All posts by Hobie

Fran & Joel Back Out + Other Stuff

I’m just wanting to get a post out with some assorted pictures and neat stuff I’d noticed before the weekend begins in earnest, as I’m sure it’ll be fun to recount the stuff from Fran & Joel’s visit out.   But first, we had dinner with them last night:

They flew in from Phoenix yesterday after attending the same conference they went to last year, which was when we met up with them in Vegas.  It was nice to take them to one of the many neat restaurants here in Glendale, this time Bacari.

On Monday, Larry & I went out on a school night to see a show at the Largo – this was where we had previously seen “How Did This Get Made?” last year; this time the show was “Hanging with Paul Scheer” and it was hilarious and the guests were Nicole Byer – who is hilarious and who I first fell in love with from her appearance on “Gay of Thrones” below:

Bye, Bitch!!!!    ALSO, Maria Bamford and Fred Armisen were guests, so yeah, it was hilarious.  I ended up taking the bus from DTLA as I was downtown that day, and while waiting, I took some downtown pics:

The previous weekend, we finally got to hang with Rekha and belatedly celebrate birthday fun with her.  Nicki chose a cool place, Cafe Stella, down in Silver Lake on the Sunset section.  Very trendy bar and restaurant with many attractive people everywhere.  Ah, hip Los Angeles.  Larry & I bailed after the restaurant but we heard the fun certainly continued through the rest of the day/night!

And then the weekend before that, I dragged Larry to go out and see The Last Jedi ONE MORE TIME.  It was my fourth time, his third.    We went to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood and while it was an experience, the presentation of the movie at Universal was way better.   But there was a fun organist playing tunes before the show and a cheesy laser show too!  And a cool costume display from the movie that we visited.  Anyway, the movie still rocks and I can’t wait to see it again…on Blu Ray.

We also did go and see Phantom Thread this past weekend…I’ll give the movie that it was beautiful and well-directed, but this was a movie that I was okay with until the last 10 minutes, and then I was done with it.  What a waste of time.  I hope it loses in every Oscar category it was nominated in.

In totally unrelated stuff, Rebels Season 4 comes back soon, and if you love Star Wars, this animated series is a must watch.  The final half of the last season is airing and by the looks of this preview, a whole lot of stuff is gonna happen – and the Emperor makes an appearance!!!!:

I also saw this in one of my favorite sites – These timelapses of Seattle are pretty mesmerizing especially to see how quickly the city is building up:

 

And that leaves us to where we are now.   I’ve failed on my Amazing Race updates, but I’m still watching as it’s amazing.   And the cast of Celebrity Big Brother was announced…and it’s gonna be hard for me to choose to watch with Omarosa on it.  Seriously, wtf.

Kinda sick?

Breaking news alert – I’ve got a scratchy and slightly phlegmy throat and it’s the end of the world.   Alright, it’s not really and I hope I’m close to being better soon.  Larry has had a cough for like the last 4 weeks and I think it’s finally going away too.  NOW THAT YOU’RE ALL CAUGHT UP, what should I write about?

Black Mirror?

I’d say I’ve enjoyed the few episodes I’ve seen of this season.  I liked “USS McAllister” a lot, and we just watched “Crocodile” last night and that was some fucked-up shit.  The “Hang the DJ” episode was actually very enjoyable and had a surprising twist, although I read some takes online that indicated that the very end kind of is a bleak way to see things.

Ancient Wonders of the World?

I listened to a 2-part podcast yesterday that was about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and it was pretty fascinating.  I’ve known about many of these especially because of the Civilization and Rise of Nations games, in which you get to build Wonders.  The Assassins Creed games have been sometimes useful to see these wonders – especially in Origins, which has not only the Great Pyramid of Giza but also the Lighthouse at Alexandria.  I hadn’t remembered this, but Larry & I had actually seen some of the remnants of The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus when we were there for our 2011 cruise:

I still can’t believe how unbearably hot it was in Turkey when we were there.   And look at how ridiculously crowded it was!!!!!  Still worth it to have visited these places.  Hearing about some of the other Wonders does make you think on what some of them actually looked like – as we only have some written accounts for some of them, like the Colossus of Rhodes and the Status of Zeus in Olympia.  Okay, I digress.

I’ve got not much else to say today and am ready to eat some delicious pot roast.

