a pretty talented editor and a very supportive squadron cast to put the time and effort into producing something like this (don't forget to scroll down and pause my blog music so you can listen to the music with the video)...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday morning odds and ends

I hate being sick. LW hates me being sick. She'll get the same bug and she'll have a managable cold for a couple of days and be over it. LW says I'm pathetic and I look like I'm on my death bed. For me, it always takes like two weeks of coughing and hacking my brains out. I really hate being up until 2 a.m. coughing and then being dead to the world when my alarm goes off at 5:30. LW also hates it when I sleep through my alarms. She doesn't fall asleep as easily as I do. I'm ready for this head cold to go away.

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In browsing the blogosphere last night and this morning, I found a couple of really good writers sharing stories of their parenting adventures. I found I could relate to both Dad Gone Mad and Sarah and the Goon Squad. They're both very talented writers and fun to read, although Dad Gone Mad is a little foul-mouthed. I found Dad Gone Mad because it was recommended to me by my Google Reader, and then I found Sarah and the Goon Squad off a link from Dad Gone Mad's t-shirt sales. Anyway, if you need a laugh or two, check them out.

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Chances are we'll be heading to the East Coast again in the fall. The detailer sent me a list of five jobs to consider.

First choice is in Norfolk:
- Close to many navy friends who are also stationed there.
- Closer to family in New England.
- Closer to our favorite vacation spots in New Hampshire and Orlando.
- Great cost of living - we can afford a nice house with a basement and have SPACE to put all our STUFF.
- It's a very career-enhancing job, too, but as a result I'm one of four guys applying for the job.
- Good schools (MUCH better schools than Hawaii, and we won't have to pay thousands of dollars to send our kids to private school).
- Good church with friends of ours from church in San Diego.
- Shopping / not listening to LW complain about how she misses Target and all the other stores and restaurants we used to frequent on the mainland. :-)
- Four Seasons - autumn leaves, snow, spring flowers...

- Long work hours and traffic.
- No Jamba Juice or Robeks.

Second choice is in DC:
- Close to friends from our last shore duty there.
- Closer to family in New England.
- Closer to our favorite vacation spots in New Hampshire and Orlando.
- Manageable cost of living - size of house we can afford is dependent on how far outside the beltway we live.
- It's a very really cool job, too. The detailer said if I don't get selected for my first choice, then I'm his top candidate for this job.
- Good schools (MUCH better schools than Hawaii, and we won't have to pay thousands of dollars to send our kids to private school).
- Good church. "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came..."
- Shopping / not listening to LW complain about how she misses Target and all the other stores and restaurants we used to frequent on the mainland. :-)
- Four Seasons - autumn leaves, snow, spring flowers...

- DC traffic.

Third choice is in Groton:
- Closer to friends in NY.
- MUCH closer to family in New England. LW says my MIL would kiss my feet if we went there. LW is from Boston and I was stationed in Groton when we first met. We haven't been back to Groton since then.
- Closer to our favorite vacation spots in New Hampshire and Orlando.
- Great cost of living - we can afford a nice house with a basement and have SPACE to put all our STUFF.
- The job would certainly help prepare me for my next sea tour if I go back to sea again.
- Good schools (MUCH better schools than Hawaii, and we won't have to pay thousands of dollars to send our kids to private school).
- Shopping / not listening to LW complain about how she misses Target and all the other stores and restaurants we used to frequent on the mainland. :-)
- Four Seasons - autumn leaves, snow, spring flowers...
- Non-existent traffic / easy commute.

- This job would involve sea time, riding lots of other boats and spending time away from my family. Again - good for my professional development, but not so good for my family.

Fourth choice is here in Pearl Harbor: See previous post for pros and cons of staying in Pearl Harbor.

HD vs. Blu-Ray DVD - Follow Up

Follow-up to my previous post on HD DVD versus Blu-Ray.

First, on Tuesday, Netflix and Best Buy announced they are letting HD DVD go by the wayside and are sticking with Blu-Ray. It sounds to me like it's "game over" for HD DVD. (See "Netflix and Best Buy Feeling Blu").

Then, yesterday, in spite of this article back in April 2007 in which Wal-Mart had declared HD-DVD the "winner" in the HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray format contest.
There is one retailer that has the power to call the winner of the protracted Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD fight and that vendor is Wal-Mart. Over the weekend they apparently leaked plans to bring in a massive number of low cost (possibly sub $200) HD DVD players for Christmas...

