Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011










































Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Here’s a brief summary of my Christmas vacation back to Utah… please enjoy…

Tuesday

Work was the usual… but afterwards, I met up with Carmen & her roommate for a party celebrating the first night of Hannukah complete with plenty of their friends, great food & spinning the dreidel. I don’t mean to brag… but I kinda walked away with the most kisses that night… Hershey’s Kisses of course, as was the currency of dreidel… but still. I may have also met a very nice future prospect for my new year’s dating resolution. HOLLA!!! After that, I packed for my trip to Utah…

Wednesday

Went to work again, full day… then Super Shuttle to Oakland airport and just before midnight made it into SLC basically go to sleep. Nothing really to tell about this day other than big ups to my stepmom for picking me up at the airport… and damn Utah is much colder than San Francisco. I had to pull out the old Tahoe gear… and there really wasn’t much snow at all, just cold. Apparently it’s been a problem with the ski resorts here in the West.

Thursday

Met up with my mama for lunch at Garcia’s restaurant in Layton near her work. Fun fact: When I was a young’un we would go to Garcia’s all the time for great Mexican food at a great price… but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized that it was Garcia’s as opposed to “Gracias!” Why? Well, I was told as a kid that’s how you say thank you in Spanish when they bring you your dinner… so I would say it to them… and it’s just two letters switched. You know how kids are. Anyway, we had a good lunch. Also, if you’re wondering what I got my mom for Xmas… I got her exactly what she wanted… Peanut M&Ms and ammo for her gun. You’ll notice that the guns are a running theme for this Christmas for some reason. I have a redneck family.

After lunch, I met up with my brother at his house (where else?) and played with the niece & nephew for a bit as he tried to show me all the new games & gadgets that he had… and stuff on the internet. We also watched “Cowboys & Aliens” starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford & Olivia Wilde. For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically just what it sounds like… cowboys fighting aliens back in the Old West. However, if you attempt to watch it with my brother, which I did, he will tell you throughout the entire movie while you’re trying to watch it, that it’s based on true events… and there is evidence that even the outlaw Jesse James wrote in his journal that he shot at a flying demon bird and it made a “ping” sound when he did… and then he’ll go on to tell you that he believes we’re all experiments of aliens and such for several hours… even after you’ve asked him to stop talking a few times so that you can watch the movie. He means well… but has absolutely no social skills whatsoever. Oh… and the movie was actually better than I expected too… from what I could tell. I’d say check it out if you’re interested. It’s not award winning but… Bond & Indy are in it with a dash of Olivia Wilde.

Later that night was a movie that I was really excited about called “Drive” starring Ryan Gosling. From what I was told, it was a movie about a guy simply known as Driver (Gosling) going around on a vengeance-fueled killing spree, which sounded right up my alley for a guilty pleasure. However, it was nominated for awards… so I figured that was BS. Well, it’s about a stunt driver / mechanic / wheelman who gets involved in a robbery, the bad guys threaten a girl & her son who he met a few weeks earlier, and so then he goes around killing them. However, it’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds. There are very long-paused awkward conversations… the soundtrack is something out of Grand Theft Auto 80’s techno… but all in all, I enjoyed it for the most part. Not sure about a few things in the movie… and it’s VERY violent so make sure the kiddies are put to bed… and I have NO IDEA why the director is being tabbed to do “Wonder Woman” as his next project… but yeah, still a pretty good movie, though it does tend to drag a bit. I highly recommend it if you think you can stand that.

Friday

My aunt Faye babysat the kids so my brother, dad, stepmom & I went to see “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner & Simon Pegg. This 4th installment find Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team in the midst of an international incident where the Kremlin blows up… and they are disavowed. To clear their names, save their backsides, and keep the world from falling into nuclear war, they alone can bring down the bad guys. It’s an action movie… with plenty of intrigue & comic relief from Simon Pegg… so yeah, I’d say give it a shot… but anything else would give away about the movie.

That night was my Mom’s family Xmas party, which always boasts well over a hundred attendees (my mom is one of 17 kids… and they’ve pretty much all got grandkids by now) so it’s quite the spectacle. I met up with a lot of my relatives that I obviously rarely see… and it was good fun. I even got a pretty sweet present… Buck Shot Shotglasses. I told you guns would be a theme of this trip…

Later that night, my brother & I watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” starring James Franco & John Lithgow. The story is an extreme prequel to the “Planet of the Apes” series and goes into how apes came to take over Earth (spoiler alert if you’ve never seen any of the movie before). A young scientist (Franco) is trying to find the cure for Alzheimer’s to help his ailing father (Lithgow) and the rest of the world. When a few promising experiments go wrong, the company if forced to terminate the ape subjects… but he sneaks out a baby ape to raise & teach on his own, naming it Caesar. Caesar turns out to be supersmart thanks to the serum he’s been working on… but then the trouble begins. Caesar doesn’t want to be a pet. He also injured a neighbor who was messing with John Lithgow & was put in a horrible ape sanctuary or whatever… and basically, he tries to escape. Honestly, the movie was pretty f**king awesome. I really liked it. The subtle facial features of Caesar (portrayed by Andy Serkis from the LOTR trilogy & King Kong) and just the story in general was done very well. I highly recommend it.

