Monday, November 30, 2009

Best Christmas Movies

There are a lot of Christmas movies out there, but to me two movies standout...Christmas Vacation and The Christmas Story.  So many lines in those movies that have lasted the test of time.

If for some reason you have not seen these movies within a year or two, do yourself a favor and rent them, check that, BUY them and make them a holiday tradition.

Here are the trailers for these movies:

Christmas Vacation (1989)

The Christmas Story (1983)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bakersfield vs. Pasadena

I was born and raised in Pasadena, CA.  I still have many friends and family that live in Pasadena or surrounding cities.  When we moved to Bakersfield (October 2007) many people said, "Bakersfield! Why Bakersfield?"  There were many reasons to move to Bakersfield, one big one being we were living in Victorville (Victimville, Victorhell, Hicktorville, etc).

So I thought I would share some info for those of you who haven't been to Bakersfield in a while.  To give you a little perspective, I'm comparing the stats versus Pasadena.

(Bakersfield/Pasadena: click on link for stats/photos/graphs)
Population: 321,078 to 143,080 (as of July 2008)

Median Age: 30.1 to 34.5

Estimated median household income in 2007: $51,664 to $66,465

Estimated median house/condo value in 2007: $300,500 to $705,100

Top 5 Races: White (51.1%), Hispanic (32.5%), Other (18.7%), Black (9.2%), Two+ Races (4.4%)
                     White (39.1%), Hispanic (33.4%), Other (16.0%), Black (14.4%), Two+ Races (5.4%)

2008 Cost of Living Index:  93.1 to 162.8 (US average is 100)

Foreign Born Residences:  13.6% to 32.3%

Registered Sex Offenders: 1035 to 115

Major Crimes: (per 100,000 for 2007)
Murder: 4.7/7.6
Rape:  12.9/22.7
Robberies: 197.3/208.2
Arson: 28.5/15.8
Burglaries: 1109.7/566.8

2004 Presidential Election Results: (Kern County/LA County)

Kern County

(LA County)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My TiVo List

Here are the shows that I watch:


This is the show that I’ve watched the longest.  I haven’t seen all the seasons; I think I missed two or three seasons.  This is a great reality show in my opinion.  This season has been great.


Talk about a confusing, frustrating show, yet so good.  Rebecca and I watched old episodes via DVD to get caught up, and now know why there were two polar bears on a tropical island.  The final season starts in January.  I hate that it doesn’t start in the fall like most other shows.


Once again, hate the show because it starts in January, but outside of that, LOVE this show.  Jack Bauer is the man.  Great concept of a show, one day in the life of the USA in crisis, only to be saved by Jack Bauer time and time again.

Biggest Loser-NBC

Starting watching this show a few years ago, usually while eating my dessert (usually ice cream).  Amazing to see what people can do when they get top of the line training and their only job is to work out.


This show makes the list, but is a low priority.  We usually watch it on days we have nothing new to view.

The Office-NBC  

For YEARS, my mom asked us, “Do you watch The Office?”  Well, I should have listened to my mom a long time ago.  Thursday night was a full night and we already had two shows during that time slot.  But when Grissom left CSI, that opened up a time slot for The Office.  Last summer Beck and I caught up watching reruns on TBS (very funny).  This is one of our favorites.

Grey’s Anatomy-ABC

This show has many characters that I don’t particularly like, but it’s generally entertaining.  So much drama on this show.

The Closer-TBS

We started watching this because it was the only thing new that ran during the summer.  After watching the first show, we had our doubts.  But we gave it a few more tries, and now we love it.  Glad we stuck with it.

American Idol-FOX

I usually stop watching faithfully once the bozos leave.  Now that the biggest bozo left (Paula), maybe I’ll watch a little more (she killed me!)   I love Simon and his way of doing things.

World Series Of Poker-ESPN

Always fun to watch the worlds best players go up against a huge field of guys like you and me.  $8.5 million to the winner this year, all of 21 years of age.  It’s all down hill from there buddy.
These shows help me get through the dog days of no baseball.  Only 81 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dodger Report

This is the guy the Dodgers need to get.  Unfortunately, McCourt will not pony up and make it happen.  Instead the Angels have a better shot to land him.  I love the Dodgers greatly, but if the Angels get Doc Halladay, then the cries for a new owner will get louder.

Dodgers need to do something...and I'm very interested in what that something will look like.

Go Blue!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frank(ly), We Have a Problem

I have a gripe, and I thought what's a better place to do it but on my blog.

