Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Costume Update

Ok, so thanks to the votes of our fellow bloggers, we have chosen a costume for Halloween. Well actually, we chose it over the weekend after reading all our comments, but I forgot to let you know what we decided. Kelly #2 made sure to remind me that I hadn't let you all in on the decision.

We are going as......

Gang Green!

That was actually far and away my favorite choice. Jess wanted the garbage man and trash, but I felt it was a little cheesy. SO, thank you to the readers for helping me with this one. Jess actually started getting excited about it once my sister started talking to her about it and started coming up with all the little details that are hopefully going to make it so good. We're really planning on going all out. Last night the 3 of us went shopping for stuff and came up pretty successful. I would give you the details, but I want to surprise with pics. So, look for pics of the costume on Sunday or possibly Monday as Sunday is our anniversary. I'm very excited.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Help from my fellow bloggers...

So, Jess and I are going to a Halloween party next weekend and it is the first time I have been able to dress up for Halloween in ages. We are really excited, but want some help with our costume choice. We have narrowed it down to a few choices and hope you can help us out. Here is what we have come up with:

1. Mario and Luigi

From Super Mario Brothers. Rather than try to describe it, you actually get a picture:

I would probably be Mario and Jess, Luigi...

2. Old Couple

You know...we would dress in old people clothes, maybe borrow a walker or cane, I could shave my head to look bald etc.

3. Garbage Man/Janitor and Trash

I would dress up as a garbage man. Overalls, a broom, spray bottle, disheveled look. Jess would be trash, possibly wrap herself in a garbage bag, glue trash items to her body.

4. Gang Green

Jess and I would dress up as gang members. I could wear a flannel shirt, buttoned up top only of course, green bandana, low rider pants, etc. Jess would wear green lip liner, green eye shadow, maybe some cheap necklace. Our colors that we represent are green and thus - Gang Green.

I won't tell you what I prefer or what she does so as not to sway votes. Tell us what you like and why....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hell Freezes Over......

Well, this has been news for a couple of weeks now, but as I have been pretty M.I.A., I haven't got a chance to write about it yet. On November 25th, Hell officially freezes over. Why? On November 25th, something will happen that I never thought would happen. On November 25th, history will be made. On November 25th, finally, after so many years of waiting, Guns n Roses is releasing a new album.

Chinese Democracy has been in development as far back as I can remember. You have to go back to 1993 for the last Guns n Roses studio album, Spaghetti Incident, but as that was mostly cover songs, you really have to go back to 1991 for their last REAL album. Since then, pretty much everyone important has left the band except Axl Rose himself. Since then, I have heard numerous times that the album could be coming soon. I remember on my senior trip in Mexico, I picked up a music magazine that mentioned that the album was almost done and could come by the end of the year. That was in June.......of 1996.

I had pretty much given up all hope of ever seeing a new album from my favorite band of all time. In fact, Chinese Democracy and whether or not it would ever come out became a running joke in the music world. Dr. Pepper even got in on the joke earlier this year by promising a free can of Dr. Pepper to everyone in the US if Guns n Roses released the album by the end of 2008.

Well, it is happening. On November 25th, at Best Buys only as GnR signed an exclusive contract with Best Buy to release the album, a dream comes true. If they do a special midnight release, I will be there. And once I get that hot little album in my hand, I will listen to it over and over. Guns n Roses will be back and all that I will need is a concert to complete the circle. Well, that and the rest of the band coming back...

Oh yeah, and about that Dr. Pepper bet. From what I have heard, once the album comes out, you will be able to print a coupon for your free soda from the Dr. Pepper website. A bet is a bet...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Really, what is the point?

I have struggled with weight all my life. That is a fact. There were brief times here and there where I was ok with my weight, but they are few and far between. Recently, after being outright disgusted with my weight, I made a conscious effort to lose weight. Before my trip, to DC, I was down a little over 16 pounds. I gained a bunch while on vacation, but I know I will get it back off eventually. But basically, I am doing it for my health. I know my weight is not healthy and my eating lifestyle could eventually kill me. But is it really worth it?

