Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday Five

The Excuse

OK – So I’m a little late here. But I’ve been travelling for pleasure the past few days, and I really don’t like breaking out my laptop unless it’s to watch a DVD.

The Week

IMG_2754 This past week was huge for me. First up, we had our Somethingth Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner. And as a most amazing birthday present, Karin flew Abram out as a surprise. I had no idea what was coming, although everyone around me knew. What’s most amazing, is Karin managed to keep it from me. Usually when she has a good surprise for me she nearly bursts at the seams trying to keep it in, but this time it was not a problem.

In any event, the dinner was fantastic. Great people, and the food turned out very well, if I do say so myself – although Abram did as much, if not more, work than I did. And as always, it couldn’t be done without the help of everyone – Karin, Liam, Abram, Brent, Ron, Tricia, Marie, and everyone else who pitched in at some point that night. Because of the company that we had there, the bulk of us were up until 6a having a grand old time.

IMG_2811 Then it was off to the East Coast. We were in some small town in Pennsylvania this time. And as you can see by the couple of shots, it was certainly a small town. It’s always good to see family for the holidays, and this year was no exception.

As is tradition, the Thanksgiving dinner was followed by a couple nights in NYC. We saw a terrible play called Dust on Friday night, and a IMG_2862slightly less terrible play named Perfect Crime the second night. That’s the chance you take seeing something off the beaten path.

However, we did eat very well, enjoying a nice Cuban dinner and a trip to a Churrascaria (which was just out of this world good). And during the day on Saturday Karin and I roamed around NYC seeing how it dressed up for Christmas. Some year I’d love to see it a little later in December, but the weekend after Thanksgiving always works.

The Five

Apropos of nothing.

  1. I’m totally hooked again on The West Wing. If you’ve never seen this show, you owe it to yourself to pick up a couple episodes on iTunes and check it out.
  2. There’s a part of me that’s contented with the Chargers all but officially being eliminated from playoff contention. It frees up my Sundays when I’m travelling – I don’t have to rush off to a sports bar to watch the game after landing.
  3. The problem with the Chargers’ season basically being over is that it leaves me without someone to cheer for. The Pads won’t start up until April, and March Madness isn’t until, well, March. It’s hard to watch hockey with the NHL being on Versus (which no hotels actually carry). Maybe I just need to get more into college basketball?
  4. I’m very much looking forward to the college bowl games. I will watch every one that I can. Nothing like watching two “directional schools” face off in the Bowl.
  5. And unfortunately, it’s late and I can’t come up with a fifth.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Five

The Excuse

Hopefully none needed

The Week

This week was much more stressful for Karin than it was for me. This Saturday is our 5th?6th?7th? annual Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s a chance to get good friends and family together for a holiday meal before everyone has to head out and have forced meals with the rest of their family. I get all the glory for cooking the meal, but Karin deserves all of the credit, as she has to deal with the stress of shopping, and then the stress of me cooking.

As for me, I was out in Dallas this week. Well, Irving to be more specific. I’ve yet to actually be anywhere near downtown Dallas, which is a shame because I hear it’s very cool.

The Restaurant

There are weeks when I feel like seeking out new places to eat. And then there are weeks when I say, “You know – I just want <fill in chain here>.” This week, the one that I really wanted was The Keg.

The Keg is a steakhouse (with a bad beer selection despite the name). Good steaks – they do a Chicago style where they’ll seer the steak, and they understand what very rare (blue rare they call it) is. The first time Karin and I checked the place out (years ago) we didn’t care much for it. The second time we went (up in Thunder Bay – on that trip I posted about earlier) we loved it. And the couple of times I’ve been to the one in Dallas it’s been fantastic. I was having a stressful week, so I treated myself on Wednesday – a nice baseball cut steak with a twice baked potato and a glass of J. Lohr Cabernet – very happy jersey.

The Travel Note

By far the most frustrating part about travel is missing football on Sundays. A close second is the Thursday games that the NFL is so keen on showing this time of year – showing on the NFL Network, which basically no hotel in the world actually gets. So if I want to watch the NFL on Thursday I’m forced to go out to a sports bar to watch it. Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind sports bars. But it would be nice to be able to sit in my room and enjoy the game.

