It’s mid October so it’s a perfect time to post an entry here. I’m mostly focused on pictures right now, but in short, 2018 continues to be a challenging year and some days are much harder than others. Work insists on being stressful and it is sometimes difficult to deal with that on top of all the other stuff. Larry’s chemotherapy is apparently doing its job, which is fantastic, but the side effects continue to build up and progressively get worse. He’s able to find ways to deal and mitigate, but it sucks nonetheless. Mom can’t feel her hands and it doesn’t look to be carpal tunnel, so here’s hoping that upcoming appointments with a nerve doctor provide insight on what is happening. So all around, good times, right? That’s the update then on what’s been going on, so now I’ll just post some pics.
Sunday, Oct 21: Our Countertops at the Glen LA
Electric meters are new
As is this breezeway between the Models and Phase 1
Phase 1 is basically done – except for gas line hookups
Here’s the rear of Phase 2 (which we’re in)
The Victory side exterior is done
WE have countertops! This is the ground floor bathroom
We also have closet doors
And a front door!
Our Kitchen island is in – probably where we’ll sit so much in the future
The speckled granite
Our kitchen counters – here’s the sink
The island – so much storage
Our exterior patio and roofdeck still have some finishing needed
Our stainless steel sink – no faucets or pipe connections yet
Thais and our pantry
Our master bathroom sinks – TWO sinks again
The walk-in closet
The guest room bathroom
Looking at the tall wall
Our exterior is the a tan color
Yesterday, we celebrated Mom’s 70th. Planning for this evolved as Mom’s not been feeling that great so we kept this very simple. Larry and I made a cake, and then we met up with Stacie at Mom’s to get lunch and celebrate. Wish we could have done more but the plan is to eventually have a do-over when she’s feeling better.
Sat, Oct 20: Mom’s 70th
And in completely unimportant news, I rebuilt my PC. I do this every now and then because one simply can’t have an old computer. Well, I’ve actually held off on rebuilding the computer’s motherboard and processor for 5 years! I’ve replaced the graphics card a few times, got a solid state drive or two, and upgraded the power source in that time, but hadn’t really felt the need to update the main processor. But the latest round of computer games were starting to tell me that if I wanted the premiere experience, I’d need to do something about it. So I did. And just in time, as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which just came out, is a beast and I can run it without a problem and it looks glorious. It’s a fantastic game too. My components this time around included:
Intel i7-8700 3.7Ghz processor
ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard
16 GB of DDR4 3000 RAM
be quiet! Dark Rock processor cooler fan
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti video card (which I had got a month or two ago)
Behold, my new PC as built on a Friday, Oct 5 night:
New PC pieces for a new 2018 PC
The previous mobo has been removed
My new ASUS Prime Z370-A mobo awaits
Here’s my crazy new CPU fan – the processor I got didn’t come with its own fan this time
The part on the left presses against the chip – the rest helps disperse the heat
Have to install a support mount on the bottom of the mobo
Sweet sweet i7-8700K goodness
Chip is in
LOL this looks insane – but it does its job and it’s quiet
Pretty cool, eh? And the official Youtube install video was invaluable in installation
This fan attaches to that structure to help blow the heat out
Hard part done – except for actually hoping it all worked!
I’ve been pretty bad at updating, as is my way. So I’ll try to rectify that here, with some pictures and general “here’s how it’s been going” updates. Long story short though, Larry has been doing pretty damn great during Rounds 2 & 3 of chemo.
A brief update on the chemo story: For Rounds 1 & 2 of his chemo, we were doing a “doublet” chemo treatment called Folfox. I’ve linked to a site that kind of explains it so I don’t have to get into the weeds. This treatment approach is the typical standard one for colorectal cancers, and so that’s what our oncologist recommended. The goal though was to see how Larry took to these and if the side effects were going to be too much. Because his port surgery was still within 4 weeks, we did not do the +Avastin though, as that is the drug that inhibits capillary growth, to stop both cancer cells from building out but also good stuff, so healing Larry’s surgery scars would have been impeded. But we did Folfox for the first 2 rounds and while he definitely did experience neuropathy as expected, and of course fatigue and occasional nausea, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t manage. And by the time each 2nd week came around, Larry felt pretty good. So by the time it came time for Round 3, the onocologist (Dr Arzoo, who is an amazing man and doctor) let Larry decide if he wanted to increase the treatment potency. There is a “triplet” chemo treatment that has been shown to be very effective too, Folfoxiri. It’s more aggressive and comes with heightened side effects, namely much more diarrhea. Dr Arzoo was supportive if we were wanting to go for this, and after some consideration, Larry was on board. It definitely adds more time to the chemotherapy process on Monday, and the neuropathy seems to be heightened, but the dreaded constant diarrhea really didn’t manifest for Larry. He’s been actually doing pretty good during this Round, which is certainly hopeful for us. Really hoping that will remain the case as we go into Round 4 tomorrow. All thoughts and good vibes are appreciated!
