November 25, 2007

College Chicks Dig Rocket Jones

Two weekends ago I made the trip to Staunton, Virginia, for Rachael's Father-Daughter Dance weekend. I got there on Friday afternoon so that we could attend their latest play, The Vic. This may have been the first time that it had been performed outside of Canada and peeps, if you get the chance, see it. Very powerful, and this production was incredible. Inspired set design and performances. By far the best I've seen there, and they've put on some excellent shows. I also spent most of the intermission talking to the director who is also one of Rachael's professors, he's a helluva nice guy.

On Saturday, Rachael and I walked around historic downtown Staunton. We hit a couple of bookstores, browsed the farmer's market (last weekend until Spring) and checked out the galleries and museums. In the afternoon, a bunch of us, parents and kids, met at a local restaurant for an early dinner and had a great time. The girls are all very good friends, and this was the first time that most of us parents had met.

That evening was the ring ceremony and formal dance, held in the ballroom at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. The idea here is that in their Junior year of school, the dad's present their daughters with their school ring. They call each couple up and the presentation is made with much photo taking and so on. Rachael picked out a vintage-style pearl and garnet filigree ring that is beautiful.

The dance was ok. Everyone had a problem with the constant disco ball and flashing colored lights from the stage, so we all (the same group from lunch, plus several more), stayed outside the ballroom in the lobby and danced and enjoyed the company. Had a great time.

After the dance, we'd been invited to the cast party for the show. I love hanging with the theater people.

The next morning, we had breakfast and I headed home. Tired but happy.

For Thanksgiving, everyone was home. Rachael and Robyn arrived on Wednesday to help with the baking and early cooking. Robyn brought her friend Ashley, who comments here occasionally and proves my point that college chicks dig Rocket Jones. Dinner was huge and traditional and we had a ton of leftovers, as usual.

In two week (I think, my internal calendar is overloaded), we head down to Norfolk for daughter Robyn's graduation from Old Dominion University. After the ceremony, a big group of us will be going to see the Norfolk Admirals play ice hockey.

Oh yeah, it's been good times for the proud papa.

Posted by Ted at 09:43 AM | Comments (495) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Missing in Action


Has it really been almost two weeks since I last posted something?

Activity here at Rocket Jones will continue to be very light until further notice. Lots going on in real life.

I am *not* shutting this place down. In fact, I've got a redesign in mind, but it'll take a while to get to it.

When I first started this place - and then moved to Munuviana thanks to Pixy Misa - I had disposable time which has since evaporated. Liz was up and about, still working, and we had kids at home to help with the daily stuff. Since then, Liz's condition has deteriorated to where her mobility is severely restricted and all of the kids have flown the nest (which is a very good thing). So my daily to-do list has gotten much longer.

My health has been a distraction as well. There was the thyroid thing and this week I go in to have a skin cancer removed. I was really pissed off at the dermatologist, because I don't care how common or well-behaved it may be, you don't drop the "c" word on someone that casually. Having been outrageously healthy my entire life, this last year has messed with my mind some. I've always been the one supporting the person with a medical problem, and now the focus is on me and I'm not handling *that* nearly as well.

Other hobbies have shuffled in the priority stack, as they tend to do. I have a large backlog of movies to watch and review. My guitar has been calling out to me to be picked up much more often. My cooking and baking has gotten better and more ambitious. Next spring begins yet another relandscaping of the backyard, now that the front yard is complete. Rocket is rockets.

And, believe it or not, I'm excited about an upcoming video game release. We haven't owned a console since the original Nintendo (bought way late after the prices came down). The last games I spent any real time playing on the PC were Starcraft and Myst, which were both many, many years ago. I've recently discovered that Starcraft II is due out next year, and I can't wait! Ten years after the original and with a major updating in the technology behind the game, I'm replaying the original now to get back into what little groove I had going.

So that's what's been up. I'll still be around, and probably commenting more at your places. I'll still be posting the occasional recipe and movie reviews, and I still post reviews over at Wildside Cinema (their completely redesigned website will be opening on December 15th).

I'm not pining for the fjords, I'm much too busy for that.

Posted by Ted at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Seriously

November 14, 2007

I Could Vote For The Guy

King Juan Carlos of Spain tells Hugo Chavez to "shut up" and the audio clip becomes one of the hottest cell phone ring tones on the Iberian peninsula. Gotta love him. How much?


This much.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 PM | Comments (402) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

November 11, 2007

Weekend Update

The house is quiet, the dishes have been caught up with, and a good weekend was had by all 'cept one. Liz fell Friday night and is pretty much bedridden until further notice. I've been doing nurse duty in addition to everything else going on. Luckily, our son was home yesterday to help Liz out while the girls and I went to the Smithsonians in DC.

Mookie's four friends are all art majors/minors, so we concentrated on the art and artifact museums. Pottery, paintings, sculptures, photography and more. Next time, we'll do the old dead critters and Air and Space.

I did do some tour guiding, beginning with our drive into Rosslyn (we metro'd in from there). We passed the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial and the new Air Force Memorial en route. Once on the mall, I started explaining how the Smithsonians came into being. You do know the story, right? If not, then read on, otherwise jump ahead to where it says "ZEBRA".

James Smithson was born in France and became a naturalized English citizen. He was a recognized scientist of his day in a few different disciplines. He died in Genoa, Italy and his will left a small amount to a long-time servant and the rest of the estate to his nephew, with the proviso that if the nephew died without an heir then the entire estate would go to the US Government to found "The Smithsonian Institution". The nephew did die a few years later sans heir and the whole shebang went to Uncle Sam.

There was quite a bit of debate about what form the "Smithsonian" should take. Some argued for research labs or farms, others for an observatory. In the end, it was decided to do "D, all of the above". Besides the museums, the Smithsonian has other facilities around the world doing a wide range of work.

In Genoa, the cemetery where Smithson was buried was being condemned, so the US Government had his tomb brought to the USA. It was the first time Smithson had ever been to the US. He made his incredible gift to a country that he'd never visited, for reasons that nobody knows. His tomb is now installed in the famous Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall, and you can visit it (we did).


Somehow, we started this goofy running gag we called "dead Rachael". Shannon had her camera phone, and at various times and places in and around the museums, we'd take pictures of Rachael in death. In an elevator in the Freer, draped over an upper balcony in the Sackler, slumped over in a chair beside a piece in the Hirschhorn, and on the steps leading up to the National Art Gallery. All places where "dead Rachael" was captured on film... er, on pixels. I did try to convince her to pose for a shot floating face down in one of the museum fountains, but she has more common sense than her dad, if not quite the level of spirited adventure.

The girls all had different ideas of what to see at the last place, so we split up. I wanted to visit the William Turner exhibit, but the line was a mile long and I just didn't have the time. I contented myself with wandering a few of the other rooms, admiring the works of Rembrandt and Monet and Van Gogh and the rest of the famous old dead dudes. I will admit I was rather horrified to see the number of children who were running around only marginally supervised, especially because you can get pretty damn close to the artwork before the proximity alarms go off. I barely caught myself a time or two from snapping at a child who was reaching to touch one of the paintings, and judging from security's reactions towards the parents, I think I'll have a position waiting for me after I retire.

Next week we travel to Staunton for the Father/Daughter Ring Dance. It's a junior year tradition where I present Rachael with her school ring. We went with garnets in an antique filigree rather than the traditional, because Rachael loves red and antique style jewelry. Rachael helped pick it out, she loves it.

So life stays hectic. As much as I love just chillin' sometimes, there's something invigorating about having to go-go-go for a stretch.

Posted by Ted at 08:23 PM | Comments (526) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

November 08, 2007

Current Events

There are huge* numbers of Rocket Jones fans who will be green with envy at the following announcement.

This weekend, five (*5*, count 'em eff-eye-vee-eee) college age girls will be living under my roof.

On Saturday, we will all be heading into Washington, DC to the Smithsonians, specifically the Hirshhorn, Freer and Sackler galleries.

And, I get to cook. I've already been informed that the ladies will gladly be guinea pigs for whatever experimental recipes I want to throw at them. After all, they've been surviving on college cafeteria food. *shudder*

I've been planning the menu for a couple of weeks and started gathering ingredients. Last night I began cooking. The menu for the time they'll be here (and most everything will be from scratch, right down to the sauces and marinades):

Friday Evening:
Veggie-Patch Enchiladas
Chicken and Steak Fajitas
Spanish Rice
Tropical Dream Cake

Saturday Morning:
French Toast from home-made Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Saturday Evening:
Baked Potato Soup
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Garlic Bread
Chocolate Crunch Trifle

Sunday Morning:
Oatmeal with cooked apples

* "huge", as defined by this authoritative source

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

November 07, 2007

67 Billion Dollars!!!!!

This morning I heard a report that people leaving hostile workplaces because of sexual or racist comments cost the economy 67 billion dollars a year. According to the report, more than half a million people changed jobs last year for that reason, and lost productivity and the need to train replacements cost 67 billion dollars.

Of course, the study was released by "The Center for a Level Playing Field in the Workplace", or some similar nonsense. That's kinda like being surprised when "The Institude for the Study of Global Warming" announces that global warming is real.

Twelve trillion Americans are sick and tired of bullshit statistics. You can quote me on that, in my official capacity as a member of "The Institute for Pulling Made-Up Numbers Out of My Butt".

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Off The Cuff Punditry

We had local elections yesterday. In our county, the entire board of supervisors was reelected, based on their strong anti-illegal alien actions. My wife noticed that in other races, the winners all had the more "American" sounding names. Wilson beat Dominguez, Stewart beat Pandak, etc. Probably coincidence, but I wonder how many people voted based on nothing but last names because they had no idea what the candidate's qualifications were.

Up in Loudon county, the radio announced that all the "pro-growth" Republicans (save one, we'll talk about him in a moment) were defeated by "slow-growth" Democrats. I suspect that the argument was framed that way, but what it really was was "broaden the tax base" Republicans against "raise existing taxes" Democrats. The one Republican incumbant who kept his seat was described as "strongly anti-homosexual who campaigned vigorously against illegal immigrants". Sounds like the folks of Loudon county hate gays, eh? It must be, I mean, the media wouldn't take a casual shot at a Republican, would they?

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (111) | TrackBack
Category: Politics

November 05, 2007

Best Movie Line I've Heard In A Long Time


Harold: Did Doogie Howser just steal my fucking car?

Kumar: Yeah.

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (36) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Predictable. Stupid. Predictably Stupid.

So President General Musharraf of Pakistan declares a state of emergency, mainly arrests and detains lawyers because he feels that the judiciary has gotten too politically active.

People all over the world are up in arms over the "loss of freedoms".

The newspapers are still up and running and free to print whatever they want. The radio stations are still broadcasting without government intervention, so is television.

I have a suggestion for him. Call President Bush names. Then, instead of the mock outrage as one of "Bush's cronies", you'll be a freedom fighter seeking to reduce the influence of evil capitalism on your proud and ancient culture, and no one will whisper a word if you decide to take totalitarianism to the extreme.

It works for Chavez in Venezuela. Hell, you might even get your picture taken with Cindy Sheehan.

As for the "people all over the world" (accepted translation: useful idiots), STFU. The situation bears watching, but all your hypocritical hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth impresses no one except your own foolish comrades.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (515) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

November 03, 2007

Movie Review Update

I've mentioned before that Joe Horror is changing its name to Wildside Cinema. The main site is still under construction, but we continue to post new movie reviews on the very lively forums (the old JH reviews are still here). Plus, we've expanded our coverage beyond horror and grindhouse. So c'mon over, and check out all the new reviews, including my latest on:

Lust for Dracula
Lust for a Vampire
The Beast

If you feel so inclined, sign up and jump into our hot and heavy debate over the "Top 50 Horror Movies of All Time". Lots of fun.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Now A Commonplace Event, Barely Mentioned in the News

The astronauts have fixed the solar wing on the space station, and that's big news. What is only mentioned in passing is that both the space station commander and the shuttle commander are women.

I think it's wonderful, getting past this "he vs. she" crap and letting qualified *people* get the job done.

Posted by Ted at 11:44 AM | Comments (318) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program
Site Meter