The Exercise


The Five

Miscellaneous facts that may only interest me:

  1. Living in San Diego has completely thrown off my perspective on weather. I don’t bother checking the weather forecast, remember to bring a fleece or coat with me, or have any real understanding that it gets cold in the winter.
  2. I have a habit of quoting movies and television shows in regular basis. I really just need people to understand that the references are normally just for my own entertainment.
  3. Whenever I go out to eat, my default setting is to just go eat at the bar. Usually there’s no wait (if there is one at the restaurant), better service, and much more social.
  4. In the past I’ve never been much for people watching. As I’ve started travelling, and maybe gotten older, I’ve become a much more of a people watcher.
  5. I often wish there were a cool story behind my nickname. Alas, it just boils down to the simple fact that there are too many Chrises in the world.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Define “Marriage”

[Politics warning]

Whenever I teach, I have two basic rules. The first is that there is no getting the trainer sick – which is very important this time of year. The second is that there is no discussing religion, sex or politics. I’m glad I’m not teaching, as I’m going to violate every part of my second rule today.

It’s been just over two weeks since California Proposition 8 passed, a ballot measure which rescinded a legal right for all couples to marry. And I still can’t get over my shock. I’m really just left with one question for everyone who voted for this travesty: Why?

Actually, I take that back. I have many more questions:

  • What impact does a gay couple getting married have on your marriage?
  • What’s different about two loving adults getting married who happen to be the same gender?
  • How is this different than a law preventing two people of different ethnicities from getting married?
  • How would you react if suddenly the state said to you, “Sorry, we don’t acknowledge your love, your willingness to stand before God and your loved ones to commit to your partner for life”?

I’ve heard many horrible arguments in favor of Prop 8. There are three that really stand out to me: “Protecting Kids”. “It’s Against God’s Will”. “Other Nations Have Had Problems After Allowing Gay Marriage”.

Protecting Kids

The ads leading up to November 4th were particularly disgusting. Because the proponents of this ballot measure realized they couldn’t come right out and ask people to vote against a legal right granted to everyone, they played to the most disgusting of tactics – going after children. The ads implied that if Proposition 8 failed to pass that gay marriage would have to be taught to children. As if teaching children that two adults can love each other and get married was such terrible thing.

It’s Against God’s Will

Let me be very clear on something. I support fully any church who doesn’t want to perform gay marriage, just as I support any church who wants to limit who can become ordained. (And really, I can’t imagine someone attending a church who wouldn’t allow them to marry anyway.) To plagiarize a good friend of mine (thanks Bill C.), if we’re going to claim that marriage is a religious institution, then let’s leave it as a religious institution. You can marry in a church, but you don’t get any secular rights.

Other Nations Have Had Problems After Allowing Gay Marriage

If I cared enough, I’d have done further research on this pastor’s statement on Fox News the other day. He claimed that some Scandinavian country who legalized gay marriage saw a decrease in children born in wedlock. He went on to imply that there’s a large underground of closeted gay people who are simply waiting for gay marriage to be legalized to come out. I don’t grok the latter, and as for the former I wonder why certain people would be willing act on stats of another nation on this issue, but ignore stats of a foreign nation in regards to gun control.

Now I must make very clear that I am anti-gay rights. I’m anti-straight rights, white-rights, Asian-rights and any other specific rights for a particular group of people. I’m 100% for equal rights. Rights are not granted because of a particular persuasion, ethnicity or gender. Rights are granted simply because you are an American citizen; the rest is irrelevant. I quote Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That’s it. Equal protection. Nothing specific to one group of people. Just the same rights for every American. Not civil unions. Not domestic partnerships. Marriage. Marriage for all. You get what I get. No more, no less. Or as the Massachusetts court put it best:

The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal.

Now I ask you – find me the American who’s against another American having the same rights as him or her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Sarah posted a few pics of a recent trip to Duluth that she took. It got me thinking of the trip back that Karin and I took a couple years ago, and got me reminiscing (as I’m prone to do.)

It’s crazy to think that it was 16 years ago that I landed there, a mouthy little 19 year old with a funky accent. (Granted, I’m now a mouth 36 year old with small traces of an accent, but that’s still some progress.)

IMG_1145 It’s great thinking back to our first apartment. Most married couples tell some story about some little dinky place that they had to squeeze in to. We found a rent controlled place with a huge living room and a great view. The  bedroom was just big enough to fit the king bed in it (by just big enough, I mean we slid it into this IMG_1148notch in the room where the walls butted up against each side of the bed). When we visited, I couldn’t do justice to the view as I couldn’t quite get high enough, but suffice it to say, it was fantastic looking over the lake and the Lift Bridge.

