Saturday, May 31, 2008

Herndon Fesitval

Last night was the Herndon Festival in nearby Herndon, Virginia. We had only gone once before years ago. It's a rather small and tame affair, though I suppose it's big enough for a small town like Herndon. Still, we found ourselves pretty much wrapped up in less than an hour and headed home. Nice enough and it doesn't cost anything, so no complaints. :-)

Italian Meetup at Michelangelo's

This week we had our Italian Meetup for the first time at Michelangelo's Restaurant here in Ashburn. That's Michelangelo and his wife in the first photo.

This restaurant is wonderful! Because we were a large group, I think there were 15 of us, and they knew we were coming, they prepared a fixed-price menu for us and brought out one dish after the other for us all to share. There was so much food that there was a lot left over after we were all stuffed - a real shame because it was all so delicious! The staff was very friendly and attentive. The owners were doting on us and making us feel so welcome, and the food just never stopped coming. The evening was capped off with Michelangelo's own homemade tiramisu -the best I've ever had!

We loved it so much that we decided to meet there once a month...FOREVER!

Click the link below if you live within 50 miles of Ashburn, Virginia and check out this wonderful restaurant!

More photos on my Flickr site:

Herndon Friday Night Live Concert, May 23rd

Almost every week during the summer the town of Herndon near us holds a free concert. Sometimes it's well-attended, other times not. But it's always fun!

All the Colors of the Rainbow

We have a had a lot of rain lately, finally! I say finally because last year we had drought conditions and had to cut back on our water usage big time. Now we have had lots of rainstorms, so many that some areas have flooded. Luckily, we don't live in a flood zone so our basement is still dry!

The rain brings other benefits, like this rainbow I saw near my house. When it doesn't rain, we don't get rainbows!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Truth in Advertising

At the local Starbucks:

Are you energetic, friendly, motivated and addicted to coffee? Apply today as a full-time or part-time barista!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Bumper Stickers

Seen recently in my supermarket's parking lot:

I do whatever my Rice Krispies tell me to.

You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Guinea Pigs Again Enchant The Neighbor Girls

The girls came to visit Nibbler and Quibbler again and this time they were able to feed them les carotes. What a feast. How lucky are these little piggies to be hand fed?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Latest REALLY Cool Thing!

This is so cool and it's free. Check it out for yourself. You can explore space from the comfort of your home. It's a bit like Google Maps for space!

Download and experience it:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Smash Mouth in Concert

Sunday evening my son and I went to see Smash Mouth in concert nearby at the Belmont Country Club, the first in a summer-long series called Loudoun Music Fest. CCR Revisited was supposed to play two weeks ago but they were rained out. As you can see, this is an outdoor venue.

The opening act was a band called Mae, decent enough, rocking hard. Their set was a little long but pretty good. That's them in the first photo.

Smash Mouth came on after them and they rocked the house (OK, field) big time. One thing I thought while watching them is how it's pretty cool to see a band that was big (OK, sort of big) a few years ago. The reasons? 1) Tickets are much cheaper than seeing them in their hey day. 2) They've been doing this so long that if they didn't know how to do a concert right they wouldn't have lasted this long. 3) The crowds aren't overwhelming. As you can see, we sat pretty close to the stage!

You see the yellow-jacketed security guards? They were there to make sure none of us were audio or video recording the event (though many were, I'm sure). They also were guarding the fenced in VIP section in front of the stage. While the rest of us paid $15 - $20 for a ticket, those in the VIP section had paid about $40.

But something interesting happened after Smash Mouth got on stage and had played two or three songs. The lead singer, Steve Harwell, said that the concert would be a lot more fun if more people could be in front of the stage. The VIP section was pretty sparsely filled. He asked those who had paid a lot more for their seats and the security guards whether it would be OK with them if they let more people in. Put on the spot, what were they going to say? So in some of the photos you can see a lot of people hopping over the fence into the VIP section.

Steve was right. The concert was a lot more fun after that! I'm sure those who paid more for their seats weren't happy about it, but even they must have thought it was more fun to be standing and surrounded than just sitting there complacently.

Anyway, as the skies darkened and the full moon came out, the concert kept going. They played all of their famous songs and then some. You might know them as the band that sang I'm a Believer from the Shrek movie. You might also have seen them at the end of the very funny movie Rat Race.

Overall, it was a real fun concert!

I think the above photo I took is pretty cool. Click it to enlarge it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Seen It, Done That, Been There (Thoughts on Getting Older)

It's interesting how age adds wisdom but also boredom. We all know the formula for a good romantic comedy.

