Jul 20, 2007

Rhymes with Vick

The entire Michael Vick/dogfighting saga has really been unbelievable. For an athlete of his stature to even be close enough to the situation to be credibly indicted says something about his incredible lack of judgment. But before I get to Vick himself, there are some other things that I have been thinking about in relation to this story.

- The Modern News Approach is Dangerous - In my mind, Vick is guilty. I think there is too much pointing to that, the least of which is the fact he was even included in a FEDERAL indictment. However, the problem is that I am not alone. Everyone has an opinion already. This story has been covered 24 hours a day for two days now. There are 24 hour television news channels, talk radio shows, internet new, internet sports, sports television shows. It is a saturation of news. I was listening to Tom Brokaw on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike yesterday morning. The hosts asked him about how he felt the story was being handled. He said exactly what I have felt for a long time. When there is this much coverage out there, it doesn't take long to cross the line to irresponsible journalism. I would go one further. On just about any news story, you pretty much exhaust the angles and facts in about four hours. Then you are stuck with two option: wait for updates or talk about the same stuff. That is what you find on the media outlets. You have people who keep talking and talking about the same exact details. And then everyone is desperately searching for leaks, hints, rumors, and updates. This has led to some of the irresponsible stuff we have seen over the recent past. People release news without confirmations. They use some questionable source as breaking news. Why have we had so many problems with government leaks lately? It all ties into this. The other major problem is that once you reach the point of saturation, the only way to stand out is to make off the wall statements. This is especially true in the sports news world. Every major city has AT LEAST one sports talk radio station. In Orlando we have two. Plus, ESPN has four TV channels, Fox Sports has one, CSS sports, Sunshine Sports (in Florida), and all the traditional news stations. There is a huge amount of babble going on. So many sports guys have resorted to making bizarre and controversial statements to break into that glut. That is how guys like Skip Bayless, Dan LeBatard, and Woody Paige jumped from newspaper guys to television guys. And that is how they stay there - they make ridiculous comments. I'm sure we aren't too far away from one or all of those guys defending dogfighting (if it hasn't already happened). I already have heard sportswriters defending Vick and his buddies by saying this is a racist issue. They also have tried to say that dogfighting is cultural among a group of African-Americans in the south. Really? That makes it okay? It didn't make racisim or slavery or polygamy okay. I think that we all should agree that if a cultural event involved murder and torture, it should generally be frowned upon in America. But some people have tried to defend this to get national airplay. The line between editorial and news is so blurred we don't even know what it is.

- Innocent Until Proven Guilty is Bunk - With the news going this way, that ancient concept of American justice is gone. All that matters is the initial news break. The follow-ups never get the same airplay as the first story - unless it is at the end of a whole overblown media cirucs (OJ, Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton). For example, if someone gets sued for something, that gets front page coverage. Ninety percent of the time, the suit has no merit or it gets dropped or the sued party wins or they settle. But this doesn't get the same recognition. So we hear about people suing McDonald's for getting fat. But we never hear that the courts laughed those people out of the courtroom. Or we hear someone getting charged with something, and then don't hear what happened. We assume that an indictment or getting charged with something means that person was found guilty. Now, a FEDERAL indictment is different than an average one. Those are usually extremely well researched. In most cases, it takes as much work to get a federal grand jury to indict as it would to get a full local trial won. Plus, you don't have the same risk of District Attorneys going out on personal resume building (like the Duke lacrosse case). However, in the court of public opinion, if a person is charged or sued they are seen as guilty. Sure, we may tack the word "allegedly" onto that - mainly with a sarcastic tone and a disdain for having to include it. This is soooo dangerous. With this mindset in place, if people ever do get arrested for political or religious stances, what chance do they have? In addition, it poisons the jury pool. It becomes harder and harder to find people without pre-concieved notions for the jury. What people are you left with? If they aren't aware of a major case even with this massive coverage, how in touch with society are they?