I ask this question based on a bomshell just dropped on Jess and I. Jessica's stepmom was just diagnosed with metastatic cancer. It is in four of her organs. She really is the definition of health and a healthy lifestyle. She exercises almost daily, she doesn't smoke, rarely drinks, keeps a healthy weight, and eats really well. We have always said that she is one person that we could see living to 100 years old. Now, out of seemingly nowhere, she has cancer. She chose to live this super healthy lifestyle and where did that get her. No matter how you live, something like this could pop up from nowwhere. Now, we just found out about this and we don't know how bad it really is or have any kind of time frame, but the initial doctor said it was about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.

So really, what incentive do I have to lose weight? I won't stop trying to lose, but it really put things into perspective. I could lose a bunch of weight and then just drop from an aneurysm. I could become buff and then get hit by a car. It makes you wonder...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Washington DC Day 7

Well, this is it, our last day. It is sad because on most trips, people say they are sad to have the trip be done, but happy to go home. I, in fact, am nowhere near ready to go home. Hell, I don'[t even miss my bed as the one we have slept in has been just as wonderful as the one at home. Our service at the hotel has been top notch and impressive. The weather has been beautiful. Really, why would I want to go home other than the fact that I am physically exhausted at this point? I guess all good things come to an end.

Today was pretty much a wrap it all up kind of day. We got a pretty late start as last night was such a late night. We took our time this morning and didn't leave the hotel until late morning. This would be our last time on the DC Metro. For the most part, hell, maybe for the whole part, the metro system was incredibly easy to use and from day one, it never confused us. Here is a map they had on the subway cars that we came to memorize.

We headed back to Georgetown where we ate on the Potomoc River a couple of days ago. We walked around Georgetown which is an absolutely adorable college town. We would have liked to have walked around more. We ate at a little place called the Rugby Bar or something like that and I had an absolutely wonderful hamburger with some kind of fruity, spicy secret sauce. It was awesome and gave me ideas for future hamburgers at home.

From there, we went back down to the Potomoc and took a river boat cruise that took us down the Potomoc. It was beautiful and it was cool to see DC from the water. It was amazing how green everything was.

From there, we went back into downtown DC for a few last minute souvenirs. And that was it. Our trip was over. Thank you so much to all of you who have been following along day in and day out. You guys rock! Talk to you in a few days once I recover!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Washington DC Day 6

Today was QUITE an early day. So early in fact that we had to take a taxi to the metro station as the shuttle doesn't start at the hotel until 7:00am. Getting up at 5:15am is some dedication. We heard it might rain today so we took jackets, and well, it ended up being the hottest day of our trip so far. Go figure. Very few pictures today as the places we went didn't allow photography.

Anyways, this morning we started off with a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This is one of 3 places where all the cash in the US is made. This does not include coins. This basically was just a print shop if you think about it. We saw a bunch of machines and well, they printed money, cut money, bundled money, etc. It was torture to see so much money just sitting there. One of the workers teased us with the stacks of money by fanning it and gesturing us to come get it. Of course, he also had a sign above him that said, "You think you have it rough, I just printed my life's income in one minute." That made me laugh. It was a pretty interesting tour, but it felt short and rushed. Still, there is only so much you can say about printing machines.

From there, we went to the office of our congressman to drop off our bag and jackets as we had a White House tour and cameras were not allowed. From there, it was off to the White House. That was not what we expected. Basically, we were all a herd of cattle going from room to room in a straight line. When we entered, we were given a brochure and then we just followed the line. We went from room to room on the bottom floor of the White House, reading along in our brochure to see the short history of the rooms. I thought that the tour would have been a guided tour with a tour guide telling is different facts and things abut each room. No, it was all self guided. I guess I shouldn't be disappointed as I can now say I have been in the White House and how many people can say that? Still, I wish it would have been slightly different.