1) Boy meets girl.
2) Boy gets girl.
3) Boy loses girl.
4) Boy gets girl back again.

(Yes, I know it sounds very one-sided, but that's the formula, folks!).

So how many romantic comedies can you see before they start to seem like movies you've seen before? How many TV situation comedies can I see before I start to recognize plots from I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners?

More and more, I love originality but it's harder and harder to find because there are only so many ways that people relate to each other and even fewer ways to write about them in ways that are unique. So...horror movies seem less horrifying, comedies are less comedic, and so on. When I happen upon something new and different, wow, I love it!

The same thing happens with music. I have lost count of the number of times that my kids heard a song on the radio played by a modern band and commented what a great new song it was. Except...the song is older and has already been covered by other bands. Tonight my son and I saw Smash Mouth in concert. Remember them from 10 years ago? More on them in my next blog entry. Of course they have many of their own songs but one of the most popular on the night, very well played and sung, was I'm a Believer. It was written by Neil Diamond. Since 1966, these are the bands and singers that have recorded the song, starting with The Monkees:

Does this make it a good song? YES! It has been very popular for 42 years and counting. It has not been unique since The Monkees first sang it, but it's still very good! Of course, it's a 4-minute song and we all know how we can listen to the same song over and over, but if it's a novel or movie it's disappointing when we recognize the plot because of the time it takes to digest the novel and even the movie. We've all heard and probably uttered the phrase, "There go two hours of my life I won't get back!"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Seen At My Local Supermarket...

I would hate to fill this position. Who knows how long I would last?

It's good that there is the Braille equivalent underneath. If I were blind, though, I would not want to open the door. Of course, even though I'm not blind, I still don't want to open the door on the off chance that the manager inside may not be quite alive!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Orlando Friends

Photo 1: My friend and Captivate Marketing Manager at Adobe Silke.

Photo 2: My friend and one-time student Jeanene.

Photo 3: Students gathering for the Master Captivate class I taught.

Photo 4: My new friends and future work allies from Rio de Janeiro Barbara and Maria.

Photo 5 and 6: My friend Kathy and her daughter Michele as we were on our way to BB King's Blues Club.

All photos and videos from Orlando are here - click me!

More Orlando

More from Orlando! In the first photo, I'm surrounded by four very pretty and very smart ladies and colleagues. In order from left to right - Adriana from Austin, Mia from Denmark, me, Kathy from Wisconsin and Kristin from New Hampshire.

Photos 2 and 3 are from the Lego area of Downtown Disney.

In the fourth photo is my friend and co-presenter Adriana.

In the fifth photo, a troupe of (I believe) middle-school students performing in the local outdoor shopping mall a song and dance from the 60s.

In the sixth photo, the beautiful high-def big screen TV in my hotel room showing the rocket launch that was happening that day not far from Orlando at Cape Canaveral!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Orlando Site - Wonderworks

This building is upside down, or at least it was designed to look that way. It's pretty cool. I was in Orlando and my hotel was near this building. While there, I had dinner at Maggiano's with my friend Letha and her daughter Amanda, both of whom you can see in these photos.

Pretty cool building, n'est-ce pas?

Sweet Charity Event

Last week I attended Sweet Charity, a wonderful charity dedicated to getting new books in the hands of poor children. (See the website.) Emceed by Leon Harris of local ABC7/WJLA-TV News and by our local news station WTOP's "Man About Town" Bob Madigan, the event had dozens of local chefs giving away delicious samples of their food, especially desserts and most especially chocolate. There was a silent auction for a great many prizes and a live auction for contributions. Every one dollar contributed equaled one brand new book for a child.

The coolest part of the evening was a fashion show where models wore outfits that were especially designed to contain chocolate! The top model was Kate Michael, Miss DC 2006. Isn't she gorgeous wearing a 25 pound cake on her head? As you can see, she has a really big heart (groan!). That's me standing next to her in the second photo. We're getting married next month (haha).

Check out the home movies I made there of the models strutting their stuff. I guarantee you've never seen a fashion show like this one! To see the videos, you'll need to click the link below to go to my Flickr site.

Click here to see more photos and all the videos of the event can be seen by clicking here.

A Night Out for Delicious Italian Food With Dear Friends

We had a lovely dinner recently at Il Fornaio (of which I've written before) with our friends, here seen.

From left to right, we have Katie, Rose (hiding somewhat), Larisa, my wife and me, and Tara.

Am I a lucky guy or what?