Team Building

Today TimeGate paid for the entire team I’m working on to go to Sweet Mesquite grill and then go see the movie The Bank Job. Sweet Mesquite is a typical Texas grill where you can get a variety of grilled food from hamburgers to BBQ-sandwiches. I had the bacon cheeseburger and fries. I had never eaten there, but it was really good. Afterwards, we went to see The Bank Job. An Brittish film about a couple of regular people who come together to rob a bank. I had never heard of the movie, but it ended up being pretty good. It started out slow, but picked up once the robbery took place. I recommend it.

Universal Day


Today the company I work for, EA-Tiburon, bought everyone tickets to Universal Studios Florida. It was foggy and misty this morning, but we decided to head out anyway. I had visited Universal once before, but this was the first time for Jennifer and the girls. Overall, everyone had fun. However, it wasn’t anything that you couldn’t see at one of Disney’s parks. The one exception being the Revenge of the Mummy, which is one of the best roller coasters I’ve ridden. We ended up riding the following rides: Jimmy Neutron, Shrek 4-D, Twister, Revenge of the Mummy, Jaws, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Fievel’s Playland, and E.T. Adventures. We had to explain to Abby how each ride was based on a movie, since she had never seen Twister, Jaws, or E.T. We told her it might be a while before she can see Jaws, but we would try and add E.T. to our Friday movie night. Isabelle was quite funny during the Jaws ride. She kept burying her face into my side each time the shark would pop out. Everyone kept saying “awww” every time she would do it. By the afternoon the fog had burned off and the sun turned the park into a sauna. After that we only spent a few more hours because we all were starting to get cranky.

One other event of note is that we’ve been potty training Isabelle over the past week, starting last Monday. So far it’s looking like success. She now tells us when she needs to go instead of us asking every hour or so. It has been two days straight of her staying dry and she even survived the trip to Universal Studios and stayed dry all day. This is quite a momentous occasion for me as a parent. This now marks the end of seven straight years of changing diapers. Yea!

The Trip to Nana & Poppy’s House

Two days on the road and we made it to Nana and Poppy’s house yesterday. The drive was fairly uneventful. The first day took us through Florida where we once again stayed in Mobile, Alabama. We found a pretty nice hotel which actually had a suite: two bedrooms and a fold out couch in another. So, Abby & Emily had one room and Isabelle had her the fold out couch. Jennifer and I had our own room. This all actually helped when getting them all to bed and we could stay up and watch TV while they went to bed.

The second day we went up diagonally through Mississippi and hit I-20 in Jackson. From there it was a straight shot to Shreveport. We were able to make the second trip with only one stop for lunch in Vicksburg. When we got to Shreveport, Poppy and Jill were waiting for us. That night the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. Jennifer and I went to see I Am Legend and when we got out of the movie theater, we almost froze to death just walking to our car. It’s currently 80 degrees back in Florida and you suddenly dropped us into 32 degree weather.

Today Jennifer and I continued some Christmas shopping and stopped off to eat at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Shreveport: Monjuni’s. Excellent bread and lasagna. While we were doing that Poppy and Jill took Abby and Emily to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. Abby and Emily both said the movie was good, but they didn’t really give specifics on what their favorite parts were.

We allowed the girls to open up one present tonight as well. Abby got upset because the other two opened up toys while she opened up clothes. We took pity on her and let her open up one more present.

Spider-Man 3

As part of our night out celebrating Jennifer’s birthday, we went to see Spider-Man 3. This time Peter Parker finds out more about the death of his uncle. It wasn’t the person he originally thought killed him. It is an escaped prisoner who falls into a particle accelerator and gets turned into a creature made of sand. Over the movie was okay. The first two were way better. They had three villains total in the movie, which just made the plot more complex than it needed to be. Same as my advice on Shrek: wouldn’t hurt to see Spider-Man 3 if you’ve seen the other two, but don’t make this one the first one you see.

Shrek the Third

Last day of vacation, so I took Abby and Emily to see the new Shrek movie: Shrek the Third. When the king of Far Far Away croaks, he leaves Shrek and Fiona in charge of the kingdom, unless they can find the other heir to the throne: Aurthur. So, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots head off in search of the new heir to the throne of Far Far Away. It was a cute movie, but not near as funny as the first two. If you liked the first two, then it’s a must see, otherwise, I wouldn’t be jumping on the Shrek bandwagon with this movie. Abby’s favorite part was after Shrek hears he’s going to be a father. He has a dream sequence where the baby throws up all over Shrek.

Team America: World Police

At the recommendation of a few people at work, I Netflixed Team America: World Police. From the makers of South Park, the movie is a satire of the Jerry Bruckheimer disaster movies, but with an all puppet cast. It is also inspired by the old Thunderbirds television show from the 60’s. Team America is a global police force bent on stopping global terrorism at any cost. They uncover a plot by Kim Jong-Il to unleash a 9-11 type plot, but times a thousand, and their attempt to stop them is hampered by members of the Film Actors Guild. The movie tries to play a lot of the plot overly seriously like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, which is hilarious. There’s a lot of puppet violence and that’s probably what makes it so funny.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

At the suggestion of a couple of people at work, I borrowed the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It wasn’t very entertaining, but was interesting. It’s amazing how crooked a company can get and then even in the end try and pin it on other people. The documentary covers the rise and the fall of Enron. For example, I never knew that the rolling blackouts that were happening in California had ties to Enron. If you are curious about what happened to Enron, then I recommend it. It gets you a little scared about corporate America. Are there more Enrons out there right now?

Office Space

Okay. I admit it. I hadn’t seen Office Space until tonight. There’s so many references to this movie at work I had to see it. It’s a requirement if you work in the software industry. Very funny movie, although I would have to say that I was a little disappointed. I thought there was going to be more since there was so much hype going into it. The scene where they beat up the fax machine reminded me of an idea I had back when I worked on Madden PC. I always wanted to get the most problematic PC down in QA and beat the hell out of it.



Night at the Museum

Abby has been excited about Night at the Museum ever since she saw the commercial with the dinosaur which plays fetch. So, me, Abby, and Emily went out to see it today. It’s always an adventure going to the movies with the two of them. We have to get candy and juice even though we had just eaten lunch. Ben Stiller plays a kind of loser divorced dad who is having trouble holding down a job. In order to stay in New York, where his son is living, he takes a job as the night watchman at the Natural History Museum. It turns out that the night watchman has more duties that you would expect. At night all the exhibits come to life and he must keep them from leaving the museum. Overall the movie was cute. Abby liked it and though the ending was the best part.