Baseball free agency is here and once again we are seeing that the Los Angeles Dodgers of Brooklyn are shrinking into a small market team.  When baseball writers are mentioning "Big Market, Big Payroll teams" and the list does not include the Dodgers...we've got a problem.

The Dodgers' payroll last year was a hair over $100 million last year (not counting the discount they received by Manny getting busted for 50 games.)  That puts them #9, behind Houston, Philadelphia, and Detroit.  That puts them just above Seattle and Atlanta.

The Dodgers need to be a big boy club.  They are in a huge market, have the largest stadium (capacity-wise), and had the highest attendance in all of MLB in 2009.

Yet they run their team like a 2nd tier club.

Sure they have spent money in the past on big contracts (Manny, Schmidt, Kevin Brown), but I can't remember them being a Top 5 team in payroll.  What pisses me off is that the Angels are considered a big boy club and the Dodgers are not.

Frank McCourt has a rep of being cheap.  He doesn't want to be a big payroll guy.  Well, get out of LA.  Use your divorce as an excuse.

Step up, or step down.  Use some of the billion dollar worth you have and invest wisely.  You have a city that supports your team.  Step up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


As a math teacher I am always asked, "Why do we need to know this?"  I usually respond with a general answer of, "So you can A) get a good grade on the assignment/assessment, B) pass this class, and C) so you can graduate high school."

You can probably tell that really inspires them and they get to work.

Or not.

So I ask you, loyal readers, to post a comment about how you use math in your daily life and at work.  I get that many of you don't use the quadratic equation, but even how basic math skills come into play in your day would be helpful.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated as I try to motivate my students to learn.

Do You Think We Are Idiots?

What is the deal with the Preventive Services Task Force?  Mammograms and self-examinations are a key to early detection for breast cancer.  You've probably seen a bumper sticker or something like that with "Save the Tatas".  Well the Preventive Services Task Force is now saying the opposite.

FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC...take your pick of news source, all have articles on this nonsense.

"New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force say that women age 40 to 49 don't need to have routine mammograms anymore and that breast self-exams aren't recommended in general." (This is from the CNN story.)

If this is what is in store by the powers-that-be who would be a major force in a "Public Option", then that is pretty scary.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Was Your High School Like This?

I graduated from San Marino High School back in 1997.  When I attended, the campus was similar to an elementary school.  Now, it looks like a college.  I haven't been back in a long time, but maybe one of these days I'll go back and take a tour.

I wonder if the "alumni key" (which was an metal hanger) still works to open up the gym?

Thank you Dolf May for the forward link to this video.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Giving Him His Due

(Photo Credit)

USC got smoked today, giving them their 3rd loss this season with a few games left. Gone are the hopes of another BCS game. Gone are the hopes of another Pac 10 title.

There are many factors into why 'SC is having an "off year", but this is about giving Pete Carroll, his staff, and his players their due.

Growing up as a Trojan fan, I endured through a long stretch of sucking. Most of my teen years were filled with SC being mediocre at best. SC had long losing streaks versus their rivals Notre Dame and UCLA. But then Mr. Pete Carroll came to campus and things changed.

After going 6-6 his first year in 2001, USC returned to dominance starting in 2002. Since then (not counting this year) USC went 82-9, 6-1 in BCS games, and claiming 2 titles.

In that stretch USC lost ONE (which is the last time it happened) non-conference game during the regular season (2002, at Kansas State, back when they were actually good), and one bowl game (arguably the greatest college football game ever).

USC has always played a tough non-conference schedule, routinely playing BCS division teams (unlike many top teams like Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas and the like).

So this year it finally catches up to USC. Well, congrats on all the success. And here's to continued success.

Show & Tell Mishap

I found this story mildly interesting. In Florida, a father decided to bring a 5 foot alligator to his little girl's show and tell at school. On the way there, the alligator jumped out of the truck, but the father says not to worry. One, the mouth was taped together. Two, the alligator doesn't eat during the winter and by the time it needs to eat the tape will work its way off.

He did state the obvious which I will translate, "Do not fail the idiot test and try to take the tape off the mouth of a live alligator. You may need help opening jars in the future if you do."

I guess a loose alligator is not to be of concern, at least in Florida. I'm sure the little guy will make his way back to the appropriate "home". But then again, what's not to say he wants revenge for all the trauma he was put through. He eats like a mad gator, training for the confrontation, growing like a weed...then you hear a knock on the back door...

Friday, November 13, 2009

College vs. High School

The original list can be found here.

