Friday, August 29, 2008
This is something my father sent in to a local newspaper, and thanks to him, I have permission to post it here. Were I to make my case for Proposition 8 and against same-sex marriage, this is effectively what I'd say (though my Dad tends to have a way of saying this stuff better than I do, so I'm just going to post his comments):
I am writing in support of Proposition 8 – the proposed Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
Many good people are concluding that denying marriage to same-sex couples is unfair. There is a logical fallacy to this. For thousands of years marriage has been considered not a right but a special privilege and responsibility for certain people. That the concept of marriage should be applied to same-sex couples is a novel and very new idea.
Long ago, it became clear that fathers didn’t always stay around to assist with the nurture of their children. Concluding that starving mothers and children in the community were far from desirable, societies created the institution of “marriage”, primarily for the protection of MOTHERS and CHILDREN.
Measures were devised for strengthening this union, such as tax benefits, increased social approval, pressure to stay together, and divorce arrangements like alimony and child support which protected the weaker parties.
If ANY union now can be called marriage, how can “benefits” for traditional marriages be maintained? Marriage and the nuclear family have been assaulted in many ways over the past few decades. Same-sex marriage could be another nail in the coffin.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Seeing as the skill required to make the men's dance clothes doesn't require quite the meticulous level of detail necessary to make a truly spectacular outfit, I decided for the girls that I would turn to a pro. Enter my friend Lauren at Cultural Touch, a wonderfully talented craftswomen and designer, and someone with as warped as sense of humor as I have, too (LOL!).
Lauren has been a great source of information for me over the past couple of years, and when I told her of my ideas to have Karina and Amber be part of the dance team, she came up with some terrific designs for both of them. I don't think it's possible to throw an idea at Lauren that she can't come up with a stunner of an outfit with.
These are the proofs that Lauren sent to me to show me what the dress looks like (she told me her little one really wanted to model the leggings and choker and hair ties, too cute :) ):
The leggings, again with the horse motif.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Temple is a sacred place, and it’s a place that only members that have a temple recommend can go to. If you have family or friends that do not have a temple recommend (i.e. anyone not a member of the church, or member’s who for some reason don’t have one), you cannot see the actual sealing ceremony). Because of this, there are many traditions and approaches to LDS weddings and wedding receptions. As for Christina and I, we didn’t have the first time experience of a wedding and sealing. We had a traditional American style wedding at Peace Lutheran Church in San Bruno (just up the street from where we currently live). It was a very special day for us that we will remember for the rest of our lives, and we enjoyed every single minute of it.
We had some fun with our wedding and we have some fun memories of that day:
* the groomsmen had more hair and longer hair than the bridesmaids did
* the bride wore her hair down and the groom wore his up in a French braid (it was the only way I could honor my mother's request that I look "presentable and respectable" in our pictures. I complied, from the front (LOL!)).
* the fact that during the entire ceremony, Christina hopped up and down on the balls of her feet; whether she was nervous or happy, we don't quite remember, but she did it almost throughout the entire ceremony :) ).
* the Pastor that married us (Pastor Al) was an absolutely *great* guy, and I loved the fact that he met with us about monthly from the time we announced we were getting married until we actually did.
* Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when our musical number was played (“Bella Notte”… yep, the same one from ‘Lady and the Tramp’… long story as to why it was picked, but suffice it to say that Christina and I have had images and icons from Lady and the Tramp in our relationship as long as we’ve known each other, and it’s a bit of a metaphor for the two of us together).
* the mixture of family, friends, and rock scene people was a riot (Old-world German families mixed with long haired glam boys and girls, especially Christina's friend who wore a female equivalent of a groomsman's tux and a stratospheric hairdo (LOL!))
* the toast my wife made saying how very happy she was to finally be rid of her unpronounceable Austrian last name (Puchreiter… poor girl, she didn't realize she was trading it in for a Danish one (Larsen) that would almost *never* be spelled correctly (haha!!) ).
* we did it almost all ourselves, with a little input from both mom's, and little to no input from either of the dads (and they liked it just fine that way (grin!) ).
* we couldn't tell you what we actually had to eat, but the cake was terrific (made by my cousin, Patty) and we got a few chuckles and smiles over our cake top (yes, Lady and the Tramp were on our wedding cake; again, you have to really have a history with Christina and me to understand why ;) ).
Again, it’s not an anniversary and no one we know is getting married any time soon, but it’s always fun to be reminded of that day nearly sixteen years ago when we announce to the world that “two became one”, and I’m very happy to still be as excited about that occasion as I was back when it was happening. What was also nice was that, when our family was sealed in the Oakland Temple in 2002, our Sealing Ordinance certificate listed both of our dates; our marriage date of December 5th, 1992, and our sealing date of March 9th, 2002. I like to tell our kids that we have two anniversaries... but we encourage them to strive to have just one (LOL!).
