JUNE 2009

06/24/09 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5 : Week 3 – We were thoroughly surprised list week that Phillip and Jeanine didn't end up in the bottom three last week; however, they seemed to have redeemed themselves this week - both Susan and I enjoyed their performance.  Our favorites this week were Melissa, Ade, Jeanette, Brandon, Randi, and Evan.  I would expect to see Karla and  Jonathan in the bottom three, but I'm not sure who else will appear there.  I wasn't a big fan of Asuka and Vitolio this week; however, the judges seemed to be impressed - everyone else I thought did rather well.  The following is the summary this far for the season:


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion 3rd Round Our Opinion
Karla Cha-Cha üü Contemporary üü Hip-hop ü
Jonathan üü üü û
Asuka Broadway üü Waltz üüü Jazz ü
Vitolio üü üü ü
Melissa Contemporary üüü Jazz üüü Rumba üüü
Ade üü üü üüü
Janette Foxtrot üüü Disco üüü Hip-hop üüü
Brandon üü üüü üüü
Kayla         Viennese Waltz üü
Kupono         üü
Randi Jazz üü Jive üüü Contemporary üüü
Evan üü üüü üüü
Caitlin Bollywood üüü Hip-hop ü Paso Doble üü
Jason üüü û üü
Jeanine Hip-hop üü Tango û Broadway üüü
Phillip üü û üü
Kayla Samba üüü Pop/Jazz      
Max üüü    
Ashley Jazz üüü Hip-hop      
Kupono üüü    
Paris Hip-hop ü        
Tony ü    

- Nathan

06/17/09 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5 : Week 2 – It was another FUN (inside joke for those who watched) week of watching SYTYCD!  Some of our favorites continued to do well this week and there were also a few surprises.  Caitlin, Jason, Ashley, and Kupono - 4 of our favorites last week - joined Jeanine and Phillip in our picks for the bottom three couples this week.  With dancers of this caliber inconsistency may be the downfall of several dancers (that being said, if Phillip makes it into the bottom 3 I'm sure the judges will save him...and I'd like to see him saved as well - I'm fascinated with his popping).  Randi, Evan, Janette, and Brandon are at the top of our list this week, and they are also the couples Susan and I voted for (we were unable to vote last week since we were out of town).  Here is our summary thus far for the season:


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion
Randi Jazz üü Jive üüü
Evan üü üüü
Melissa Contemporary üüü Jazz üüü
Ade üü üü
Caitlin Bollywood üüü Hip-hop ü
Jason üüü û
Janette Foxtrot üüü Disco üüü
Brandon üü üüü
Asuka Broadway üü Waltz üüü
Vitolio üü üü
Kayla Samba üüü Pop/Jazz üü
Max üüü üü
Karla Cha-Cha üü Contemporary üü
Jonathan üü üü
Jeanine Hip-hop üü Tango û
Phillip üü û
Ashley Jazz üüü Hip-hop ü
Kupono üüü ü
Paris Hip-hop ü    
Tony ü  

- Nathan

06/13/09 - Un-Happy Hour – It started as an evening of good cheer for friends gathered at Dex's Place, a popular neighborhood pub on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.  The year is 1994.  It is an August Saturday night and the crowd has been dancing and romancing for several hours.  Suddenly, when the lights turned off for last call, it was lights out for Dexter Doyle, the proprietor.  A gun shot shatters the fun, cleared the dance floor, and set up eight people as potential murderers.  Was it the greedy bartender, the mysterious barfly, the drunken pilot, the unassuming waitress, the karate school owner, the peculiar lady at the bar, the sex therapist, or the undercover police officer posing as the bar's entertainment?


Phil Muggs a.k.a. Dave

"The bartender with rugged good lucks and silver-tongued charm"

Dolores Delgatto a.k.a. Anita

"The cocktail waitress who has seen it all"

Willy Krash & Ginny Tonic a.k.a. Mitch & Aprile

"The drunken pilot & the barfly novelist"

Marlena a.k.a. Nicole

"The mystery German lady with an aura of secrecy"

Marshall Hartz a.k.a. Stephanie

"The karate school owner and green beret during Vietnam"

Dr. Rita Book a.k.a. Susan

"The sex therapist with an eye in detecting deviant behavior"

Dwayne Pokem a.k.a. Nathan

"The country singer and undercover police officer"

In the end it turns out the cold blooded killer was Ginny Tonic - the sly barfly with a sordid vendetta against her former lover.

