That Disconnected From my Phone Feeling

20140708-144903-53343880.jpgA phone means so much more in 2014 than it did in say 1994. Some of us are connected to our contacts all the time. Whether it’s touching base with a spouse or sharing a photo on Facebook, I never realized how connected I am until today when I had no service on my iphone. At Silverwood Lake there apparently is no cellular service. I had planned to crosspost photos and statuses of the day in “real time.” As it is, no such luck and I feel incomplete. Sure, I can do without the crossposting to social media, right?


Sunsational Pool

sunsationalMost people I know tell me they wish they had a pool. I have to inform them every time that it is a lot of work and expense and you don’t use it as much as you think. But today was “sunsational” out at the pool. I spent most the day restoring my wife’s computer and after dizziness took over, I jumped in the pool with my youngest daughter Julianna. We splashed around with the camera, ate snack pack puddings in the shallow end, and made general hilarity in the refreshing pool. Some parents might say their 7 year olds won’t do anything with them. As long as you count the cost, I recommend a pool. (flickr set)

the good old days of meaningless statuses

coffee stuffMy title is tongue-in-cheek but so much of social media is as plain and mundane as this. When I started blogging, it was my status platform. I had online friends who I followed through a feed and they reciprocated. It was often purely hilarious interchange. No one complained of me status-bombing them, instead they commented. Facebook enables millions to have a similar experience but here’s the rub: they filter for commerce. Twitter is a little better for posting and following on-the-fly. It seems every share has to look nice for the News Feed. I suspect I’ve been filtered out of a LOT of newsfeeds because of my style. I confess, I miss the good old days of meaningless statuses. It’s hard to let them go.

The Red Beach Towel

Tiana my cat.Even though she’s really picky, my cat is love bombing me. Some days, I pick her up and she and purrs like an iphone on silent. Other times, when I approach the couch she’s sprawled on, she bolts like soup from a spilled bowl. Lately she’s nuzzling up a lot. Last night in the noisy fireworks she adhered to me in trepidation. I dried off from the pool on the couch in a gigantic red beach towel. She still found me comforting. So much depends upon a cat, a red beach towel, and a bowl of calming soup. Don’t you agree?

Linking to: Question Tags and Ultimate Blog Challenge July 2014

Vegas Day Three With the Rileys

I’ll admit it, at this point we were tired. We got our morning buffet under our belt and then collapsed onto five lounge chairs by the pool. Sarah made grand plans for us to do a waterpark and then see a comedy show. I’m here to report we did neither. It actually reminds me how we may have outgrown Vegas. I’m not knocking it for the warriors who come out here for vacations regularly throughout their lives, power to ‘em. As for us, gone are the cheap Vegas trips. We may look at our options for family trips in the future.

We went bowling at Gold Coast. The family all seemed to enjoy it. After that, another tasty buffet and then a night in the room. We rented Captain America: Winter Soldier and it was truly good. Quite violent but in a comic book righteous vengeance sort of way. We fell asleep after that and this morning awakened to our drive home on the 15 South. We made it home in good time. Now on the 4th of July, we’re rested and comfortable in our own home. Sometimes, you need to go away to come home. Below are a few images from the day:






Rileys in Vegas: Day Two

A second day rolls down to a virtual stop. It was fun, we went to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus and the Beach Club at the Tropicana. It was 113f and it felt muggy. Walking to the pool from our room made us sluggish. We got pizza via room service by the pool. It was amazing. I enjoyed spending time with my girls swimming around the spacious yet shallow pool.

After a long rest in our room, we decided to visit the Luxor where Sarah and I stayed for our wedding in 2002. The years have blown by like high desert winds. She is more beautiful each day. I love her more and get to know more about her as time blows my words away. As we vacation now with our party of five (Sarah used to have a blog called that) I know what blessed and entrusted means. Below are a few photos from day two:


















Riley Family Vegas Trip: Departure / Arrival

We hit the road this afternoon and had zero traffic. Vegas is a special place for us because it’s where Sarah and I tied the knot. This trip we are glad to have Brandon with us since he’s 16 this month. There’s no telling how many more family vacations we’ll have with him. The trip has already been eventful.

We stopped at Cima road, just after the rest area. It looked Podunk from the outside but once in the Shell station it was a tourist Oasis. The men’s room has a “waterfall urinal” and a sign invites you to enjoy! That was hilarious. We checked in to the Tropicana about 9pm, it was 104 degrees.

