Great Heart News from Dad!

Thursday, 30 Sep 2004 | Family

My dad received a call from his cardiologist saying that his heart stress test taken on Monday shows he does not need open heart surgery or a balloon angioplasty. They can treat his condition solely with medication.

This is really great news. Now they can concentrate on eradicating the cancer from his prostate since no procedures are required to treat his heart condition.

Dad received a hormone shot to help minimize the spread of the prostate cancer today. He has appointments on October 11th and 15th to perform thoracic and lumbar MRIs and a bone scan for his prostate.


There's a Full Moon Tonight

Tuesday, 28 Sep 2004 | Photography

A beautiful full moon captured tonight from my front yard


New Balance from Mom

Monday, 27 Sep 2004 | Family

A Reminder of My Mom

This is one of my new shoes. My mom bought these for me as a birthday present in 2003. She bought me two pairs because there was a discount for the second pair. I have worn out the first pair. I just started wearing this set of shoes. I wanted to capture this shoe in a photo because it's very special to me. It's just one of many reminders of my late mom. I miss her and think of her often.


Seinfeld Coming to DVD

Monday, 27 Sep 2004 | DVDs

The first three complete seasons of Seinfeld are coming to DVD on November 23rd, 2004 as a Seasons 1 & 2 DVD, a Season 3 DVD and a Seasons 1-3 Box Set.

I've been eagerly anticipating this hilarious show on DVD for some time now. I'm sure it will be a big hit.


Tests Went Fine for Dad

Monday, 27 Sep 2004 | Family

Dad's heart stress tests went well today. He felt a little pain in his neck during the tests where injections are administered to tax his heart and blood vessels. The test results should follow shortly. It was an outpatient procedure, so he was able to drive himself home safely.


Rice Ahoy!

Monday, 27 Sep 2004 | Pets, Rants

Toni and I came home yesterday to a very nice surprise after going to church and breakfast with my dad. There was a 10 pound bag of rice in the family room. Taffy had gnawed her way through the bag releasing all but a small portion of the rice. The floor was absolutely covered with rice. Rice here. Rice there. Rice everywhere. We were not pleased with Taffy's antic. Good thing we have a Dyson vacuum that made relatively short work of cleaning up the mess. I vacuumed while Toni transferred the remaining rice to a Rubbermaid container. We love pets, but they sure can try your patience at times!


Some Good News About Dad

Saturday, 25 Sep 2004 | Family

My dad received a letter today from his urologist indicating that the bone scan and ct scan shows that his prostate cancer hasn't spread. He needs to get a hormone shot. Now he needs to find out about his heart by taking a heart stress test on Monday. Once his heart is doing well, he can concentrate on treating his prostate cancer.