25. In high school, you do homework. In college, you study.

24. No food is allowed in the hall in high school. In college, food must be provided at an event before students will come.

23. In high school, you wear your backpack on one shoulder; in college, on both.

22. In college, the professors can tell you the answer without looking at the teacher's guide.

21. In college, there are no bells or tardy slips.

20. In high school, you have to live with your parents. In college, you get to live with your friends.

19. In college, you don't have to wait in a certain lunch line to be cool.

18. Only nerds e-mailed in high school. (Cool kids hadn't heard of it.)

17. In high school, you're told what classes to take. In college, you get to choose; that is, as long as the classes don't conflict and you have the prerequisites and the classes aren't closed and you've paid your tuition.

16. In high school, if you screw up you can usually sweet-talk your way out of it. In college, you're lucky to ever talk with the professor.

15. In high school, fire drills are planned by the administration; in college, by the drunk frat boys on their way home when the bars close.

14. In college, any test consists of a larger percentage of your grade than your high school final exams ever did.

13. In high school, when the teacher said, "Good morning," you mumbled back. In college, when the professor says, "Good morning," you write it down.

12. In high school, freshman guys hit on senior girls. In college, senior guys hit on freshman girls.

11. In college, weekends start on Thursday.

10. In college, it's much more difficult to figure out the course schedule of the man/woman you have a crush on, in order to figure out where he/she will be walking around campus and at what time to find them there.

9. Once you've obtained the information described in #10, it's much more time-consuming to run between classes to that place where you know he/she will be in order to "just happen to bump into him/her."

8. In college, there's no one to tell you not to eat pizza three meals a day.

7. In college, your dad doesn't pay for dates.

6. In high school, it never took 3 or 4 weeks to get money from Mom and Dad.

5. College men are cuter than high school boys.

4. College women are legal.

3. In college, when you miss a class (or two or three), you don't need a note from your parents saying you were skip... uh, sick that day.

2. In high school, you can't go out to lunch because it's not allowed. In college, you can't go out to lunch because you can't afford it.

1. You cherish your textbooks much more in college, until you find out that some are worthless when you try to sell them back to the bookstore.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Five technology-related things that I would be lost without:

1- TiVo.

See post of TiVo.

2- TV/Remote.

My generation sure does love TV. And TV has only grown in power since then. The remote is a key element. Without the remote, you might as well turn the TV off. I really don't know what people did back in the day. Yikes!

3- Internet

Everyone these days seems to be addicted/dependent on the Internet. So much information available at the touch of a button. Not sure if you are still in the "stone age" of dial up, and if you are, you're probably not an addict. And on the slight chance you are a dial up freak, then you really need an upgrade. Consider that my Christmas gift to you.

(Photo Credit)

Ah the mother of sports channels. I am claiming all ESPNs on this one., ESPN2, ESPNews, etc (minus "The Ocho"). If you stay in a hotel that does not offer ESPN on the programming, then you've been had.

5- Dodger Baseball

(Photo Credit)

This is more than just a hobby. This is my #1 passion outside of my faith and my family. If I had to cut back on many things, this would be the last straw. If I could only follow one team (NBA, NFL, MLB, college, etc) this is it. I don't know if I'd say I'm obsessed, but I'm sure some of you would. Good or bad, I'll always love the Dodgers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Thank You

7 Things I am not a fan of:

CatsI don't know about you, but my nose itches just looking at this picture. I am allergic to cats and therefore have no interest in them. Plus they are rude...they think our sand pit in our backyard is a community litter box.

Slow DriversHonestly, can you AT LEAST drive the speed limit. The fast lane is not for driving the speed limit. If you are uncomfortable going over 50 mph, ride the bus.

The Dodgers are my all time favorite team, and therefore I hate the Giants. If you like them, we all have our faults. At least you don't have Barriod Bonds anymore.

Apple juice, apple cider...might as well be ipecac. The weird thing is I love apples, apple pies, apple foods.

I understand most people love tuna. Calling it "Chicken of the Sea" doesn't make it taste like chicken. Gross.

I can stand only a tad of mustard on certain things. A bunch of mustard on a hot dog or hamburger is repulsive.

Country MusicI've had many people try to get me to like country, but it just isn't my thing. It's not that I am anti-country music, I'm just never going to voluntarily turn the radio to a country station.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Say It Ain't So-sa!

Um, no real words to prepare you for this, but some words come to mind.


-I thought Jacko died.

-It's like the Joker and the Thriller mated.

I especially like Sosa's wife face. It seems like she is thinking, "What? We like it. It looks natural."

