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Musings and Meanderings

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Getting to know you 2005

Where has our time for friendships gone? Welcome to the 2005 edition of getting to know your friends. This is something running around on email so some of the questions will seem strange for a blog. Just ignore them….

1. What time did you get up this morning? 635 am
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? LotR:Return of the King
4. What is your favorite TV show? Right now. The New Dr. Who. 2nd pl: House
5. What did you have for breakfast? Energy bar
6. What is your middle name? Samir
7. Favorite cuisine? Mexican
8. What foods do you dislike? Liver, Brussels Sprouts, Yams
9. What is your favorite chip flavor? Guacamole
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Depends on what I'm doing.
11. What kind of car do you drive? Honda Civic
12. Favorite sandwich? PBJ
13. What characteristic do you despise? Flippant Attitudes.
14. Favorite item of clothing? Black Jeans and a polo
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Paris
16. Where would you like to retire to? San Diego.
17. Where were you born? Santa Monica CA
18. Favorite sport to watch? Football
19. Person you expect to send it back first? N/a
20. What fabric detergent do you use? Tide
21. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night owl
22. What is your shoe size? 9
23. Do you have any pets? Lucky Dog, Nutsky Cat
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Broke and getting broker
25. What did you want to be when you were little? Cia Agent or Experimental Test Pilot
26. What are you doing today? I'm supposed to be working
27. Who is your favorite male actor? Chris Walken
Who is your favorite female actress? Sandy Bullock.
28. What is your favorite drink? Diet Pepsi.
29. If you had one (more?) kid of each sex, what would you name them? Jasmine / Brandon
30.What time is it: Lunch Hour.
31. Name as it appears on birth certificate: You Don’t Know????
32. Nicknames : Mike, Mikey
33. Piercing: nope
34. Eye Color: Blue Green
35. Ever been toilet papering: Nope
36. Love someone so much it made you cry: Yes.
37. Been in a car accident: Just Fender Benders
38. Croutons or bacon bits: Bacon Bits
39. Favorite day of the week: Friday
40. Favorite restaurants: Garcia's. Outback. Any Chinese Buffet
41. Favorite flowers: Roses
42. Favorite ice cream: Cherry Garcia of Course
43. Favorite fast food restaurant: BK if I have to do Fast Food.
44. What color is your bedroom carpet: Hardwood Foors
45. How many times did you fail your driver's test:0
46. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: Get real.I get 100's a day.
47. Which stores would you max out your credit card: Best Buy Electronic Dept.
48. What do you do most often when you are bored: Eat. So I try to not get bored.
49. Bedtime: 1130pm
50. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest: N/a
51. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond: N/a
52. Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire/a
53. Last person you went to dinner with: The Hillman crew.
54. What are you listening to right now: XM Radio Internet Stream. Ch 51 Music Lab. Spocks Beard.
55. What is your favorite color: Blue
56. Lake, Ocean or river: Ocean
57. How many tattoos do you have: 0
58. Which came first the chicken or the egg: Egg
59. Number of candles on your last birthday cake? 43
60. Date that you regularly blow them out? Sept 23
61. Salad Dressing? Three Cheese Ranch
62. Favorite Pie? Pumpkin and Apple.
63. Favorite Number? 42 (yes Zaphod?)
64. Favorite Movie? Too many, something artsy probably
65. Favorite Holiday? Christmas
66. Most recently read book? Neverland Neil Gaimon
67. Favorite Smell? Any perfume on my wife.
68. What do you do to relax? Read
69. When was your last hospital visit? Over 30 yrs ago for bike accident.
70. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Boobs and butt, hey Im a guy
71. Favorite sport to play? Baseball
72. Best memories: Paris in the Springtime
73. Siblings and their ages? 2 bro 5 and 3 yrs younger. 2 sis 4 and 2 yrs younger.
74. Favorite place to go on a date? Garcia's
75. Do you like scary or happy movies better? Happy
76. Summer or winter? Perfer Summer, but overall prefer Fall.
77. Favorite magazine? Economist
78. Many friends or one best friend? Best Friends
79. How do you see yourself in 10 years? 10yrs older.
80. What presents do you enjoy receiving? Thoughtful Surprises
posted by Mike 11:49 PM