We returned to get our bag and jackets and as we were leaving the building, we noticed this commemorative wall of all the soldiers who have died so far in the current war. We were able to find a former classmate of my sister so I thought I would take a picture in case she wanted to see it.

As we were exhausted and knew we were going to have a late night, we ended up going back to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours. We have hit pretty much everything we wanted to see so we didn't mind relxing for a couple of hours. Tonight, Jess and I went back into DC to a brewery, Gordon Biersch, to meet a couple of the guys that I play video games with in my OTD clan. It was really cool to meet them and Jess and I had an awesome time. They were all so funny and it didn't feel awkward at all, like I have known them for a long time. Well, a couple of them, I have been playing video games with for almost 2 years now, but it is always so different to actually meet a person rather than hearing their voice on a mic. But again, it was a great time, there was a lot of teasing amongst each other going on, and really, it just felt like a reunion of old college buddies or something along those lines. We didn't take our camera as we didn't feel like carrying it around, but one of the other guys had a camera and I will get the pictures and post them here as soon as he posts them on our clan message board. And believe me, he will be posting them. After they ordered beer and I ordered a Shirley Temple, the camera was brought right out. They couldn't resist showing that picture to everyone to show just how manly I am.

Tomorrow, is our final day. Boo!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Washington DC Day 5

It was another early morning today, but a shorter day overall. More on that later. There aren't too many pictures today as we encountered and saw things that just didn't allow photography. We started off our day with a tour of the Capitol. That was a great tour as it was just the two of us getting a tour from an intern from the office of our Congressman. These small tours are great! The tour actually started outside and at the top of the Captiol where we were able to get this great shot of the National Mall.

From there we went inside and straight to the Rotunda where we saw a bunch of art, some so old that they were comissioned and seen with the eyes of our Founding Fathers. They all had a unique history along with the many statues in the area as well. Looking up, he told us that the Rotunda was tall enough to actually comfortably fit the Statue of Liberty.

From there, he took us to some others areas of the Capitol, all with very interesting histories, but none that would look that exciting in a photograph. Down below, he showed us the spot that is considered the absolute center of Washington DC. Jess of course had to step on it and take a picture. Down below this point is actually the crypt of George Washington, although his actual body is not buried there.

After this, he took us into the House of Representatives Chamber, but unfortunately, the House is not in session and it was just an empty room. Still, it was fun to sit in the same room where laws of our conutry are decided and he gave us a lot of history there. Pictures however, were NOT allowed here. Sorry. That concluded our tour, but overall, it was a great tour where we learned a lot. Sorry we weren't able to get more pictures.

From there, we were off to the Spy Museum. This place was awesome, but absolutely no pictures were allowed. We started off by paying for an extra part of the Museum called Operation Spy. This was a totally interactive spy adventure. The two of us along with 5 other people formed a team and we were basically given a case we had to solve. We were responsible for finding a bomb trigger and we had to do things such as wire tapping, decoding cell phone messages, surveillance, sneaking into an office and disarming an alarm, searching an office for items and cracking a safe, and doing a lie detector test on a suspect. We had to work together, brain storm questions and the next course of action, and basically be a team. This was a ton of fun and they really went all out with the sets, scenarios, and the life like adventure. We throughly enjoyed this. After that we did the actual museum and that was pretty informative as well. We got to see a lot of spy equipment throughout history, learn some history, do some interactive quizzes, etc. Overall, this place was very fun and well worth it for anyone who comes to DC.

After that, we decided to walk to the White House and take pictures from outside since we will not be allowed to take our camera to the White House tomorrow. Along the way, we walked by Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was shot as well as the house where he later died the next morning.

As we continued our walk, we came upon an ESPN Zone and decided to stop in for a drink. You can't see the totally manly drink I had there. I "forgot" to hold it up.

From there, we continued our walk and we were able to turn around and get another good picture of the Capitol.