Taffy's Photo Album

Saturday, 25 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy at 8 Years

Taffy at 6 Years

Taffy at 5 Years

Taffy at 201 Weeks

Taffy at 191 Weeks

Taffy at 3 Years

Taffy at 156 Weeks

Taffy at 155 Weeks

Taffy at 154 Weeks

Taffy at 153 Weeks

Taffy at 108 Weeks

Taffy at 2 Years

Taffy at 100 Weeks

Taffy at 95 Weeks

Taffy at 91 Weeks

Taffy at 90 Weeks

Taffy at 88 Weeks

Taffy at 85 Weeks

Taffy at 84 Weeks

Taffy at 83 Weeks

Taffy at 80 Weeks

Taffy at 79 Weeks

Taffy at 76 Weeks

Taffy at 75 Weeks

Taffy at 74 Weeks

Taffy at 60 Weeks

Taffy at 59 Weeks

Taffy at 58 Weeks

Taffy at 57 Weeks

Taffy at 56 Weeks

Taffy at 55 Weeks

Taffy at 54 Weeks

Taffy at 53 Weeks

Taffy at 1 Year

Taffy at 51 Weeks

Taffy at 50 Weeks

Taffy at 49 Weeks

Taffy at 48 Weeks

Taffy at 47 Weeks

Taffy at 46 Weeks

Taffy at 45 Weeks

Taffy at 44 Weeks

Taffy at 43 Weeks

Taffy at 42 Weeks

Taffy at 41 Weeks

Taffy at 40 Weeks

Taffy at 39 Weeks

Taffy at 38 Weeks

Taffy at 37 Weeks

Taffy at 36 Weeks

Taffy at 35 Weeks

Taffy at 34 Weeks

Taffy at 33 Weeks

Taffy at 32 Weeks

Taffy at 31 Weeks

Taffy at 30 Weeks

Taffy at 29 Weeks

Taffy at 28 Weeks

Taffy at 27 Weeks

Taffy at 26 Weeks

Taffy at 25 Weeks

Taffy at 24 Weeks

Taffy at 23 Weeks

Taffy at 22 Weeks

Taffy at 21 Weeks

Taffy at 20 Weeks

Taffy at 19 Weeks

Taffy at 18 Weeks

Taffy at 17 Weeks

Taffy at 16 Weeks

Taffy at 15 Weeks

Taffy at 14 Weeks

Taffy at 13 Weeks

Taffy at 11 Weeks


Taffy's 15 Week Photo

Saturday, 25 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy on the Stairs at 15 Weeks

Here's Taffy at 15 weeks old. She is coming right along, weighing in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces at the vet earlier this week. She was very amped up this morning, so it was difficult to get a photo of her. I was able to snap this one while she frolicked up and down the stairs. She wouldn't stay still for more than a second or two at a time. Well, that's a puppy for you.


The Incredibles Are Coming

Friday, 24 Sep 2004 | Disney, Movies

Disney and Pixar present The Incredibles debuting in theaters on November 5th, 2004. The story is about a retired couple of superheroes who are called back into action later in their life. It looks like it will be a really fun movie. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


I'm Loving My iPod

Friday, 24 Sep 2004 | Macintosh

Toni bought me a 40GB Apple iPod with click wheel for my birthday. I'm really enjoying the ability to have a bunch of songs along with me in the form factor of a deck of playing cards. My iPod is supposed to handle up to 10,000 songs in MP3 format, but being the AR person that I am, I'm using the Apple Lossless format which stores the music with CD quality sound in about half the space of the AIFF format. This translates to about 1,600 songs. That's still quite a few.


Butchart Gardens Pictures

Friday, 24 Sep 2004 | Travel

Here's a few more pictures from our visit in August to the Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, near Victoria, British Columbia. The Butchart Gardens is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.

Victoria is on Vancouver Island, which is confusing because Vancouver is on the mainland.

Pink Rose at Butchart Gardens

A Bee Gathering Pollen at Buchart Gardens

Pink Dahlia at Butchart Gardens

Contrasting Leaves at Butchart Gardens


Taffy's Record Weight

Thursday, 23 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy took a trip to the veterinarian with Toni to get her next set of puppy shots. It's so funny because she is so small because of her mix of Chihuahua, Dachsund and who knows what else. The vet was a little concerned because she had not gained any weight on her last visit. For twenty days she was 4 pounds. Today, we are happy to report that she was a whopping 4 pounds, 12 ounces! LOL


Get Your Firefox Here!

Thursday, 23 Sep 2004 | Internet

I'm really enjoying the preview release of Mozilla's new browser named Firefox.

On my iMac at home, my browser of choice is Safari. But on my Windows PC at work, my browser of choice is Firefox.

I really like the look and feel of Firefox. It has tabbed browsing, which is nice since you don't have multiple instances of your browser loaded as in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Firefox also does a great job of blockin unwanted pop-ups. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You might find it will be your favorite browser too.

I predict Firefox will be a contender in the PC browser arena in the near future. Rumor has it that Google will be entering into the browser wars too. Well, time will tell.


Not a Good Angels Game

Thursday, 23 Sep 2004 | Sports

Toni, my dad and I attended the Anaheim Angels game last night.

The Bad:

We didn't get to our seats until after the game started. They lost to the Seattle Mariners 16 to 6! Our seats were in the lower view section way out past the third base foul pole. People in this remote section were very distracting. Why go to a game if you're just going to chat the entire time? Now, the Texas Rangers are within a half game of the Angels. It was a long game, so I ended up at home around midnight.