- In Sports, All That Matters Are W, L, and $ - The first statement out of Nike's Headquarters was that this whole incident had no bearing on their marketing for Vick's new shoe. They knew that this incident would not hurt sales, so they probably really wanted to rush out the shoes. Instead, that statement got torn to shreds in the press. Now they are delaying the release. Why? Do you honestly think that moms are going to stop their kids from getting the shoes because they are Vick's? Actually, there is a huge portion of people who would be buying that type of shoes who would be MORE likely to buy it now because Vick is in trouble. The NFL is not going to suspend Vick for now. The Falcons are not going to bench him until the trial affects his ability to play. Falcon fans are hoping he gets off. I admire the new NFL conduct code, but if they aren't going to use it on this, what strength does it have? The line in it that the player "brought shame or embarrassment to himself, his team, and the league." That doesn't describe Vick at all. That bong he tried to smuggle on a plane? Not embarrassing. And even if he is found innocent, having a dogfighting ring run out of his house by his friends? Nope, no shame there. Come on. Just because he's a star he shouldn't get treated different. This is the same as when Ray Lewis was charged with murder and still went to training camp. The same as when Jamal Lewis went to prison for SELLING DRUGS and didn't get suspended by the league. Ridonkulous.

- This Shows How Screwed Up Society's Priorities Are - Why is this such a heinous story? Because dogs are involved. I have said before, the best way to show that a character is a villain in a movie is to have them kill a dog. What happened in Virginia is horrible and disgusting. I think that it shows a degenerate mind. But is there this kind of uproar when people are mistreated? When a child is abused or neglected, when a homeless person is beaten, when an innocent citizen is shot, when a senior citizen is abandoned, when a baby is aborted (oops, I went there). There may be news coverage of something, but it is not intense. We are used to and jaded to ordinary, run of the mill human abuse. The only thing that shocks us out of that is something truly shocking (Virginia Tech shooting, Chris Benoit murders). I think there should be outrage over this Vick thing. Don't think I am saying anything else. But I also wish that we saw humans as worth protecting as those dogs.

As far as Vick goes, I think that it doesn't look good for him. Personally, even if he was completely clueless about the ring, even if he was totally innocent, I think he has to be held responsible for being an accessory to the whole thing. It was his house, his friends, his family members. To say that no one ever slipped in talking around him, that they completely covered their tracks whenever he was at the house, is to really stretch the limits of credibility. He had to have known something, seen a cage, heard the dogs crying, noticed the cars. At first, it looked like he was at worst a passive party in the ring. Now the new evidence that led to his indictment shows that he was involved in the money end AND the dog execution. I think it speaks boatlaods about this whole thing that NO ONE is stunned that Michael Vick was invovled. It is almost like the only question is HOW involved he was. That doesn't speak well of his reputation that with all these people talking about this (even the shock jocks), not a single person has come forward and said, "I can't picture Mike being involved in this. He is not the type of person who would stomach this or allow this." They all just want to know if he actually killed the dogs - which is something they can totally believe him doing. Wow. You must be a real jerk to have your friends not even shake their heads when you get indicted for killing dogs. This is probably the most damning evidence I have heard.

If someone like Drew Brees or LaDamian Tomlinson or Reggie Bush were accused of this, we would be stunned. It would even go so far as to say if Terrell Owens or Keyshawn Johnson or Chad Johnson - some of the more annoying players - were named in this, we would have a hard time believing it. But Vick is named, and we all go, "Sound about right." Man. Those Vick boys are something else. His brother gets accused of rape, assault, and drug use and is such a problem he actually got kicked off the Virginia Tech team - and then is arrogant and uncooperative when the Dolphins stupidly gave him a chance. Mike had about above some of the fray until recently, when it seemed like he stopped trying to cover his scummy nature. My hope is that Vick and his buddies get a fast fair trial (supposedly in October). I hope that if they are truly involved in this, they are found guilty. And if they are, I want them to get the maximum sentence (six years in prison, huge butt fine). And then I want Mike Vick to be stripped of every endorsement he has. I want him to be banned from football for life. I want Nike and Powerade and the Falcons to sue him to get back signing bonuses and contract money. And then I want THAT to be the precedent for the other NFL athletes who decide to get involved in despicable actions. That would send a nice clear message.

Jul 8, 2007

Movie Postapalooza

Check my Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews page (link to the right) on Monday. There should be three new movie reviews there by then. I've gotten backlogged. Die Hard, Ratatouille, Transformers. I'm doing great this summer.

Jul 6, 2007

FerreTV: Heroes, Villains, and the Bottom 3

Last time, I promised I would talk about why the current setup for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) will actually hurt the show in the long run. When you look at AI and SYTYCD as a kind of modern-day sports program, you can begin to see why these shows are successful. We latch on to a person or two, cheer for them, feel the drama when they blow it, and actually have an impact on the outcome. In sports, fans love to believe that they can change the way a game goes. Very rarely is this true, but it can happen. This past year's Golden State/Dallas NBA matchup showed a group of fans who did change the series. I remember going to one UCF football game where the fans got so insane the other team got a penalty and ended up without a score on that drive - which cost them the game. But, honestly, we only affected a few plays. In these shows, you determine the winners ever week.