Finally, we reached the outside gate of the White House and it was full of people taking pictures - from far away and behind a tall iron fence, of course!

With all the walking we have done today, it is amazing how many people keep stopping us and asking US for directions. What is even more surprising is we seem to have an answer to almost every question. When Jess and I need to ask someone a question, we look for someone who looks local, usually someone who is dressed up as if they work there and know the locale. We must look like locals?

The other funny this we have encountered on this trip is when people ask us where we are from and we reply Sacramento. 3 out of every 4 times we answer, what question do people come back with? "Oh, do you know Arnold Schwarzenegger?" Yes, everyone in Sacramento knows him and has him over for dinner. He's a good friend. Silly people. I guess this question has replaced the old question of, "You're from California? Do you surf?" Yes, the waves in the Central Valley are killer dude!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Washington Dc Day 4

Another beautiful day in Washington DC! Well, it was pretty cold tonight coming home, but beatiful otherwise. This morning we couldn't leave too early because I had to pick up a prescription for my ear infection and the pharamacy didn't open until 9 am. So, once that was finally out of the way and we got picked up, it was nearly 10 am. We started the day by going to the Pentagon. When you get off the subway, you are right next to the building and from up close, it looks like just that...a building. Besides the millions signs saying it is the Pentagon, you really can't even tell. Well that and the security EVERYWHERE. They didn't do tours so we walked around the building to go see the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. While there, Jess started filming the memorial and then pointed her camera at the building. Almost immediately, she was told to turn off the camera as filming the actual building was not allowed. No problem. A little while later, she was filming the ground as the memorial had some commemorative stone. A new guard came over and told her to stop filming and asked her what she was taping. She replied that it was NOT the building and he asked to see the camera. As he couldn't figure out how to get it to work, I had to show him all we had filmed so far of the Pentagon and the memorial and he told us to delete everything and start over. Fine....

Anyways, the memorial was nice. They had markers for each person that died there arranged by their year of birth. The ones who were on the plane were pointed towards the Pentagon while those who were at the Pentagon when it hit are facing the opposite direction. It was a very nice place.

After that, we went to Arlington National Cementary. This place was HUGE! Because it was so huge and overwhelming, we decided to do the tram tour so we could see some highlights. We got to see the Kennedy family plot as well as Robert Kennedy's seperate plot. We also say the Tomb of the Unknown which was cool because we got to see the hourly changing of the guard. We drove by some other cool plots, but we didn't get out for those. You could really spend all day there - Taft, Audy Murphy, Robert E Lee, various Chief Justices who also served in the military, Joe Lewis, etc.

After this we took the subway to the next stop on the line to see the Iwo Jima memorial statue, but after getting off we discovered it was farther from the metro than we thought and as we were worried about being to make it to the next place for a scheduled tour plus have a late lunch first, we decided not to make the walk. We took the metro to the next stop for our tour of the Kennedy Center. Upon arriving, we found out that the tour would simply be Jess and I plus one other lady from Ireland. This was awesome as it made the tour so much more personable. This was a beautiful place and we learned that not only was it a concert hall(or MANY concert halls) that bore the Kennedy name, but is actually considered a memorial much like the Lincoln or Washington Monuments. We got to see the inside of the halls, get some history, see the Presidential suites (from behind a rope), and see where they hold private schmoozing parties. It was neat because all the art in the building were gifts from other countries. If you looked at a piece of art or sculpture, it said what country it came from. At the end, we got to go outside on the 10th floor and see some beautiful views of the Potomoc riverside. It was a great tour made so much better because of how personal it was.

While we were on the top of the Kennedy Center, we saw a great place down the river that looked quite fun. We found out it was a riverfront where many fine restaurants sat on the river in Georgetown. Jess and I decided to go there for dinner. We ended up eating at a restaurant right on the river(there were 6 very nice restaurants right there on the river), and having a beautiful view. We could have stayed there for a long time if it wasn't for how cold it suddenly got once the sun went down! Still, it was a beautful place.

