Disney Insanity

By the time I finished the show yesterday and the rest of us shook off the travel fatigue, we didn’t make it to the Magic Kingdom park until well after dark. We didn’t get a chance to do many rides, but we did see the spectacular fireworks display and get a chance to walk around the park. For someone who grew up around Disneyland in Anaheim, the differences between the parks is impressive — and the resorts are even more so.
However, there is something particularly obnoxious about receiving your wake-up call from giggling and screaming cartoon characters. Yeesh.
Today we do Epcot, starting with a Princess Breakfast at 9 am ET. The Little Admiral has been almost unable to contain herself waiting for this. This should be prime video material. Speaking of which, we took a little video last night on a ride that came out pretty dark. Can you guess where my sister took this?

We took this with my Aiptek IS-DV2, which I wrote about here. It’s the only camera I took on this trip, and so far it seems to be doing fine. I haven’t drained the batteries yet, but I only took about five minutes of video. It’s not good at night video (as we found out above), but I’d normally be using it in better lighting conditions anyway.

The Best Gift?

We’ve reached the end of a long Christmas day, one of the better that we’ve celebrated since moving to Minnesota. We have an honest-to-goodness white Christmas this year, thanks to an early winter and prodigious snowfall this December, the coldest and wettest December in at least ten years. The First Mate and I started celebrating last night, and we’ve continued to celebrate until now — and we have just reached the point of exhaustion.
Michelle Malkin asks her readers to identify the best gift they gave this year. I figured I’d share with you a few different award winners along those lines…
The gift most likely to backfire on me was my son’s didgeridoo. For some reason, he insisted that he wanted to learn the Australian instrument, and so we looked around for a reasonable, good-quality didge. Even our daughter-in-law seemed enthusiastic — until he actually got it today and proceeded to play it for the entire time we were at their house. Banished from the living room, he went upstairs to his bathroom, and found it so well-suited to the sound that he spent the evening trying to get someone to come into the bathroom to listen to him play the didge. Did Larry Craig use that line?
His wife has already reached her limit. He may wind up having to practice here — and hence the risk of backfire.
The gift that brought everyone the most fun was the Little Admiral’s first real digital camera. It’s surprisingly reasonable, designed for kids, well-protected, and comes with a lot of fun features. Here she’s getting her mom to take her picture:
But the gift that gave us the most joy — the best gift we gave — was sharing our Christmas Eve with a close family friend who’s coming out the other end of some tough times. He’s been with us for three years in a row on Christmas Eve, and it’s becoming a Christmas tradition. Our son celebrates with his in-laws on that night, and we would otherwise do nothing special. Our friend gives us a reason to get festive, put on a meal, and bring Christmas a little closer to our hearts.
I hope that your Christmas had all the blessings of ours, and more. Merry Christmas once again.

The Little Admiral Discovers Olives

We just returned from our Thanksgiving celebration, exhausted from the food and the fun. Our granddaughter, the Little Admiral, managed to combine the two:
Her big cousin Allie, seen just behind her, taught her that little trick tonight. We were both surprised she didn’t know it already! I hope everyone learned a new trick or two today to have fun with their loved ones.
Technical notes: I used my Aiptek IS-DV2+ camera to shoot a few dozen shots of the event. I even let the Little Admiral and her cousin Connor take a few shots. I took this picture without the flash in 8-megapixel mode, and it looks pretty good. It’s hard to keep a camera this small still, and the Little Admiral was moving when I snapped the shutter, but it still looks good enough for candid photography. I noticed that the batteries tend to run down fairly soon on this camera, but the two original AAs managed to make it through the day. In the future, though, I’ll make sure I bring backups — preferably rechargeable AAs.

Giving Thanks

Today is the traditional day in which Americans count their blessings and give thanks for them. In reviewing the past year, the biggest blessing I have is the First Mate — and the donor who saved her life with a kidney transplant in March. Our friend Rich and his wonderful, supportive family has been undoubtedly the biggest blessing in our lives this year, and we thank God for the blessing he has given us.
We have many other blessings, too, in family and friends. While we cannot spend the holiday with our families in California, we get to spend it with our extended family here in Minnesota. They have been a constant blessing to us over the past six years, not just in the love they have shown our son when he joined their family, but in how they have embraced us as family, too.
I hope your day is as filled with blessings as ours is. We’re having our first real snowfall today, and hopefully I can bring back pictures later of the celebration. The CapQ community is one of my own biggest blessings — and I give thanks for you as well.
UPDATE: Okay, I’ve managed to survive a couple of meltdowns from Windows Movie Maker to create this short video of the snowfall. I’ve included a portion of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi (the Largo from the Winter suite, of course). I used my new Aiptek IS-DV2+ camera for the video and saved it in VHS format for better uploading speed to YouTube. It comes out rather nicely, I think, although my Sony DV camcorder would have had better quality. I’ll be using it today to take holiday pictures and video, and we’ll see how it performs.

