Note: I’m writing this from April 2020 – I did not post much of anything at all on my site during 2019 as Larry’s illness, my mom’s issues, and just general malaise kept my website motivation low.
I don’t typically post about going to work, but this day I guess I took a good set of pictures throughout the day. I was alone at this point still, as Larry was back east recuperating and I was holding down my job. During this period of time, I was busy with code reviews. But I like to head in and catch up with people so that’s what I do. Bonus, I learned that the parking lot at Universal City Red Line station is only $3 for the day, so I started going there to commute into DTLA versus continuing to take the Metrolink. I had been doing the Metrolink from the Van Nuys station – it works fine, but there are only a few trains that go in, and if for some reason you miss it, or that train gets cancelled, you’re screwed, whether it’s going to work or trying to leave. The Red Line subway is far more frequent and even if it’s delayed, you’re still going to get a train eventually. Anyway, it’s nice to have that flexibility and it’s nice to see my old work location, if not bittersweet at times.
I think this day while I was there, I ended up grabbing drinks with Derrick after work at the Grand Wilshire’s lobby bar up on its 70th floor. It’s so great.
Sept 16, 2020 DTLA Pics:
The outdoor dining area outside PwC
The courtyard outside
From up in the Grand Wilshire’s lobby bar area
Pretty clouds that afternoon
Magic hour light as I was heading home
The sky back at the Universal City Red Line station
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!
LOVE the backsplash
LOVE seeing our flooring in the full powered lighting
Our stairs have carpet, too
Follow-Up Visit to see if Gas worked!
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.
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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
….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?
About to head up to the top
Independence Day, anyone
At the entry point
Inside there is a cool large video of LA scenery
There’s apparently a disco infinity pit here
Jump on the steps and interact with the wall
Fun random stuff to do on the 58th floor
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.
Up on the 69th floor – the Skyslide awaits
Here’s a view of the slide from inside
Unfortunately I’m not the greatest at getting my camera to cooperate
Out that way is Glendale
Here you can see up Brand Blvd
And there’s Central
There’s an open air terrace the next floor down
The entrance to the slide
I’m sure nothing will ever go wrong
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:
Larry caught me as I made it down the slide
Alright, the remaining pictures are a lot. I couldn’t help myself though as there’s just so much to take in.
Looking up at the top of the US Bank building
And now down and east
The end point of the slide
It’s a comfy scene up top
Handsome Larry with a Pacific Ocean in the distance
View of the Oviatt Penthouse!
Our wedding place – the Oviatt Penthouse
It looks almost small – but man, what a great time it was
Clearly the tent is up with the way our weather has been lately
Alright, a whole lot of pictures of DTLA:
Panorama east and down
Looking into the City Center
Where I’m at
The new Grand Wilshire – only the spire makes it taller than U.S. Bank
A long way down – but what a view
For quite a while, the Aon (formerly First Interstate) building was the tallest in LA
We almost moved into one of the penthouses here
In fact, it was the one on the far left corner here where those people are sitting
We think this is where Redbird restaurant is
Pershing Square in its basicness
Getting some selfies in
Wondering what’s in the fin of the new Grand Wilshire
These terraces are going to be lounges
Looking down into the Standard’s rooftop
Comfy and modern
Lots of great modern furniture arranged around the perimeter
I was just having lunch down in the City National plaza there
Staples Center is visible in the distance
LA Center Studios – who knew something like that was so close to downtown
I’m sure a clearer day would have a nicer shot
The wondrous Eastern building
110 freeway – busy as usual
Can see the side of the US Bank sign
LA City Hall
With LA Metro and Union Station behind it
LA Union Station closeup
The Music Hall stretch
Still need to go into the Walt Disney Hall
It’s kind of hard to see the stadium as the parking conceals it, and apparently it’s also kinda sunken
The Bradbury Building from above – more on that later
Okay, I then tried to capture LAX in the distance…
Wanted to see if LAX was visible
LAX and the ocean
Effort to capture DTLA and LAX together
And some last pics before we went back to the ground:
Interactive touch screen to help identify what’s what
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
The Central Library is across the street
We went over and got library cards!
It’s an impressive building – and has been the tallest this side of the Mississippi for a long time
The hall inside the library
Very cool chandelier
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
A late lunch at Karl Strauss Brewery in DTLA
Then we walked to the Bradbury Building
Looking back along Broadway – quite a lively street
Marty in VR
Inside this striking and unique building
Inside has been used for many films, but Blade Runner is the most notable
Million Dollar Theater across the street
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:
We were up there
There’s the slide from way down below
And now we’re back home after a fun afternoon. Still figuring out where to eat having had a fairly late lunch.