Monday, February 11, 2008

Before I Forget...

Some observations from the last couple of months:
  • My dad had surgery December 17th to repair an aneurysm on his aorta. The surgery was a complete success, but he did not recover nearly as fast as we all expected. I guess that's a side effect of being 75.

  • Lisa and I, in one of the traditions of our marriage, saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on December 19th. Four straight years we've done this. There was a short in a part of the lighting rig over the floor audience, and after electrical sparks showered down on them, they were moved just long enough for the crew to fix the problem. I also thought that the guitar sound was quite a bit more aggressive this time around.

  • We spent Christmas with my family in Whiteville, and on our way down there on Christmas Eve, we saw a rare case of justice done. We were in the outside lane coming up on the last exit off of US 74 heading east in Laurinburg. There were a couple of cars slowing down in front of us to take the exit, and there was a pickup in the inside lane probably 100 yards in front of us. As we were passing a state cop who had pulled someone over on the shoulder of the westbound lane, a car whipped past us doing far faster than the speed limit. It pulled into our lane and had to slam on brakes to keep from rear-ending the cars slowing down for the exit. There wasn't room for it to get back into the inside lane because of the pickup, so I thought we were in for a pile up. Somehow, the fool driver managed not to hit anyone, and as soon as he had a clear lane, he took off like a jet with afterburners lit. A couple of minutes later, another state cop passed us like we were standing still. Just as he was almost out of sight, he turned on his blue lights. Sure enough, we passed him with the idiot driver pulled over to the side shortly thereafter. Merry Christmas!

  • Christmas morning is a great time to watch It's A Wonderful Life.

  • Gift cards are not a bad way to go at Christmas for your extended family.

  • The Eagles have been my favorite rock band for as long as I can remember. Long Road Out of Eden has been in my car CD player almost constantly since I got it right after Christms. There's something about the combination of Don Henley's angry, driving commitment, Glenn Frey's sweet grace notes, and Joe Walsh's stinging guitar solos together that makes music like no one else. Out of 20 songs, only I Love To Watch A Woman Dance, which is lovely but is a lyrical mess, is dispensable. The title song is a tour de force, Center of the Universe sounds like a reincarnation of the Beatles (this is a very good thing), and It's Your World Now is the best passing of the torch song I've ever heard.

  • The language and the story in The Darkest Evening of the Year continued to live up to the standard I noted in this earlier entry. The story did have a bit of a lapse in the epilog of a last chapter; the climax was in the penultimate chapter, and after that, we were told in the author's voice what happened, where in the rest of the book, the story flowed from the characters. That weakened what should have been a powerful affirmation of the miraculous in our lives.

  • For the first time since my children moved away with their mother, none of them made it to North Carolina during the Christmas holidays. I know what bittersweet means.

  • Los Angeles is not a bad place to visit in late January / early February. I took a class for work, SQL Server 2005 for Developers, and this will really come in handy over the next few months when several databases at work are upgraded from SS2K.

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