October 30, 2005

Goodbye to an Old Friend

Tomorrow, October 31st, 2005 will be the last day for the Movieland Wax Museum, located in Buena Park California. It will also be the last day for it's sister museum, Ripley's Believe it or Not, which was located across the street. A drop in business was the reason. Mike and I and, our daughter, Amanda tried to go today. We wanted to have one last look around and maybe get some souvenir to remember the place by. Well, it looked like everybody and their grandmother had the same idea. As soon as we got off the freeway, traffic was backed up from the place. The parking lot was jam packed. As soon as we got in, we realized it was a lost cause and tried to get out. That meant following the long line of cars that were snaking through the place, trying to either find a space, or get the heck out of there. I saw a women, who was walking near a car. I pulled up towards her, and we asked her what it was like inside. She didn't seem too enthused, when she held up her ticket and said that the line to get into the place was an hour long. Not worth it. We managed to make our way out of the lot and go home. We've been there before, so it wasn't like it was our only chance. But, it would have been nice to have one last walk around. Most of the exhibits will be going to a more successful wax museum located in San Francisco. Hopefully, we will be able to go there sometime and see it. I do hope that some of the people, who got in, were people who hadn't been there before and get to see it before it's gone.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:34 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2005

Guess Where We Were on Thursday, October 20th?

Mike has put in 35 years with Ma Bell. Every five year anniversary, they let you celebrate, on their dime. Within limits. After the 25th anniversary, they allow you to celebrate at the exclusive Club 33, located inside Disneyland. It seems the Telephone Pioneers have maintained a membership there. Well, in order for one to get into Club 33, you need to get into Disneyland, since it's located in New Orleans Square. So, not only did we enjoy lunch at Club 33, we got admission to the park. All throughout the year, they are celebrating their golden, 50th anniversary.

However, they kind of got carried away with the gold. Everything was gold. I started to call it "pimp gold". And, they had a ton "50th anniversary" crap on sale. They just took normal everyday items and slapped gold paint on them and jack up the price. I'm sure that a lot of people are going to hoard the stuff, thinking that it will be valuable down the line. But, I think there has been too much of it sold, for it to ever become valuable. It made me think back to their 25th anniversary and how much different it was. Instead of Buy! Buy! Buy!, they gave stuff away. They gave away their mouse ear hats. They did have silver ears, instead of the usual black. You could get pictures taken with your favorite Disney character, and they would print it out and put it in a commemerative cardboard frame, for free. And, they also handed out free birthday cake. I also don't remember them splashing silver paint all over half the park. The 25th seemed like they were thanking the public for supporting them all those years. The 50th is corporate greed.

Another disappointment was the refurbished Space Mountain. It had re-opened recently after being closed for several months. They have been heavily advertising it. What they show on TV is nothing like the ride. They took a pretty fun ride and ruined it. Instead of getting a rough coaster ride, which adds to the thrill, they somehow smoothed it out and, it seemed that they slowed it down. It , to me, felt like you were in a luxury sedan driving down through the levels of a parking garage. (If you happen to speed through parking garages.) Usually, when you go on coasters, even a tame coaster, you get the usual people who hold their arms up and scream for the sake of screaming. Our whole train was quiet as we drop through the turns and hills. It was truly disappointing. I miss the old Space Mountain.

To celebrate Halloween, and Christmas, the Haunted Mansion gets revamped and completely done over. It becomes the Nightmare Before Christmas. It's really well done and worth waiting in line to see.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:16 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2005

Sex and the City

I just love this show. But, since we're behind the times here, we don't have cable, nor satellite dish. My sister, who has cable, recorded all the episodes, when they were aired on HBO. So, occasionally, I would watch it on tape when I was at her house. However, a local broadcast station has been showing it now, at 11:00pm. And, I've been watching it. They started from the first episode. These are the ones where Carrie has met "Big". When I would watch the episodes at my sisters house, they were later ones that didn't even have "Big" in them. So, now I can't wait until it's 11:00 at night, weeknights, so I can get my daily dose of Sex and the City.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

Wallace and Gromit - Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Saw this yesterday and loved it. It's got enough slapstick comedy and jokes to keep kids entertained. And, it also has jokes and sight gags aimed towards the adult audience.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2005

As Long As You Get One Thing Accomplished

I got this from a reliable source. Kelly, the workaholic clean freak. "If you goof off most of the day, it isn't a complete waste, if you accomplish one task." That makes me feel better about today. I did goof off, but I did accomplish one thing. I got all of our laser discs in alphabetical order. For years, they had been placed willy-nilly in the shelves. It was always a pain to try to find a particular movie. (Yes, we still watch our old lasers.) So, today, not only did I place them in alphabetical order, I typed up the list in WordPad, so I know what we have. Then, I won't accidentally by duplicates on DVD, like I did with Alice in Wonderland.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:57 PM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2005

Ranger 2001 - 2005

I know that thousands of people are dead in Pakistan. Here, in our own country, almost a thousand are dead and hundred of thousands are homeless, due to the recent hurricanes. But, the following upsets me every time I read it:

Article here

A best friend remembered
By Tracy Manzer, Staff writer

LONG BEACH Everyone who saw the raw anguish on Officer Mike Parcells' face as he carried his mortally wounded K-9 partner Ranger to a waiting team of veterinarian medics last week felt his pain.

