Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Police

Last night I went to see The Police at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (formally Coors Ampitheater) in Chula Vista. The handicapped parking is conveniently located near the front entrance so I didn't have far to go; my seats in the wheelchair section were very good as well: I had an unobstructed view of the stage. I always enjoy concerts under the stars, or in the case of last night, under the clouds. Unfortunately, it was unusually cold for this time of year.

The concert opened with Elvis Costello and the Imposters. He put on a good performance and performed many of his classics, such as Watching the Detectives, Every Day I Write the Book, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding. He also played some new songs that I was unfamiliar with. It brought back memories of the 1980's. The highlight of his performance was when Sting came out on stage with Elvis Costello to perform Allison. It was an unexpected bonus.

They started off the show with Bring on the Night, then went right into Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon, Demolition Man, Voices Inside My Head, When the World is Running Down, Don't Stand So Close to Me, Driven to Tears, Hole in My Life, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Wrapped Around Your Finger, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Invisible Sun, Can't Stand Losing You, Roxanne, King Of Pain, So Lonely, Every Breath You Take, and ended with Next To You.

It has been about 25 years since they last toured and they are older--Sting is 56, Stewart Copeland is 55, and Andy Summers is 65. But, they could still deliver. The energetic drumming of Copeland, lively guitar playing of Summers, and rhythmic bass playing of Sting brought the old songs back to life. The songs sounded just as good. The audience got into the show with cheering, singing along to the songs, and swaying and dancing in place to the music. It was a nostalgic experience. They played most of the songs one would expect them to play. The 100 minute show zipped by. When they gave their final bows and the stage lights went out, I couldn't believe it had ended. I wish they could have played a little longer; there were still songs that I hoped they would play, such as, Synchronicity I, Synchronicity II, Spirits in the Material World, and Murder by Number. But, I can't complain. They put on a good show. I was glad I got to see this reunion. It may not happen again.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Today I went to see the movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I was excited to see the return of Indiana Jones after all these years (I was dissappointed that they didn't continue the series after the third movie, The Last Crusade) , but I was unsure what to expect. It's been a long time since Indiana Jones last appeared on the screen and Harrison Ford is older now. The movie turned out to be a pretty good return to the screen. It had what one would expect from an Indiana Jones movie: edge-of-the-seat action, daring escapes, thrilling chases, improbable stunts, mysteries to be solved and discovered. Harrison Ford, though older, still delivered as the brave, wise-cracking, intelligent, bull whip cracking hero. Of course, there were some moments that were too campy and corny which the movie could have done without. The story was not as good as Raider's of the Lost Ark, and The Last Crusade, but it was not another Temple of Doom --the weaker of the three original movies. It was still entertaining, especially if you suspend disbelief and just enjoy the story. I was not greatly dissappointed, but I did expect a lot more from the movie.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian

Yesterday afternoon I went to see the movie, Prince Caspian, the second movie in The Chronicles of Narnia series. It was not as good as the first movie: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but was still worth seeing. The film was full of stunning scenery, battle scenes, talking animals, and mythical creatures. All the elements one would expect in a fantasy movie. It was a little darker and more militaristic than the first one. There was violence, but it wasn't gory at all. The story line was coherent and the special effects helped to bring the land of Narnia alive. The movie kept my interest most of the time and the over two hour movie went by quickly. It was nostalgic for me since I read the whole series of books as a 10 year old. I was not dissappointed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

San Diego Zoo

Today was a beautiful, spring day so I decided to go to the San Diego Zoo. I always enjoy driving around the zoo in my chair looking at the animals. I especially like watching the monkeys and apes. The orangutans were very entertaining today. They like to sit at the plexiglass and watch the people on the other side. A young orangutan rolled on the ground alongside the plexiglass almost the entire length of the enclosure. He was putting on a show. An older orangutan lay in the corner covered with a burlap bag like he didn't want to be bothered. As I was leaving the area, I came across a curious sight: a zookeeper walking a meerkat on a leash (I wish I got a picture, but I left my camera at home). Next I wandered through the Monkey Trails exhibit which shows the flora and fauna of the rainforests of Africa and Asia. I especially like the colorful birds and their songs. The monkeys are also interesting to watch. After that, I went to see the giant pandas. It was nice to see the newest panda. He was lounging on a tree branch. The line to see the pandas was not too long. On the way out I passed the different bears (most were sleeping or lounging about) and then saw the meerkats enclosure. One sat in a bush looking at everyone with his beady little eyes. It was as if he was posing for the cameras. I also saw the elephants in their not so spacious enclosure. It is kind of sad to see these large, majestic animals penned up. Next I went to see the koala bears. As usual they were sleeping in their trees. Only one was voraciously eating his eucalyptus leaves. It was a nice afternoon and enjoyable as usual.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Iron Man

Today I went to see the movie, Iron Man. I admit it: I'm a sucker for superhero films (it must be my inner child). It did not disappoint. The movie was action-packed and full of explosions and great special effects. But, special effects aside, the story had some substance to it. The main character, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey, Jr., is the billionaire head of a weapons manufacturing company who has a change of heart about the nature of his business and its complicity in worldwide violence. He decides to fight this violence with his alter-ego, Iron Man. Unlike most superheros, he didn't have any super powers; his powers came from technology. Also, Tony Stark was an imperfect person; he was shallow and arrogant, but his conscience moved him to do good. I find it more interesting when superheroes are not one-dimensional and have flaws like most humans. It makes them seem more real. Robert Downey, Jr was well cast in the role. He had the right look and projected just the right amount of attitude without overacting. Gwyneth Paltrow played his trusty assistant, Pepper Potts. She didn't do a whole lot, but she served the purpose well. It was an enjoyable two hours of escape. Sometimes it is nice just to sit back and be entertained. The viewing experience was enhanced by the DLP digital projectors which provided for a sharp, clear picture and awesome surround sound. It also helped that the wheelchair seating at this theater is very good.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


On Thursday I went to UCSD/Thornton Hospital in La Jolla for my echocardiogram. I was a little nervous, eventhough I felt it would turn out well. Since Duchenne Muscular Dytrophy affects the heart, you never know what may pop up. The echocardiogram went well, eventhough a medical student did the procedure. She was surpervized, so she did it correctly. My heart turned out to be in pretty good shape. It was beating well and my ejection fraction, the percentage of blood pumped from the heart chambers (ventricles), was over sixty percent. That is very good. The doctor will go over the results. He will contact me if there is anything of concern. But, I don't think he will. It gives me piece of mind to know that my ticker is still in good shape.