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Spring Vacation is Over and back to school

Well it has been a very exciting 10 days, especially for Alexander. While we were off gallivanting around Orlando, poor Alex got left here in the boring home town. I dropped him off two Wed ago at L's mom's house. He stayed there Wed and Thu then took the Fri bus home, got changed from his uni, and went down to S&E's. S then was kind enough to get him up to Rotary for the weekend, with some mishap as the troop was no where to be found when they got up there.

Sun morning Alex was delivered back to S&E for a few hours till he was picked up by my Dad and StepMom and whisked off to beautiful Keene NH for a week. In the mean time we got home Sun night he was already in NH. My sister came out for my Dad's birthday on that following Monday and was so kind to leave nephew Harry so Alex had someone to play with.

Like Stephen and I back when I was growing up in California however, Alex and Harry are very close which leads to minor explosions and a certain amount of nerve wearing on each of them as the week progressed. Alex is a very "internal" person and Harry very "outgoing" so this tended to clash occasionally. In the end though Alex was so happy to have had Harry there and is already talking about summer visits as well with Harry.

So I finished my last appointment on Friday (a proposal delivery of somewhat high importance) and headed home to change. I was able to get going around 5:45pm and arrived in NH at 8:30pm to a wonderful dinner of porkchops, mashed potatoes, tabouli and lots of desert!

After dinner we played something called Liverpool Rummy which I used to play in Old Greenwich when we visited there many years ago. Frankly I didn't remember playing the game, but a "rummy" game is easy to remember and I ended up winning the game around 11:30pm.

Saturday morning we got off around 10:45 after a wonderful breakfast, and got home by 1pm. All in all it was a quick visit, and quite enjoyable. It gave Alex a day to de compress at home before starting back at school.
posted by Mike 7:21 PM

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Recovering from Superstars

Well we poured our selves out of bed Sunday morning and hurriedly packed. To say we were "hung over" is not strictly accurate, but we were dead tired from two nights of pretending to be 20 yrs old. Liza really wanted Eggs Benedict but we overslept (um or something like that) and got up late, so we had to settle for a continental breakfast and coffee before the bus ride to the airport. We left the Portofino at 11pm for a 115 flight. Getting into Orlando past security was surprisingly quick.

Our flights home were the same as the trip out. A US Air 757 from Orlando to Charlotte and then a stretch 737 from Charlotte to Albany. We left Orlando late, and in the rush between terminals in Charlotte some clever food service person thought she could be rude to Liza and over charge her for our two sandwiches because we were in a run to catch a plane. Well if you know Liza that was a mistake. By today, she had found this person's supervisor on the phone, gotten a commitment to write her up for her being so rude to Liza and we got our sumptuous $15 meal refunded to our credit card. Woo hoo.

Anyway back to Sunday. Somewhere in Charlotte my little bag got separated from his big sister and so when we arrived in Albany only Liza's bag made it out to baggage claim. Since I was carrying 30 "Kees" of Heroin in the bag I was worried, but I guess they didn't notice it because it arrived safely. No seriously, the bag arrived on the 11pm flight from Charlotte, and if I had not been so tired I would have just gone and gotten it, but by then I was truly a zombie.

The bag was dropped off on Monday after work. Monday itself was actually quite a chore, almost like an alarm, at 2pm the "wall" hit and my eyelid's were drooping. I lasted to 5:15 though and went home, avoiding the Gym.

