Tag Archives: larry

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:

Fun Times in Vegas

This past weekend was a wonderful getaway.  Larry & I flew up on Thursday night to Las Vegas to meet up with Fran and Joel.  They were in this neck of the woods because they were headed to a conference in Phoenix this week, so why not meet up in a fun middle ground?  So of course, we were in for that!

We all stayed at the Palazzo, which was unsurprisingly fantastic.  It’s a huge hotel and has a smallish casino, to be honest.  But it was good enough as I ended up having quite a bit of luck playing there.  Well, the first night, not so much:  I decided to try Blackjack that Thursday night before going to bed and immediately lost $100.  ROUGH.  But it was on Friday when I played some craps and holy shit, I had a fantastic roll.  I was at the table by myself, which is usually a risky move, but it was $10 and sometimes it’s nice to not have the pressure of others betting on you and your roll. But that morning?  I was on fire.  I kept hitting the points and rolling 6s and 8s like crazy.  Started with $100 and walked away with $450.  That’s a nice session.    Our first activity that day was walking around the Strip in that area, as Fran hadn’t been in Vegas for over 40 years so it was worth walking her through a lot of it.   We walked south from the Palazzo, past the Venetian, Harrah’s, through Flamingo, then past Bally’s and into Paris.  We finally took a drink break at Paris and enjoyed the ambience.

After that respite, we crossed the street over to Caesars Palace as that is definitely something that can’t be missed when looking at over-the-top splendor.  The Forum Shoppes suitably impressed them, as did the curvy escalators!  After that, it was time to walk on back to the Palazzo and past the Mirage, which we’d return to on Saturday night.

Another drink stop back at the Palazzo casino bar area, and then it was finally time to get some Roulette in!  I don’t usually play, but it was the game that Fran was up for as Jon had asked her to play some #s.  Well, crazily enough, she was able to get some wins in – hell, so did I!  The best one was 33 hit, which I had bet on, and on the next spin, it came up again.  Sweet, and I had put another dollar on there.  35-1 odds, buddy!

That evening we had dinner at the Lavo Italian restaurant in the Palazzo, which was pretty great.  Joel’s boss and wife were also meeting us there for dinner.  The food was great, but I ended up unable to finish off my veal parmesan as it was ginormous.  But very good!

On Saturday morning, we awoke and instead of having breakfast again at the Grand Lux Cafe, we found Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro – quite a trek to find, but sooo damn good.  It’s a French restaurant and oh man, their weekend menu is delicious.  I ended up getting one of the specials, chicken with waffles, and it was fantastic.  Perfectly cooked chicken…bacon in the waffles….delicious.

After breakfast, that day’s walking adventure was to take the Monorail down to the MGM Grand so we could then not only see that but also see the New York New York casino.  We had to show them the fun theming there, even if it is kind of lame.  We then walked through the Excalibur and into the Luxor, where we had another drink break.  It was a lot of fun to stop there as they were playing music videos and all of them were just a blast to watch.  Larry & I could have probably hung out there, drank, and watched videos all afternoon!  We did then check out Mandalay Bay before catching a cab back to the hotel in order to get some rest.

We still had a fun night ahead, as we had gotten tickets to see the Beatles’ LOVE show at the Mirage!  Yay!  Michancy also joined us, so it was a blast.  I was excited to see it again (yes, again, I know) as for its 10th anniversary, they changed it up a little.  After having seen it, I think I preferred the original version to the tweaks that were implemented.  It’s not a giant overhaul by any means, but there did seem to be additions and removals that changed the overall excitement, maybe?  Regardless, still a great show and the newbies all loved it.  After the show, we then headed back to the Canal Shoppes and got dinner at Sushi Samba, which is quite an experience.  Really good food in a fun atmosphere.  Michancy suggested keeping going, but both Larry & I were done at that point, so we walked her to her car and then headed back to the hotel.

And then it was Sunday and time to go home.  We actually did have a good bit of fun in the morning, as we had breakfast at the Grand Lux again (their beignets were so good and their French Toast is insanely thick) and then after getting packed, we killed some more time at the casino, with Fran able to play roulette for a while longer and I went over and played craps again.  It was great as I was able to win some money – although not as much as some guys who were playing one of the particular-table bets I’d not seen before – Repeater bets, in which if you roll two 2s or three 3s or four 4s etc before 7-ing out, you get insane paydays.  It’s of course bigger at the 6 and 8 (120-1), but the 2/12 is still 50-1 I think, and it just goes up.  For those rolls in which craps numbers get rolled a lot, which sometimes happen, these bets are ridiculous.  One of the guys at the table literally won $1000 on those bets alone.  But I know full well that those are sucker bets too, as those great rolls don’t come all that often!

Anyway, it was wonderful to see Fran and Joel even if for a little while.  They drove off to Phoenix while Larry & I took our brief Southwest flight home.  I freakin’ love flying to Vegas now – so much less stressful.

A Christmas Catch-Up Post & Pics!

