Thursday, July 11, 2019

Disneyland 2019

Disneyland 2019!!!!

Woo hoo! We are going on a road trip to Disneyland with our Minnesota friends!! 
First stop is Casa de Fruta, because even though we have only been in the car for an hour and a half this is the best stopping point.

A substantial flock of peacocks wander the grounds and occasionally show off.

There is a basic playground.  

Lunch at the Black Bear diner and a quick grocery stop because we are planning on a night in the cabin (spaghetti dinner, eggs and bacon, loaf of bread. This will be important later).  We get to the cabin with plenty of light to spare, but there is snow on the drive so we have to walk through some of it, damp feet, but all okay. I start getting the heaters going, E goes to open the water.   E falls into the lightly covered with snow septic pit!!!
Of course now he has poo-water up to his thighs. He takes a snow bath because the water is actually not functional, yikes! We abandon the clothes in the bushes. Everyone piles back into the car. I will spare you the pictures.  We drive to Bakersfield and get a room with a kitchenette. Children are hungry... kitchenette had only a microwave and zero utensils. Emma and I go down to the conference rooms and grab two mugs, and a used knife and spoon (left in the yogurt container). Back in the room I clean the utensils then make everyone dinner. Scrambled eggs on warm bread. Two eggs in a mug for 60 seconds-thank goodness I remember our 1980's microwave cookbook-lol!  Enough drama, Wednesday we make it to Disneyland!

Mikey finds Hidden Mickeys in the Grand Californian.
Pool time: a little too cold for the grownups, but there is no stopping the kids.  Thursday in Disneyland with the Extra Magic Hour in the morning! 

Fantasyland because if we don't do it now, it won't happen. It is already more crowded than it should be for the early morning, but we manage to get in a couple of rides that only have 15 minutes wait.

Alice in Wonderland, ah the psychedelic 60's
Pinocchio: easy car ride through the story-sad sad donkeys
Classic Carousel
Breakfast is Mickey pancakes at Gaston's. Somehow I've never eaten here - it is super cute!

Star Tours: plane travel of the future-snarky robot chats at us in line, C3PO is our pilot, bumpy flight through space.  The physical fast passes will likely go away in the future.  There is already an app that they want you to use.  It sounds like it is an improvement.  And yet.  I like the little paper tickets and the clever kiosks that dispense them.  

Astro Blasters: laser game fighting evil emperor Zurg. Michael wins!

Finding Nemo: quick review of the story in the comfort of the claustrophobia-friendly room. 
Autotopia: the best/worst ride in Disneyland. Elizabeth gets extra karma for going on this one when none of the adults wants to.
Astro Blasters again because of quick thinking E with fast passes. Michael wins! Astro Blasters is maybe the best ride ever.
Jungle cruise: bad puns all the live long day. I love this ride so much.

I usually stop into the trading post across from the Jungle cruise to rub the genie's lamp and get advice from the head hunter, but this time I noticed Esmeralda on Main Street. 

Lunch on Main Street: chicken and waffles with icing, excellent meatloaf.  Not my usual place, but it has charm.
Train to Toon Town
A land where we don't even stop on most trips.  But this is where you meet all the classic character and Mikey is all about that-so yeah, we'll do Toon Town!

Meet Goofy
Gadget go coaster: Ollie is living his best life for sure.
Run around Daisy's house, Goofy's house, Chip and Dale's tree house
Meet Pluto
Meet Mickey Mouse after seeing his house

Fantasyland Finale

Small World: Longest wait of the day but so worth it!
Monorail: to get back 'home'
Pool time to show mom the cannonball Mikey learned the other day
Nighttime for Ollie, he gets to watch the story time on tv

Friday in California Adventure-also an extra hour in the morning

All day long we see baby Groots on wrists and shoulders.
The Food and Wine fest starts today-about mid-day it gets really crowded.

Cars land.  Still so good!
Mater's Tractors: a bit like the scrambler, but not too mad

Radiator Springs Racers: We really made good use of the extra hour and rode the Racers 3 times!!!

Breakfast at Flo's Cafe
Tractors again! This is such a nice variation on the scrambler, love it!
Meet Lightning McQueen and Mater
The look of Cars Land is just so lovely.
Onto Pixar Pier which is getting more themed.