However, one of the most overlooked elements of sports is the need for a villain. You need to have someone to cheer against. It is hard to get into a game when you don't care who wins. But, if you really loathe some teams, it multiplies the number of games you have an interest in. You can watch a game to cheer for your favorites OR to cheer against your villains. The same has been true in AI and SYTYCD. The success has been as much in the favorites as in the villains. In AI, for example, this has been very obvious. In Season One, it was Nikki, whose 3rd place finish majorly irritated "true fans" of the show. The much superior Tamayra was voted out in the 4th position; Nikki largely advanced on her appeal to guys. In Season Two, there were several obnoxious characters (Carmen, Matt). But the true example was actually Clay Aiken himself. There were a ton of people who loved Clay (my wife), and a ton of people who couldn't stand him (me). That was what made that season work all the way to the end.

Season Three brought us the tone-deaf Jasmine Trias, who finished third largely due to huge vote totals from the West Coast and Hawaii. Season Four gave us Vonzell Solomon who made it to thrid place. But, again, the finale featured a villain in the person of Bo Bice - who a huge number of older viewers hated. Season Five was one of the examples of this process breaking down. The best singers finished 3rd (Elliot) and 4th (Chris). However, the finale had some interest for people because a lot of people (me included) couldn't stand Taylor Hicks. But the series began to show some cracks when the top four all were pretty appealing. When that happens, it is like a game where you like both teams. It really doesn't matter who wins. You know any of the four will put out a good album - which has been proven. Chris Daughtry has a triple-platinum album, Elliot has a critically acclaimed one. Katherine and Taylor both put out albums that sold around 1 million copies each. Katherine's biggest victory may come in crossing over to movies. All four were viable options, somewhat likeable, and talented. There was no tension.

Then you come to this year. There were two villains - Hayley and Sanjaya (three if you count Antonella in the semifinals). In the case of Sanjaya, he was the biggest villain ever on AI. He couldn't sing; he was arrogant; he was weird. But the ratings were huge - until he got booted. Then they dropped off bad. Why? Everyone said this was the strongest crop of singers ever. And that is the exact reason. Once Sanjaya and Hayley got booted in slots 7 and 8, there was no drama. Honestly, if anyone else won, we knew that they would be successful. The top six all were good. So, who cares who wins? I know that I didn't care (as long as Chris Richardson didn't win). AI itself recognized this and did something they never had before. Every year they release a "best of AI" album - with one song per competitor. They did that this year, but they went much farther as well. They also released a Collector's Edition - with studio versions of 76 songs. There are ten songs by Jordin, Blake, and Melinda. Nine songs by Lakisha, eight by Chris R, and so on. Almost every song that was performed on the show made it on the album.

You know who the big winners were on that? Not the top two. The album proved that all of them would make for a great recording artist. In fact, the two stars of the record are Lakisha and Phil - who sound darn good in the studio. After that, Gina is probably the next best. Powerhouses Jordin and Melinda actually suffer because they come off as a bit boring, since they sound exactly the same and get old fast. Blake actually takes a hit because some of his biggest hits from the show get watered down on the album. This record is one of the greatest pieces of evidence that the show is in trouble. Everyone is good. Most of them are polished. As the show has proven itself as a legitimate star-maker, it has lost some of that "it could be the guy next door" element. Just like in real sports, we can't relate to these people any more. This year, Brandon and Melinda were background singers. Chris S was a worship leader and already had recorded an album. Phil was a member of the Navy Rock Band - one of the hardest groups to get into in the military. Jordin had won a Junior Idol competition in Arizona. Gina had tried out other years and performed in local venues in between. Most of the people have already polished their image; some already had stylists and handlers. Last year, both Taylor and Chris already had released failed albums.