Here are some pictures from Round 2, on July 30, 2018
Why don’t I have pictures from Round 3 two weeks later? Well, that’s because Fran came in to spend some time with her boy! Only one visitor is allowed at a time, so I stayed home while she went in for the Round 3 super dose. I had told her that it wasn’t such a long day, but Folfoxiri + Avastin does take a long time, so my bad! I’ll get to be there for the long day tomorrow. Anyway, before she accompanied Larry on that Monday, we picked her up on the Sunday before from LAX. Taking advantage of the fact that we don’t typically spend much time on the West Side anymore, we planned an outing to the Century City mall – and went to Eataly for lunch!
Eataly @ Century City on Aug 12, 2018:
We went to Century City’s fancy mall w Fran after picking her up at LAX
This is the line to wait to eat at Eataly
Fran and Larry
We liked these lamps
This mall looks much more different than it did when we’d visit it
Like these closets at the Container Store
As far as other stuff that happened since, here are some pictures and stuff!
One of the things Larry & I saw at the Hollywood Bowl was a live performance of Annie – which was amazing. Much like Mamma Mia last year, it’s basically putting on the Broadway show but keeping the sets from being too over the top. In both of these cases, the sets actually were pretty flexible in that they took advantage of rotating sets to great effect. In Annie, the letters themselves were able to be used as various locations by rotating them around to show they were hollow and had sets in them. AWESOME. The cast of Annie, especially the lead and then the celebrity cast that filled in the other main starring roles, were all amazing. Ana Gasteyer was great as Mrs. Hannigan as was David Alan Grier as Daddy Warbucks. The girl who played Annie was fantastic. I love the songs too, and they didn’t disappoint with numbers like “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile”, “Tomorrow”, and “Maybe” (and everything else, of course).
Annie @ the Hollywood Bowl, July 28, 2018
Early this month, Larry & I went back to the Glen to see how our house was coming along. No drywall up (although we have heard that has started this week!) but we got to see that all the electrical and plumbing is in, as are all the windows, and a lot of the clutter on the floors was gone, so it was much easier to walk around and imagine the future.
The Glen LA, Aug 5, 2018
It’s coming along – and much less clutter on the floors now
Garage looks more like a garage
In our future office
The shower is still ready
All the plumbing and electrical is in
The purple cords are where the speakers will go
Much easier to see the future
Me and Thais
The day before Fran arrived in town, Larry, my mom, and I went to the Hollywood Bowl to go watch The Empire Strikes Back accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra. It’s a phenomenal movie and has one of the more iconic soundtracks – obviously it’s the movie that first used the Imperial March, but it also has such great themes such as the love theme and the stupendous Asteroid theme. It was a pleasure to hear it play out live. Plus there were so many lightsabers in play it was a joy to see them all come out when certain actions or musical moments came on, notably when the Imperial March played.
The Empire Strikes Back @ the Hollywood Bowl, Aug 11, 2018
I have been working basically from home while Larry is going through this. With the stuff I’ve been working on lately, that’s been an option. I do go in occasionally though just to make sure people see me or when others let me know they’ll be in. In this case, my ex-work wife Barb let me know she was going to be downtown one day AND she wanted to take me to lunch! How could I refuse that offer? Fran took Larry duty (I kid, honestly – he doesn’t need such attention) and I went in and met her at her new office neighborhood and she then surprised me by saying we were going to 71 Above, the restaurant which resides at the top of the US Bank building. It was spectacular, and since we got there around 11:45am, we beat the rush and got window seats. It’s kind of nuts. The food was fantastic, and I definitely appreciated her generosity!
Lunch w/ Barb @ 71 Above, Aug 16, 2018
It’s been a blur though, to be honest. I can’t believe we’re on to Round 4 tomorrow, and that Fran has come and gone already. There was fun to be had, as we did go and see Crazy Rich Asians which was awesome (go see it), we’d go for walks to keep Larry active, made dinners at home, Fran and I drank wine, she’d watch a lot of her British Netflix shows, and overall it was just an easy time, thankfully.
So here’s hoping the good vibes continue. We’d love to learn that the chemo is doing its job, but we won’t know how well it’s working for a little bit longer. Dr Arzoo has mentioned we’ll test levels after Round 6. In the meantime, positivity and confidence it’s all working out are the order for the day.