Toy Story Mania: Video game style ride. Michael wins!
Meet Kathy and Caroline - oh boy!! Friends who are nearish that come up to meet you in Disney
Goofy Sky School: Michael's big ride of the park. It is a bit intimidating but he went for it!
Incredicoaster: Best roller coaster in the park, re-branded with the Incredibles. I did not get on it this time...I think I am getting old - yikes!
Okay, this is new. The Mickey sink/pants are a container for a sundae, but what is this Minnie sink/skirt!?! No time to see, will have to ask others to check it out.

Lunch at the wharf, ice cream (so much ice cream, we should have shared but each got their own) at Ghirardelli, nap time for Ollie and Bapu.
Hollywood land

Turtle Talk with Crush/Animation studio
Meet Spider Man and Black Panther-this is new!
Monsters Inc: Easy drive through of the movie
Toy Story Mania again. Michael wins! (There may be a theme here)

Sue and E on their own for the bread tour, ride the space ship swing thing and Luigi's dancing cars (which is actually the best ride in the park).
Main group back to the pool, Sue and Erik return at the end of the day-dinner in the cafeteria, good mushroom pizza!
Next day everyone leaves and it is pouring!! Good timing folks :)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Books and light painting, April - June 2019

Books and light painting, April - June 2019

Light painting is when you take glow sticks, wave them around in a dark room ,and photograph with a long shutter time.  My great photographer friend took all these and they were so fun to do!!

-by Lianne Moriarty
The Hypnotist's Love Story:  Learned about hypnotherapy-cool!
Three Wishes:  Triplets!  I really like this one.  A family with public drama.

-by Lisa Genova
Every Note Played:  Inside the life of a man with ALS.  Well written, intense, I can't read too many of these, especially back to back.

-by Jesmyn Ward
Sing, Unburied, Sing:  Immersed me into a world so different from my own.  Great job making me sympathetic to all the characters even though some are not very likeable. 

- by Roxanne Gay
Bad Feminist:  Collect of essays, I like her writing.  Didn't get to finish this because I got it on audiobook from the library while travelling...but I got the gist.

-by Lois Lowry
The Giver:  Read this decades ago. Sooooo good. Sci-fi intro for young readers.

-by Liu Cixin
The Three Body Problem: This is a trilogy that has some good buzz around it so I got the ebook out of the library.  Timing wasn't great so I only got halfway through. Decided that was good enough and I don't need to read the whole thing!  Read the summary online, boom, done.  It is heavy science sci-fi and while it is a good story, there is less character development and world building, so it feels a little flat to me.  Read the summary of the rest of the trilogy.

-by Craig Johnson
Cold Dish:  The first of the Longmire mysteries.  I watched the whole series and then learned of the books.  The pace is super slow which works on tv but didn't keep me engaged in the book.  

-by Jason Fung
The Obesity Code:  A couple folks in my life are working on changing their eating habits and recommended this book.  The argument is that people become overweight because of hormones, which then causes them to overeat.  His solution is intermittent fasting, super popular right now and it seems to work for some people.  I found the actual writing terrible and suspect that he cherry-picked his data, but not invested enough to hunt it down.

-By Dan Gilbert
Stumbling on Happiness:  Follow up reading from my Happiness class.  In retrospect the info was mostly what I had read before and I have a hard time recalling the actual details of the book.  But the summary is that our brain is not the best.  The book is good for the science but others are better for tactical suggestions about what to do about it.

-by Hannah Tinti
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley:  Father Daughter story.  Dad is a criminal so the lives are complicated.  Great characters (recommended by Chris H. otherwise I would not have picked it up)

-by Alix Christie
Gutenberg's Apprentice:  Historical fiction about the first printing of the Bible.  Mostly well written and enjoyable.  Easy to swallow history lesson. (another Chris H. rec)

-by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights:  I remember enjoying this back in the day.  It is still a gripping tale.  The best thing is that I read it on the Serial Reader App.  It breaks the book up into 10-15 minute pieces, so Wuthering Heights took me 43 days.  The app has classics and it is free!

-by Sojourner Truth
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth:  Autobiography of Sojourner as she goes from a slave to freedom and becoming an evangelist.  It is quite short and afterwards I read the Wikipedia article to get more details.  Clearly an amazing person. (Loving Serial Reader app!)

-by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness quartet:  I got into reading fantasy later in life and am enjoying reading up the classics. This is the story of one young woman's journey to becoming a knight complete with magic, light romance, coming of age, quests and palace intrigue.