The Good:

The Oakland A's also lost, so we didn't lose ground to them. We ate yummy Panda Express Orange Chicken rice bowls, barbecued ribs and corn on the cob. I hunted down a frozen malt Toni had been craving since the last Angels game we attended. The tickets were free. I grabbed the Angels t-shirt missile that the girls shoot into the stands using those cool cannon gun launchers during the 7th inning stretch. It's amazing how far today's technology can hurl a rolled-up t-shirt. Toni was really jazzed about the shirt. And last, but not least, I had a great time with my family.


Star Wars Trilogy Finally on DVD!

Tuesday, 21 Sep 2004 | DVDs

The most anticipated DVD box set is finally here: The Star Wars Trilogy.

I am very excited about this set since I absolutely look back with fond memories viewing Star Wars in the theater as a child. It was a revolutionary experience for me and tons of other fans of the science fiction series. I can't help but be a little disappointed that these are the revised special edition versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi released in theaters in the late 1990's. There are new special effects added by George Lucas, which were not feasible when the films were originally released. The good news is that the video and audio has been improved. I'm sure the debate will go on, but I tend to side with those who wished Lucas would have released the original Star Wars just as we remember watching it in theaters in 1977.

Despite my misgivings about the special editions, I picked up my widescreen copy on the way home from work.


Dad Set to Take Stress Test

Monday, 20 Sep 2004 | Family

My dad called this evening to let me know the Angels won their game against the Seattle Mariners. I already knew this since I had watched the game. He also mentioned that they scheduled his heart stress test exam for next Monday at 11:30 am. Hopefully the results show that his heart can be treated simply with medication.


Anaheim Angels Lose

Saturday, 18 Sep 2004 | Sports

Toni and I went to an Anaheim Angels game today with her mom and dad. We had a very good time cheering on our team, but unfortunately they lost to the Texas Rangers 2 to nothing. That puts the Angels in second place, down two games from Oakland. Boy, it's getting down to the wire if the Halos want to get into the playoffs. Come on guys, I still have faith in you! ;)


Taffy's 14 Week Photo

Friday, 17 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy at 14 Weeks

Taffy is really looking more mature, espcecially compared to her 11 week photo that I took when we brought her home to join our family. Isn't she the cutest?


Nikon Unveils AF-S 300mm f/2.8G VR

Thursday, 16 Sep 2004 | Nikon, Photography

Today, Nikon unveiled their new AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. This is a redesigned 300mm incorporating their vibration reduction technology for more stable handheld shots and their new Nano-Crystal AR (anti-reflective) coating that virtually eliminates ghost and flare in bright shooting conditions. It's expected to ship in January 2005.


Nikon Unveils D2X Digital Camera

Thursday, 16 Sep 2004 | Nikon, Photography

Today, Nikon unveiled their highly anticipated D2X Professsional Digital SLR Camera. The 12.4 megapixel D2X retains the DX sized sensor. It has 2 shooting modes: 12.4 megapixels at 5 frames per second for 21 JPEG or 15 Raw NEF frames and a cropped 6.8 megapixel mode at 8 frames per second for 39 JPEG or 25 Raw NEF frames. It has the same effective shutter lag as the D2H; very impressive for a camera of this resolution. It's expected to ship in January 2005.

For more details and photos, please see the Nikon D2X previews at Digital Photography Review and Rob Galbraith DPI.


Aladdin on DVD

Wednesday, 15 Sep 2004 | DVDs

Disney's Aladdin will be released for the first time ever on DVD as a 2-Disc Platinum Edition on October 5th, 2004.

I'm excited about this release since it's one of my favorite Disney animated movies along with Beauty and the Beast.


My Jury Duty

Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004 | Daily

Well, my jury duty service was pretty uneventful this time around.

