Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

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Yo Ho Yo Ho… well, you know the rest

Filed under: — stan @ 10:32 pm

Today was a holiday for Pasadena schools and also for people who work for the government. So that meant another trip to Disneyland. This time it was me, Kathleen, Lucinda, and Lucinda’s friend London.

When we got there, we headed for Lucinda’s favorite ride: California Screamin’. We rode it twice before lunch and twice more afterward.

After that, the girls decided it was time to go to Disneyland. So we walked over and rode the Matterhorn. Then we went and got Fast Passes so the girls could drive the Autopia cars. They were not good for a bit more than an hour, so we split up. Kathleen and I bit the proverbial bullet and stood in line for Space Mountain. The ride must have broken down briefly while we were in the line, since we spent a lot of time standing in one spot. And even the Fast Pass line got long. But they got it running again and we got on. It was still fun.

When we got out, it was time for the girls to drive at Autopia. Lucinda was very pleased to see that she’d grown enough to drive. So they went off to do that and Kathleen and I took a monorail ride. When we got back, the girls were done driving, but they wanted to go again. Since we’d gotten four passes, they could do that. This time, we just stayed nearby to watch them on the ride. We also got to see a kid barf. It was just like being in a John Waters movie.

By now it was close to getting dark. So we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ one more time. Then the girls rode the Silly Symphony Swings a couple of times before we called it a day.

We all walked over the Downtown Disney. Sadly, our traditional restaurant was booked up solid, so we had to find a Plan B. The Uva Bar and Cafe had an outdoor area that wasn’t crowded, and we had a patio heater, so it wasn’t bad at all. So we had a nice dinner there before heading home.

It was a very fun day.

The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.


Cirque Berzerk

Filed under: — stan @ 11:42 pm

This evening, Kathleen, Lucinda and I went to see Cirque Berzerk again. I’d taken Lucinda to see them two summers ago. Apparently, they’ve moved uptown since then. The shows that time were in their tent, set up in the middle of a field outside downtown Los Angeles. This time, they were performing at Club Nokia at L.A. Live.

The show was every bit as much fun as it was before. The story line was basically the same, but the acrobatics were a little different, but still very impressive. Kathleen remarked that it was much more theatrical than she’d expected. As I’d told her, their show sort of defies description. But it’s very, very fun.

It was good fun and a weird evening in all the right ways.


Another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 10:27 pm

School doesn’t start again until Monday, so I took Lucinda and her friend Maddy to Disneyland today. It was a nice day, and we had a good time. It wasn’t too crowded, although it wasn’t as empty as it was when we were there back in September. Still, we got to ride California Screamin’ eight times. And we even saw the ‘hidden Mickey’ on it.

We spent the whole day there, and we had a nice time. To finish off, we had our now-traditional dinner at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney.

It was good fun.

Addendum: The rest of the pictures from the day are here.


Holiday’s a comin’

Filed under: — stan @ 10:53 pm

Lucinda and Suzie and I are ready for the holidays now.


The year in review

Filed under: — stan @ 9:35 pm

So here’s my official recap of the year. My annual Christmas letter, which takes the events of the entire year and crams them down to one side of one sheet of paper.

Read it here.


San Diego weekend

Filed under: — stan @ 9:18 am

On Saturday, Lucinda and I went to San Diego to visit my father. When we do this, we make a point to find one or more other things to play tourist with while we’re there. This time, we went to La Jolla Cove again to see the seals, and we went to the “Science of Aliens” exhibit at the Air and Space Museum.

It was a nice weekend, and we’re thinking about going back in February when the seal pups are being born. Nothing like baby seals to brighten up one’s day.


Yet another day at Disneyland

Filed under: — stan @ 10:21 pm

Today was a holiday for some of us, but not for our friend who works at Disneyland. So we were able to go and have a day there.

Right away, we headed straight into California Adventure to ride California Screamin’. One of the ride operators even remembered us from the last time we were there, when we rode it 21 times.

