week of thompson

My Friday bday surprise was goofy golfing, batting cages, arcade and homemade by Mark brownies with candles. A blast. But, I lost the SD card with the proof on it. Eva arrived Saturday evening (right after I got home from taking Stephanie to the airport.)

Venice Beach drizzle sand castle Sunday
Eva's kids are very industrious sand architects. After we built this castle, we built a hot tub.

Hollywood Boulevard Monday
They have street performers and costumed people for photos with tourists all along here. Chana had funny run-ins with both. First, a guy who did the robot really good got her to do a "white girl dance" in his show. Later she realized that what looked like red tights on this costumed guy was really just red paint on his skin - and he was only wearing a little leather g-string with tassles on his belt. She went over to try to clandestinely take a picture of his bare bottom to show her friends and he turned around and caught her. After that, he kept winking at her and waving, and then later came over, stood right in front of her, and started shaking his booty at her. It was one of those painfully funny embarassing things.

I had a good time hanging out with Roger, which I did a lot of thanks to our common love of roller coasters. Likewise for Mark and Eva with their common disinterest in coasters. (They went to the park together with the girls on Wednesday when Roger and I ditched them for the siren call of Magic Mountain.)

Knotts Berry Farm Tuesday
All but Mark went to Knotts. That park is perfect for a family with varying tastes in ride intensity. Roger, Chana and I (and sometimes Sade) broke out of Snoopy's Camp for some high-thrills. The Xcelerator shoots you like a rocket 80 mph in 6 seconds for 32 seconds worth of straight up, over a hump in the track and straight down into some loops. The Silver Bullet is probably my favorite (because the wooden coaster is closed for repair this year) - the bullet is a smooth, feet dangling coaster with lots of loops and cork screws. But the highlight of the day was seeing Aubri and Marissa become the next generation of coaster junkies. Aubri's quote, "That was awesome! Let's go again! My favorite part was when the skin on my face felt like it was falling off. Did you feel that, too?" Marissa also loved the rides, but was not big enough to feel her face fall off (she would have if they'd have let her.) So she stuck to the log ride, which was the scariest in her height bracket - and rode it 11 times.

Six Flags Wednesday
Roger, Chana, Sade and I hit the big-kid coasters. We rode every coaster at Six Flags except Superman and Tatsu. We worked the park pretty good. I've been to this park a lot of times, but surprisingly had not been on very many of the rides. The Riddler you ride standing up. The X2 - well, that one is really unpredictable - one minute you are laying on your back going up the track backwards, the next your seat swivels unexpectedly to face your head next to the track right before you plunge down. You just never know where you are going. We sat in the front row. My favorite is Batman or DejaVu. I learned that you can get too much of a good thing - after throwing up all night and still feeling like I was on a coaster all day at work the next day.
Wicked @ Pantages Thursday
I could watch this show every week. Poor Roger. Little did he know what he was in for when he insisted that he and Eva should do more for my birthday than just visit me. They treated me to this show - and it was a wonderful performance... I cried again. And I realized that one of the reasons I like it has a little to do with Eva (The Good One) and Mona (The Green Sheep) mirroring the storyline's path through friendship with one another, and ending up being Changed For Good by one another.

This one is for Eva: You asked for it.
Hollywood Driving Tour & Universal City Walk Friday
Mark took the fam on the usual drive around local points of interest. A very good Journey tribute band was playing the City Walk - and some b-boys gave a modest show. I hold Marissa to tell me I was hip, and she called me a hippo.

China Town Saturday
I collect paper money from around the world, and I got some Chinese Yuen and some Iraqi Dinar (with Saddam's face - but Mark thinks it's fake.) I don't have any pictures because I forgot to copy Eva's SD card before she and her beautiful family left today.


i love LA

For lunch, my crew took me to a swanky Carribean restaurant, Prado, on Larchmont for my bday.

After work and dinner, Nancy joined Mark, Stephanie and I for a walk over to the modern art section of the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art... we checked out some Warhol and had a nice time. Nancy had never seen the Tar Pits, so we walked through there, too. And I got a cupcake on the way home. And I rolled down the tall hill at the Tar Pits like a little kid.

We walked over to the paper store "Pulp" on the corner, where a film crew was just wrapping up shooting of the TV show LIFE. We got to walk right up to the window of the store, as the bright lights were shining into it. However, the actors were already wrapped.

We're planning to celebrate my bday for real on Friday. Today was kind of mellow, but nice. I enjoyed it. I can't believe I'm 32.


steph's first show

We walked down to the El Rey to see a few local bands play at a show that Stephanie picked out. She loved Cold Forty-Three, which was a kind of generic-punk novice band. She talked to them after their set for about 30 minutes, and they gave her a sampler CD, tickets to their next show, and a T-shirt. They even signed the CD (which was a big deal, because no one had a pen, so they had to send a groupie to the drug store for a sharpie marker, and he came back with candy, too - which they also shared with Stephanie.) They were really nice and ate up the attention from Stephanie and vice versa.
After their set, Karisa Winett played. She had all this attitude on stage, but she had the voice to back it up, and played pretty classic hard-rock. Her band was also very talented.

Then, Profit and Business... this was Mark's favorite, and probably mine, too. But it was hard to like them. They would go from this really melodic post-rock ambient loveliness, to screaming heavy metal and back again. It was a little chaotic, but going back and forth from yuck to yum made the yum part yummier. I don't know. It's hard to explain. Anyway, we had fun.


not perfect, but not too bad

That's how my exam went. Not well enough to suppose that I passed, but well enough to have a small ounce of hope.

As for the rest of the day, some scrapbooking and a second delightful serving of WICKED which was just as good re-heated as it was fresh from the oven. Stephanie is still making fun of me for actually crying at parts. (She also liked the show.)

As for catching ya'll up on my step-o-meter - my current daily average is 11,674 -
Day 6: 12,347
Day 7: 16,456
Day 8: 13,833
Day 9: 11,722
Day 10: 8,947
Day 11: 7,595
Day 12: 16,793
Day 13: 8,516

(I unapologetically studied on day 10 & 11. I have no excuse for today. And I did not do a weigh-in this week because I blew the diet during the few days leading up to the exam... but no more of that. I'm back on track.)


knotts berry nice

Sierra Side-winder; Stephanie's top selection for "go-again" status.

We got what we came for ~ drenched. Design flaw: you have to scream, ergo water in your breathe-hole.

Stephanie rode Montazooma's Revenge THREE times. And yes, it cost me dearly in bribes. She's not a coaster junkie like me and her mom. But, we are both determined to make her one.

I studied quite a bit yesterday, and again this evening. My test is tomorrow morning. I'm not sufficiently prepared, and I don't want to have unwarranted optimism... but I couldn't help it. I got all the problems I did today right, and got a little seed of warm, buttery hope blooming and waiting to have it's soul crushed in two months (that's how long I have to wait for my results.)