In random news, I’m in love with this mop I saw at Bed Bath & Beyond:
I got it and I used it yesterday at home and never again will I use those stupid Swiffer Wet Jet things. Such a waste of paper and resources those things are. This mop has a built-in spinner function to help you both wash the mop head and then a salad-spinner thing that helps you rinse off excess water before using it. I’m sad to report that our floors were filthy, but damn if they’re not clean now!
Today, we went over to Mom’s and had a great dinner with Stacie, which she fixed up. Drinking of wine commenced along with a couple of games of Jenga and Rack-o, and all was well in the world. We had a lot of fun, snacking on food and laughing about memories past – it’s also Harv’s birthday, so it was fun to remember the fun (and drinks) we had on his 80th birthday. Anyway, I think today was a lot of fun, and here are pictures I took:
Sunday, May 13, 2018 – Mother’s Day in Duarte
Mom and Stacie
Me, mom, and Stacie
Stister and me
Larry and me
Jenga cares not for your pain
That’s the main picture-worthy stuff from the past week, to be honest. It’s been kind of hellacious the last week or two or three at work for me, much like last May. This is the end of the engagement I’m on and there’s a lot of having to get us across that finish line in ways that both sides agree on. Cross your fingers that this week is it, okay?
The rest of this post will be videos I’ve been loving this last week or so; you’re welcome.
Childish Gambino’s “This is America”:
We saw Donald Glover host SNL last week and he performed, as Childish Gambino, this song as well as one that hasn’t been released yet. The performances were amazing, but the real show was to come in the release of this music video the next day. It’s fantastic and powerful and intense and requires multiple viewings.
Then I saw this mashup with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe” and now I can’t help but think there was intentional synchronization going on:
I had previously raved about the first few singles that Janelle Monáe had released in advance of her new album, Dirty Computer, being released – well, that album has been released and it’s amazing. She also released an entire long-form video containing many of the songs within as well as an interesting tale to stitch these videos all together. If you have 45-50 minutes or so, it’s well worth a watch:
Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Emotion Picture:
Random videos time now –
First up, this latest season of Survivor, “Ghost Island”, has been okay, but it’s had in its cast one of the hottest men to be cast on this show, ever: Michael. Good lord, he’s fine. So fine. But alas, he got voted out recently and so now he’s on the jury and having to kill time. Lately, CBS has been getting cute and indulging the cast to do fun stuff, so with Michael, they filmed a fake cologne commercial in the vein of Calvin Klein….and they’re pretty damn good with the vibe they create because hot damn this mofo can sell me anything.
Lego videos, especially those around Star Wars stuff, are awesome. Here’s one I previously raved about with regards to the Death Star kit, but this new video is one that isn’t a kit and is made by those folks who collect thousands and thousands of Lego bricks to make any and everything. This guy made the Star Destroyer wreckage as seen in The Force Awakens when we first meet up with Rey….and wow is all I can say. It’s incredible!
Finally, there have been these small animated cartoons being released in the Star Wars world that are canon and cover areas of the lore that may not necessitate a movie on their own but it’s cool to see nonetheless. These videos are called Forces of Destiny and there are more than that I’m showing here – but this one is about Porgs and I love porgs and you must too:
I love it so much.
Alright, that’s enough from me for now. I hope all is well with you out in the world.
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!
Outside Cafe Stella
The secret door of Cafe Stella
Nicki & Rekha
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.
One last time
The outdoor lobby area of the El Capitan
A live organist playing classic film favorites
Praetorian Guards observe the proceedings
Costumes from the movie
Looking across Hollywood Blvd at Hollywood & Highland
The Dolby Theater
Looking towards the Chinese
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.
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
Kristy, Viv, Nicole and Sarah
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.
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
Mom chills as we get ideas for the outdoor area
In the Plan 2 Model w/ lights on
Atop Plan 2 on the Roof Deck
More progress being made
Like this area especially with a rooftop fridge
We like these bathroom tiles
Good ideas for a nice rooftop barrier
We like the look of this pendant lighting
I am IN LOVE with this planking on the rooftop
It’s not cheap
Making our way to our home
That’s the garage
Looking back towards the finished stuff
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
My Christmas Loot from Larry!!!
A rare sight indeed is when Porto’s parking lot is empty
Christmas Dinner getting worked on at Mom’s
Our Thanksgiving ham from Whole Foods was saved for Christmas. It’s enormous.
Trent & Stacie
Tower of Terror Jenga is always a fun time
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.
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.
Cookies mise en place
Ralphie is interested
Scared of the handmixer
The cookies are goooooood
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
Larry and me
with cousin Erin
Erin and Cindy
The food spread was pretty great
And that’s that. Time to play some video games and shoot some Nazis.