Category Archives: just a post

No Longer a Homeowner!

It really happened and everything went through as had been hoped for:  my Colorado Springs home now belongs to someone else!

Bye Bye, Lisa Drive

It’s surreal for it to be actually a true statement.  I no longer own a home.  HOLY SHIT.  Do you even understand the stress that has been on my back for the last 10 years???  It’s been a pretty good investment and a wonderful tax deduction, but to have to suck up the times when I didn’t have renters?  That only happened very rarely, but when living in NYC and having that situation occur was very painful to absorb.  It’s not so bad now, but I haven’t had renters since last July, so yeah, double rents for me!  And I paid to get it fixed up so I could sell it, which was totally worth it, btw.

All of this is just a long way for me to say I can’t really believe it happened and didn’t catastrophically veer into disaster.  The buyers obviously liked the house, my wonderful realtor made the deal happen, I got a good price for it and actually made a profit on the house (although let’s be honest, if I add all the money paid over the years and when I didn’t have renters…let’s consider it even), and on Friday, the closing happened.  And the proceeds just arrived today.  WOW.

Larry & I can actually and realistically start to plan for buying a home of our own now.  My VA loan is available again and I have the means to provide a good chunk towards a down payment.  We’re not in the market until early next year, which works out fine.  This is just…wonderful.

Downtown Day 2017: Skyspace, Central Library, and Bradbury Building

Larry and I have had a few previous downtown days, with some being harmless fun exploring the sights….

http://www.hobiebarnes.com/?p=3354

…in which we looked at some potential apartments as well as the MOCA and Union Station; and then a trip in which it was pretty much a pub crawl….

http://www.hobiebarnes.com/?p=6420

….it did start out educational as we saw the Space Shuttle, but then it became pretty much an exercise in drinking around downtown LA.  It was awesome.

So today was a bit random, as I just proposed going downtown to the Skyspace experience on a whim.  I didn’t want to sit home and there were no good movies out, and after proposing it, Larry agreed, and off we went.

The OUE Skyspace LA attraction is basically the long-awaited Observation Deck that Downtown LA should have had since the U.S. Bank building was built in 1990.  But DTLA wasn’t really a tourist destination for the longest time, but now with the Staples Center, LA Live, and a whole host of people living down there now, DTLA is much different.  And I think finally it made sense to keep expanding what there was to do, so last year the top deck of the building was built to make this observation deck a reality.   Not content to be just a view, they also built a glass slide that drops you from the 69th floor to the 68th – outside of the building.  It’s a very short ride, but it is quite a thrill nonetheless.

Anyway, I get ahead of myself.  You first make your way into the lobby of the building, process through, and then go up to the 58th floor.  Up there are a few neat interactive exhibits like giant video screens showing various LA cityscapes at different times of day, a very cool peak down a very deep hole lit up like a disco, and some other random stuff.  I guess it’s to justify the cost of the ticket?

As you can see, the magic chasm was pretty fun to play around with in pictures.  After you walk through all this excitement, you take another elevator up to the observation deck on 69 – and it’s pretty damn awesome.  A nice job has been done making a very clean, open space with quite clean windows to look out and take pictures through.  I do hate when observation platforms don’t bother to keep the windows clean as you’re kind of beholden to them for pictures.  Anyway, I digress – we did take a lap around the enclosed 69th floor to get a sense of what the views were, but held off on taking too many pictures as I wanted to be outside to get those.

But you don’t take the stairs to go down to the level below…you take the SKYSLIDE.

Yeah, it’s kind of awesome.  Brief, but awesome.  Some more from the Skyslide experience:

Alright, the remaining pictures are a lot.   I couldn’t help myself though as there’s just so much to take in.

Initial Looks:

View of the Oviatt Penthouse!

Alright, a whole lot of pictures of DTLA:

Okay, I then tried to capture LAX in the distance…

And some last pics before we went back to the ground:

Alright, so that was quite a cool experience.  I’d like the opportunity to go up closer to a sunset and get those kinds of colors too, but that can be for another time.

Once we got on the ground, we were right outside the Central Library of Los Angeles, which is itself quite a stunning building.  So we went in to take a look, and also we both got a library card.  It’s my first one in what feels like forever.

Central Library, Inside and Out

We didn’t check out any books today, but maybe one day soon?   I was getting hangry, so we then started walking towards Bottega Louie but a block before getting there, we ran across Karl Strauss Brewery.  Love the place from its Citywalk location, and that felt a little more relaxed than going to Bottega Louie.  So that’s what we did – perfect fit, getting beer and grub.   After that, we then walked our way over to the Bradbury Building.  Why?   Well, Larry had figured out where it was while we were up top and we figured if we’re down here, let’s go take a look.  It’s well known for having quite the dramatic and unique interior and also for having quite iconic films set within it – notably Blade Runner.  My pictures here didn’t come out quite as clear as I’d hoped, but you get the gist.