I read a bunch of super short books this quarter.  Not sure how to count them in my quest to read 100 books this year, will bundle 3-5 makes sense.
Oregon Trail Choose Your Own Adventure: Pure fan service to those of us who played the Oregon Trail video game back in the day.

by Haruki Murakami
The Strange Library:  hmm, the title says it all.  If you don't already read Murakami, maybe check it out at the library.

Books that I bought at an elementary school book fair. 
The Princess in Black is a whole series - Love these writers!!  Excellent intro to masked heros. 
Hex Vet is the beginning of a series, witches being vets to magical animals-cute! 

Because you can never know too much about your favorite terrible tv!  This is not recent, all season 1 info.

-by Tom Gauld
Moon Cop: Short and sweet graphic novel - really like the art.

-by Jennifer L Holm
Turtle in Paradise: Little stories about growing up in 1935 in Key West.  Randomly picked it out of the e-library.  (Got a mention in the Library book below!)

-by Donald J. SobolEncyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace:  I love love love Encyclopedia Brown and memorized the books I had. There must be a ton of them, here is one I didn't read-yeah!

-by Chris Grabenstein
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library: Fantasy for book lovers.  Willy Wonka of libraries.  Fun, but maybe not awesome enough to read the whole series.  It did give me a long list of children's books to read, many of which I already love, but it is good to keep up to date.

-by Carl Hiaasen 
Scat:  Picked it because of the Library book.  Quite good!  YA mystery, fun style, not sure I have read Hiaasen before but recognize the name.  There is a whole set with one word titles.  Scat is about a big cat, Slither is about snakes, etc.  Great cover art

Free Comic book day will get its own post!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

BattleBots in Long Beach and Las Vegas, Spring 2019

BattleBots in Long Beach and Las Vegas, Spring 2019

Team Valkyrie!
If you haven't seen the BattleBots show check out this 2 minute clip of Tombstone vs. Bronco.  We took a road trip with The Neighbors to see it taped live!  Amazing!  So. Much.  Fun.
I think this is the best sign, so if you see it on tv, we are right there!!

Team Huge!

We made the best signs!

We were in the front of the line to get the best seats!

Team Free Shipping!!
It was a super intense couple of days where we lived and breathed BattleBots and then went home :(  One guy used his whole 2 weeks of vacation to attend every taping-now that is a Life Goal!

I then I went off on a girls trip to Vegas
We did a little bit of everything and ton of things I'd never done before.  
First off, I walked from the airport to the Hard Rock hotel.  This seemed kind of crazy and it took me three tries to get out of the airport complex to someplace with sidewalks.  The employee parking lot looked promising, but no sidewalks-boo.  Free shuttle to the rental car center, but it is on the wrong side of the airport and now I was 5 miles away instead of 1.2 miles away.  Finally I took the free shuttle to the long-term parking lot and was able to walk out to Paradise Blvd no problem!  Why would I do this?  I wanted to know if I could, I had the time and it wasn't blazing hot summer!  

We ate great food off the strip, which I have somehow never managed to do before? Why not?  Don't know!! It is soooo good!  First was some hot pot Korean.  Just head west on Spring Mountain Road and a ton of great food appears.

Saw the show Absinthe just outside Caesars.  Not for the prudish, cool intimate venue and amazing performers.  Tap dance?  Check.  Roller skates, check.

End the evening at the Bellagio

With a Manhattan at my favorite little corner bar.  The best people watching, cheese plate and a piano.

The Bellagio always has a nice display.

This is for Chinese New Year.  So many flowers!

The chocolate fountain at the Bellagio shops.

Chairs outside the chocolate shop remind me of those in Animal Crossing-too cute!

We take the little tram ride and check out the fantastic fountain at the Aria and the tiny Turrell art piece in the mall.

Breakfast is out and about to Babycakes.  Local (maybe?) Filipino breakfast chain where one should always add a fancy pancake to whatever else you want to eat.  Crazy good options like s'mores and peanut butter/banana.  Holy cow that was great!

Something I've never done is lounge by the pool all day
In a cabana. Where we really do nothing but eat and drink and chat with an occasional dip in the pool.  I thought I would get more reading done, but there was so much to do - lol!

One last decadent evening meal.  The Oyster Bar at Palace Station.  It is only a bar with ~20 seats and it is never not popular.  We wait in line an hour and a half.  And it is totally worth it!! 
Damn that was a good trip!