Today was better, and I spent the day doing appointments and cold canvassing. The sun was bright and the air warm so I drove about with the sunroof open. A very nice day, which I capped off with my first visit to the gym in 6 days, as I had blown out my knee the Monday before Superstars.

posted by Mike 11:58 PM

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Superstars Day three


So here we are at the entrance

We went Counter Clockwise, in the "real world" section starting with Mexico. Great hand authentic hand carvings were on display

Inside the very laid back water ride in Mexico. Always loved the Day of the Dead icons.

Authentic Mayan Temple .... un huh...

Now in Norway, here is Liza, posing with a fat gnome, and there is a statue in the pic too.

Recreation of the old wooden churches found in Norway

Lovely meditation lake in China. We watched one of those 360 degree movies in the round on China that Disney is so famous for.

On to Germany...

Where they have this cool outdoor miniature train and village area. Cast member in pic for scale purposes :-)

And on to Venezia! Great craft store with the paper mache masks the Venice is so famous for.

The Mini Venice facades

In Japan they had a wonderful Japanese water garden. We were very hungry so we stopped for.....

Sushi. By far Liza and I agreed that this was the MOST incredible Susi we have ever had. Go figure.

This was the susi bar we were in

When we got outside they were doing a nice Japanese Drumming demonstration

At this point we looked at our watch and realized that we were running short on time, and frankly my pictures in the other parts of the park didn't come out very well. We stopped in France looking for creme brulle but no one seemed to sell it. Morrocco was neat to walk through as well, seeing many of the types of beautiful brass plates and leather goods I see at my father's house. We went straight on through England and Canada so we could go in to see some of the "Future World" exibits in the front part of the park.

However they were having a great flower celebration and I thought these roses were quite exceptional. One of the Gardeners was trimming some purple ones and she gave one to Liza which actually made it home pressed in some magazines.

I just thought this was cool so I snapped it.

At first we thought this was Cirque du Soliel, but we were never completely sure, they were doing amazing bendy people statues.

We did up a email Postcard to Alex via a green screen background as well at the future world pavillion called Innoventions East. Heh.

By the time we were done our feet were sore and frankly we had quite enough of Epot. It is fun and all, but unless you bring a big appetite or lots of cash it's not really that interesting. The Cultural exibits are nice and all, but having been to some of the places that they recreated like Venice and Paris I can safely say that they really don't "Get" it right.

Furthermore, I did not see the point in buying Authentic wares from foreign countries in Orlando. How is that better than in a good inexpensive import store? Or for that matter from the real country.

But I digress... the food is unbelievable I can safely say. When I was there last (for the CableShoppe a few yrs ago) I ate at the Smorgasboard in Norway and the food was as incredible as the susi we had in Japan. So if you go to Epcot, bring your appetite and your wallet for shopping. Otherwise it's very commercial operation.

Formal Awards Dinner

We got back from Epcot in time to get changed for the formal dinner reception. The dinner was really outstanding and I had the luck of sitting next to the new VP's husband who shares lots of the same interests as I: Computers, Science Fiction, Hawkwind and the Grateful Dead, etc etc. Liza's manager Brian got the Manager of the Year, only the second person ever to get that award twice, the other being one of the top VP's in the company. So I would say that Brian has quite a future upwards and onwards with Hillman if he wants it.

We did have a professional photographer available throughout the weekend so I quickly scanned two of the pics from formal night below.

L to R
Manager Brian, Ron, Liza, Mike and Greg. All from Brian's District

Mike and Liza in our Florida formal wear....

Margaritaville Again...

Believe it or not we closed Margaritaville again on Saturday night. Originally we were going to just go do a bit of shopping and then go to bed, but one thing led to another, and that great band was there again, so we just ended up staying till 2am again.

It was very empowering for Liza because she is now considered a "player" with the big producers in the company. I do not mean to insuate that you have to get drunk to be recognized by the other sales people. Some of them were drinking soda's. It was the fact that she was out there with them that mattered. Both the number one and number two sales guys in the whole company came up to her to speak to her as did a number of managers. The bottom line is that this was the recognition by her fellow employees that she deserved and finally got.