When every person is equal, it is frustrating every week to watch them get tossed in the bottom three and voted off. It isn't about talent at that point - it is always about who dials the most and the fastest. That is exactly how Jordin and Blake beat Melinda and Lakisha. Even though the two divas had bigger fan bases from the very start, their fans were not the type who speed dialed a hundred times. (They are, however, the type who buys albums.) What happens next year, when this will probably lead to there being absolutely NO villains in the final 12? We can get a glimpse of that in SYTYCD this year. Even though this is only the third year for the show, it is going through the process faster - probably due to the pedigree of the producers. Last year, the only year I watched, there were people to root against. The biggest was Dmitri, the Russian heartthrob who always found a way to take off his shirt. I wanted to climb through the tv and choke him. This year, all 20 finalists are excellent and personable and good looking. There is no one to root against - no weak spot, no arrogant turd. Even the people the show has tried to cast as villains have turned out to be nice - actually they have been the most delightful of them all (Danny, Dominic). The only thing that even closely resembles a villain is Cedric - just because he already lost one partner. But his solo dancing is so freaky and amazing, you can't hate him. And he is a genuinely sweet kid - even when getting shredded by the judges.

So, in just the second week of voting, the judges themselves admitted only one pair deserved to be in the Bottom Three. If the judges feel that way, think about the viewers. Every week is a frustration because good quality dancers get stuck in the bottom. This is compounded by the fact that they have to do choreography designed by someone else - and only have control over executing it. We have already seen where the choreographers bizarre vision has cost a pair - even though they danced his weirdness flawlessly (Pasha and Terri come to mind).

There has to be a villain. These shows have tried to cast a judge as villain - Simon on AI and Nigel on SYTYCD. The problem is that both guys are actually immensely likeable and funny. AND they are always right. Educated viewers know this. So how can you hate that? And how successful is a show going to be where you only have the judges to root against? Well, how well would a sport do when the only person you could hate were the refs? Hating the refs is a bad sign. That means they are incompetent or corrupt. I'm not sure exactly how to fix this. You can't force the shows to include punks on their rosters. Even if you did, they would do a 180 if they realized they were the "heel" of the show. However, if this doesn't change, fully expect both shows to continue to see a drop off in viewers. It is just the nature of sports.

Jul 4, 2007

Jacksonville - Wednesday - July 4, 2007

Well, we are finally back in the Sunshine State - and looking at all the standing water due to rain. After a full day of flying and visiting two of the busiest airports in the USofA, we made it back. It was a sweet sight to see our little boy running to hug us, and our little girl zonked out on the bench. (We got her smiles this morning.) All in all, it was a fun trip, but we are sooo glad to be home. Well, we aren't really home yet. We will be home tomorrow to Orlando - for now.

Right after we get back we have to find a new house. Our current rental is going to be put up for sale in August, so we have to find a new place. A lot went into that decision. We tried to look into buying a house. Even though now is a great time in the market, it is not a great time for us to pull the trigger on that move. Defender has just gotten somewhat financially stable, and I don't want to go too far out on a limb. That means going back to renting - grrrr. But it gives us some freedom to relocate to Seminole County, which will give us better schools for Josiah and a shorter drive to, uh, everything. That search begins immediately upon return to Central Florida. We are praying that we are able to find something fast that will work with us as far as all the stuff you have to pay up front.

July will be pretty much dominated by the move. August will be dominated by Defender events. We have two major ones, and a couple of others possibly floating around. School will start at the end of August, and then our new arrival will show up the end of September or first of October. It will certainly be busy in the Staples' world. But for now, we get to enjoy Independence Day.

Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about our military. My dad was a Marine in the Korean War, earning a Purple Heart. It is the thing about him I am the most proud of. I still am drawn to books about that war. I also was a History Ed major in college, so I love history - especially military history. I am a Reagan junkie. I love the patriotic holidays, because they allow our country to stop bickering about political junk long enough to actually show an ounce of gratitude to the people who secured the freedoms that EVERYONE enjoys. I have made it a point of explaining Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and July 4 to my kids - and Josiah will tell you why we celebrate today. Every time we pass a soldier I point it out, so Josiah will recognize that the person deserves respect.

Out in California, we saw a lot of military presence. We passed Fort Pendleton three times - the Marine's Pacific training and launching grounds. It got me a little bit, since that was where my dad launched from. We also saw the huge Naval center in San Diego, and drove through their base to get to the lighthouse. We also passed the old and new Naval hospitals there and I couldn't help wondering if my dad went through there on his return. In Irvine, we went by an enormous National Guard facility with gigantic hangers. When we landed in San Diego, there were Marines everywhere - boarding planes and arriving. Plus there were some active duty soldiers going on leave on our flight to Atlanta and Jax.

