Monday, January 28, 2008

It’s not so much insomnia as it is being a moron.

There are, I’m sure, several ways to deal with a nine-hour time zone shift. People have been doing it ever since the Spirit of St. Louis first winged her way across the Atlantic.

But I have been struggling.

My problems started when I decided to fly on Air New Zealand for the Los Angeles/London leg of my trip. It was my first time cruising with the Kiwis, and I didn’t really know what to expect.

It was wonderful.

Number one: Good food and free wine with your meal.

Number two: No one in the middle seat (I know that ANZ cannot actually take credit for this, but it sure made my trip a lot more enjoyable).

Number three: Ridiculous, ludicrous, fabulous selection of in-flight entertainment. In addition to Planet Earth, Extras, Flight of the Conchords, Fawlty Towers, CSI and other TV shows, guests aboard the Air New Zealand 747 were able to choose from the following movies:

The Heartbreak Kid
Grow Your Own
Hot Rod
Shortcut to Happiness
The Simpsons Movie
Knocked Up
The Jane Austen Club
The Nanny Diaries
The Darjeeling Limited
Resurrecting the Champ
Live Free or Die Hard
Into the Wild
Across the Universe
Feast of Love
Goya’s Ghost
The 11th Hour
The Lives of Others
The Brave One
Talk to Me
The World’s Fastest Indian
3:10 to Yuma
Rush Hour 3
The Hunting Party
The Seeker
The Bourne Ulitmatum
The Invasion
The Game Plan
Garfield Gets Real
High School Musical 2
A Beautiful Mind
Dirty Harry
Funny Face
Gone with the Wind
LA Confidential
Lethal Weapon
Roman Holiday
Saturday Night Fever
Something’s Gotta Give
Terms of Endearment
The Conversation
The Bridges of Madison County
The Shawshank Redemption
The Untouchables
The Usual Suspects
The Wedding Singer
Top Gun
An Angel at My Table
Once Were Warriors
Smash Palace
The Navigator
The Quiet Earth
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King


So I spent the entire flight not sleeping, as I had planned, but watching four TV shows, three and half movies, and trying to wake my seatmate up in such a way as it could look like an accident so that I could go to the bathroom.

This was not a bad way to spend the ten-hour flight, but by the time I had landed in London, took the bus to Reading and the train to Bath my internal clock was a little woozy.

I got to my flat at about four in the afternoon, and by four-fifteen I was in bed and deeply sleeping until four the next morning.

Wednesday: Up and around at four am, then asleep by ten thirty in the morning, awake at four in the afternoon and asleep by ten at night.

Thursday: up at four thirty, asleep at two, up at seven, asleep at one and up the next morning at six.

Friday: Up at six in the morning, asleep at two in the afternoon, up at two in the next morning. That means I was awake for a total of eight hours.

This is ridiculous. I have to pull myself together and stop sleeping like a two month old.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The happiest traditions on earth.

I was able to stop through LA on my way back to Jolly Ol'. It was fabulous.

I chilled like a vill with Sam and the Burns and the Flowers. I hit all the great restaurants before my plunge into a world of culinary mediocrity (Baja Fresh, Rubios, In N Out, Egg Plantation, Wood Ranch). Additionally, I visited a little place called Disneyland with Ken and Beth.

Ever heard of it?

New Tradition: Mickey Mouse pancakes

But why stop there?
Donald Duck


The UK

California (Beth got a little carried away with Catalina. Or is that Alcatraz?)

Old Tradition: If you're cranky, you have to wear the mouse ears

New Tradition: Eating your PB&J and Ruffles on Pirates of the Carribean
Old Tradition: Pretending like we're spinning like gangbusters on the teacups, but not actually spinning at all because it's just not worth it.

Retro Pic: circa 2002 w/Ryan Kendrick

New Tradition: Arriving at noon and leaving at ten like grown-ups

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ohhh the Humanity!

The Fam.

Go My Favorite Sports Team!

I've decided to pay more attention to American Football, at least for the next few weeks. Mainly because I just received a jersey* for Christmas from my brother Nathaniel.

The number of professional sports teams playing in Alaska can be counted on one hand that has lost all its fingers, so my family has always favored the Boston teams in honor of my father's youth. The Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots - these were the logos that graced the walls and ball caps of my brothers.

For some reason I was never bitten by the bug that infected my siblings. Instead of pouring over sports statistics and computing batting averages, I just did my math homework. Instead of Topps baseball cards, I collected porcelain dolls and Star Trek memorabilia. Sports was okay, but mostly it was just an excuse for the males in my house to get free reign with the TV. I remember hours and hours of sports on the family television, including one particularly memorable Sunday when we had to watch the SuperBowl instead of the twenty-four hour musical marathon that TNT was hosting.

But in the spirit of joining those you cannot beat, I have gradually become a sports enthusiast by osmosis. I'll sit and take in a game. I'll ask questions. I'll get emotionally involved. Still, at best you could only categorize me as a casual fan. A social watcher.

Now, though, the stakes are higher because I have this jersey. And I have some English friends who expect me to have Belichick's playbook memorized. And the Pats are going to be playing in the SuperBowl** while I'm in the UK.

So I'd better bone up on my NFL lingo if I ever hope to represent.

It's all about Special Teams.

*Number 81, Randy Moss
**Unless the earth swallows the entire team up in some sort of freakish catastrophe.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What better way to ring in the New Year...

...than with shellfish.

On New Year's Day we celebrated Dad's birthday a week early with the first-ever Gates Family Boil.

No, not the skin disease. That was last year.

A boil is some sort of Cajun affair where you cook a ridiculous amount of seafood and dump it all in the middle of the table for a salty medieval free-for-all.

Note: this post is graphic heavy. Meaning I took a lot of pictures.

Jill's ready for the boil.

So's Callie Jane.

We covered the table with newspaper and wax paper. I'm not really sure why the bags are on the chandelier. I think the plan was to have them handy for shells and other shrapnel.

Zach and Aunt Lucy wait for the deluge.

Dad shows Ty the ropes. Apparently oysters are resistant to being pried apart.

Tyler regarding raw oysters: It's like riding a roller coaster. I've done it before but it still makes my stomach feel funny.

Did Nathan know what he was getting into when he married Katy? We've yammered him into doing all sorts of things since he's been mixed up with our family. Swim with snakes. Eat raw oysters. He's a gamer.

This is as close as Katy got.

I have no idea how we convinced Zach and The Bud to take the plunge.

They did not dig it.


Crawdads are creepy.

Callie and Mom are pretending to eat the crawdads. None of us actually ate them. Again, creeeepy!

And there were twelve baskets remaining!

Mom's ready to roll it on in but Pop's still chuggin' along.

How we digest.