Jun 29, 2007

Irvine - Thursday PM - June 28, 2007

Well, there wasn't a whole lot to do around here today after the morning session. It is hard because the breakout sessions do not apply to us a lot of the time. So, we decided to go hang out at the Irvine Center Spectrum. It is a HUGE outdoor mall type place. I know these are becoming more common. There is the St. John's Center in Jacksonville and Waterford Lakes Center in Orlando. This one was very much big, and it was a GORGEOUS day to stroll around. We don't go into a bunch of the stores because we don't want to be tempted to buy stuff that we won't have room to bring home.

We had lunch at Red Robin {the menu at the conference was not very attractive}. For those who have known me a long time, you have heard about Red Robin. This was MY restaurant growing up. There was one right down the street, and I picked it whenever I got to choose. What made it so great? My reasons were five-fold. One, they had the best cheese sticks anywhere. Two, they had seasoned waffle fries. Three, they had unlimited refills on Mountain Dew {not common back then}. Four, they had the Royal Red Robin burger - complete with a fried egg on top. Five, they had a Strawberry Tall Cake that was incredible.

Well, it closed and it was about 15 years before I found another one in Pennsylvania. One, they changed the cheese sticks to something similar to Arby's. Two, they only have steak fries. Three, they only carry Coke products, not including Mello Yello. Four, they had the Royal Red Robin burger - but I am allergic to eggs. Five, they don't have the Strawberry Tall Cake. It was a downer. This time my expectations were lower, and we really enjoyed it. I had a BBQ burger with fried onions on it and Heather had a BLTA sandwich {A=avecado}. We also got a half order of cheese sticks. And I had some raspberry limeade drink - which was great. It was fun.

Then we went and saw Live Free or Die Hard. I will review this on my Rotten Tomatoes site later. Suffice it to say, it was fun and stupid and awesome and dumb. Basically, it was perfect for the series. The only thing is that it was PG-13. I talked about this in my Alien Vs. Predator review years ago. If the entire series is R, leave the sequels R. I am not endorsing violence or vulgarity. But this must have been a late decision by 20th Century Fox, because the editing was horrible. I know that by telling you this, it will become obvious. But I found AT LEAST 10 times when you could tell the language and/or violence had been edited out at a late date. People would be talking and then it would jump to a view of another character right when you knew the F-Bomb was dropping. But, after Die Hard 3, a few hundred less F-Bombs was nice. I like Justin Long in the movie. And Bruce Willis was great. The stunts were incredible - unbelievable as all get out, but fun. That scene in the trailer where Willis takes out a helicopter with a car - yeah that was even better in context. And it was seriously rivaled for the best stunt in the movie by a couple other scenes. I thought it passed my sequel test: added to the story, stayed true to the general mythos, and if it was first it could have generated sequels. Good summer flick. Check your brain at the door and just get ready for an adrenaline rush.

After that, we wandered around, and ended up at Target. I thought it was weird that there was a Target there, but there was. We went in and looked around. Our first trip through, there were three guys standing with a cart and talking. When we came around a corner again, I noticed one of them had a shirt that said "Love Your Neighbor" on the front. But the back had some snarky comments about only loving them if they weren't of any "different group." The third time we went by them, I noticed they had a lot of stuff in their cart: water bottles, office supplies. They were talking about how they needed to have two lines for people - those willing to be photographed and those who aren't. {Please believe I wasn't snooping.} The last time, I got this really weird feeling. I said to Heather, "I don't know why, but I think those three guys may be the ones organizing the other conference this weekend." She looked at me and said, "Why?" I wasn't sure. I just had this feeling, between the shirt and the other stuff. Well, I checked their website and, lo and behold, I think I was right. If you go to www.soulforce.org, and check Staff under About Us, Bill Carpenter was definitely one of them (confirmed by Heather). Jeff Lutes may have been one of them. Either way, it was a good reminder of what else is going on here starting tomorrow. Pretty strange stuff.

We stopped by Marie Callender's for a small supper and dessert on the way home. Dang, that was good. Cornbread that was amazing, and I don't like cornbread. I had some chocolate cheesecake that easily rivaled Cheesecake Factory. Heather had a big ole chicken pot pie. Good stuff.

I ran by our table once we got back and lots of our materials had been looked over, the free stuff was about gone. That was a good sign. Apparently visitors in the Expo Hall are increasing. Tomorrow is a free day for most of the day, so Saturday is our last chance to get our name out there at the table. We are planning to be around the table a lot that day, just in case. This weeks has been a mix of exciting and boring - good and bad. I am still trying to figure out what God has planned out here, but He is much smarter than me, so I'll leave that up to Him. We have had a good time. At the very least, it was good for Heather and I to get away. Like I said earlier, tomorrow is a free day. There won't be a morning post. We are leaning towards going to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. That sounds fun to me - Heather not as much. Look forward to tomorrow night's update.

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