I personally want to say that I don't want a day to go by that I do not thank God for those men and women - and to pray for their safety. We all have different opinions about Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere else. But those people sacrifice their lives to defend us and others - even when that puts them into a politically volatile environment back home. We need to remember them and thank God for them. Do little things to show you care. Give some money to a veteran's group, volunteer at a VA hospital, walk up to a soldier and thank them. Do something. They are. And if you know someone personally serving, do not EVER forget to lift them up with your words and prayers. Stephen Orf. Buddy Joca. Matthew Creviston. Thanks.

Jul 2, 2007

San Diego - Monday - July 2, 2007

Well today was our last day in California. We got a later start that we anticipated, but we did eventually make it to the San Diego Zoo. But not after we went to .... IN N OUT BURGER!!! For years and years I heard about this magical burger place in California. Anyone I knew who had lived out here or stayed for an extensive period of time would brag about how awesome it was. I would say things like, "Checkers is okay." And they would say, "Have ou ever had In N Out? It's way better." I would say something like, "Sonic is great." They would get this little annoying look and say, "Not as good as In N Out." So I made it a goal to find one of these mythical creations that can only survive on the Left Coast. A couple years ago when I went to Vegas, I found an In N Out and ate there. It was good, but they forgot my meal for over 20 minutes and I ate it really fast while trying to read a map. So it wasn't as earth-shattering as I thought.

Today, though, Heather and I actually went to eat at the In N Out. It was soooo good. Heather loved it too. The place was very busy, as always. The amazing thing is that the place only has eight menu items: burger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, fries, vanilla shake, chocolate shake, strawberry shake, soda. Wham. They have these enormous potatoes that they are continually cleaning, peeling, dunking in water, slicing, and frying. Everything is super fresh and very good. We were very impressed.

Then we went to the zoo. It was funny - there was an Excessive Heat Warning. The temps were supposed to soar into the 80s. Wah. The Zoo is really just an amusement park with lots of animals. Lots and lots and lots of animals. There are supposedly over 4000 animals there! It is like you compare the SD Zoo with any other zoo, and it is like the SD Zoo just overpowers the lame other zoo and then kicks sand in his face. For example, I have been to zoos with giant tortoises before. Like one or two. SD Zoo has 13. Several of them are over 100 years old - and have spent over 80 years at the SD Zoo. The Jax Zoo has like 20 flamingos. SD has over 120 - along with nests, eggs, and babies. SD also has polar bears, pandas, tigers, lions, sea lions....

It also has Disney sized crowds. To see the Panda, you have to go through a huge line. Same story for polar bears, tigers, gorillas, anything really special. So, if you don't want to stand in the burning sun with no clouds and fry while waiting to see a panda sleep or poop, you walk by and do a twisty twist and see it through the exit door. That's what we did. The habitats were so incredible. The couple of gorillas had this enormous place with waterfalls and giant trees. The polar bear had a gigantic joint (not drugs). We had a really good time, but got tired out very fast. We are ready to go home and see our kids. There has been a LOT of walking. We leave first thing in the morning, which we are happy for. It has been a fun trip and we would really like to come back to San Diego at some point. Irvine was pretty nice too. LA can suck eggs. :)

San Diego - Sunday - July 1, 2007

Today we left Irvine and drove south for our two days of vacation in San Diego. Drink it in; it always goes down smooth. We got up early and arrived here around 10:30. We met our friends Dave and Denise Rodriguez for lunch and an afternoon of sightseeing. The Rodriguezes used to live in Orlando, and they moved back here a few years ago. Now, David enjoys having visitors from back east and gloating about life in San Diego. I will say this, he certainly had some things to gloat about. The weather here is beautiful; there is lots to do; the cultural scene is super; the scenery is wonderful. There's nothing worse that a gloater who has a reason to gloat.

We went to Emeliano's for lunch - a Mexican restaurant that David knows the owners of. It is named after on of the revolutionaries who fought against Mexican rule. Great googidy moogidy. I had this experience once before. When we took our trip to Pennsylvania a few years back, I discovered that what I had always assumed passed for a steak and cheese sandwich actually was junk compared to a REAL one. Well, it happened with Mexican food today. I have eaten my share of "mexican food" in my day. But I never had REAL Mexican food. I had a carne asada platter (steak with chili peppers, rice, beans, a cheese enchilada). The food was so good. Man oh man. That is one of my favorite parts of traveling. I love trying out restaurants that I have never been to. Yum.