Amazing Race 30 – 2 Head 2 Furious

Maybe delayed, but I’m still posting, dammit!  This latest leg on Amazing Race was fairly brutal, as the introduction of a new challenge type, Head to Head, guaranteed a dramatic finish.  And boy oh boy, did we get some drama.  I’ve not really had a reason to complain about the previous 29 seasons and how if you got to the Pit Stop last, after having had conquered a Roadblock, Detour, and other challenges, you’d have to confront the fact that your poor performance is leading to your likely elimination.  The Head to Head challenge acted as a gate before the Pit Stop – which is a glorious save for a team that is trailing the group.   Is it entirely fair?  I’m not so sure I think it is, but that chance to stay in the game is somewhat sporting.  Anyway, I don’t hate the new challenge, and I look forward to if it continues to show up and how often.  Is this like a U-Turn where it is an occasional thing, or will it be on every leg?   So many questions!

Amazing Race 30 – Leg 2:  Reykjavik, Iceland to Antwerp, Belgium

We left Iceland and again there was no competition about getting a better flight.   Making it so easy for these teams nowadays!  In my day, you had to spread misinformation and plead with ticketing agents to not issue tickets to others, dammit!  Anyway, everyone gets to Antwerp via Amsterdam, and taking an early lead are Cedric & Shaun, massively casting off their Leg 1 standings, and getting to the Roadblock first:

Roadblock:  Climb a Long-ass Ladder up to a Clue Hanging from a Crane

Oof.  I don’t know how well I would have done on that challenge.  The nervousness from climbing those heights on a rickety rope ladder as well as the physical fatigue is pretty harsh.  It does seem everyone managed it fairly well though, so maybe the support rope acted as a belay and helped pull you up too.

Once a team finished the Roadblock, they got their Detour clue with the choice being Diamonds or Fonts:

Detour:  Diamonds

I was kind of surprised that this was a challenge.   Not only are the teams handling actual diamonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, they also have to do MATH.  A calculator was blessedly provided as otherwise, I’ve no doubt some of the teams would still be there.  And based on the performance of some who chose this, even the calculator wasn’t that much help, as they had to pay attention to clarity and with all the fingerprints they left on the stones, it was throwing them off.

Detour: Fonts

This Detour option also required paying attention to detail, but the detail was to make sure you understood one major detail in that the type was reversed and upside down.  And if you were clever like some and used the shadows from the window, you could rip right through this.  Alas, some of the teams got massively hung up on this.  The Twin Firefighters were the key examples of this – they started on Fonts and could NOT figure it out, eventually switching to the Diamonds challenge.   That switch led them to be the last team in the standings…but fret not, Head to Head is here!

The First Head to Head

In this first instance of Head to Head, the first two teams to arrive would compete against each other in an obstacle course that required you to dress up as Belgian Fries and schlep a dolly of frozen fries around it.  Whoever wins that match wins the Leg!  The loser has to then race the next team to arrive, and so on.  The last race will be between whoever has just lost a match and that last team to arrive.  And if that last team can manage to win the match, voila, they stay in!

Cody & Jessica managed to arrive second after Cedric & Shaun, but Cody destroyed and got Team Big Brother their first (of many?) wins.  So as the teams kept rolling in, the major story of Head to Head was the awful feeling everyone had while watching Henry & Evan roll in around fourth…but then get utterly destroyed in the competition for like 7 straight competitions.  It was brutal to watch.  They were exhausted.  They got lucky, if you can call it that, by finally getting to race against a not so great team, the Goat Yoga ladies.  Exhausted and with plenty of experience under their belt by now, Henry felt got a win.  But it was very very close.  In the end, the Goat Yoga ladies didn’t have enough legs to figure it out as the Firefighters showed up last and due to pure strength, were able to power their way past Goat Yoga.

I’m of the mind that I understand this is a competition show, and if a new tweak is added, then you have to play and win.  The Firefighters won their way to stay, but their abysmal performance this leg definitely earned them an elimination.  Their elimination is likely coming soon as it doesn’t seem they’re a strong team yet.  And Goat Yoga was falling apart from Leg 1, so their elimination here isn’t a travesty by any means.  I guess I’m saying, a last place team always has a chance now…and I’m not sure I like that.