That moment captured on film and played out on TV sets throughout the country clearly showed the dogs that comprise the Long Beach Police Department's K-9 Detail are more than just animals trained to look for dangerous suspects, explosive materials or drugs.

But does the dogs' amazing capacity for sniffing out what humans may never find outweigh the emotional toll of losing these trusting animals in the line of duty?

"Absolutely," a shaken Parcells said Tuesday, in his first interview since Ranger was shot and killed Oct. 3, most likely by gang member Augustin Murguia Jr., police said. A gun battle with SWAT team members ensued, and Murguia subsequently died.

"As hard as it is to go through this, I would rather lose my K-9 partner than one of my human partners," Parcells said. "I know (the suspect) wasn't shooting at the dog, he was shooting at us. If it hadn't been for Ranger, we would have had an officer killed that night."

That offers Parcells some comfort, he said, during a miserable time for his family, his fellow officers and himself.

Parcells a 12-year veteran worked with Ranger a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois for the last two years and said he was constantly amazed at the dog's talents and boundless energy. The pair logged 40 hours a week, not including overtime for SWAT calls, spent 240 hours in a handlers' course and continued to train almost every day together once in the field.

Home to the kids Ranger went home every night with Parcells to the officer's wife and two little boys. The two were so close that Parcells said he felt not only did his dog trust him implicitly, but that Parcells knew he could trust his life with his K-9.

"Had I known that (Murguia) was armed, we never would have sent Ranger in," Parcells said. "We could see his arm, and we didn't see a gun."

"It's my job to make sure he's safe, and his job to keep me safe," Parcells said, holding back tears. "It just didn't work out that way that night."

Parcells recalled the violent evening with painful clarity, from the detail of seeing the muzzle flash as Murguia opened fire, to the sight of Ranger jumping up onto the porch and biting at his aching back legs that would no longer hold the young dog up.

It took about four minutes for Parcells and several fellow officers to get an armored vehicle into the yard, then use a bullet-proof shield to rush up to Ranger and pull him to safety.

The frisky and determined Ranger kept straining to get up as Parcells and K-9 Officer Ernie Wolocewicz sped in a black and white SUV to the helicopter pad.

"I could only find one wound, and it didn't look too bad," Parcells remembered. "I told Ernie, 'There's not much blood," and he said, 'hat's because he's bleeding inside."

Flight to Tustin

Ranger looked eagerly out of the window of the Police Department helicopter as he was flown to an emergency veterinary hospital in Tustin.

And Parcells stayed by his K-9 partner as medical staff prodded the dog while preparing him for surgery, stroking the dog's head to quiet him during the painful procedure.

Even after Ranger was sedated for surgery during which a doctor removed one lung and sutured a ruptured artery Parcells stayed with his dog. Ranger survived for another 20 minutes out of the operating room, then died.

He had simply lost too much blood, the doctor said.

Asked if he thought it helped the dog to have him there and Parcells said, "I know it did. When they started poking him and sticking him he tried to nip at the (medics), but as soon as I started to rub his head, he was calm."

Today, the rest of the Police Department will honor Ranger and another dog Wolocewicz's Belgian Malinois Drago, who died about two weeks ago in an accident at a public ceremony scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Long Beach Police Academy, 7290 E. Carson St.

More than 100 K-9 officers from various agencies are expected to attend the service and officials say they have no idea how many members of the public will turn out.

Parcells alone has received at least 1,000 letters from people across the country offering their condolences, many of them penned by children who saw Ranger during this year's Fourth of July parade, or who met Ranger in classroom visits.

Donations offered

Donations to replace the K-9 have been plentiful, from the meager allowances and savings of kids to a pledge from Ralph's grocery store chain for $10,000.

A number of the notes and cards have moved the officers to tears.

And when the boys on the Mighty Might Football team that Parcells coaches had Ranger's face embroidered on their jerseys, the tough veteran said it was all he could do to keep from breaking down.

"You know, being a cop, we see a lot of the bad in people. It's easy to become calloused," Parcells said. "But knowing how much this dog touched people, and seeing the outpouring of support has been amazing. It makes you realize why you do this job in the first place. I can't say thank you enough to these people."

Now eight K-9 patrol dogs remain, and Parcells is preparing for the purchase of a new dog to replace Ranger. In addition to the patrol dogs, the LBPD has five other specially trained dogs, two that can find narcotics, two that sniff out explosives and one bloodhound that is flown all over the country to work a variety of searches.

Although he does not know if he's ready for his new K-9 partner, Parcells said he knows he does not want to leave the detail which he has worked for five years. Ranger was his' second dog. Barry, his first K-9 partner, was retired at the age of 12 and died about six months later.

"The toughest thing is retirement," said Officer Joe Valenzuela, one of Parcells' colleagues. "Nothing is worse than going to work without out your dog who doesn't understand that he's not strong enough to work any more."

The dogs left behind also seem to know something is wrong, he added.

"The pain moves down the leash," he said.

Sadness at home

Perhaps what has been most difficult for Parcells is explaining Ranger's death to his two young sons. The eldest, who is 8 years old, seems to understand. But his 5-year-old can't quite comprehend what is going on.

The night after Ranger died, Parcells went to feed the family pet a Golden Retriever named Harley. His 5-year-old went to get both dogs' dishes, as he has always done every night with his dad.

"I said what are you doing baby, Ranger's not coming back," he said, shaking with tears. "He said, 'I know dad, but when he does (he'll be hungry)." '

While the boys did not play with Ranger quite the same way they do with Harley, he was still a huge part of the family.

When he wasn't working, Ranger loved to play in the backyard with Harley, chase balls and lay in the sun. He would snack on hotdogs that the boys would sneak him, and Ranger thought paddling around the family pool was a blast.

But the minute Parcells would appear in uniform, it was as though a switch would go off in the K-9's head. Every morning when Parcells would open the door to go to work, Ranger would already be spinning in circles and barking, eager to get the day started.

"That was his thing, to spin. When he would find a suspect he would stop and bark, and then spin," Parcells laughed. "The first time we saw him do it we were all looking at each other like, 'What is this?"

Vacations were kind of tough. Ranger didn't understand why they weren't going into work on those occasions, and would bark at his partner as if to remind Parcells that they were running late and needed to get a move on.

His expression was a playful one caught perfectly in a portrait painted by Garden Grove resident Cassidy Alexander that looked as though he was smiling.

Ranger is the fourth dog to be lost in the line of duty since the K-9 Detail was created in 1978, and only the second dog to be shot. The first, Asko, was trying to take an armed suspect into custody during a SWAT call out in 1989 when he was shot in the face, with the bullet traveling through his mouth and out of his neck.

Asko survived his wound and went on to work until his retirement in 1993. He never slowed down or showed any fear, despite the trauma of the shooting, and his trust in his handler, Lt. Steve Ditmars, was never shaken.

"I wouldn't have let him go back to work if it had," Ditmars said. "It's the hardest thing you'll ever have to do, but you don't belong on the job if you can't do it."

Parcells now faces Ditmars' old dilemma, and says he knows the horrible memories of last week will be in the back of his mind on his first call out with his new dog.

But, like his fellow officers, he knows that he will have to separate that part of his heart that cared for Ranger as though he was one of his kids from the part of his mind that knows the dogs are one of many tools that an officer uses, and that they are there to do a job.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would," he said simply.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2005

Still Waiting

On September 10, 2005, I put in an order at a site called Apparel Agents. My youngest daughter, Teresa, had heard some good things about them and wanted some shirts. I ordered four shirts for her and put it on my credit card. The card was dinged that night for the amount. I got a confirmation, and an e-mail saying the order would be Fed-Exed out to me. A month later, still no clothes. Maybe I've been spoiled. If I order from Amazon, it's there within days. I ordered a hat for Teresa, from another, smaller site that operated out of a Yahoo storefront and it came out to the house immediately. So, maybe it was being held up because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Nope. The headquarters for Apparel Agents is right here in Los Angeles. Less than 12 miles from the house. The warehouse, where they ship from, is in the same city I live in. It's in walking distance to Mike's work. Also, there is a Fed-Ex depot within a stones throw of their place, so that's not a problem. So, I go to their site and log on to my account. There is no way for me to track the order. So, I sent an e-mail to their customer service. That was on a Thursday. I heard nothing on Friday. So, on Saturday, I sent a reply to the original e-mail that confirmed my order back on September 10th. Finally, on Monday, I get a response: We are checking the status of your order, will advise. I apologize for any inconvenience. You may also contact our Customer Service Dept. at ext. 230 for more detail.

That's it, so far. I haven't heard anything else. If I haven't heard anything by Friday, I am going to have Mike go to their warehouse and see if they can find out what's going on. This place had been highly recommended to Teresa, and she's a little upset that we're having so much trouble. I'll keep you updated.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:43 PM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2005

I've Sent Them in

Pictures of my boobies, that is. One with them covered. And one with them not covered. If you want to see the uncovered ones, you have to donate $50 to the Boobiethon, to help the fight against breast cancer. It's actually nice to look at the images. Why? Because one can see that women come in all different shapes and sizes. Not how Hollywood presents them.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:18 PM | Comments (1)

October 01, 2005

Augh! What's This Color!?

Don't panic!!!! It's only because it's October. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Which also means, it's the 4th annual blogger Boobiethon for breast cancer. And, like I did last year, I will submit pictures of my bare boobies to help raise money, to help find a cure for breast cancer. I just won't tell anyone which set is mine! The Boobiethon runs from October 1st, through the 8th. Here's hoping they beat last years donation totals.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:39 PM | Comments (1)