After that, we went driving to the San Diego lighthouse, where we got an unbelievable view of the harbor, ocean, naval bases, all around. It was so beautiful. The big SD is indeed a gorgeous place. After that, we drove over to Balboa Park. We'll spend some time there tomorrow too when we go to the San Diego Zoo. Anyway, we got to see all the different museums and everything. They call Balboa the Central Park of the West. It is just this enormous area carved out of the city that has parks, botanical gardens, theaters, museums, and more all around. There is a place called The Old Globe Theater that puts on Shakespeare plays. There is a museum that has dinosaur fossils and the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is an Aerospace Museum, a Sports Museum, a Veteran's Memorial, and about twenty other buildings. It is a wonderful place and I hope we can see some of it after the zoo. Oh yeah, the zoo is in Balboa Park too.

After all of that, we checked into La Quinta (Spanish for wireless internet). About a month and a half ago, I had made reservations at Ruth's Chris steakhouse for tonight. We had gotten a big gift card for the restaurant by cashing in our Visa Rewards. So, I knew we were coming and that it would be a cool place to go. The location was right on the harbor - you could see yachts and everything out the window during dinner. Ruth's Chris is where I asked Heather's parents for permission to marry her back in 2000. We hadn't been back there since. It was, as you might expect, very very good. Heather says their Shrimp Cocktail is the best ever. She had that with a filet and creme brulee. I had a bone-in ribeye with spinach au gratin and berries for dessert. It was great and fun to spend time together. Then we came back to La Quinta (Spanish for free muffins for breakfast). Tomorrow is ZOO DAY. Then we return to Florida. I know these posts haven't had the emotional or theological oomph that some of the earlier ones did. But I hope that they are interesting to someone - maybe just my stalker. :)

Jul 1, 2007

Irvine - Saturday PM - June 30, 2007

Well today was basically the last day of the conference. Tomorrow there is one session in the morning and then everyone bolts. A bunch of people left tonight, though. We decided that since the CD/DVD sales would be the highest today, that we would actually try to stay at our table all day to get some benefit from the increased traffic. The placement of the Exhibit Hall was really weird. Even with more people coming in, we maybe had 15 people come by our table. I spent most of the time talking to the the guy running the OneByOne group table. He was pretty frustrated too with the way everything had gone. He had decided not to man his table for the three days he was there because no one was coming by.

We hung around until about 3:15 - leaving only to eat lunch. Finally, it seemed a bit of a waste. We had to break down by five anyway, so we just closed up shop, mailed the boxes back to Orlando, and went to the mall. The conference was a mixed bag for sure. The testimonies were amazing. We enjoyed getting to know some great couples. The worship time was great. But the exhibit time was not very productive. And the Exodus staff themselves seemed a bit distant and uncooperative. That was the most troubling part of the event. I was hoping to forge some better professional relationships with this group or others. I never had a chance, and any efforts I made seemed to get smacked down like I didn't have a right or something. Maybe they all were stressed or worried about the flack that was apparently streaming in from groups opposed to Exodus' message. Either way, I'm not quite sure if we really gained much by coming.

Heather and I had a good time at the mall, though. This particular place was huge and had a ton of shops. Some of them were very upscale. Others were ones we don't have in Orlando. There also were some good sales going on in different stores (Disney, BabyGap). I also had the treat of having dinner at Wahoo's Fish Tacos. I want to submit a request that one of those stores arrive in Florida post haste. It was amazing. Heather had a Maui Bowl, which was teryiaki beef with rice and beanss. I had two tacos - one fish and one chicken. We also had some chips, salsa, and guacamole. And I ordered some Baja rolls. The whole thing was about 20 bucks, which is good for all of that. Plus they served Pepsi - which means there was MOUNTAIN DEW. That is always a topper for me. The food was incredible. It was very fresh and light and tasty. The Baja rolls were chicken, cream cheese, salsa, and spinach rolled up in a tortilla and cut into slices. Man o man was it good. The tacos were amazing, as was the teryiaki beef. I hope Wahoos expands back home soon. We also discovered Mrs. Beasley's cupcakes. They are ridiculously good with amazing flavored frosting. It was a nice ending to a good day.

Tomorrow we awake and head to San Diego. We are going to have lunch with David and Denise Rodriguez. I used to work with Denise at FBC Oviedo and they taught in the college group there. They moved to SD a few years ago. We plan on hanging out with them Sunday afternoon. I hope to post tomorrow night from the La Quinta. We look forward to several things on the last leg of this trip. 1 - AC in the hotel room. 2 - Beds that are not on stilts 3 - The San Diego Zoo 4 - Dinner at Ruth's Chris Sunday night (Gift Card) and 5 - Food that doesn't taste of Sterno. Next stop SD.