There’s been some fun few days during this holiday break, and that was helped a lot by Michancy coming down for Christmas.  She got here on Friday the 23rd, and that night we went out to Flapper’s Comedy Club in Burbank in the midst of a heavy heavy rain storm.  These were tickets that Larry had gotten for free and we were this close to abandoning it and staying in, but we somehow found the willpower to just go.   We got an Uber to make it easy on all of us, and did have plenty of wine before and during the show.  The kind of cool thing that did happen at Flappers is that we got there at 7, and the actual “show” (Jokes for Jews, no joke) started at 8, so there was a warm-up act.  At first I couldn’t roll my eyes harder as it was a woman singing while playing her banjo….and then I started hearing her voice more clearly and then really looking at her.   It was freakin’ Deven Green!  Or maybe you’ve heard of her as Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian?

Oh man, she is absolutely awesome in this character and has a whole slew of other topics if you choose to go down that rabbit hole.  But this one about abortion is my favorite – especially the line, “bottoms up, hooker!”  Deven Green also did some hilarious voiceovers on a series of videos that Brenda Dickson made back in the 80s, and if you can find them, great, but likely you won’t.  So it was a happy accident and surprise that we got to see her in person.  She’s very musically talented and was a lot of fun to watch and sing along with.  I did get a brief chance to tell her how much I loved her work, so I feel like that was all worth it.

Alright, here are the pictures from that day of Michancy’s arrival –

Friday, Dec 23, 2016 – Michancy Arrives

The next day we included culture as part of the day’s activities before we got to real work on making food for Christmas Day, so we drove nearby to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.  It’s a fabulous museum, convenient for us, not all that expensive, and has a wonderful collection of art without being overwhelming.  I think it gets lost in the shuffle of LACMA, the Broad, or the Getty(s), but Norton Simon stands shoulder-to-shoulder with these museums in terms of quality.  Highly recommended!

A big part of why I wanted to get over to the Norton Simon was that they had Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom” on loan from the Chicago Art Institute, and I am always excited to go and see Van Gogh if I can.  It turns out this is actually the 2nd of 3 “The Bedroom” paintings that Van Gogh did.

There were quite a few other Van Gogh paintings there as well, but one that really caught my attention is one called “The Mulberry Tree.”  It’s quite arresting and I couldn’t help but be transfixed by it.  I ended up buying a copy of it for my mom as a Christmas gift to go along with some of the other Van Gogh prints she has.

Probably the best thing of the visit though was wandering around near the end of the visit around the Dutch / European wing and coming face to face with what is most certainly Larry’s doppelganger in portrait form.  It was quite shocking to see it and I had to have Larry take a picture with it.  I’m not wrong:

I’ve found Larry’s doppelganger

The artist did his own portrait and while you can look around at other portraits of him, they really don’t look much like Larry.  I think he was very generous with himself and that speaks highly of Larry.  It also seems like this is a definite costume contender for Halloween 2017.

Anyway, after that nice excursion, we grabbed a late lunch in Eagle Rock and then came back for the evening and watched Elf, Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard, as one does for Christmas.  Larry made amazing latkes, and all was well in the world.

Saturday, Dec 24, 2016 – Norton Simon and Other Adventures

One of the things we did that night was open our gifts – Larry got Bingo Bronson and a brand spanking new Apple Watch, while I got some of the Philips Hue lights I’ve been coveting for a long long time.  Believe me when I say those things are so freaking cool.  You can change the color of the light to pretty much anything, and it’s fantastic.

On Christmas, we went over to Mom’s house, as did Stacie & Trent.  It was a lot of fun – we played some games (Tower of Terror Jenga & Apples to Apples), ate a lot of good food, danced a lot, and overall enjoyed Christmas day.  We also watched my episode of Jeopardy, as Stacie hadn’t seen it.  Funny enough, I made Michancy watch that again on Friday, I think.  I’m definitely starting to get that out of my system?  Although each time I watch, I still am utterly compelled by the whole thing.  And I still don’t know the answers to many of the Earth Science questions.  🙂

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 – Christmas with the Fam

Michancy ended up leaving the next day in the afternoon.  We were mostly recovering from all the wine that had been consumed over the last few days and didn’t do much of anything – I played (and finishing, later that evening) Uncharted 4, Larry & I watched Midnight Special, which was certainly an interesting movie but I’m not sure all the build up we had for it was warranted?

Since then, I’ve had the chance to clean up the house a bit, go see La La Land again (still fantastic and as enjoyable, if not more so, than the first time I saw it), play a lot of The Witcher 3 (good god, that game is so good and there’s so much good stuff to do in it), and today I went and rode the Gold Line again, this time from Sierra Madre Villa and on out to its new terminus in Azusa, then back.  

I’ve got my list of tasks to work through, some of which include getting these pictures out, maybe finishing up the honeymoon pictures FINALLY, as well as extending our lease another year.  Yep, not moving after 2 years this time.  Too many things up in the air right now to be moving and spending all that money to do so.

Larry’s Birthday at the Petersen and Terroni!

