Monday, May 23, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 6: Going Home Day

Friday was the last day of the trip.  We had an afternoon flight, so we able to take our time and have breakfast in Downtown Disney.  After breakfast we checked out at 11am, then waited in the sitting area outside the lobby for the 12:15 car service we arranged to drive us to LAX.

I took pictures of our weird room setup the night before when we got back from the park.  When we got our room situation arranged when we first checked in, we were given room 2866 on the 11th floor.  The room turned out to be the last one at the end of the hall - a corner room.  When going to the room for the first time, we got off the elevator and walked passed all the "normal" room doors to the end of the hall to see this:

One room with two room numbers?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 5: Disneyland Again

Thursday brought us back to Disneyland for our last day in the parks.  No hurry today - we started the day at 10:30am with breakfast at the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney.

Once in Disneyland, we went to Tomorrowland first and rode Star Tours, got FastPasses for Space Mountain, then spent an eternity in Star Wars Launch Bay:  a temporary exhibit hall that had a film, replica props and models, and lines to meet either Chewbacca or Kylo Ren.

We sat down to watch the "behind-the-scenes" film, but it was just a lengthy, talking-head, commentary type, dvd extra-ish snoozefest featuring the producer(s), director, etc.  So incredibly boring.  I got up after 5 minutes and walked around while Todd watched the rest of it.

I like Star Wars, but I'm not a big enough fan to have needed more than 10 minutes looking at the models and merchandise, so I went outside to wait until Todd was done.

Rey's Speeder from The Force Awakens

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 4: Disney California Adventure

Woke up in the wee hours to a horrible noise coming from the bathtub drain.  I ended up closing the drain and the bathroom door.  It was sort of funny actually - Todd took this video later:




This was Disney California Adventure day, where the Disney California Food & Wine Festival was currently (then) taking place.

While this is an annual event at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, the last time California Adventure held the festival was 6 years prior, so this was quite a treat.  Although the major events like workshops, demonstrations and guest appearances only happen on the weekends (meaning we would miss them), all of the food marketplaces are open during the week.

As usual, I got up first so I got ready and headed down to The Coffee House on site at the hotel to grab us breakfast.  I brought a croissant and cinnamon roll back to the room with a couple of orange juices.

Once Todd got ready and we had eaten, we walked through Downtown Disney to the park.  Today was early entry to California Adventure for guests staying at one of the Disney hotels (or for guests not staying on property but who had bought 3-day or more tickets).  We got in the park around 8:15am, and it would open to the general public at 9.

Like our last trip here, we thought we'd buck the trend and head to Tower of Terror first instead of Radiator Springs Racers.  We walked there and got in line with about 15 other people, but after 5 minutes of waiting it was announced that they were having technical difficulties.  We could have stayed and waited, but we (and most everyone else) reversed course and exited the line.

Instead we walked over to the FastPass distribution line for Radiator Springs Racers.  The FastPass machines don't operate until the park is open to the public at 9am, so a lot of early access folks get in line for FastPasses before the park opens - the idea being that waiting 10-30 minutes now for a FastPass is better than waiting 40-60 minutes in line for the ride itself.  Disney staff were attempting to do crowd control by assuring everyone queuing up for a FastPass that the ride was open right now and we could all just go get in line and ride it, but no one was budging - including us.  Since it was only 10 minutes until 9am when we walked up, it was worth it to wait as the line for the Racers was 30 minutes long.  If we had gotten there earlier we would have just gone and rode the ride.

There's our room - top right

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Leftovers

Poached chicken with rice from Monday plus ratatouille from Tuesday equals Wednesday leftovers:


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

If A Rat Can Do It...

...then so can I.

We're trying to eat healthier and so I was thinking of vegetarian options to occasionally add to our meal rotation when I remembered Ratatouille and well, ratatouille.  I did a quick web search that turned up a couple of recipes, picked one, and gave it a whirl tonight.  It was surprisingly easy and extremely delicious.