- Nathan

06/12/09 - Hey Kermit, It's Easy Being Green – While it's thunderstorming outside I thought I would write a few quick diary updates.   Susan and I have talked about replacing the old Taurus several times over the past year.  We purchased the car when we first moved to Texas in 2001 and I've been abusing it with trips across two states ever since.  I always said I wouldn't buy a replacement until the wheels fell off and I have to admit I came pretty close. 

1) Oil leak - minor annoyance - cost of repair = $1000+...Ummm, I'll pass....cardboard on the garage floor works fine and oil is cheap.

2) Rack & Pinions wiggling more than a Cha-Cha-Cha dancer - fairly annoying - cost of repair = $1000+....Hmm....naaa...I can still keep the car on the road as long as the wind isn't blowing too hard.

3) Air Conditioner and Compressor are hot and bothered - cost of repair = $1000+....it's still spring and temperatures are below boiling.  I can handle it.

4) Parts of the engine are catching fire and smoke is protruding from the compressor - cost of repair = Priceless....I decided it would be a good time to drive the car onto the dealer's lot while I still could and get my 50 cents for trade-in ;).

I've been wanting a Prius for over a year, and now that the gas prices are relatively low we were able to find a bargain on a used 2007 model.  As far as I can tell, with the exception of several thousand miles, the car seemed to be as good as new - and most of my research seemed to point at most Toyotas being long-term mechanically sound.  The dealership let me borrow the car for 24 hours (very kewl - I had no idea they would do that) and I was sold on the purchase after about 4 of those hours. 


We've already taken two trips out of town and have averaged over 50MPG on each trip.  In town I seem to get anywhere from 50 to 60MPG depending on the distance of the trip and the average speed.  I've found short trips (like my trip to work) tend to hover around the 50MPG mark - the car tends to use more gas during the first 5 minutes of operation while it warms up.  Longer trips, such as adventures around town on the weekend, hit the upper 60MPG mark...especially if the average speed is around 40MPH.  The car itself has two engines - one electric and one gas; however, the change between the two is practically seamless when I'm driving.   When accelerating or at speeds over 40MPH the car tends to use a gas engine.  At slower speeds, when maintaining a constant speed, or when coasting/decelerating, the car relies heavily on the electric engine.  No matter what speed I'm traveling the car always uses extra energy to recharge the battery (it does NOT plug in).

So far I've been very impressed with the car and I've had tons of fun driving it. 

- Nathan

06/12/09 - Heart Rock – On one of our recent trips to Lawton, Susan and I had the opportunity to visit the Wichita Mountains - one of my favorite hiking destinations.  Nina and Susan's Papa joined us on the trip while we admired buffalo, smiled at prairie dogs, and generally had a lovely and relaxing day.




- Nathan

06/10/09 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5 : Week 1 – Last year Susan and I had lots of fun critiquing the SYTYCD dancers and tracking which performers we liked best.  As such, we're going to do the same thing this year.  I have a few early favorites (Caitlin, Jason, Janette, Brandon, Ashley, Kupono, Melissa, Kayla, and Max); however, my list will get shorter as I see more dancing.  We thoroughly enjoyed the first week of couples dancing and thought the caliber of dancing was high.  That being said our least favorites were Tony and Karla (Tony and Paris were eliminated).  The following is a breakdown of the first week (for a refresher 1 to 3 checks means we liked the performance - an X indicates the performance had no redeeming value):


Couple 1st Round Our Opinion
Jeanine Hip-hop üü
Phillip üü
Asuka Broadway üü
Vitolio üü
Karla Cha-Cha üü
Jonathan üü
Randi Jazz üü
Evan üü
Paris Hip-hop ü
Tony ü
Caitlin Bollywood üüü
Jason üüü
Janette Foxtrot üüü
Brandon üü
Ashley Jazz üüü
Kupono üüü
Melissa Contemporary üüü
Ade üü
Kayla Samba üüü
Max üüü

- Nathan