My summons was for Monday, but I didn't have to go in until today. They needed two sets of jurors for cases in the morning and I wasn't called for either. I was kind of hoping to be selected because I find cases to be interesting. The rest of us waited until lunch break. At that time, we were told that there may be two other courts needing jurors after lunch. We returned and waited to find no more jurors were needed. I was free to go at about 3 pm. In California, they use the one day or one case system. If you don't get selected for a jury group on the first day, you are done with your jury service for at least one year.


International 7300 CXT

Monday, 13 Sep 2004 | Products

International® 7300 CXT

Oh sheesh, another behemoth vehicle to eclipse my view while commuting to work.

Move over Hummer and Ford, there's a new kid in town!

International, a commercial truck manufacturer, has introduced the mother of all consumer trucks. The International 7300 CXT is designed to outdo all other trucks in the playing field including the Hummer and Ford F-350.

This isn't just keeping up with the Joneses, it's more like crushing the Joneses. LOL

Highlighted unbelievable specs:

Hauls 6 tons
Seats 6 adults
Gross weight of 25,999 lbs
7.6 liter, 220 hp diesel engine
540 lb/ft of torque

$93,000 - Starting price
$105,000 - Typically equipped
$115,000 - With DVD player, leather, tilting dump box & rear-view camera


ABC Primetime Preview at DCA

Saturday, 11 Sep 2004 | Disneyland, Television

Kelly Ripa from Hope and Faith

Toni and I went to Disney's California Adventure today to see the stars from ABC's primetime lineup. I wanted to go for the ABC Primetime Parade of Stars where the celebrities greet guests in a motorcade parade through the park. I got several good shots during the parade and the interview time before.

After the parade, we enjoyed a nice dinnner, shopped at World of Disney for a baby shower gift and headed home early in the evening.


Taffy's 13 Week Photo

Friday, 10 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy at 13 Weeks Playing in the Grass

Well, it's been 2 weeks since we brought Taffy home. She will be exactly 13 weeks old tomorrow. When I came home from work and took her outside, I decided to take a few flash shots of her in our front yard. I plan to add shots of her every week or two so you can see her growth and changes. So, please stay tuned. :)


Peeraya Is Open Again!

Friday, 10 Sep 2004 | Food, Restaurants

Sisters from Peeraya Thai Restaurant

I went with Cindy and Lola to lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant in Palm Springs. Peeraya had been closed for a couple months during the summer and I had missed it very much. I was so excited that we were going.

I had my favorite dish, Yellow Curry with Chicken. It's chicken, onions and potatoes with a wonderful yellow curry sauce prepared with coconut milk. I pour the curry over the steamed rice to mix it before enjoying. It comes with a salad with their house dressing which is a wonderful homemade dressing; a sweet and spicy combination of flavors I just love. It also comes with a glass of Thai iced tea with cream in it, a sweet rich drink that puts out the fire in the food very well. I ordered a 10 on the 1 to 10 spicy scale. I love it really spicy. I'd recommend a 6 if you like a moderate kick. A 3 will give a little heat. For those who can't handle any spicyness, order a 1 for a mild sauce.

Their lunch menu has a number of items and is very reasonable. You get an entree, steamed rice and Thai iced tea for a bargain. Their dinner menu has much more variety. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, I'm sure you'll enjoy the cuisine. :)


Dad's Bone Scan

Friday, 10 Sep 2004 | Family

My dad went in today for a bone scan. It's a test to check if his prostate cancer is spreading or keeping in one place. He is scheduled to do a catscan to determine more information soon too. I'll keep everyone informed as I get more information. For now, he is doing well.

My dad had a fall yesterday on his side reaching for a pen while on the phone at home. He went to the doctor to have it checked out and they suspect the worst is he has a fractured rib. His lungs were not punctured and thankfully he is just a little sore. I keep telling him to not get into mischief, but he just doesn't listen. I don't want any more surprises from my dad.


Jan's Farewell

Friday, 10 Sep 2004 | Friends

Jan on Her Last Day

Today, a multitude of friends came by Jan's office to give her a nice send off into retirement. Even the former Mayor came by to say goodbye. We'll all miss Jan very much.