Friday, August 22, 2008
A few weeks ago, y'all read about my diving into deck repair because boards were damaged and needed to be replaced. I decided that I did not want to have to do something similar for my house at a later date, so I decided now was the time to commit to getting things in order. What's more, the deck work gave me familiarity with using both a presure washer and a paint sprayer. These are two absolutely *wonderful* inventions, and I'm kicking myself for not having learned how to use them sooner.
The only problem is that, in my life, having dedicated time to blow out a project at one shot is rare and hard to come by, which means taking on projects like this have to get stretched into multiple days, if not weeks. Still, if it's going to get done, one must make the time and commit to the process, which I now have. This week, I invested in my own power washer and took on the prep work of the house. All the paint has been purchased (at least all the paint that I *think* I'll need). Now it's just a matter of covering, taping, painting and waiting to dry. Lather rinse and repeat. For however long it takes.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sometimes I get interesting raised eyebrows from people when they hear that I live in San Bruno and that I love living there. Granted, San Bruno get a reputation as being a windy place, where it's often colder than other parts of the Bay Area, and where there's a layer of overcast or fog nearby or present just about every day. Some people find San Bruno's "outdoor air conditioning" to be a bother, but personally I love it. Some other reasons I love my town are:
* I'm about 15 miles south of a great city to do lots of cool stuff in (some weird people and politics at times, to be sure,, but a gorgeous place on the whole )
* I have an awesome view of the San Francisco Bay from my hill as I come down the street.
* It's easy to find work in a broad variety of industries (OK, easy is relative, but there's a lot of stuff you can do here and a variety of jobs in many industries is what I'm trying to say).
* We're ten minutes from the beach (granted, it's a north pacific beach, and you need 5 mm of Neoprene to surf it, but beach it is )
* We're just three hours from snow and snowboarding (which means I can visit it when I want to without having to live in it)
* There's a lot of biking, hiking, climbing and wilderness trails within a short walk, bike ride or drive in most cases
* Having an international airport so close by makes traveling quite nice. Having BART and Caltrain running through the city also make commuting much easier.
* We love the school that's right across the street from our house (we've had our kids attending there now for the past seven years, and we expect another five years before all of our children are finished there). this year, the Junior High oddysey begins.
* I love having the Stake Center for my church right in my town, plus two of the best Stakes I've ever been part of are within four miles of each other (I love my current one on Sneath, but will always have a special place in my heart for the San Francisco West Stake on Sharp Park Road
* It has some really terrific families here, and I've enjoyed every minute of raising my children in this town.
* See above in my initial comments, but to me, the weather is just plain awesome.
* My in-laws live just a half mile down the street from us (I'll admit I was wary of that when we first bought the house, but have since grown to totally love having them so close by. they are a tremendous help to me and my family, and I greatly appreciate all that they do for us).
So tell me, what do you like about your town :)?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Volume 3, covering episodes 41-61.
Intrigue and plot twists and swordplay, oh my!
What more do you need to know... I have it, I'm watching it, taking breaks for the bathroom and eating, and I'm ignoring everything else in my life that is not scheduled or urgent.
Have I expressed enough yet just how much I'm digging this series (LOL!)?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This volume covers Episodes 21-40. I received it in the mail last Thursday. I'm already up to Episode 37.
For those who are curious as to what this whole series is about, the story as told (actual history and the drama as portrayed vary a little) takes place around 80 B.C., during the period of the Han Dynasty in China, and their expansion and military conquests in the areas known today as North & South Korea and Manchuria. It is the story of Jumong, son of Haemosu, a military hero to the Ancient Josun migrant population (the Kingdom/Empire the Han brought to a close) who is captured and believed killed. Haemosu's best friend and comrade, Prince Kumwa, takes in Haemosu's love, Lady Yuhwa and her new son, Jumong. Kumwa becomes King and raises Jumong in the royal court of Puyo (one of the contested lands under threat by the Han Dynasty) as his own son. The story revolves around Jumong coming of age and fulfilling his destiny, changing from a spoiled and cowardly noble into a legendary hero, one who would ultimately unite tribes, repel the Han, and establish the kingdom of Goguryeo (from which we get the Anglicized word "Korea" today).
The story is geting really good now. Lots of crazy twists and turns at this stage, and an even greater desire to jump headfirst into Volume 3 (which I now need to get, and hadn't anticipated needing this quickly... I've really got to slow down my consumption of this!).
I think this is the point where I confess to the world that I should probably seek psychatric help (LOL!).
When we bought our house back in 1999, one of the features was a long deck that's immediately outside the sliding glass door from our kitchen. It's about 50 feet long by about 16 feet deep. The deck was somewhat weathered, so my dad and I did the whole refinishing thing and put on water seal, plus a new opaque stain. Well, about three years into owning the house the finish we put on started to blister and crack. I didn't like the look of that at all, so I got the bright idea to sand down the deck and put a new oil based sealant on it, guaranteed to last for three years. I'll admit it looked pretty good after we finished it.