We also snuck up to Thunder Bay during this trip. Thunder IMG_1141Bay was our getaway place when ever we needed to escape Duluth (or The Cities) for that matter. The drive up is just gorgeous, and if you ever have the chance you need to take it. Some day I’d love to take the Miata out there and run it up the coast. Maybe some fall.


By far what blows me away the most is how young we look. I mean, yeah, we were babies, but still. That’s Karin at Niagara Falls during our honeymoon. (Look at how long her hair is…)

The other one is me at Kakabeka Falls in the Thunder Bay Area. I miss that Pinky and the Brain shirt.


And here we are today:


Christopher Harrison 2

Crazy. Just crazy.

Thanks for indulging me for a few minutes.

I’m done now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

[Periodically] Friday Five

The Excuse

I must inform you that I always intend to do a Five. Unfortunately, life sometimes conspires against me, and it just doesn’t happen. Last week was a huge week for me (I’ll explain later), and I just didn’t have a chance to put it together. I started, but alas, it just didn’t happen.

The Week[s]

Last week (the week of the 3rd) I was in Atlanta. After going to a particular area a couple of times you get a feel for the place and it becomes more comfortable. What made things even better was that Abram came down from DC to visit. He hung out on Monday night and Tuesday, watching MNF and the election results. It was a blast being able to reconnect with him, and have someone to watch the election with. It made for a very long Wednesday, but the class I was teaching couldn’t have turned out any better. (The marks were the best I’ve had in quite a while.)

This week I was in San Jose. I think I’ve got this area pretty well down. I was able to have dinner one night with a group of friends, and even get in a couple of workouts which was nice. The downside was (of course) that coming to San Jose means dealing with the San Jose airport, and on this particular trip dealing with an RJ (regional jet).

The Exercise

The Atlanta week was a complete wash. I knew it was going to be so I really didn’t get myself too down. This week was a bit better – I did get down to the gym twice, which while not great is still better than nothing.

The Restaurant

This week I met my friends at Aqui, a cafeteria style Mexican fusion type place. I wound up having (because I ordered the wrong thing) a breaded pork thing with pasta. It was good but nothing wowing. Of course I had just come from the gym, so anything at that point would have been good. I’d give the place another shot the next time I’m in town.

The Travel Note

I have been bound and determined to lose something these past few weeks. Recently I have:

  • Left my suitcase in an airport bar (realized it just as I got to the bottom of the Jetway)
  • Locked my suitcase in a classroom (wound up having to break in)
  • Thrown away my wallet (it was under a couple of other items on my desk and I threw it away without realizing it)

And finally I succeeded. I left the cable for my Zune that I use to connect to the car radio in my last rental. I set out on a mission and I succeeded.

The Five

Miscellaneous items

  1. I’ve mentioned this before, but just to reiterate – I’m never comfortable in one place for a long time. I’m kicking around the idea of moving this blog over to Live Spaces by Microsoft, but I haven’t quite decided yet. Don’t worry – there will be plenty of advanced warning should that happen.
  2. There are about 6-10 words that I misspell. Fortunately, my brother and wife are right there to correct me that’s why I have a spell checker. Having said that, the improper use of the their/there/they’re and your/you’re really bug me. That and losing (not loosing).
  3. I used to be rather depressed about turning another year older – to the point where I didn’t want to celebrate or tell anyone it was my birthday. Since passing 30, I’m actually quite OK with it. I’m enjoying my 30’s. (You will notice over on the right side (about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down) that there’s my Amazon wish list. I’m not saying that I have a birthday coming up or anything….)
  4. I’ve never broken a bone in my body. I’ve busted up my nose a couple of times (which is just cartilage), and dislocated my finger (in rather nasty form). But never broken a bone.
  5. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on the planet who owns both a Zune and an iPhone. I personally hate iTunes, so I use the Zune for music. Plus, being able to subscribe to “all you can eat” music is rather convenient for someone like myself who listens to a wide variety of music.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

Life's been a tad more hectic than I had hoped. I really did want to put together a couple of postings on some of the bigger items (such as Prop 8 in CA (gays should be allowed to be as miserable as us straights)), but it did not happen.

In any event, I can at least say this - Go Vote! I really don't care who you vote for, just that you vote. We really only have two civic duties that are required of us by The Constitution - serve on a jury and voting.

Please exercise your right to vote today.