She wouldn't let me post an identifiable image of her, so the one above will have to suffice. ;)


Jan's Last Day

Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 | Food, Friends

My good friend Jan's last day is tomorrow. She is retiring from the city and is moving up to Big Bear. We have worked together for over 5 years now, so I'll be missing her very much. I affectionately named her "Queen of HR" because she worked for Human Resources.

Today, Dennis organized a surprise luncheon for Jan at The Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. A group of her close friends were there to say an early goodbye. Jan was a little broken up when she arrived, but gained her composure very quickly. I think she enjoyed it overall. Tomorrow we will be visiting her office to have brownies and say our final farewells.

Jan, I wish you all the best in the exciting days to come in beautiful Big Bear! ;)


Taffy's Vantage Point

Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 | Pets

How I Imagine Taffy Sees Me

My dog Taffy loves to pounce on me and lick my face without warning. She always seems to catch me off guard. She's a professional tickler too. I'm guessing this is what I look like to her from her dog's perspective. ;)

Yee-ikes [sic], look at those dark circles under my eyes. I need to get more sleep!


Toni's First Day of School

Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 | Family

Today is Toni's first teaching day back at school after summer vacation with her new Middle School kids. I'm hoping for a good batch this year.



Wednesday, 8 Sep 2004 | Photography

You can turn your own photograph into a real honest to goodness postage stamp! The PhotoStamps site courtesy of allows you to upload your favorite image and have it turned into real postage delivered to your home in 7 to 10 business days.

This sounds like a lot of fun and would make a wonderful gift for family members and friends.


National Geographic Photo of the Day

Wednesday, 8 Sep 2004 | Photography

National Geographic has long been known for its excellent photography. Now you can take a glimpse at their photographic prowess at their Photo of the Day page. You can view a fascinating image each day, see it enlarged and even download it as wallpaper if you fancy.


Walt Disney Concert Hall

Monday, 6 Sep 2004 | Friends, Photography

Walt Disney Concert Hall at Dusk

Rick and I walked from Pershing Square to the Walt Disney Concert Hall to take some evening pictures. It's located across the street from the Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Mark Taper Forum and is the newest member of the Los Angeles Music Center. The ribbon cutting was on October 23rd, 2003. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale. This was the first time I'd seen the concert hall. I would love to go inside to see a concert someday. I'm sure the acoustics are wonderful.

Los Angeles Skyscrapers

I used my very heavy tripod to take the above shot. It was a warm day and evening in Downtown Los Angeles. Add a bunch of hills and steps to the mix and it makes for a very hot and out of breath Michael. Phew! I took the photograph from across the street because the security guard would not allow us to use tripods on the concert hall side of the street. It's frustrating that they don't allow cameras and/or tripods a lot of places. Grrrr. Oh well, that's how it goes.

At the end of the photo shoot, Rick and I got seperated, so I walked back to the parking garage at Pershing Square alone. Boy, was I exhausted. But it was all worth it because I got a few good shots and had a fun time.


Photo Outing with Rick

Sunday, 5 Sep 2004 | Friends, Photography

Heirloom Tomato Salad at Cafe Pinot

My friend Rick and I met at Pershing Square in Los Angeles for an photo shoot this evening. We had dinner at Cafe Pinot. They serve California French cuisine and comes courtesy of the Patina Group. I ordered the Heirloom Tomato Salad as my appetizer. It was dellicious. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and sweet along with the tangy vinaigrette and goat cheese. The presentation was so nice, I just had to take snap a shot of it as you can see above.

We had a great time taking pictures, but I thought I was going to pass out carrying my nearly twelve pound tripod up and down the streets of downtown Los Angeles on a hot afternoon and evening. Boy, was that a workout! Thanks Rick for a very fun time. We'll have to do it again soon. :)


Flying Fish!

Friday, 3 Sep 2004 | Travel

Pike Place Worker Throws Fish to Be Wrapped

Pike Place Market in Seattle is world famous for their custom of throwing just bought fish to be wrapped and packaged for travel. It's a spectacle that always is sure to draw crowds of onlookers. I'm sure it helps sell more fish too. ;)


Disneyland's New 1-Day Hopper

Friday, 3 Sep 2004 | Disneyland

Disneyland is finally offering a 1-Day Hopper ticket which allows unlimited entrance for one day to Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland Park. Now guests don't have to pick one park or the other.