Better Than Blogging

When I write a post title like that, you know I spent time with the First Mate, the Little Admiral, and my son and daughter-in-law. Last year we took our granddaughter to a pumpkin patch in Wisconsin to celebrate Halloween. This year we found another farm closer to us, Pinehaven Farm, in Wyoming, MN. It has everything to delight small children, and to wear them down in about four hours or so. She perked up when we joined Mommy and Daddy for a nice Italian dinner. It’s a great way to avoid the roofers that showed up at 8:15 this morning to repair the damage we had in August ….

Chris Muir Returns

Chris Muir sent me a short note this morning thanking us all for our thoughts and prayers, and announcing his early return to business. Day by Day will return tomorrow, I presume, as Chris starts the process of production again. Keep an eye on this space for new Day by Day cartoons, and keep Chris and his family in his prayers after the loss of his beloved sister.
UPDATE: He’s back today, as you can see above. If you don’t see the new strip, reload the page to refresh the DBD feed.

Moving Back To The Twin Cities Offices

My two-week visit to my West Coast offices have come to an end, and I’m moving the operation back to the Twin Cities in time for business tomorrow. It will be a busy week; at Heading Right Radio tomorrow, I’ll have Governor Mike Huckabee on a recorded interview and Rep. Tom Cole from the NRCC live. The show will air at the special time of 1 pm CT, one hour earlier than usual, so be sure to adjust your schedules!
Speaking of which, I’ve finally gotten the correct URL for the iTunes subscription. You can now find that here:
Add to iTunes
We had a great time visiting with good friends like Hugh Hewitt, Duane Patterson, NZ Bear, and everyone at Investors Business Daily. I had a great visit with Pajamas Media, and they have a video interview of me which will be released soon at their website. Next time, we’ll leave some time to visit with more of our friends.

On The Road Again

The First Mate and I will head to Southern California for the next two weeks to catch up with family and make some business contacts. It’s not a vacation, but more a move to my West Coast offices. I’ll be working my normal jobs from the road, and still doing my normal Heading Right shows. That’s one of the exciting features of working in the New Media — I can be at the office anywhere that has high-speed Internet access.
I may decide to take weekends mostly off during this time, but do check in as I’ll probably want one or two threads each day just to keep the blog warm. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of SoCal on the blog — and maybe we’ll arrange a get-together with local Captain’s Quarters readers while we’re here!

Me And My Big Mouth

Last night, the First Mate and I went to dinner with old friends of ours from Marriage Encounter, longtime Minnesota residents who moved to Florida a couple of years ago. As Minnesotans often do, we started discussing the weather differences between here and there, and they told us that they live in a part of Florida that rarely gets hit by hurricanes, although they get strong winds from them as they dissipate. I remarked that we hadn’t seen any damaging straight-line wind storms here in the Twin Cities since they’d left, knocking on the wood table for luck.
Well, we didn’t get it. Mere hours later, around 3:15 this morning, we woke up to a pounding at the house — a real, honest-to-goodness Midwestern thunderstorm, complete with lightning and torrential winds and rain. Storm alarms rang all through the city, so we went downstairs to the basement and watched the television (and thank goodness we switched away from satellite service, which would have been useless). The storm lasted for a couple of hours, but the worst of it passed in 30 minutes or so. We went to bed, and I wondered what we’d find in the morning.
As you can see, we didn’t come through completely unscathed, but this was the worst of it. We lost a few shingles off the roof, too, but the real damage is the loss of this fine tree. It provided shade for our deck and, ironically, some screening for the back of the house during thunderstorms. It’ll have to go, as it’s split all the way to the trunk.
Still, it could have been worse. Reports have lines down throughout the metro, and word is that Bloomington got hit pretty hard by the storm. My tree will only be one of dozens or hundreds that will have been lost. Power is out to 45,000 homes this morning. Fortunately, we didn’t get any tornadoes spawned from it.
Blogging may be a little sparse today as we clean up, and count a few blessings while we’re at it. In the future, I think I’ll hold my dinner conversation to the Twins.

Legal Bleg

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine from my teen-age years and who reads CQ on a regular basis. Unfortunately, she has had to start divorce proceedings, but has no representation. Her husband won’t pay support for their several children unless she asks him for it, and she’s had to go on public assistance in the meantime. Hopefully, one or more of our CQ friends in Utah can give her a hand in accessing legal resources in Utah so that she can make sure she protects her interests and the interests of her children.
Please e-mail me anything I can forward to her, with the subject line, “Legal assistance”. She can also use your prayers, and thanks in advance for either.