Monday, January 30, 2012

Hale Freezes Over 2012

(The Wife already blogged about this over here, but I thought I would post it for my own race records as well.)

Last Saturday was the first race of the year!  And actually our first race since Thanksgiving, which I guess breaks our one-5K-a-month record, but that was kind of a resolution for a couple of years ago.  (Also, we did a couple a month in the fall, so it balances out.)  Now we just do races as they come up, which works out.  We have done this race twice before, and we like it, so we decided to do it again, but opted out of the 10K option (which we did in the fall, even having barely recovered from food poisoning, yikes).  Anyway, we called Dad and invited his lonely wife-less soul to join us (he's not actually wife-less, but his wife is out of state for a week or so).  It was a nice morning, pretty cold, but not insanely freezing like it was the first year.  The course is the same as ever, and it is a good course, even with that insane hill at the 2 mile mark.  It has some good downhills and a solid uphill, so it's interesting.  I confess I was relieved the turn the corner with the 5K runners and say goodbye to the 10Kers as they split off for the rest of their course.
Go, Dad!
Go, Wife!
Go, me!
This fellow was there.  Some people had to hug him before they could get their prize.  I didn't have to.
We all did really great, and Dad and I both won our age groups, and Julie was top 10 in hers!  (To be accurate, I was actually second in my age group, but the one ahead of me was one of the overall winners, so I was awarded for the division, which is a lucky thing because they only gave medals to 1st place in each one.)  I was 6th overall and 2nd in my age group at about 20:15.
Eep!  Don't notice my tummy.

They have good prizes, but we never win anything in the raffle, but I DID snag a frisbee.  Sort of.  I didn't catch it and it dropped behind me but the lady gave it to me anyway.  I felt kind of bad until I noticed her kids had one too.  Right on.
Best prize ever?  Probably.

When you run this race, you get vouchers for free tickets to an upcoming show, but the tickets for this one and the fall race were for the same play.  Apparently they aren't willing to substitute the duplicates for another show.   Hmph!  I'm still looking to try to finagle something, but we'll see.  It's still a good race.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 2nd (So Far) Annual Epic Buzz Cut...

... Complete with a full shave of The Beard.

Last year when we spent Christmas in Missouri I had the crazy idea to get a haircut.  The idea to get a haircut itself isn't so crazy, of course, but what is fairly crazy is the amount of hair I decided to cut off.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I like to grow my hair long, and of course my beard (much to the chagrin of the occasional local church leader...).  The Wife likes it too, so it works out for everyone (except maybe the aforementioned occasional local church leader).  But sometimes I just feel like it's time for a clean slate in the hair department, and of course, though I'm not one to go to extremes (HA), with hair, which so quickly grows back, it sometimes seems like an all or nothing kind of situation.  And what better time for a fresh start than the beginning of a new year?  So, last January I had my shortest haircut ever, a bona fide buzz cut, and, to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.  Not to say I didn't miss my long hair, as I certainly did, but it was a nice change, it dried so quickly and required even less maintenance than usual (which is already not that much), and I wondered if it would become an annual tradition (after which I would see just how long through the year I could go without taking scissors to hair).  As Christmas came and went this year I started to think that maybe I wouldn't do it again after all, but then a week or two into January, well, this happened:
I'm not exactly sure what prompted it in the end, except that I had a few days (and weeks) in a row when it was just feeling really long and shaggy and sometimes itchy and had these weird waves and was just kind of annoying me.  So, off it went!  I don't really feel sad about it though.  I am sentimental about many things, and have been about my locks in the past, but lately I've been able to keep it all in perspective (and it DOES grow back pretty fast).  People don't recognize me at first, and I myself do the occasional double take for the first few days whenever I happen to catch my reflection in the mirror, but it's fun for a change.  Some have wondered why I would do such a thing in the winter instead of the more likely summertime, but that I blame on the Honor Code.  It disrupted my schedule when it prompted me to grow out my hair and beard when I could, which is the summer, and keep it short when I needed to, which was the winter.  Those Testing Center and Men's Chorus powers that be certainly wouldn't allow my current usual trend.
Taking a leaf out of Lili's book, though of course my hair was not nearly as long as Jeff's (oh my), though I guess the cut itself was probably as dramatic.  I thought the captions were a nice touch.