What does this Mean?

It means that any studio wanting Wal-Mart’s support after year end had better be selling HD DVD movies. Wal-Mart won’t be promoting Blu-Ray and, after year end, will increasingly focus their marketing on getting people to buy into HD DVD players and the related HD DVD movie from them. (Rob Enderle, Digital Trends, 23 Apr 2007)

The latest news says that Wal-Mart is switching sides and will only sell Blu-Ray
Wal-Mart Stores said on Friday that it plans to exclusively back the Blu-ray high-definition movie format, in the latest blow to the rival HD DVD camp backed by Toshiba.

In a statement on its Web site, Wal-Mart said that over the next few months it would phase out sales of HD DVD systems and discs, and by June will sell only Blu-ray products.

The decision marks the third retailer this week to turn its back on HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray... (Reuters, 15 Feb 2008)
HD-DVD is like a sinking ship. I wonder how long it will be before Toshiba, Microsoft, and anybody else clinging to a hope of HD DVD staying afloat will give up and get on board the Blu-Ray boat? I suppose they have to continue to publicly support it until they get their inventory of HD-DVD players and DVDs sold off to minimize their losses. In fact, I think that must be why my mom found such a great deal on the HD-DVD player - the retailers see the righting on the wall and they're trying to clear out their HD-DVD inventory (note: HD DVD movies are like 50% off on right now).

Follow-Up 2/25/2008: Toshiba has raised the white flag and announced they will no longer manufacture the HD DVD players. Game over, man.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Night Food and Fitness


Tortilla Soup: LW made a really good tortilla soup from a Family Circle magazine recipe. According to the nutrition information in the recipe, it was only 5 points per serving on the WW scale. She also put in some avocado slices, low-fat cheese, and tortilla strips that added like 3 points. Next time she plans to use one less tablespoon of olive oil to reduce the soup to 4 points per serving.

Thinking about tortilla soup sent me on a flashback to Monterey. Turtle Bay Taqueria in Monterey made an awesome soup called Sopa de Lima that I used to get all the time. They had the broth for the soup already made up and ready to go. When you placed an order for the soup, they would grill a couple of chicken breasts, dice them up, put them in the bowl, and then add the broth over it. It was really good! If you live in Monterey and haven't been to Turtle Bay, you should try it!

Another one of my new favorites LW made this week was Baked Falafel Sandwiches from this WW recipe. Only 6 points per serving, and they were really good. I loaded mine up with fresh tomato slices, onion, and lettuce to add some volume to it without adding any significant calories. (The falafel recipe photo on the right is from the WW website).


My muscles ached for a few days after our Wednesday morning session with the new PT She-Nazi. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit she's a bit older than me, and she kicked all of our butts. Her husband is a pretty senior officer (a couple of paygrades above me). She had already led a 6 a.m. class that she was just finishing up when we got there for our 7 a.m. session.

After stretching out, she started us off with "two laps on the bleacher steps." Now, with the old PT Nazi, he would have us all divide up so that there were two or three guys per set of steps. When he said "two laps" of the bleacher steps, we would go to our chosen set of steps and run up and down that set of steps twice. Nope. Nyet. No more. When the new PT She-Nazi says, "two laps," she means start at one set of bleacher steps, run up and down that set, run clockwise around the basketball court to the next set of steps, run up and down that set, run clockwise to the next set of steps, run up and down that set... I think there are like 16 aisles / sets of steps going up into the bleachers, so "two laps" is actually running 32 sets of steps.

Then she had us doing sets of 40 tricep-dips on the bottom bench of the bleachers, walking lunges across the basketball court and back, squats, football-style sidesteps, leg lifts, crunches, another set of "two laps" on the bleacher steps, more tricep-dips... It was a really good workout, but my shoulders, triceps, ankles, hamstrings, gluteals all ached.

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Rewind to my previous post about TV shopping. Today we got the thing in the mail from Circuit City explaining why I was denied credit there. Any guesses why??? My credit application at Circuit City was denied because I already have a credit account established at Circuit City. ...UNbelievable. Why don't they just TELL you that at the counter??? We haven't bought anything at Circuit City since we bought our washer and dryer in Monterey back in 1999, so I didn't remember opening an account way back then. We had a bad experience dealing with Circuit City then, so we have been hesitant to ever go back.