I did have a bit of an oops though - I had salted (to wick out some of the moisture) and set aside the sliced eggplant and didn't realize that I forgot to add it until I had the rest of the ratatouille already assembled and in the oven - fuck!

I hated to waste the eggplant, but didn't know what to do with it.  After a quick panic I grabbed an egg, flour, spices and some left over panko bread crumbs (not something I normally have in the pantry - I forget what I originally used them for), and dredged and coated the slices before frying them up.  Note:  I hate frying and am usually no good at it, but these turned out great and were light, crisp and not greasy.  I was quite pleased with how they turned out for a last-minute throw-together.

The goal, only with considerably less rat
Now to turn these...
...into this.  Not a problem, as it turned out.
The salvaged eggplant, or at least what's left of it - it was gobbled up pretty quickly :)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 3: Disneyland

Woke up at 6:30 on this morning and got ready to take the car to the rental return.  We were there right after 7:30 and didn't have any problems (other than paying for another day and a late return fee, which we had already resigned ourselves to).

We walked the mile from Avis to the Disneyland/California Adventure entry plaza.  The park didn't open until 9am, but since we stayed on property we had early entry available at 8.  The lines were quite long, see below, but they went fairly quickly and we were in the park by 8:45.  The cold wind was gone from the day before and the morning weather was brisk, but bearable and beautiful.  The temperature for the rest of the trip would be high 50s/low 60s in the mornings and highs in the afternoon would be low/mid 70s.

"OMG" is right little red-haired girl, but don't worry, the lines are moving steadily

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's Not That Hard

In response to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's recent call for the resignation of Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner over the issuance of district guidelines intended to support transgender students:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/10/477481119/texas-lt-gov-targets-fort-worth-schools-chief-over-transgender-guidelines.  And also in response to North Carolina's rush passage of HB2, and anywhere else where a non-existent bathroom "issue" is being turned into a focal point by mostly Republicans and conservative Christians in what appears to be an effort to piggyback passage of anti-LGBT discrimination measures in the wake of the lost fight over same-sex marriage.

First let me say, I'm not a transgendered person, and I don't personally know and transgender people, so I can only image their struggles.

To those people trying to legislate which bathrooms a person can use based on their gender at birth in the alleged effort to protect wives, daughters, and children everywhere, I ask:  If your laws pass or were allowed to stay in effect, what reaction do you think your wives and daughters are going to have when they walk into the women's restroom and see these people?

Ben Melter - born female
Photo from tetu.com
Ian Harvie - born female
Photo from zimbio.com
Kieran Moloney - born female
Photo from mulher.terra.com.br
Loren Rex Cameron - born female
Photo from america.pink.com
Ryan Sallans - born female
Photo from ryansallans.com
Thomas Beatie - born female
Photo from blogs.babycenter.com
Do you think they'll be ok to find a person that is clearly a man in the women's restroom?  One that just wants to use the facility for it's intended purpose, mind you.  Or do you think they'll be frightened and apprehensive, and maybe call the police?  If men find a person that is clearly a woman in the men's restroom, do you think that woman might be placed in a volatile and dangerous situation?

The (false) argument currently being presented is that by allowing transgender women (a person born male who is female) into the women's restroom, there's nothing to prevent a straight man with the intention of doing harm to vulnerable wives and daughters to dress up like a woman and enter the bathroom to assault a victim, or take video, or for some other nefarious purpose.

It's unlikely that there's a flood of Mrs. Doubtfire-level copycat perverts just rubbing their hands together eagerly waiting for a law to pass that allows them to legally enter the ladies room.  However if there were then theres no need to pass a law - it's a moot point because a criminal with an intent to do harm, be they man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, etc. could do that now without a law.

Instead of creating non-existent "issues" and trying to find ways to legally sanction discrimination, maybe if our elected officials could focus on more important matters like working together to actually run the country, congress would have a higher approval rating than the current 16-17%.

But back to my question above - Maybe the people in favor of of these laws can ensure when they pass that they include provisions for a way to put the vulnerable wives and daughters at ease when they enter the ladies room and see a man - how will they know if it's the kind of man being forced to use the wrong restroom, or one that's just wandered in to possibly do them harm?  Likewise, for the men finding a woman in the men's restroom - how will they know if it's a woman who maybe couldn't wait for the long lines to the other bathroom, or the kind of woman who it's ok to bully, disparage, and possibly brutalize because she's being forced to use the wrong restroom?

Maybe there's some sort of outwardly visible, government-mandated identification system they can be made to wear, like, oh, I don't know, yellow stars or pink triangles...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - A Couple Of Videos

Before I get too far ahead, here's a couple of great videos that Todd shot of the Bellagio fountains at night (no sound, but I think the show was set to "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller) and the view from the Hoover Dam ventilation shaft.



Saturday, May 7, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 2: Crossing the Mojave

Woke up at 5am and watched the sun rise, then dozed again until 7-ish.  Finally got up at 10am and got ready to check out by 11.  After checkout and stowing our bags in the trunk of the car, we walked across the street to Planet Hollywood and ate lunch at Earl of Sandwich - chipotle chicken avocado with bacon on wheat (yum!) - then stopped in the mall to pick up a bag of Garrett Popcorn's Chicago Mix popcorn (double-yum!!).  After that it was noon and we hit the road.

Good morning Las Vegas

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 1: Las Vegas

After hiking halfway across the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to take pictures of Hoover Dam, we walked back down to the car and drove back to Las Vegas (which is only about 40-45 minutes away by the way).  As we got into town we stopped at Walmart and picked up a pack of 32 bottled waters and some snacks.  Now fully supplied, we drove to the Bellagio for our overnight stay.

Dale Chihuly's piece "Fiori di Como" adorns the ceiling in the Bellagio lobby

Monday, May 2, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 1: Hoover Dam, Part 2

After walking over and around the top of the dam, we headed over to the cafe by the parking garage for lunch.  It was good to get out of the hot, bright sun.  I had a ham and swiss on rye with fries.  It was 11:30am and we were supposed to be in the waiting area for the noon tour 15 minutes beforehand, so we scarfed down our food, made a dash to the car for water and sunscreen, then booked it over to the visitor center and back through security.  We made it at exactly 11:45am, and most of the other tour members were there as well.

This pipe carries 96,000 gallons of water per second - enough to fill an olympic-sized swimming pool in 7 seconds.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Las Vegas/Disneyland Trip - Day 1: Hoover Dam, Part 1

Just returned from a trip to Las Vegas and Disneyland.  This was a great getaway as we wanted to combine the familiar with something new, and we also wanted a road trip element.

The plan was to fly Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas and spend the day touring Hoover Dam, which neither of us had been to before.  Then the next day we would drive across the Mojave desert to Anaheim and spend the following 3 days at Disneyland, which we had been to in August for the first time and found to be super-relaxing and stress free.

Conveyors at Love Field

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Look Out Pixar...

lol


2016 Main Street Arts Festival

Last week I took the TRE train and met Mom in downtown Fort Worth for the annual Main Street Arts Festival, which is always a lot of fun.  As usual, there was a lot to offer, but I couldn't afford to offer a lot for what there was.  :)

You can check out all the artists and examples of their works on the Main Street Arts Festival home page (linked above).

2016 Festival poster by Benjamin Frey (who has some amazing works on his website)
Photo from http://www.mainstreetartsfest.org

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Miscellaneous

Have a few things to post to get up to to date, so without further ado:

I turned this blurry shot into my current desktop wallpaper

Night Lightning

Here's the follow-up to Friday's "A Taste Of Things To Come" post:  I've posted the two videos below on my YouTube channel; the second one's a little more fun:




Friday, April 8, 2016