At least with his new look, Sosa won't have to face steroids questions. To me this is much more disturbing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dodger Report

(Photo Credit)

Today Manny Ramirez decided to stay with L.A. and collect $20 million. I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously the way he played after his suspension leaves much to be desired, especially at his price tag. But I hold out hope that Manny can return to an All-Star level performer. His MVP type years are gone, but I hope that playing for another contract will help motivate him to produce. But I am not sure that motivation alone will help him hit fastballs for homers.

Personally, I would have preferred Manny to opt out so the Dodgers could use that $20 mil to go get a pitcher and a second baseman. But with the McCourt divorce complicating issues, and McCourt being a penny pincher to start with, I am not holding my breath for the Dodgers to make a splash this offseason.

For you Dodger fans out there, would you trade Billingsley and Martin for Halladay? I would love to see Halladay in Dodger Blue. I'd give up the farm for Halladay if it meant keeping all the young studs already on the roster. Halladay, Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda and ? would be a nice staff. I'd say give Padilla a shot. I think he could be a good addition if he'll take a one year deal. He showed he still has some bullets left in his arm.

We'll see what happens. One thing I know, come spring training, I'll get that school-boy feeling that the Dodgers are going to win it all! Until then, GO DODGERS!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


If you don't have Tivo (or DVR or some other alternative), then I must are really missing out.

If you do have TiVo, then you probably wish there was TiVo everywhere...including on the radio (you know you've had a time or seven where you wish you could replay something.)

Here are my Top 6 reasons to have TiVo.

1) You won't be married to your TV.

2) Enjoy the freedom to watch a show when you want.

3) You don't have to wait until the commercial to go pee, get something to eat or drink, or help your kid wipe his butt while he's on the pot (sorry, but those with little ones will understand.)

4) When your kids are screaming and you miss a line or two, TiVo allows you to rewind and try it again.

5) Hate watching commercials? Record your show and watch 20 minutes after it started, and then fast forward through them!

6) I don't know anyone who has it and say, "Yeah, I could really do without the ability to pause my TV. I like seeing how full my bladder can get."

And if you act now, give them the promo code: "Sorry I'm late to the party", and they will gladly hook you up.

You can thank me next time you see me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

LeBron to the Lakers?

I've now heard it all. Rumors are as truthful as most politicians. But rumors survive due to the fun in thinking of the possibilities.

So one guy thinks that there is a scenario that LeBron would go to the Lakers in a sign and trade deal.

Kobe AND LeBron? How big is the locker room for those two egos? I don't see how that works out for those two superstars.

Larry and Magic? Jordan and Barkley? Just doesn't sound right.

BUT, Shaq & Kobe, Magic & Kareem, West & could work.

But it won't happen.

Enjoy NYC LeBron. You may have been named the King, but you don't have the crown. Kobe's got 4 rings. IF you did come to LA, you'd be the prince (or maybe a duke).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Much Do You Love Your Pet?

Today I took Jackson and Brooklyn to get a Juice It Up, and while we are waiting I see a "Cofffee News" display right by the counter. While Brooke and Jack are enthralled at watching our smoothies are being made, one of the lead stories grabs my attention.

First line says, "Peter Maynard was very glad he spent $18,000 to save his beloved Labrador retriever."



Question 1: Who would spend that kind of cash to save their dog (or family pet?)

Question 2: Who has that kind of coin laying around for a rainy day/pet emergency?

Question 3: What would you have done in his situation?

Turns out the dog had cancer and needed a huge dose of radiation. Dog makes a full recovery and ends up waking Peter's girlfriend in the middle of the night due to a fire in the house.

As for me, I would have told Peter to fly first class to Vegas (he lives in North Carolina), enter the World Series of Poker, get a suite in a nice hotel, eat like a king, and then buy a litter of Labs to replace his dog.

Call me a pet hater? Well to you animal lovers, how about put the dog down (humanely) and with the other $17,900 (or so) and buy all the poor pups/cats/etc from the animal shelters and save them from becoming a lunch special at the restaurant down the corner?

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Big "I Told You So!"

If I have ridden shotgun in your car, you've probably told me to stop touching buttons. Usually I save the, "What's this do?" and just try to figure it out myself.

Well, then there is a man South Africa who took "What's this do?" to new heights. He was riding in a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II with an air force pilot friend....and he accidentally hit a button he shouldn't have, for he pulled the eject lever.

I believe the last words heard were something to do with the guy having to go to the bathroom.