As I stated in my previous post, I got what I wanted for the price I wanted, so it's Circuit City that lost out on the sale. Still, it would have saved me a couple of trips zipping across town if they would have just said, "You already have a credit account with us. What would you like to buy today?"

Sunday night rants

Sleeping In on the Weekend (or not...)

Like CC, I have never been a morning person. It boggles my mind that we set an alarm clock to wake our boys up on weekdays to get up and get ready for school, and LW has to drag them out of bed and it's a daily battle for her to get them dressed and ready for school. WHY WON'T THEY BE THAT WAY ON THE @#$% WEEKEND?!?!?! We turn their alarm clock OFF on the weekend in HOPES that they'll sleep in. Good Heavens, no! They get up at the very butt-crack of dawn WAY before their alarm clock EVER would have gone off!!!

I suppose I wouldn't mind so much if they would just go downstairs and play quietly and not wake us up, but they get into arguments about things and LW and I wake up to ES yelling at YS because YS isn't complying with his orders, or YS crying because ES took something from him.

This morning was a new one on me. I startled-awake at 6 a.m. to the sound of YS making his "shpew! shpew! shpew!" shooting noises. It was still pitch black in our room, and I leaped out of bed to go tell YS to be quiet before he woke up Mommy. I got to their room and saw the boys' door wide open and saw the light from the TV down the stairs, so I assumed they were both downstairs. I went down to tell the boys to be quiet. Arriving in the family room, finding ES in my chair, I lit into him, "What on God's green Earth are you doing up at this hour?..." and was surprised by LW startling awake on the couch at my interrogation of ES. Yes, in my half-awake bolt out of bed, I didn't even realize LW wasn't IN bed because she had already gone down with ES at like 5:30.

I was also surprised not to find YS in the family room. Next thing I knew, he started yelling, "MOOOOOMMY!" from upstairs in his bedroom, so I went back up there. He said he wanted to play Lego Star Wars. I told him fine, go down and play with ES but be quiet. I went back and crawled into bed. Not 30 seconds later, YS starts crying. So I get out of bed and go back over to the boys' room and ask what's wrong. He said his jammies were wet and he wanted to change clothes. I felt his shirt and sure enough, he's sopping wet (he wears a pull-up to bed, but he must've drank a couple'o'gallons of water before he hit the rack). While I start to pull out some clothes to change him into, he pulls up his pajama shirt and starts using it to wipe his face. "Oh, YUCK!" I said, and told him not to do that with the shirt that's sopping wet with pee.

It was a fabulous morning I tell ya. Oh, and did I mention that YS has been sick with a cold this week and now LW and I have it, too. I woke up feeling miserable this morning, and being startled out of my cold-medicine coma by YS's "shpew!" noises just didn't start my day off on the right foot.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to LW though. Thank you, Sweetie, for enduring the boys this morning and letting me go back to bed for a while!

Monday morning update:
Saturday: Up at 5:30 a.m.
Sunday: Up at 5:30 a.m.
Monday: In spite of his alarm going off at 6:50, had to be dragged out of bed at 7 a.m.

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Crazy Drivers

I've seen people make a left turn from the right lane.

I've seen people make a right turn from the left lane.

Tonight was a first though. Tonight I was driving to the NEX and waiting at a stop light. I saw the car in the right lane make a left turn at the SAME time as the car in the left turn only lane drive straight through the intersection. I seriously witnessed a miracle tonight. Those cars passed with like millimeters of clearance. Both of those dudes' guardian angels had to have been there exerting every ounce of their Godly might to keep those two cars from colliding.

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They Never Hear Me Coming

I'm discovering one of the drawbacks of driving a hybrid... Stealth. You see, stealth is a good thing if you're a submarine or a NAVY SEAL or an Army Ranger or a Force Recon Marine. At first, I thought it was pretty cool having such a quiet car. Over time though, I am discovering that stealth is not such a desirable attribute for a car.

The first time the effects of driving a quiet car became apparent to me was when I startled one of the gate guards driving on base after dark with no traffic. As usual, I dimmed my headlights as I approach the gate sentries, so there were no bright lights to grab his attention. He never heard me driving up until I said "good evening" to him out my window. I find whenever I go on base during low traffic times, the gate guards comment on how quiet my car is.

The second time the risks of driving a stealthy quiet car dawned on me was just driving around our neighborhood. There are always a lot of kids playing in and around our street, so I have to drive slowly and be alert for little kids darting out in front of me (which they have on a few occasions). As I drive slowly though, the engine shuts down and I'm just creeping along on the battery, so kids that may be just sitting there drawing pictures with chalk on the street or in my driveway don't hear me coming until I honk.