Not only was this past weekend Memorial Day weekend, Memorial Day and Larry’s birthday both fell on May 30.  I had asked if he wanted to go all out and I think we had gone all-out just a month ago, so Larry was much more in tune with going small.  He wanted to explore the newly-reopened and newly-renovated Petersen Automative Museum, so that was one thing to put on the list easily enough.  For dinner, he wanted to go back to Terroni, where we had thought of having the rehearsal dinner at one point, and again, that was easy enough to accommodate.

I started the day off by making waffles for breakfast, in a turn from the normal order of events, as I’m not usually the cook.  They turned out alright.  One day I’ll remember the small details like keeping the plates warmed, having butter soft for the waffles, etc.  This was not that day.  Regardless, the food was good.

We headed out to the museum around 2pm, and it was happily not a heavy traffic day on the roads.  I think people still hadn’t come back from vacation yet.  Anyway, we had gone and visited the Petersen back in 2011, and when looking at my archives, I see that I didn’t post the pictures from then.  So why not rectify that now, and give you a sense of what’s changed, as it certainly has changed!

Pics from Oct 2011 at the “old” Petersen Auto Museum

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Okay, so the whole museum was shut down for most of 2015 to do the extensive renovation, and in December reopened.  Larry & I have driven by the museum a few times as well as walked by it on our wedding day and the new exterior is wild.  It is certainly eye-catching, although I know that some aren’t big fans of it.

The New Petersen Auto Museum’s Facade

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It’s across the street from LACMA and the under-construction Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences museum behemoth, so it’s perfectly positioned in the fun museum area.  Also a great place to park if LACMA is mobbed.  As you’ll see in the pictures below, the renovation cleaned up and opened up the museum space quite a bit.  It’s very modern-looking.  There used to be a cheesy-but-still-awesome exhibit of the evolution of Los Angeles you could walk through as seen in the “old” pictures.  I miss that, but the cars on display are pretty damn cool.

We started at the top, as recommended, and there are unique cars in automotive history mixed in with famous cars from TV and the movies.  Of particular note:  the DeLorean from Back to the Future, which of course is probably worth the price of admission.  We had previously seen it on the Universal Studios’ mini-museum where they display movie memorabilia….

Larry on the Lot!

…but as you can see, the DeLorean was behind glass there.  Happily, the Petersen puts the car out there and you can really get a better look.  Still can’t touch it or sit in it.  🙁  Anyway, lots of great things to see at the museum.   The lower floors had some cool exhibits of the various and slightly crazy ways we’ve tried to use alternate fuels, looking back all the way to the 1910s up to and including of course a Tesla.   I personally liked when they strapped on giant tanks of some vaporous gas on top of the car.  Real thing that was there, I swear!  On the bottom floor was an exhibit of various concept cars built by Bugatti, all of them wildly glamorous and so of their time (1920s & 30s).  So great to see.  All in all, still a wonderful museum.

The Petersen in the Here and Now!  Top Floor Exhibition Cars

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The Petersen’s “Sexy Silver” Second Floor Section

There was an exhibit on the second floor that just basically shoved glamorous and sexy silver cars at you and made you feel bad for not being rich and being able to even consider getting in one of these cars, let alone own one.  But damn, I was okay with that – these cars were fucking gorgeous.  I’ll take one of each, please?

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The Rest of the Petersen

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After the museum, it was time for some dinner at Terroni, so we drove up a few blocks to the Grove to park there, as we were going to be there a bit before the restaurant’s valet was going to be open, and I wasn’t sure if parking was gonna be a bitch or not.  Anyway, when parking at the Grove, I thought I knew where I was going when leaving the lot, but I was wrong.  Hahhahahaha, good times.  I made us walk pretty much the longest way possible and so we got a bit of a walking tour around the Grove, Farmer’s Market, and CBS Television City.  Happily, it was a nice day.  We finally did make it to the restaurant and proceeded to have a wonderful dinner, starting with an antipasto platter that had lots of prosciutto and burrata cheese….YUM.  The main courses were also wonderful, as were the glass(es) of montepulciano we delighted in.  Dessert was NOT to be had here though as I had made a birthday cake the night before, and damn, that was/is a good cake.  Made it while watching The Force Awakens on blu-ray, which is still a great movie.

Birthday Dinner & Birthday Cake

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Last “Single” Tuesday

Is it worth writing stupid things like that?  Possibly.  I haven’t been single since May 2008, to be honest.  And Larry & I have lived together since October 2010 when he moved in with me shortly before we moved to Los Angeles.  It’s funny to be spending so much money on what is basically a fantabulous party around making something a bit more official.  It shall be a very fun party though, and I am just totally excited and looking forward to it all happening.

We’re finalizing the ceremony music and it makes me happy while also making me emotional.  It’s almost too perfect the music we are using, at least for us.  Man, it’s all happening!!!

Tomorrow I’m off to Long Beach to go visit my Dad and Pat as they arrived in town earlier this week.  I did take this week off and it was for exactly these kinds of things and to try to do as much as I can to relax.  Here’s hoping!