The Current Standings:

It Begins – and lots of other pics too

First, the stress of yesterday’s PwC event at Magic Mountain proved to be mostly needless.  Of course I’m glad that felt compelled to be prepared, so that’s good, but it was such a welcome relief when it was time to do it and then sure enough, I was done.  Even got decent feedback after the fact.   The reward for making it through was then we got to go enjoy Six Flags!   The weather was pretty much perfect for a visit to the park, and better yet, there were like NO lines.  It’s likely the slowest time for them as most schools have started back up and it’s not really a hot time for tourism, I guess.

Friday, Jan 12 – PwC at Magic Mountain

The rundown of rides this day was basically all extreme.  And a day later, I’m still kinda feeling sore.  But we went on X-2 TWICE, which holy hell.  Riding in the last row of that ride is one of the most insane things you can do.  Then we went to Viper, then on to Tatsu.   Tatsu…is ridiculous.  It’s almost more intense than X-2 as it really feels like if your harness were to snap, you’d just get flung out to your death.  And it would be quick as you’d be a splat on the ground before you know it.  But what a ride!   We then followed that up with Gold Rusher which is great, as always, and ended the visit at Twisted Colossus.  So Twisted Colossus ended up still being my favorite of the coasters and there was an insane thing that happened:  One of my coworkers was in the seat in front of us, and as the train went inverted, the carabiner he had his keys on disengaged!  He immediately realized this but we were also on a rollercoaster that was currently barrel-rolling.  The keys managed to get lodged into the area by his feet, which was a miracle, as it was still a small gap, but the thickness of one of the keychains saved him.  The carabiner was long gone, but his keys weren’t.   He said that as they were flying away from him, they had been floating in front of them for a moment like they were in space.  Lucky lucky man.

Other Things!

Today, Larry & I took my mom over to see the model homes at the Glen LA so she could get to see for herself what the general layout of the house will look like.  It was the formal grand opening this weekend, so we of course saw most of the sales team, but we also saw plenty of potential homebuyers and actual homebuyers.  We ended up meeting a member of the family that will be living directly next door to us, and then we met a couple who will be living across the driveway from us.  All seemed very nice and it’s exciting to get the sense that this will be a fun neighborhood.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, Jan 13 – At The Glen LA with Mom

Those are the most recent pics and I think it could be fun to try to capture periodic shots from the construction site in order to eventually capture a time-lapse of the progress.  Easier said than done, I’m imagining.

Anyway, the rest of the weekend should be nice and relaxing, hopefully.   I figure while I’ve got energy and the time, here are some picture sets from December, mostly from around Christmas stuff:

Mon, Dec 25, 2017 – Christmas at Mom’s House

It was a fun time to spend Christmas at Mom’s with Stacie and Trent.  The food was great (and happily, our overbuying for Thanksgiving helped as we just froze this ham and then used it a month later).  And wine is always a winner.

Making Cookies

I love making chocolate chip cookies as they turn out so damned good.  It’s just a lot of work.  I ended up making cookies throughout the entirety of watching Die Hard, which is a long time.  But so worth the effort.  The recipe for these cookies I’ve shared on this site previously and is slightly weird in how it does things, but the results can’t be argued with.

I think the last thing I’ll post about as I’m getting antsy and want to do something else besides type on my blog is the pictures from the Sperske Christmas Even that my cousin Erin held down in Carlsbad.   Happily, it was held in the early afternoon, so we didn’t have to stay down there overnight.   It also meant a LOT of driving for one day.  But it was worth it to see family again.  Erin & Eric’s house is perfect for these kinds of get-togethers and their recent renovations inside are fantastic.

Sat, Dec 23, 2017 – Christmas Eve in Carlsbad

And that’s that.  Time to play some video games and shoot some Nazis.

Off to Magic Mountain, for Work

PwC certainly does know how to hold ‘all hands’ events!   Our Promotion Days are almost always spectacular, with the three I’ve been to so far having been held at either Disneyland or Universal Studios.  The All Hands meetings for the local market usually isn’t so crazy, but that’s not to say we’re just meeting in the break room.   When I first started, we had a meeting at the freakin’ Jonathan Club in Santa Monica, nestled right on the beach.   Anyway, we’re off to Six Flags Magic Mountain today – and I’ll be presenting a small portion of it.  I’m unnecessarily and needlessly nervous.  I loathe having to speak in front of large groups.  I know I’ll be fine, but until it’s done, I’m going to be miserable.  I keep trying to make myself take deep breaths….and when I remember to do so, it helps.    Wish me luck.