Our plans this trip are to hang out by the pool and Sarah and I are seeing a comedy show. We’re also taking the kids to Circus Circus. Beyond that we plan to hit some nice buffets and take in the sights. Our gambling will be traditionally scant. I’m so blessed and lucky to have these 4 in my life. Watch for updates between now and the 4th. Below are a few pics so far:








Cyrus – 5/5

CyrusCyrus is a lot like the film Step Brothers except that it’s serious and the protagonist and antagonist are not family. It’s a simple little story about power and step-parenting. As I say that, please know that the character played by Jonah Hill is no child, he’s 22 years old. John C. Reilly’s character is the interloper. He begins dating a woman almost instantly after meeting her and he finds out he got more than he bargained for with Cyrus. There are indications that he and his mother, played by the beautiful and wondrous Marissa Tomei, are close in an almost unhealthy way. There is no incest but you can tell Cyrus controls his mom. Like many children in single parent situations, he doesn’t want to let her date. The intensity of Reilly and Hill is incredible. It’s not a family movie and when the issues of power are performed on screen, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or shake your head in ridicule. You can see Cyrus is frightened of losing his mom but the fear is just as evident in his mom and the new suitor. Cyrus is not a typical Hollywood comedy, it’s a look at people we know, or people like them anyway. At the parties and weddings, we are participants among the dialog. There is some romance here and it is a good film for date night but I romance is not the backbone. It is simply part of the backdrop. And there is the question of whether the romance is healthy.

Cyrus is entertaining because it starts with a simple premise and develops an amazing script through brilliant, talented actors. It’s not a “la la la” blockbuster film because it is different and simpler than those. I liked it though and I give it a perfect 5/5 because of the raw simple reasons I have stated. It delivers and fulfills what it aims to be: a people study. It’s one of the best movies I’ve watched this Summer. There are no expensive props or CGI. If you’re in the mood for some incredible acting that holds your interest to the credits, watch Cyrus.

The End of the World in Entertainment

elysium___max_by_benmauro-d6t570gI saw Elysium yesterday. It was a pretty decent adventure sci-fi flick. Matt Damon did a good job as the beaten down inmate who was trying to do right in society. It takes place in the future and guess what is happening? In line with so many tv and big screen movies these days, it’s an apocalypse. It seems I can’t escape this theme in modern entertainment. People are fascinated with it the way they used to be fascinated with shows like ER. They are drawn to the idea of death either society’s or their own. At the same time, I see less and less actual scientific stuff on tv discussing whether an apocalypse is imminent. Could this be because it’s more sensational that sensible as a fear?

I think now and then about getting more supplies in the event of a disaster. We could probably drink pool water for a while. Food is another matter. I don’t think I am the type who would ever get an arsenal of guns under the banner of “protecting my family.” I might get one … just one someday but that is a huge shift from what I have normally stood for. Things are breaking down and people are getting more desperate. I have grown complacent about the beggars at the market and those holding cardboard signs at the freeway outlets. At the same time, I don’t know what I could ever do for them that would really help long-term. That may sound like an excuse, maybe it is.

Everything is changing these days. The media carries stories of people assaulting every manner of work and profession. No one is free from criticism. Even my field of teaching is under attack. I always thought if I picked teaching as a trade, I would have respect from the community for what I did. Why? Because I am working to develop a “human” product rather than a profit margin. When I worked for Pizza Hut, the latter was the goal. Working with children now, I feel I truly make a difference. But even teachers are being attacked these days. People say we are overpaid and we don’t show good enough results on standardized tests. I find all this so disheartening. Still, I will continue to work to help students achieve their potential in my class and in their lives. Hopefully in the final analysis that will make a positive impact on the world.

I’ve touched on how my field is changing but none is exempt. This is a time of extreme change and in some cases extreme destruction. As we see destruction on the screen, it is mirrored on our streets. There is a wide gap between the haves and the have nots and that has not played out well in the past. Our country is ripe for a revolution. I actually can’t figure out why it hasn’t already happened yet. The middle class is all but dried up. It’s a theory, a memory. The uber rich make the decisions that affect the world and all below must abide. I don’t like to think it’s the end of the world but I have kids so I need to ponder these things. Lately, my reaction to all this change and impending doom has been to save more for their college. I’ve read that student loans won’t be around much longer, the way we know of them. There will be a cap that will put most colleges out of business. That will leave a huge long line at the state schools. Just some thoughts on the end of the world.

Peace Like a River Flows – Original Song

Peace Like a River Flows

Don’t everybody know

That we’re talk bout peace

flowin over the stones
(As cold as a stone)
(through hearth and home)
(by our love that is shown)

And peace like a river flows

Hello lonely road
That you have to hoe
There is peace oh to get you home
(the fact of the matter is)
When all the people go
You only know what you know
And I know
peace like a river flows