Tommorow is a tour of the Capitol and the International Spy Museum.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Washington DC Day 3

We got an early start today, getting on the shuttle to the metro at 730 today. The new driver wasn't as good. I think we were spoiled. As it was first day we have gone during the work week, it was MUCH more crowded. Everyone was in a rush and the train was filled to capacity. It was funny being stuck in a train full of people that are all dressed up and bundled up as if a storm was coming while I was in shorts and a t shirt. California people....

We got into DC actually earlier than we needed to be so we stopped and got some Starbucks right after we got off the subway. After that, we saw these guys having their breakfast too:

Who doesn't like fruit loops? We started off the day with a scheduled tour of the National Archives. This is where they keep important documents in our nation's history. Below is the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence in all their original glory. And for good measure, there is also one of the copies of the Magna Carta even though it is an English document instead:

The pictures aren't super clear because the documents were held practically in the dark to preserve them and you couldn't use any flash. No flash in the dark = blurry pics w/o a tripod. Anyways, it was cool to see all these documents and we got to see a bunch of other neat things such as Amendments, Presidential letters, immigration papers of famous people, homestead documents of people like Wyatt Earp, etc, etc. It really was a very interesting place and very informative 90 minute tour.

After that, it was lunch and Jess and I stopped at a very cool Mexican restaurant. This restaurant was super authentic and I get the feeling many people look at the menu and leave because it doesn't have basic things like simple burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. No, this place had tacos made of......grasshoppers. I kid you not. There were also a bunch of other things I have never seen on a menu at any Mexican restaurant I had been to. We decided on a few things and loved them all. We had papas al mole which were fried covered in a chocolate almond mole sauce with Mexican cream and cotija cheese. It rocked. Jess had a carnitas taco with guacamole and pork rinds. I had chiliaquiles with green tomatillo sauce and Chihuahua and Oaxaca cheese. Everything was wonderful!

After that, Jess and I went to the Crime and Punishment museum. This was cool place as it had tons of information on the history of crime and well....punishment. It started with the early torture devices, on to pirates, to the Wild West, the Roaring 20s, and on to the present. It covered the criminals, the good guys, and everything in between. It discussed serial killers, cyber criminals, and everything you could imagine. It had a lot of interactive quizzes, games, and photo opportunities. It had a full on CSI investigation process crme for you to follow along with complete with a huge lab to see how work is done. Bascially, anything having to do with crime was on display and talked about : jails, contraband, death sentence devices, lie detectors, safe cracking, the list went on and on and we were there nearly 3 hours. My favorite part was near the end when I got to drive a police car simulator and even more fun, I got to do a police shooting simulator. Those were a ton of fun.

From there, we went to the House of Representatives building so we could pick up some tour tickets from our congressman and confirm some later tours in the week. We didn't quite make it to the Capitol but stopped to take a few pictures as it was down the street.

It was about 5 at this time, but not ready to call it a day, we looked the map and decided to take a trip to a shopping area we saw on the map. Unfortunately, once we got there we saw that the stores they had there were few and far between with a Radio Shack being the most interesting store. Yeah, it sucked. So, we hopped on the train to head home, but decided to stop halfway home at another shopping area. Now this place was nice. It reminded me once we got outside of a really upscale part of San Francisco or NYC or something like that with upscale stores, fancy clothes everywhere, and an aura of cleanliness not seen on this trip yet. We decided to eat at an Italian rsetaurant that turned out to be wonderful and very authentic. I had some wonderful gnocci while Jess had one of her favorites, butternut squash raviolis. We ended with an apple crisp a la mode which also was wonderful.

Overall, we are having a WONDERFUL time. The onlyside so far has been my feet are KILLING me, I woke up this morning with an ear infection(I have had enough in my life to know exactlyu why my ear is killing me), and I have some kind of spider or bug bite on my left cheeck which is pretty gross. Guess with all the fun we are having, I can't complain too much...