Fun Fact: My brother said something that was basically a new “stupidest thing I’ve ever heard my brother say” award winner. Now, my bro has said some stupid sh*t in his life… and done even worse. Previous winner was a few years ago before he even had kids to watch, but basically just loafed at home all day. He once complained to me “Why doesn’t anybody hang out with me during the week when I have nothing to do?” My response was basically, “Ugh… seriously? Most people work during the week (you dumb bastard).” There have been stupider but that one always stood out to me. However, this one blew it completely out of the water. Okay… so after we watch the Apes movie, he says to me something along the lines of “You know, humans are actually the most like fish of any animal in the animal kingdom.” That statement paused me in my tracks. Read it again if you have to. My interest was peaked. “Wow. Please. Explain that to me.” He went on to tell me how we are like apes (only about 99.99% genetically), our skin is most like pigs, and a few other things having nothing to do with fish… so I asked him, “You realize… that you said that humans… are most like FISH, right? Like… fish… in the ocean? Not apes or pigs?” “Yeah?” “Okay, so how?” He went on to explain that because we swim in the ocean… THAT is why we are most like fish… because apes, pigs, dogs, reptiles, etc won’t go swim in the ocean or traverse somewhere outside of their habitat. “Well… not to burst your bubble, bro… but neither will fish. They just swim in the ocean… as do dolphins, whales… and seals & walruses when they’re not on the beach.” “Well yeah but… still… we’re most like fish because of that.” Sigh… your logic is flawed… and I honestly thinks that of all the animals in the animal kingdom, we are LEAST like fish. I gave you a chance to correct your response… but there you go. I don’t know, what do you think? Are we more like fish because… I don’t know, they’re the only other animal with schools? Even if the meanings are completely different? I worry for those kids sometimes…

Saturday – Christmas Eve

C-Rock came over with his daughter Sara, who I hadn’t seen in a probably four years. She’s nine now & lives in Texas with her mom, but was with her dad for the holidays. She seemed like any other nine-year old… playing with her Nintendo DS and such. It was great to see her though… and hang out with C-Rock for a while.

After they stopped by, my brother took me Xmas shopping for MY gift at Best Buy. He ended up getting me “Assassin’s Creed 2” saying that it’s a good game but he also bought “L.A. Noire” which is a detective game set back in 40’s Hollywood. We ended playing it for a few hours and it seems like a pretty cool game. You investigate crime scenes, get involved in a few shootouts, put puzzles together, drive nice old cars, read peoples faces to determine whether they’re being truthful or not (I’m much better than my brother at that aspect of the game BTW) but yeah, pretty cool for the first few levels that we played.

That night was my stepmom’s family party… and it was a lot like the usual… so I’ll spare talking about it & here are the pictures from the Nativity Story… enjoy…

Kairi as Mother Mary...


Vinny as an angel...


Family photo from a few years ago...

back when I had glasses apparently


Sunday – Christmas

Christmas night, I slept on the couch next to the Christmas tree… so the kids woke me up and I responded with “Oh my gosh! Where did all these presents come from? That Santa must be a ninja wizard of some sorts!” My mom & stepdad came down at 7 AM for Christmas at my brothers…

"Thunder, thunder, THUNDERCATS!!! HOOOOOO!!!"


Then we went to my dad’s for Christmas brunch there at 10 AM with my stepsisters…

Then I went to my mom’s to finish up Christmas there with my Aunt Pat & cousin Alicia…

Quick question: Forget all the vanilla with a dash of pine...

but what exactly does Black Ice smell like? Death?


We also had a nice dinner with the family up at my mom’s… and that’s where I spent the night. I also got to read bedtime stories to the kiddies… and Vinny even got to snuggle with Uncle $teve which he was really excited about. I know that may sound weird… but hey, he’s a kid… and he loves his Uncle $teve. Ain’t no NAMBLA / Penn State stuff going on. Just good times with the family…

Monday

Lazy day up until we met up with Aunt Pat to take the kids to see “Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” starring Jason Lee. The chipmunks are lost on a deserted island, the Chipettes are there too, and a crazy lady on a Cast Away kick… great for kids. Only really redeemable part was David Cross’ character Ian who is actually kind of funny at times. “Look, I once saw Snoop Dogg start a fire by rubbing two carrot sticks together, I think I know what I’m doing.” Yeah… chipmunks.

Later that night, I didn’t have control of the movie selection, so we watched some made for TV thing on Netflix called “Golden Christmas 2” which starred the mom from Wonder Years and a bunch of nobodys, though the main girl was hot (why she’s in the movie). Basically, it’s about some dogs, some people, a past relationship, they bump into eachother, “Is this fate?”, throw in a few teenagers, sage-like advice from old neighbors, “I should just tell him”, new fiance’s a b**ch, blah blah blah. You know how it ends… and I didn’t even tell you the story. What could possibly get this movie out of my head?

Yeah, I next picked the “He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special” which… so horrible… but it has all the usual ridiculousness of Christmas specials combined with the ridiculousness of the He-Man AND She-Ra cartoons… including Skeletor playing a Grinch… and a few Earth kids for good measure… and Santa Claus. Yeah, it’s what you would expect. Merry Christmas, Eternia!

Tuesday

The kids made me breakfast & then we painted...


I met up to have lunch with K-Fish at Taggart’s in Morgan again… great food & we caught up on the past few months. Then hung out with my brother for a few before meeting up for sushi with Lilie, the Mad Scientist & JL Clyde… again catching up on going-ons & enjoying some finely prepared culinary treats. I was even around for an electronic cigarette break that apparently lasts over an hour, unlike standard cigarette breaks… but simply a great day to catch up with friends before the new year. I really miss those guys & gals… but hey, it just means that we can visit each other when we get a chance.

Wednesday

We woke up & drove out to the desert for some shootin’ with my dad, bro & C-Rock. There were a plethora of weapons to choose from… and I honestly hadn’t fired anything in a decade… so yeah, good times… and apparently I’m a pretty good shot for a first time. Here are some pictures…

After that, it was basically the flight home through a disease ridden airport & being a little under the weather the past few days because of it. Yay! Anyway, that was Christmas. Big thanks to all of my wonderful family & friends out there for making this yet another exhausting & exciting trip!!! I miss & love y’all madly!!! See ya next year if not sooner…

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