And there you have it! As Julie said, it was sheep shearing day at the Graham house.  Just call me shorn.

P.S. Oh, and sorry about the excess amount of skin in this post.  I promise I wasn't naked.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blogkeeping -- Winter 2012

Time for just a little blogkeeping!  I was really surprised to discover that I had already gone well over 100 (like 30+ over) before clearing out the list on the right.  Yikes.  It does fill in faster when I include all the rewatches and not just the new watches.  So this list goes from late June to late November.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [r] ***** / The Muppet Christmas Carol [r] **** 1/2 / The Muppets Take Manhattan [r] *** 1/2 / The Great Muppet Caper [r] **** 1/2 / The Muppet Movie [r] **** / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 [r] ***** / DisneyNature: The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos ** 1/2 / West Side Story [r] ***** / The Turn of the Screw *** 1/2 / Watchmen ** 1/2 / District 9 **** 1/2 / Sleepy Hollow [r] *** 1/2 / Captain America [r] **** / The Three Musketeers (2011) *** / Fast Five ** / The Three Musketeers (1993) [r] *** 1/2 / Project Runway (Season 9) *** 1/2 / Fast and Furious ** 1/2 / The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift ** / Moby Dick (2011) *** 1/2 / Signs [r] ***** / LOST (Season 4) [r] **** 1/2 / 2 Fast 2 Furious ** 1/2 / The Fast and the Furious ** / Thoroughly Modern Millie [r] **** 1/2 / The Nightmare Before Christmas [r] ***** / Lars and the Real Girl [r] **** / LOST (Season 3) [r] ***** / Dream House ** 1/2 / Cellular [r] **** / Gladiator [r] **** / The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary **** 1/2 / Three O'Clock High *** 1/2 / Red Riding Hood ** / Thor [r] *** / Limitless *** / The Conspirator **** / The Lion King (3D) **** 1/2 / About a Boy **** / The Cove *** / Contagion **** / Ponyo *** / Winnie the Pooh ** 1/2 / The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh [r] **** / Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story *** / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ** 1/2 / Apollo 18 *** / 12 Rounds ** / LOST (Season 2) [r] ***** / Monarch of the Glen (Series 1) ***1/2 / Unknown *** 1/2 / Beastly * 1/2 / Cowboys & Aliens *** 1/2 / 300 ** 1/2 / A Town Called Panic *** / Gargoyles (Season 1) [r] **** 1/2 / To Kill a Mockingbird [r] **** / Planet of the Apes (1968) ** 1/2 / Rise of the Planet of the Apes [r] **** / Ondine *** / Disneynature: Oceans *** / Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [r] *** / War of the Worlds (2005) [r] *** / Rise of the Planet of the Apes **** 1/2 / She's the Man [r] **** / The Eagle ** 1/2 / Daria (Season 1) [r] ***** / Australia [r] *** / Moulin Rouge [r] ***** / Romeo + Juliet [r] *** 1/2 / Stricly Ballroom [r] ***** / LOST (Season 1) [r] ***** / December Boys ** / Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events [r] **** 1/2 / Captain America: The First Avenger **** / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 [r] ***** / Disneynature: Earth *** / So I Married an Axe Murderer [r] *** 1/2 / A Midsummer Night's Dream [r] *** / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 [r] ***** / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [1/2r] ***** / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [r] **** / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [r] ***** / Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [r] ***** / Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [r] **** 1/2 / Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [r] **** 1/2 / Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [r] **** 1/2 / The Bourne Ultimatum ** 1/2 / The Bourne Supremacy *** / The Bourne Identity *** 1/2 / Sherlock (Series 1) **** / A Tale of Two Cities *** 1/2 / Post Grad * 1/2 / Cars 2 ** 1/2 / The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [r] ***** / The Burbs [r] *** 1/2 / Catfish ***** / Burlesque * / Kung Fu Panda 2 *** 1/2 / Megamind *** 1/2

There we go.  Sorry to put a hold on the news, but it's always nice to clear out the list.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogreading.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