The place was kind of crowded, so the lines were longer than we were used to. We rode the big roller coaster twice. Then we had lunch and went back to ride it again. After that, we headed over to Disneyland. The line for Space Mountain was too long, so we skipped that. We went to Tom Sawyer Island for a while. Then we rode Pirates, Thunder Mountain, and the Matterhorn. By then it was starting to get dark, so we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ two more times.

It wasn’t our best day at Disneyland, but it was a fun day none the less.



Filed under: — stan @ 9:18 pm

On Saturday afternoon, we rode the train downtown to go to the Natural History Museum to see the Spider Pavilion. It’s in the same outdoor tent that they use for the butterflies in the summer, so it’s a chance to see the spiders in a more or less natural-looking habitat.

The trip down there was a bit of an ordeal. There was a USC home game, so we thought it best not to take the car. Instead, we rode the train and planned on taking the DASH bus from the train station to the museum. Of course, that didn’t take into account the fact that the DASH bus was running an hour late because of all the traffic from the game. Things will be better when they get the Expo light rail line running.

When we got to the museum, I took a picture of Lucinda with the Megamouth shark. Compare this to the picture of her there in 2003. Next, we went to see their saber-tooth cat show. We’d read about this recently, about how they’d had to find a guy who could act as a puppeteer inside the cat suit to make the cat come alive. He did a pretty good job of it. Then we went to see the spiders. There were a lot of them, and they were quite large. Made for some good pictures, and lots of spooked kids. Apparently, there are still some butterflies in the tent, and several of the spiders had caught them and made a meal of them.

It was a fun afternoon.


County Fair Time!

Filed under: — stan @ 10:14 pm

Today was our trip to the Los Angeles County Fair. This promised to be extra-fun, since this time I actually have winner in the baked-goods competition.

Kathleen and I went there along with Lucinda and her friend. We rode the skyride across the fairgrounds. Then the girls rode a bunch of other rides. Kathleen and I just watched. Partly because we didn’t feel like swinging 130 feet in the air, and partly because we just didn’t want to spend the extra money on more ride tickets.

We got some Dr. Bob’s ice cream. As always, it was quite good.

After that, we walked over the “Culinary Styles” exhibit hall to see my cookies on display. That was great fun. If you want to try making them, the recipe is here:


We got some chocolate-covered bacon for Kathleen to try. As was the case last year, we all just thought it was a bit weird.

And of course, no county fair is complete without a mechanical bull ride for the kids. We also saw the 1200-pound pumpkin. Impressive, but it didn’t seem like it was good for much else. We also saw lots of cows, pigs, and goats. No county fair is complete without them.

The girls rode some more rides and played a few carnival games. Then, at the end of the day, we had six ride tickets left over, so Kathleen used them to ride the little flying ride. It looked like she had a good time.

The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.



Filed under: — stan @ 11:00 pm

Since school starts a week later than usual this year, I told Lucinda we could go to Disneyland one more time this week. The last time we went, we rode California Screamin’ 15 times. So it should not be surprising that she wanted to ride it some more today.

In the end, we rode it 21 times. One of the ride operators told us that the actual ride time is 2:52, which works out to 60:12, which is just a bit over an hour actually riding the coaster*. If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be doing this sort of thing now, I’d have thought that was impossible and crazy. But it was a fun time.

We rode a couple of times in the first car, which was fun. And we rode in each other car at one time or another. Enough times to become intimately familiar with how the ride experience varies depending on where in the train one is sitting. We also now know every twist and turn of every inch of the track. The only thing we didn’t do yet is bring a chessboard along for the picture at the end. Next time.

We took a few breaks along the way. Once to ride the Silly Symphony Swings, once for lunch, and once to walk over to Disneyland. We only rode Alice in Wonderland and the Matterhorn. And then it was back to California Adventure for more.

And at the end, we finished with our usual dinner at the Jazz Kitchen before going home. In many ways, it was an utterly absurd way to spend a day. But it was great fun.

Pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.

* Wikipedia says the ride is 2:36, which is slightly shorter than what the rider operator told us, but either way, it’s a lot of time to spend zipping around on a roller coaster.

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