Monday, October 5, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 6: Disney California Adventure, P.M.

Ok, this is a long post with lots of photos.

After lunch we went back to Cars Land and used our FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers.  We also took our time and looked around a bit.

The detail is incredible.
Blue is in the lead

Friday, October 2, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 6: Disney California Adventure, A.M.

Woke up this morning at 5:30am.  Apparently it doesn't seem to matter what time I go to bed or how tired I am; I'm waking up early.  I went back to sleep from 6:00 to 6:30, then got out of bed at 7:00.

Morning view

Saturday, September 26, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 5: Disneyland, P.M., Part 2

Since the Haunted Mansion was closed and we were near a train station, we decided to ride the train all the way around the park - not something we would have done had the park been crowded.  It was great though - we got to relax and see the Grand Canyon diorama and Primeval World; two displays that don't exist at Walt Disney World.

The French Market across from the depot.  We'll come back here.

L.A. Trip - Day 5: Disneyland, P.M., Part 1

After lunch we headed over to Adventureland and the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Adventure awaits!
All the birds sing words and the flowers croon in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room

Saturday, September 19, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 4: Disneyland Resort

I woke up this morning at 6:30am, threw on some clothes and walked down to the corner Starbucks.
Pooped a short while later - hooray!

VMAs are over - looks like they're taking Miley down
The Walk of Fame stars are everywhere.  They're over here by our hotel...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 3: Universal Studios Hollywood, Part 3

After our snack stop we headed over to the Waterworld stunt show.  It's a little strange that USH has a stunt show that's now based on a 20 year old movie flop, but the show was really good with a strong stunt cast.

Ignore the partial-people - there was a lot of movement while I was taking the panoramic

Monday, September 14, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 3: Universal Studios Hollywood, Part 2

We next went to the studio tour which had a line longer than Crystal Gayle's hair and a 65 minute wait.  But thanks to the magic of our one-time pass we skipped the line, picked up our 3D glasses and boarded the next tram to depart.  Each tram consists of 4 linked passenger cars, each with it's own video monitors that play various clips as you go along.  There's also a live guide leading the tour from the front tram.  We sat on the right-side middle of the first car on the tram.

City backlot at the bottom of the hill

The studio tour is a 45 - 60 minute tram ride through the studio backlots, sets, and a few interactive events.  It's the reason why we chose to come to USH.  We didn't take a lot of photos as we just wanted to enjoy the ride.  Also, it was Sunday so there wasn't a lot of production action going on.  Here's the order as best I can remember:

After leaving the station we headed down a hill and past the sound stages, including where The Voice is currently shot and The Mindy Project (which is still in production and will be on Hulu).  Then we drove through the city streets backlot, passed some production offices/bungalows, then moved on to King Kong.

Sound stages down below

Sunday, September 13, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 3: Universal Studios Hollywood, Part 1

Ok, this is going to be a long entry.  Today we went to Universal Studios Hollywood.

This has never been photographed before, I'm sure

L.A. Trip - Day 2: Dinner And A Movie

I'm not sure what time we made it back to the hotel, but it was around 5:00pm.  We freshened up a bit then walked down Hollywood Blvd. to have dinner at the Pig'N Whistle.

Situated next to the Egyptian Theatre, the Pig'N Whistle opened in 1927 as a family soda fountain and restaurant to serve the patrons of the theater.  It was either part of or launched a chain than eventually dwindled.  Now this is the last one, or there are only a few more in the L.A. area.  I don't remember the details.

Pig'N Whistle exterior.  Photo from
The Egyptian Theatre and Pig'N Whistle Cafe circa 1946.  Photo from

Friday, September 11, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 2: Griffith Observatory

We got back to the hotel, got the car, and took a crazy drive up into the hills toward Griffith Observatory.  We approached from the Southeast and drove up a maze of narrow, twisted roads through neighborhoods of houses built along and into the hillside.  Somewhere up there was a trail where you could hike up to the observatory, but after about a 1/2 mile of driving past cars parked bumper to bumper (reducing the already narrow road to less than a lane), we found a place to turn around and headed back to the main Eastern road and just drove there.

Even so, we had quite a hike uphill from our parking space along the side of the road to the observatory.  We knew ahead of time that (like everything in L.A.) there is much less parking than what is needed, and with all the cars parked along the main road we didn't try to park in the tiny lot actually at the observatory.  Instead we found an empty space someone had just pulled out of and walked climbed the rest of the way up.