Tonight was the third time this has come to mind as I'm driving through the parking lot and nearly hit this lady that stepped right out in front of me without looking. She didn't even notice me there and proceeded to just walk along right smack down the MIDDLE of the aisle in front of me. I didn't want to honk so close behind her and give her heart failure. As she turned to go toward the store though, all of a sudden in her peripheral vision she caught a glimpse of my car, did a double take, and was startled there was a car driving down the aisle right behind her.

I know they sell those little things you can mount on your bumper to make a whistling noise that scares deer away. Maybe I should look for some kind of noise maker that makes my car sound like a Freightliner truck so people will notice me coming and get the heck out of the way.

Okay, time for me to get off of my soap box, take some more cold medicine, say a prayer of thanks for the many blessings we have and should be grateful for, and go to bed. Good night, all.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

HD vs. Blu-Ray DVD

I went by the NEX on Monday and picked up a high-speed HDMI cable to connect our HD DVD player to the new TV. To test it out, I put in The Italian Job. ...WOW... The Italian Job in 1080p High Def is... wait for it... LEGENDARY. I went right to the chase scene at the end with the three Mini-Coopers, the armored cars, the motor cycles, and the helicopter. It was just simply amazing. I mean, you could see the slightest glimmer or reflection in the windows of the Mini-Coopers. It was stunning.

I can hear a couple of you asking yourselves, "Self, why did he choose an HD DVD player over a Blu-Ray?" Well, that's an excellent question. I actually knew very little about the formats before my mom found a Toshiba HD DVD player for sale and asked if I wanted it. I did some quick checking around, and found that (a) the user reviews for the Toshiba HD DVD player were excellent, and (b) the price my mom found it for was fantastic. So I told my mom we'd take it. (She actually gave us the HD DVD player for Christmas - thanks, Mom!).


Since then, I've been reading up a little more on the differences between the formats. The two formats are actually very similar. I expect that like the battle of VHS versus Beta, one of the two formats will eventually "win," and the winner may defy the conventional wisdom on which format should win.

Quality-wise, the two formats are the same
. Watching The Italian Job on a Blu-Ray disk would have been just as fantastic as watching it on an HD DVD - they're both 1080p. The key difference between the two formats (besides which big-name corporate label is supporting it) is how much data one disk can hold - 30 GB for the HD DVD versus 50 GB for the Blu-Ray (there are other minor differences here and there, but they seemed pretty inconsequential to me). According to this CNET article comparing the formats, the Blu-Ray players are more expensive than the HD DVD players. I don't know if the price difference is driven by an actual functional capability difference or if it's just because the name brand "SONY." Given that the quality is the same and one is more expensive than the other, my logical self tells me, "$elf, economics dictate that the HD DVD format will prevail over the Blu-Ray format." I mean, who cares about the extra space on the disk? They both hold an entire movie, and I rarely watch all those "bonus features" they put on DVDs anyway, so why pay more money for more storage space that you don't need?

However (comma), if I had to wager a cash-bet on which format would win the Blu-Ray versus HD DVD battle today, then I would put my money on Blu-Ray. Why am I defying my own logic, you ask? I would put my money on the Blu-Ray just based on the number of Blu-Ray disks I see for sale at Best Buy... at the NEX... on and the obviously huge amount of money Sony is investing in pushing the Blu-Ray format. In fact, this afternoon we went to Blockbuster to rent a movie for family movie night, and they had an entire row of Blu-Ray DVDs for rent, but not a SINGLE HD DVD. Curious, I just googled it and found out that Blockbuster made the decision in favor of Blu-Ray way back in June 2007 - long before I ever developed any awareness or interest in the battle between the two formats. And for the coup de grace: I wanted to get one of my favorite movies, The Fifth Element, in HD... but it's a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) movie, so it's only available in Blu-Ray. Thbbbbbt! :-P

I won't get upset either way. I'd just like SOMEONE to declare a "winner" so we can get on with it. Even if we eventually have to buy a Blu-Ray DVD player, I've got a big enough collection of regular DVDs that I can continue to use the HD DVD player we have to play the HD DVDs we've bought so far along with our old standard format DVDs.

P.S. I can't WAIT for The Brazilian Job to come out!

Update 2/15/08: See follow-up post for more news on this topic.