Food, Broadway, and the Bradbury Building

Then it was a walk back to where we parked, and along the way, caught one last glimpse of the US Bank building and the Skyslide:

And now we’re back home after a  fun afternoon.  Still figuring out where to eat having had a fairly late lunch.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This picture was taken near the end of the night of our wedding, and serves to remind me that I ended up posting just a handful of the official pictures from that amazing day and that there are a lot to see.  This one was our homage to Mad Men, and it mostly works!   So here’s a Happy Valentine’s Day in advance – we’ll be heading out to dinner tomorrow night in DTLA, so that’ll be fun!

Lifehacker to the Rescue, Again: Ways to Relax

I do love diving into the world of Lifehacker.com, but I usually forget to do so as it’s a link I have hidden in my Tech Stuff folder, and I tend to lean on those on my main browser bookmark window.  What’s great about Lifehacker is it can be focused on tech solutions to things, but a lot of times, it’s articles on things on how to do things better.  I love these.  Whether it’s job-hunting or conversations or effective networking or what other people do that’s cool, you can find a plethora of topics.   Today’s article that I found interesting and applicable was this one:

http://lifehacker.com/top-10-ways-to-escape-reality-and-relax-1792238208

I like a lot of these, especially things like reading, exercising, and taking a vacation.  But you do you and see if these or the other suggestions make sense.

Some Movies, Some Drinks, Some Videos

Well, that past week of time just went by and there were no interludes at all by me on this here website.  I pledge to do better, as I really do enjoy posting.  But last week was a little busy and rough, and I hope that there is good news ahead.  If not, I continue trudging forward and looking to make sure that good news does end up coming my way.

So maybe I’ll go in reverse chronological order and post the videos I just made this evening while Larry was making dinner.  I had realized that while I take lots and lots of pictures, there’s rarely much in the way of video of us together.  Or even by ourselves.  Not that I need to be in video (my Jeopardy! appearance attests to that), but hey, it’d be nice for posterity.  So here are some videos:

Apparently my voice is very high still.  One day puberty will come.  This next video is an instructional one as Larry demonstrates how to effectively drop hard pasta into boiling water while also being a very scenic display.

The Grammys were fun this year, and I loved that Adele, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars performed a lot.  I think Beyonce was robbed in either Record or Album of the Year – Adele could have taken one and Beyonce the other, but what can you do.  I liked that Adele recognized that too.  Beyonce’s video for “Hold Up” is still ridiculously awesome, as is the rest of Lemonade.

Last night was a lot of fun.  Larry & I were invited by our friend Amy, who we had met on our 2011 Mediterranean cruise, to meet her in LA with some friends to celebrate her birthday.   We Uber’d there and had a fun time catching up and talking with her friends, who quickly became our friends too, as they were huge fans of the movie Spy too, so yeah, good people.

We also went and saw 2 movies this weekend – on Saturday we saw John Wick: Chapter 2 and today we saw The LEGO Batman Movie.  Happily, both were great!

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Well, if you enjoyed the first John Wick, then by all means, go see this movie as it effectively picks up shortly after that first one ended.  The mayhem awoken by the events in the first movie don’t let up and Keanu Reeves’ John Wick only has more and more hell unleashed upon his world which he handles in gorgeous, stunning scenes.  Plot points that could take up a whole movie on their own get resolved in short, violent order and lead to the next epic takedown.  Happily, no dog gets killed in this one – but that poor little puppy in the first one really is the catalyst that changes John Wick’s life forever nonetheless.  If you haven’t seen the first movie, go and do so.  It’s insanely good.  But alas, if you don’t have the time, just know that John Wick is a retired assassin who gets dragged back into this underworld and effectively declares all-out war on it.  There are allies all around, and one of the best parts is the Continental Hotel and its status as a safe haven, but for how long and for whom is a question this movie wrestles with…  Honestly, this movie just kicks so much ass and needs to be seen to be believed.

Then today, we saw a much lighter movie!

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

If you saw The LEGO Movie from a few years ago, then you’ll appreciate where this year’s LEGO movie is coming from in terms of humor and creativity.  Will Arnett again voices our caped crusader Batman in this movie, which deals with Batman’s predicament in being unable to form lasting bonds with anyone due to the scars from losing his family.  Enter the endlessly charming Dick Grayson (Robin), the new Commissioner Gordon (Barbara Gordon), and his trustworthy butler, Alfred.  Don’t discount the importance of having a life-long nemesis in the Joker either!  Oh yeah, EVERY single DC character shows up in this, along with a very great number of surprise villains.  The movie is very cute, very funny, and has a lot of references that’ll make you chuckle if you catch on to them.   It’s a movie worth seeing, that’s for sure – although be warned it’s over 100 minutes, so don’t be like me and drink a medium soda and think you can hold it since the end must be coming soon.  The end is not coming right then – the movie has a surprisingly long Act 3.

Movies Seen in 2017:

Fantastic / Rave-worthy:

Very Good:

  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Okay / Wait to See at Home: