Category Archives: pop culture

Cooking with Gas as We Exit the Awful 2018

I was no fan of 2018, that is for sure.   As 2018 ends though, there are good things on deck and I’ll hope that 2019 is a bit gentler and happier.  I felt like getting out the rest of the pictures I have from 2018 before NYE tonight, so here goes:

Last Holidays at AMLI:

Honestly, as we get ready to move into our new house, there will be some sadness at leaving our apartment here at the AMLI development.  We’ve been here for almost 4 years!  That’s one of the longest times I’ve lived anywhere.  The location was fantastic for being able to walk to dining, shopping, and movies, and it was a small apartment but not in a bad way.  Except for having people over – the small size definitely kept us from entertaining.   So yeah, the new house we’re getting will be much more amenable to having people over!

Cool Shot of the Grand Wilshire one night:

That’s the current tallest building in LA, technically, which is next to the PwC building in DTLA.   Pretty neat.

Paras & Carey Engagement / Holiday Party Fun – 15 Dec 2018

Our good friends Paras & Carey got engaged earlier this month!   It’s fantastic news and they’re such a fun couple and some of our favorite people.  They had friends over for a Holiday-then-Engagement party and man oh man did I get drunk.  What did me in was after a whole night of drinking red wine, we switched to champagne to toast the couple.   OOF.  Not a good idea, at least for me.  Definite hangover the next day.  Anyway – pics!

Happy Hour with PwC

Before the PwC holiday break, the group I work with at PwC had a nice happy hour after work, when we all had come in to meet for a prep session.   It was fun, and I do love working with these guys.   All very smart and all a lot of fun.

Christmas at Mom’s

I’ve had the week off because PwC shuts down during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  We didn’t expect to do much in terms of activities this week as we  knew we were gearing up to close on the house and buy a ton of appliances, so let’s just chill.   Unfortunately though, Larry ended up getting hit pretty hard with something that laid him out Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I ended up going to Mom’s by myself to meet up with Mom, Stacie, and Trent.  It was a fun time, but certainly my mind wasn’t all there thinking about Larry.

When I got back home from Mom’s, Larry was ready to go to the ER as he had a fever and it was just the culmination of him feeling really shitty.   As we prepared to do that, his fever kind of broke and we ended up not going.   Larry had chemo the next day (Wednesday) and both of us thought there’s no way he’ll be able to get it, but when we went in, the doctor ran blood tests and everything was better.   Some of the pain that Larry had been feeling in his chest area the doctor predicted was likely an ulcer in his esophagus area, likely from stress.   He got a prescription and that medicine seems to have helped – and whatever bug or illness was messing with him looks to have also gone away.

The last chemo session (Number 12!) was started on Wednesday and on Friday, he was able to say goodbye to the pump, hopefully for the last time.   It’s exciting to know that he’s past that first, super-intensive phase and that we know it did it’s job.  Now we just have to get ready for what comes next.  Hopeful that 2019 yields some good news there.

The Glen LA update:

First, we have wired our down payment to the escrow company, so things are feeling really fucking real as of today.   A closing date of today was actually in the cards, but because of the gas company (again) not being done with the installation until last week, the city sign-off won’t happen until next week (hopefully).

We did have two walkthroughs with the builder’s service rep over the past two weeks and folks, we not only have power, we DO have gas as well!   There are a good number of small little things, mostly touch-up type stuff, for the builder to resolve, but basically, this house is almost ready to go!

You’ll also notice that the backsplash is in, which was one of the last things that we noticed as needing to be installed, and man, when we finally got to see it, it was such a joy.   The kitchen looks goooood.   The whole house looks great!

Walkthrough 1:

Follow-Up Visit to see if Gas worked!

So great!

Larry’s energy has been better this past weekend, so on Sunday, we went to Best Buy and bought the remaining appliances we didn’t have yet, a refrigerator and a washer & dryer.   We’re pretty damn happy with the choices we made:

Next thing we’ve got our eye on is buying a king-size mattress set, and we went to Macy’s yesterday and I think we know what we want but we didn’t pull the trigger yesterday.  Might have to do that tomorrow though.

Other Stuff:

We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately.  The weekend before Christmas, when Larry was feeling okay, we actually saw two movies:

  • Bumblebee:  Holy shitballs, this was the Transformers movie I’ve always wanted.   It’s fantastic, it’s got the old-school 1980s style of Transformers, it’s funny, there’s actual emotional performances to be found, it’s got heart, and it’s a blast.   Highly recommended.

  • Aquaman:  Look at DC, finally figuring out how to make their superhero movies.  Wonder Woman was finally something good from them, and of all things, they made Aquaman a thrilling and fun movie.  It doesn’t hurt at all that Jason Momoa is practically perfect in the role, even if there’s no way you would have believed they’d go with his look for Aquaman based off of his traditional comic-book appearance.   The movie is a touch too long, and there’s a lot of video-game style plotting going on (go here to get that, then go there to get this, but first get this other thing) but it’s still really entertaining.   I think DC really needs to consider jettisoning all the Snyder nonsense and figure out how to tell the best Superman movie they can.   Good luck though, as Richard Donner already did that.

At home, we’ve watched a couple of movies via renting them from ITunes:

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople:  Oh my god, this movie is amazing.   If you watch the trailer, you’ll know immediately if you like it or not, as the movie is basically this but fleshed out into the full story:

The director, Taika Waititi, is the same guy who made Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows, which I’d previously raved about.   He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and tells a story with such a great wit.   I don’t want to go too much further in describing the plot, but the kid in the movie, Ricky Baker (played by Julian Dennison), is hilarious, and Sam Neill as Uncle Hector is wonderful.   Just, go, rent this movie.  It’s SOOO good.

  • Hearts Beat Loud.  This is a cute independent movie about a Brooklyn record store owner who makes a great song with his college-bound daughter, and the resulting path of whether they continue to do this at the expense of his daughter no longer going to college.  It’s a small story with a lot of great actors and good performances, and the music is very good.  I don’t know if I loved the movie?   It was cute for what it is, and the trailer below helps give you a sense of what to expect.   Nick Offerman can get it though – he’s a good looking guy in this hipster-y makeover.

  • The Spy Who Dumped Me.  I really wanted to like this more than I did.   Coming from someone who still actively adores the movie Spy, this looked to be exactly in that same sweet spot and it has two actresses, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, that I love as well.  But man, this was not it.   It had moments that were fun, and a ridiculously hot guy in the form of Sam Heughan, but just something didn’t feel pulled together about it.  Glad it was a rental!

Before I end this post, I had to post some posters I saved from the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie.   Have you SEEN these trailers????   I need this movie in my bloodstream it looks so goddamn good:

O

M

G

Just make it Spring 2019 already.   Godzilla and King Ghidorah battling it out??????  Rodan fucking shit up???  Mothra all peaceful then throwing down???? GHIDORAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!   Just…too much.   It’s by far the movie I’m looking forward to the most this summer.   So exciting.  Anyway, I love these posters they made:

Just damn.

Anyway, that’s a long enough post for the end of the year.   As I mentioned at the beginning, 2018 was a shit year for all the reasons that you can think of.   I NEED 2019 to be better.

November of this Long Fucking Year

I write a hostile headline like that and you think I’m just going to be ranting like a madman.  I won’t be.  It’s actually been, for the most part, a very good month.

First, I Turned 42

Eh, maybe that’s not all that exciting or great, but it was time spent with friends and I can’t complain too much about where things are.  Knock on wood.

Larry made birthday cupcakes for me – I am definitely on board with that.  I think he may have been even more motivated because of the cake caddy that we bought when bringing a cake over for my mom’s birthday!

On the night of my birthday, a few of my bestest friends went over to the French restaurant in Highland Park called Cote Est.   The same people who run this also run Barbrix and All’acqua, so you know it’s good.  And this was no exception – we ended up spending like 3-4 hours there just eating, drinking, and having a fun time.

We Got Some Very Good News regarding Larry

Larry got a follow-up PET scan done the Friday before my birthday, but we didn’t get the results for a few days.  Larry’s 9th round of chemo occurred the week following my birthday, which was also a week when Fran & Joel came back out to visit and spend time with their boy.  So it was very much a happy coincidence that while they were out here, we also got the news about the PET scan results.   On Wednesday’s follow-up to remove the pump, one of the nurses let us know that he’d seen the results and while Larry would need to talk to the doctor, the results were realllly good.  And then on Thursday, they were all there for the Nulasta shot and had a chance to talk to Dr. Arzoo – and he basically said that the triplet chemo we’ve been doing has created results that are as good as could be hoped for.

Larry’s liver had been previously covered in hundreds of spots, which we knew about but didn’t actually want to see the pictures of.  We still haven’t seen pictures, but there’s basically only one 4x4cm spot remaining in his liver after the chemo he’s been getting…which is incredible.   The reason we didn’t have a parade though is that the reality is that this is still not over.   Dr Arzoo wants us to continue the current regimen of chemo, meaning basically finish it up through the end of the year.   I think we can push to at least reduce the oxyplatin as that is causing the neuropathy and Larry’s neuropathy symptoms are getting more intense and longer to recede.  We have to roll that back before the nerve damage is permanent.

Then there is the fact that this is considered a chronic condition – and that there will be some form of reduced chemo for at least another year.   Nothing as long and intense as what he’s getting now, which is good, but it’s not that we’ve ‘beaten the cancer.’  We actually may never ‘beat’ it – at least for the time being, but medical breakthroughs happen all the time.   Anyway, we have an appt with a UCLA liver specialist this week (he is the doc we spoke to about a second opinion this summer) and we should hopefully be able to get more information about next steps, whether it’s continued chemo or who knows, maybe some kind of surgery to cut the spot out?  That’s all guesses on my part, but it will be good to have an idea of what the next phase is.   But the fact is, while there’s a lot of ‘Yeah, but’ above, the chemo did its job and Larry is in a far better state than in July.  We just are processing the reality of his condition.

Fran & Joel Came Out for a Little Bit

They came out and stayed at the newly opened Hyatt Place down the street from our apartment on Central Ave in Glendale.   It’s a perfect location for them as well as us, as it’s on the way to all the restaurants from our place.  It was wonderful that they could be around when all this good news was coming through about Larry’s cancer, plus it was just nice to spend time with them.   We did take them out to eat a few times – and in fact, we ended up going back to Cote Est just a week later than the last time we were there as it’s really that good of a place to visit!

I also ended up getting my birthday gift from Larry while they were out – Larry was way too kind and got me a new Apple Watch!!!   I am a huge fan of this thing and a few weeks into owning it, I can’t imagine not having it.   It’s just the best device.  It’s the freakin’ future.

We did take Fran and Joel to visit the latest at the Glen LA, but I figure I’ll group those pictures together at the bottom of this post as then we took Michancy this weekend to see it and there was some significant progress witnessed this time too!

They wanted an LA brunch before leaving, so we took them to one of the fun places in Hollywood we’d been to before, Madera.   Goood times and good food, and loud music.  🙂

Dear Evan Hansen w/ Nicki

It has been a little bit of time since we’d seen a show (Come From Away back in May, I think, when we saw that in NYC) so when Nicki reached out to see if we’d want to see Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson, it was like duh.  It was on a Saturday night so we had the ability to get some food beforehand, so we met up at Bottega Louie for a fabulous Italian dinner, then took an Uber to the Ahmanson.   Last time that Larry & I had been there was seeing Les Miserables 25th Anniversary staging of the show – which was an event unto itself.  Anyway, concerning the show itself – I really liked the staging and the music, but the story and plot were a bit interesting to consider. Obviously, it’s a damn musical – but it’s not that the situation was fantastical or unrealistic, it was that the main character is taking advantage of a situation that benefits himself and another family…only up until the truth of the situation gets out.   I’m being vague to not spoil anything, but it’s just hard to feel sad or empathy after a certain point with Evan Hansen as it’s like, come on, dude, this is fucked up.  So yeah, it was good….but also, I didn’t love it because of the above.  Whaddya gonna do.

Fireball Island!!!!

I subscribed to a Kickstarter for Fireball Island early this year as hello, Fireball Island was one of my favorite games as a 10yo kid.  I don’t know what happened to my original game (probably grew out of it and thought I was too cool for school) but when I saw a post on Kotaku about this being Kickstarter’d, I was IN.   I was IN for a lot too, as I ended up basically buying nearly every option.   Happily, they met their Kickstarter goal by a LOT and for the last few months, the updates were all about production and getting distribution lined up.  This past month or so was all about the games going out, and I was hoping it would be here for Thanksgiving and happy day, it was delivered!  We did get to play it finally with Michancy and I gotta say, I love it.   The new version has a lot more sophistication and structure to it, but there’s nothing so satisfying as getting to launch a fireball and it takes out your intended target.  It’s wonderful.

Michancy Visits for Thanksgiving

It isn’t Thanksgiving if Michancy doesn’t come down to visit!  It had actually been since last Thanksgiving when we saw her last, but a lot of curveballs were introduced obviously this summer, so not unsurprising.  It was really good to see her.   I think we had hopes to have been in the new house by this point, but that was not the case and so Michancy did get to enjoy the fact that we rearranged the office to allow for a bit more room when the air bed is set up.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving ended up just being the three of us as mom wasn’t feeling well, so we had a lot of food (from Whole Foods, again, as that option is the best option around for hosting Turkey Day).   We did drink plenty of wine but it was NOTHING like last year’s ridiculousness.  Still can’t believe how much wine was drank then.  We also played Fireball Island and I am so happy about that.  We went and saw Widows on Friday (it was okay, but somewhat disappointing), ate plenty of good meals, she got to see the house in its most current state, and then on Saturday she took off back to Vegas.  Her luck was awful though as there was an accident at the top of the Cajon Pass, holding her up for almost 3 hours.  Then it only got worse, and she finally got home like 8-9 hours after leaving.  That is not good.   I wouldn’t be surprised if she never came back this way again!  But we loved having her around so much.

Larry and I have had the remainder of the weekend to ourselves – first we did go to my mom’s yesterday to have Thanksgiving Round 2, as one can’t not have a turkey dinner this weekend.  She also has a good amount of turkey leftovers too for further meals.  Today Larry & I had brunch with Nicki and her sister and mother, who were in town for Thanksgiving.  Went to Republique in LA which was wonderful.   Then we went to see Ralph Breaks the Internet and it was fantastic.  Stay through to the very end of the credits, especially if you loved this part of the trailer:

And now it’s the end of the 4-day weekend!  BOOOO.

Updates from the Glen LA:

Before you leave though, here are pictures of the place at the Glen LA.   The first set is from the second week of November and is when we saw that we had tile in all our bathrooms and all the exterior work was finished!   It was exciting.

The best news that visit though was the fact that the gas company had FINALLY connected Phase 1.   At least part of it.  So people in Phase 1 finally closed escrow on their homes – not only that, while we were there, we saw some of those people moving in!   It was kind of…stunning.   It’s actually going to happen.  Our date is currently the later half of December – we’ll just have to see if that holds.  I have my doubts, but you never know.

The next set of pictures are from this past Friday – and while in the set above the tile was down, the hardwood floors were not.   Well, that’s not the case anymore!  All the floors are down, except for carpeting on the stairs, which won’t happen till the very end.   Even more, there’s running water in the unit, along with toilets and sink fixtures.   No power or gas yet, but it’s coming along!!!

Anyway, on to December 2018.  Let’s end this fucking year right.

Cabinets & Sound of Music for a Great Weekend

We just got back from visiting our in-progress home.   Yes, we’d been there just 2 weeks ago and saw that there was some major progress made as drywall had been put up!

Two Weeks of Travel & Stress, But We Made It

In two weeks time though, a lot has changed!     First thing we noticed once we were there was that the drywall had been pretty much sealed up.   If you look at the pictures from the post above, the drywall was up but it didn’t look finished yet.   It looks finished now.   What got us over here today though was that we had confirmation that all the cabinetry was up!!!  And boy oh boy, finished walls and cabinetry up in all the rooms makes this place look that much more finished.  It’s fucking fantastic.  Look for yourself!

Cabinets & Finished Drywall – Sept 23, 2018

You’ll see in those last few pictures that we ended up going for a long walk.   Larry’s commute will be markedly improved once we move, as he’s no longer going to have to cross the 101/170 interchange or the 5/134 interchange – both of which are terrible and soul-killing.  Mine though?  It’s going to take some figuring out.   For going into DTLA, I do have plenty of options but none of them are like, super easy.  There’s an Orange Line stop about a mile south of the house, so Larry suggested we walk it to see how it goes.   The day was right for it, so off we went.  Saw the pretty Valley Glen Community Park before getting to the Orange Line stop.   Definitely a do-able walk, but I’m thinking some kind of bike or scooter would make this easier.  Anyway, on the walk back to the house, we walked up Coldwater Canyon and saw the Great Wall mural of California History.  It’s pretty cool.   Walking through the neighborhood was a nice way to get a better feeling for the area, and I think we’re gonna like it here.

YESTERDAY was the Sound of Music Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl, and it was wonderful.  I don’t have to explain it again, do I?  It’s what we do every year and we’ll continue to do as long as they keep having it.  Based on yet another sold out crowd, I doubt it’s going away any time soon.  Melissa Peterman was the host (for her 14th time in a row!) and is just fabulous and glorious and so quick on her feet.  Love her.   There was a marriage proposal this year, which was new!  Anyway, The Sound of Music is just as glorious as it ever was, and I love it so.

Sound of Music Sing-a-Long, Sep 22, 2018

Larry Got Some Star Trek:TNG Love

I neglected to add something fairly awesome from this past weekend in my previous post:  Larry’s childhood friend Greg stopped by to visit and cheer Larry up.  Greg’s been great about checking in while Larry goes through chemo, but we had no idea what to expect when he asked if he could come over on Saturday!  Greg not only brought his son Asher, but he also brought a SIGNED STAR TREK:TNG BOOK – signed by SIR PATRICK STEWART HIMSELF!!!   It’s a slightly involved story, but Greg is in the Hollywood producing world and had the ability to meet Patrick Stewart this past Friday and provide what is possibly the world’s most perfect gift for Larry!

The inscription reads:

Hi, Larry, I am so happy to sign this for you.  I hope you are well soon and I send you all my best wishes.  Patrick Stewart

HOLY SHIT.  I got tears in my eyes when I saw this, as did Larry.  It is a fantastic thing to know that one of his idols was thinking of him just the day before.

We started Round 5 of chemo today.  I think Jean-Luc Picard’s encouragement will go a long way towards this being a good 2 weeks!

A Truly WTF of a Week

BB20 – Eps 24-26 – Aug 19, 22, & 23, 2018

Honestly, I called it the moment Fessy won HoH.  Once he won, I joked that he’s going to evict Scottie.   Larry can vouch for me saying this.  I was JOKING though.  But alas, Fessy showed that you really can be not cut out for this game.  As Tyler mocked in the Diary Room, “Welcome to Big Brother, Fessy.  Glad you finally wanted to start playing the game!”

So yeah, Fessy won HoH handily and Level 6 was rightfully preparing to lose yet another member.   But yeah, Level 6 + JC were on it and weren’t going down without a fight.  JC wisely reasoned that because Fessy is a moron, he can influence him to turn on one of his own!  And yep, he got exactly that.   JC warned Fessy that Scottie had a crush on Haleigh and was playing an emotional game, knowing full well that Fessy has that ‘my girl’ mindset in full effect and could be so easily manipulated to react out of jealousy.  Fessy apparently feels that Swaggy’s eviction vote was still enough of a reason to distrust Scottie, although maybe focusing on the here and now might have been a better strategy?  But that’s just me.

Fessy nominated Scottie & Brett, then he believed Brett was the lone vote for Rockstar, and why am I even here still?  Mad props to Level 6 for still having the wool pulled over everyone else’s eyes, as it really is their game to lose at this point!

The Underdog narrative is always an appealing one to root for and enjoy, but in this case, the underdogs are morons.  They deserve to be evicted.  I feel kinda bad for Haleigh for being tied to this ship, but them’s the breaks.  Poor Scottie has no idea what was going on and even in the FB aftershow, isn’t quite sure what caused Fessy to do this.  He reasoned that Fessy is either a complete moron or a strategic genius…and I guess they’ll all learn the truth in a few weeks.  SO AGGRAVATING.

The Veto was another thing where Scottie almost saved himself, but Brett got the lucky win having hid his Veto token the best in the destroyed BB house, and then Sam tried to convince Fessy to nominate Haleigh instead as that would be the least controversial move for him to make and sure, why not?

He apparently can tell when people are crazy?

The Zingbot dropped in and that was epic – Zingbot called Fessy a moron to his face and I don’t think Fessy has any idea why.

Zingbot also called Sam crazy to her face and everyone ran and hid.  I tell ya, the BB house does a number on people. Continue reading A Truly WTF of a Week