Well, something happened in those ensuing years; I got laid off from a couple of jobs, went back to school, got my degree, retooled my career, and focused on my kids growing up. All this time, the deck got progressively worse and worse. I kept saying to myself, it's no big deal, I'll just clean it up one weekend when I have some free time. Well that free time finally came last weekend, or rather, my hand was forced when I noticed several boards that were literally rotting away. Nothing like an obvious problem to get your butt into gear.
My brother and dad are both fairly handy sorts. I'm getting there, but I'll admit my forte is closer aligned to computers and gadgets rather than decks and home improvements. Still, it was clear we had to do something. My brother has a hefty and powerful pressure washer that runs on gasoline and hooks up to a hose. As we decided to do what we should have done the first time, i.e. give the deck a thorough pressure washing and abrasion, we noticed that the ends of many of the boards were disintegrating as the water hit them. We're talking chunks of wood flying. Ugh!
Net result was that we made a decision to replace about ten boards that were in the worst condition, and we've earmarked about two dozen others that are still good and solid, but could become questionable later. After finishing the pressure wash and waiting a week for it to dry out, we then put down ten gallons of primer. Right now, our back yard deck looks like a blizzard just came through (i.e it's pure white and rather blinding at the moment). Yesterday I ran through and made a second pass because so much redwood was still showing through after the primer coat had dried (redwood just sucks up paint like nobody's business). Tomorrow, the real color goes on (California Rustic, a nice deep opaque redwood stain). After that it's 72 hours of curing and drying, and then I can replace the furniture and my family can go into the back yard again.
The moral to this story? Little issues can become big issues if you do not take care of them early on. Had we done the level of prep work and cleaning that we did this time around back in 1999, we would just now be coming to the point where we'd need to do the work again, only the wood would have been in 100% better condition, and the need to replace boards would have been minimal if required at all. As it stands, I know that there's more work in store on this deck, and I'll be in the process of rotating sections and replacing boards for years to come, potentially having to replace the entire deck over the next few years. In other words, what could have just been a simple finishing job for a couple of hundred dollars in the cost of primer, stain and sealant will now potentially cost thousands of dollars over the next few years.
One thing's for sure, though; I'm scheduling a yearly check-up and touch-up for the deck every August from now on. I do *not* want to be in this situation again, if I have anything to say or do about it!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
My introduction to this series comes courtesy of my friend Tom at church. Tom served a mission in Korea when he was younger, and subsequently, he is fluent in Korean to this day. He is president of a company that does localization (i.e. translates into English) for Korean movies and television shows and distributes them in the United States. Being a fan of the "Korean Wave" myself, I kept asking him if he had worked on particular titles (usually movies, since most of the Korean titles I'm familiar with are theatrical releases). After half a dozen or so I'd mentioned I'd seen, with Tom shaking his head and saying "nope, we didn't do that one", he came to church a couple of weeks ago with a gorgeous box set of a series, saying "*THIS* is one I worked on. Let me know what you think."
What do I think? Well, frankly, I think this is *INCREDIBLE*! From the packaging, to the guide book, to the DVD production, to the translation, to the story, it's fantastic. However, Tom... you now owe me my life back, because it feels like every waking moment for the past two weeks that I've not been involved in work or scouts has involved me sitting with my little portable DVD player watching this thing. Seriously, when you are walking down the street from BART to your place of work early in the morning balancing a DVD player in your hand, walking into the elevator at work balancing said same DVD player, walking out of work towards BART balancing said DVD player, walking back to your car from BART balancing said DVD player... these are signs of serious neurosis... or signs of an incredibly well done series. Hey, when a show is able to draw in more than 50% of a country's viewing audience, that's a pretty good indication that there's some serious quality going on here.
For those of you not into period stories from other lands, or if you don't like epic dramas based on legendary characters, this may not do much for you. As for me, I've already put in my order for season two and am waiting impatiently for it to arrive. Now, what am I going to do with my time until it gets here... oh, sure, I suppose I could mow the grass I haven't touched in two weeks... or fix some things in the backyard... or clean up the garage... or spend some quality time with my family... but really, where's the fun in that (LOL!)? I'm kidding, gang, don't throw things at me, please.
Seriously, this is good stuff. Even if you have *zero* interest in ancient Korean history, the scenery, costume design and story is wonderful. The acting is excellent, in that classically subdued Korean manner (Korean cinema and television just doesn't rise to the level of histrionics you see in American or Japanese cinema) and the story ideas are very inventive (one of the great hallmarks of Korean cinema; they come up with some of the wildest stuff).
There are four seasons in total, and I can honestly see me lining up one after the other until it's all finished.
Seriously, Tom, thanks for introducing me to this, but really... you owe me my life back (LOL!).