... A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Happy Christmas to all!  It's been a couple of weeks, but I have just barely finished taking down the tree and the lights and the wreath and the cards so it has lingered a little while, which is fine.  We didn't even get our Christmas tree until like two weeks into December (since we were going to be gone to Disneyland and didn't want it to die of thirst or perhaps light our unattended house on fire somehow), so it was nice to let it carry on into the New Year a little.  (Also, and this is just a little moment of venting, those little light clips are pretty handy, and some of them stayed put, but others were SO resistant to stick to their respective surfaces... And THEN a couple of them peeled the paint off when I tried to take them down?!?  Whatev.)  SO we had a very nice Christmas Day and also a great New Year, so here are some pictures and a little report.
Christmas Eve!  I am a present.
We had a delightful Christmas Eve dinner with lots of varied items and watched Edward Scissorhands.
Christmas morning!  Santa Claus came and brought many exciting things.  I love that LOST book so so so much, and Santa always has such great taste in neckwear.  Various other musical DVDs also appeared here and there throughout the day as well (one was in the fridge).
 Santa Claus also much know that Julie really likes The Nightmare Before Christmas and Harry Potter and Wii Lego games and Dumbo.  Also, again with the great taste in neckwear.
We finally bought some semi-decent stockings this year!  One of these days we'll have some kind of mantel to hang them on.
My stocking included this killer do-rag.  SO HARDCORE.
We saw these in Disneyland a few years ago and Julie very much wanted them but decided against it.  She's never been able to forget about them, but we haven't found them in any parks since that trip.  Turns out they're not really available anymore, but thanks to the internet, they finally appeared under our tree, much to her delight.
This is the t-shirt for the race Julie's sister Marci organized.  I did the art for the design so she sent us a couple of the shirts.  It's looks great!
After we awoke and opened our presents, we went to church, which was really nice on Christmas morning.  Then we came home and spent a lot of time together and went over to Mom and Dad's house in the afternoon for very many delicious foods and an impromptu Christmas concert.
'Tis Christmas.
On Christmas night we had a slumber party in the living room and watched movies in the glow of the Christmas lights.  Turns out the rug isn't quite enough padding to qualify as a mattress, but it was still fun.
It was a great Christmas!  I daresay it was the best ever.  The next week I basically worked only two days, and then had another nice long weekend (I had a few days off left to use up), so it was a really great break.  Unfortunately right after Christmas I came down with a wee cold, which The Wife shortly after caught from me.  It always takes her a little while longer than me to recover from those sorts of things, so we spent the vacation watching a lot of movies (some terrible, but it's okay when it's from the Redbox and only cost approximately $1) and relaxing and doing things like this:

It's a giant 1000-piece puzzle of a map of Disneyland from Santa Claus!  It took us a couple of evenings, and it's a little harder than it looks, especially because the picture on the box is so tiny and the puzzle art itself is very very detailed (like, it includes every store and Guest Services kiosk, pretty much everything except the toilets, and maybe even a couple of those).  But it was fun because if you're familiar with the layout of Disneyland you kind of know where to tentatively put the pieces until it's time to put them all together.  We enjoyed it so much that Julie blogged about it too, which you can read here.

Julie is holding the remains of her Star Wars Marshmallow Lollipop.
Then we had New Year's weekend, which was also really nice.  We had more family things at Cami's house, where we had pizza and played games and visited, and then we all played Kinect Dance Central and learned that we're pretty great dancers.  Julie's cold really hit after that, so we took it easy for the rest of the weekend.
New Year's flowers!  It had just been a while since The Wife had a nice bouquet.

The New Year's Baby came!
This weekend we decided to have a do-over of some of our New Year's weekend since Julie was under the weather for a lot of it.  We stayed up until midnight last night (sure, we do that on occasion anyway, but still), and tonight we finally had our Full English Breakfast, with bubbly to follow.
It's so delicious!

Perhaps one of our favorite new traditions.
And that's about it!  It's actually been a pretty long week since regular life started again, but it's nice to go back and review the festivities.  It was fun to read about all the other activities our out-of-town family were up to, and we love our Christmases together.  I'm a little bummed we haven't had much snow this year (so far), but it's still early!  We finally took down our tree and lights and everything this week, but I figure since, like I said, we didn't put up our tree until mid-December anyway, it was okay to let it linger a few days into January.  I even feel like I listened to an acceptable amount of Christmas music this year, which is very nice.  At the moment I kind of can't believe we're already a week into January, but I think 2012 has a lot of promise.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all! XD