So that's a parking lot over on the right, and everything from there is uphill.  The observatory is left of center at the bottom.  There's an itty-bitty parking lot just north of the observatory.  Heading Northwest from the observatory parking lot, the closest spot we could find was on the side of the road about 1/4 of the way down the first road to the left (in the upper left corner).  Then we walked up the rest of the way.
Screenshot from Google Earth.  I did not skydive just to bring you this parking explanation.
Fancy a hike?  There are miles of trails around the observatory.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 2: TCL Chinese Theatre

Up at 6am this morning, got going around 9:30.  Walked a mile down Hollywood Blvd. to have breakfast at Mel's Drive-In.

The W lobby/lounge/"Living Room"
Spotted on our walk to breakfast
Oj, hash browns and Yuppie Joe's Scramble:  "Ground turkey, fresh spinach, mushrooms & green onions scrambled with two large farm fresh eggs."  Delicious.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 1: Hotel

Our first hotel of the trip was the W Hollywood, at the intersection of Hollywood & Vine.  We got a good deal on the "Fantastic" suite:  stay 2 nights and the 3 is free.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:45pm, not long before our 3 o'clock check-in time.  The front desk said our room was almost ready - it was cleaned, but there was a broken light and they were waiting on maintenance.  No problem we said (since we were slightly early), and left our bags and cell phone number while we took a short walk to kill time.

W stands for Hotel

Monday, September 7, 2015

L.A. Trip - Day 1: Travel

Just got back from 8 days in Los Angeles/Anaheim for vacation.  We had a great time.

Day 1

Very tired this morning - long week at work and at home just to get ready to go.  Our flight is at 7:50am and we're flying Virgin America for the first time, which departs out of Love Field.

First have to say that everyone at Love Field, from the Virgin staff to the TSA agents, are all super nice this morning.  Everyone is cheerful, friendly and talkative; not at all like American Airlines and DFW Airport staff.  It's a good way to start the trip.  Plus the Virgin America plane is pretty groovy:

The only way to trip, I mean fly

Saturday, September 5, 2015

E.T. The Extra-Terresttrial In Concert At The Hollywood Bowl

Just got back from vacation in L.A.  Had a great time, and will start writing trip reports in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I had to post that last night we went to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform the soundtrack to E.T. live in sync with the film at the Hollywood Bowl.  It was an incredible experience and a lot of fun!  More to come later.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cookie Monster

A glimpse into my mindset today:

I had a fortune cookie at lunch today and the fortune inside read:

"A dream that you have will come true"

And my first thought was, "Oh my god, that's terrifying".

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Saturday Night At The Follies - Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play at Stage West

Last night we went to Stage West Theatre to see Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn.  I'll start by saying the show was terrific.  A great and talented cast, interesting concept and fun staging makes this a must-do.

Stage West, Fort Worth


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Elegy For A Pair of Born Sandals

I've had to say goodbye to my beloved Born sandals.  My woe is boundless, my sorrow inconsolable.
They were the best made, most comfortable, and longest-lasting (8+ years) shoes I've ever owned.  Would that they could have lasted a lifetime were it not for my own folly.
But hark!  There is a spark of hope!  Weep not (did I say inconsolable?), for I have found suitable successors!  My heart leaps for joy!

Born "Hyde" sandals.  Somewhere between 8 and 10 years old.  I'd still be wearing them had I not got them covered in mud and clay while digging up sprinkler heads, didn't wash them off very thoroughly, didn't dry them at all, then left them in the garage sitting where the trash and cat litter accumulates waiting for trash day.  I'm surprised the stink lines didn't manifest in the photo.

Born "Osmond" sandals.  Tres similar, no?  I obviously like the fisherman style, and Born's quality and durability has been so great they're the only brand I'll buy.

Monday, July 13, 2015

If You Truly Want To Know The Cause Of The Downfall Of American Society...

...then look no further than you local Walmart.

Where people spend their money on crap (yes, I went there) like this

Friday, July 3, 2015


Getting ready for a two mile walk this morning, I grabbed my socks and shoes and headed downstairs.  When I realized I had two different socks my first thought was "You mean I gotta go all the way back upstairs to get another sock?"

Work brought in Cafe Max this week for month-end lunch.  Always delicious.
Chicken, pasta and fruit salads