Southern California residents can visit both Disneyland® and Disney's California Adventure™ theme parks on the same day—for only $13 more than a one-day, one-park ticket. Ask at the Main Entrance ticket booths for details.

Offer and tickets valid through 1/3/05 for Southern California residents within ZIP codes 90000-93599 or Northern Baja California residents within ZIP codes 21000-22999. Admission valid for one day to both theme parks. Limit five tickets per person, per day with valid identification. Must be used on day of purchase. Restrictions apply. Tickets may not be sold or transferred for commercial use. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or promotions. All offers, events, tickets, age ranges, services, attractions and entertainment may be seasonal and are subject to change without notice. ©Disney


Taffy Visits the Vet

Thursday, 2 Sep 2004 | Pets

Taffy made her first visit with Toni to the Veterinarian for her shots today. She also went to have her ear checked. We noticed that it seemed irritated and ear wax was building up. She would scratch at it often.

Well, the vet removed a very deeply lodged foxtail from her ear. She let out a little wimper, but wagged her tail excitedly from relief after the offending object had been removed. The vet said her ear was infected and gave her an antibiotic injection as well as antibiotic pills to give her once a day for ten days.

Taffy's next visit will be in about ten days to have her ear inspected and a second round of shots.


Dad's Back Home

Thursday, 2 Sep 2004 | Family

Dad's back home, safe and sound, thanks to Toni. He is doing very well and resting nicely. Taffy welcomed him home by curling up in his lap and taking a nice nap. Napping is Taffy's favorite activity; if you can call that an activity. ;)

Welcome home, dad!


Dad Leaving Hospital

Thursday, 2 Sep 2004 | Family

My dad is due to be discharged today from the hospital. His potassium levels are back up and his kidneys are functioning at near full capacity. He has been feeling pretty well the past two days. His cardiologist cancelled the angiogram scheduled for today because he felt the dye used would be detrimental at this time. He will schedule my dad for a heart stress test where they inject a stimulant into the bloodstream to assess the current arterial blockage situation sometime in the near future once he recovers fully from his recent condition. The doctor indicated that there may be no need for a balloon angioplasty nor open heart surgery if the stress test indicates only minimal problems with his heart.


New 951 Area Code

Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 | News

The new 951 area code has been in effect since July 17th for my home phone and mobile phone. Although the new area code, formerly 909, is in effect, there is a grace period from July 17th through October 29th in which either area code can be dialed to reach your party.

Apparently, area code 909 is running out of numbers since it serves parts of Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. So, they decided to change the southern portion to the new 951 area code.

So, if you have my home or mobile number in your speed dial as 909, you better get that changed to 951 by October 30th, 2004 or you won't be reaching me anymore. ;)


Apple Introduces the iMac G5

Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 | Macintosh

Apple computer has introduced the all-new iMac G5. It's a totally redesigned iMac that diverges from the Luxo lamp style of its predecessor. The entire computer including stereo speakers is housed in the monitor assembly. It has a sleek iPod style and the monitor pivots up and down.

Personally, I like the versatily of the former iMac with its swivel capability and small footprint. I find my iMac G4 more attractive, but the new unit does boast a faster G5 processor for about the same price. As with all things, there always seems to be a trade-off.


Disneyland's Air Launched Fireworks

Wednesday, 1 Sep 2004 | Disneyland

Disneyland has developed and is using a new fireworks launching system that utilizes compressed air instead of the traditional black powder ignition system.

The Disney Imagineering developed system uses 330 long metal tubes to launch pyrotechnics for Disneyland Park's Imagine...A Fantasy in the Sky fireworks extravaganza. The new system is cleaner, quieter, safer and allows for higher and more precise launches for even more possiblities to light up the sky over Sleeping Beauty Castle. I'm sure this innovation will make the new fireworks show for Disneyland's 50th birthday celebration better than ever.


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