All in all it was a very rewarding night for her and I was so pleased she was recognized as a "player" by the Big Dogs, because she is a Big Dog too.
posted by Mike 11:11 PM

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday Fun

Universal Studios

Well we had a great time at Universal! Due to our staying at the Portofino we did have our room keys doubling as express passes for the "rides". We enjoyed the MIBII Alien Attack the most I think, and probably the Back to the Future the least (due to the violent rocking of the "ride"). We meandered around the park, taking in the Twister, Terminator 3d, Jaws and a few other things.

Here are some select pictures

The Entrance

Weirdness for Mike. Home Town San Francisco in Orlando!

We ended up having lunch here

Inside MIB II. Anyone who has seen the film will recognize this.

And This

The 'cars' you ride in for MIB

Back to the Future III train from the Movie

The Delorean from Back to the Future

A Blues Brothers' act at Universal, but there was a better one later that night!

Mike with "Doc Brown"

The Trademark!

We got to and from the hotel on these cute little taxi boats.

And back at the Portofino

We watched the cutest little duck family get on shore.

The House of Blues

After we got cleaned up we met at the busses and took a ride down as the whole crew down to Disney Property to the House Of Blues in Orlando. We had a great time with a fantastic buffet. Hillman rented 75% of the club, so it was quite a party. We were there for three hours, and the band had a Blues Brothers type cover band that was so much fun. Here are some select pictures from there.

So you can see we had a great time

Cirque De Soliel

We were treated to a showing of the Orlando Cirque de Soleil after the House of Blues last night. Obvously we cannot take pictures but truely I have never seen something like the Cirque. It was Art, and Circus, and mime, and fantasia all rolled into one. A truely amazing experience that we will soon not forget. When we got home to the room from the Bar (see below) they had put the program in our room, such a great touch by the company that has put this weekend together!

City Walk

Last but not least we went back to the "City Walk" untill... 2am... to see this great cover band play at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

Liza's company has just promoted a woman to the first female VP so because she and Liza were only two of three women there as the "winners" (as opposed to the spouses) we went out with her, her husband and one of the guys from Liza's district and had a ball.
posted by Mike 11:11 PM
Day two of Superstars

We decided to change our Park's this am to Universal today and Epcot tomorrow due to some arcane timing and scheduling reasons. The broadband internet is available in 24 hour blocks so this will be the only post of the day. We will have some nice pics and a report tomorrow eve on BOTH Parks.

So we had the awards breakfast this am, and here are some quick pics of Liza recieving her official award for being a Superstar Twice now.

Liza with Mick and Rick Hillman of HillmanGroup

Liza accepting the award from John Marshall

Last a candid shot of Liza with the owners I loved

We had a great time last night, the meet and greet dinner was outside and buffet style with some interesting food choices, and it was actually a bit cool. They had a couple of rare birds for people to have their pictures taken with.

But we met some great people and had fun. Afterwards we took the water taxi over to "City Walk" and went to Margaritaville where we had a drink and caught a few songs from a great cover band. We are probably going to go there tonight as well.

Well tune in tomorrow evening for select Universal and Epcot Pictures.
posted by Mike 10:45 AM

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Well here we are

Our flights left and arrived on time, with a short stopover in Charlotte we arrived at the Portofino Hotel here in Orlando around Noon. We have a great room and a great view. After getting aclimated we went down and had some pizza and chilled out with some Hillman people near the pool. The Porotofino is supposed to be like Venice or Florence, I have not decided yet... But it is definatley five star.

Here is the view from our balcony on the fourth floor.

And here is the room itself.

We found a Salamander that I thought Alex would like

And why MIKE likes the view from the balcony

Amazing what one can do with a laptop and a digital camera eh?

Well we have a meet and greet dinner tonght that should be fun. Tomorrow we go to Epcot and I'll see what I can do about uploading the pics at that time.

Check in here after 530 est for tomorrow's blog.
posted by Mike 4:07 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind