July 25th, 2014
July 23rd, 2014
July 21st, 2014
What a day, yesterday!
We left the house fairly early in the morning (for a Sunday) to get seats at the AMC 30 Theater at Ontario Mills. We don't normally go there, as there are several excellent movie venues closer to our home, but this was special. This was a live broadcast of the last of the Monty Python Live (mostly) shows occuring in London. The theater was mostly full by showtime, and the show itself was very funny. Many of their classic bits were reprised, though often showed in new and surprising ways; they also had new material. There were a few surprise guests, as well. Fun & nostalgic... My first exposure to Python came when I was a camp counsellor in North Carolina; many of the staff were from England, and at a staff talent show, some of them put on the Lumberjack Song. From there, I found them on PBS, and the rest is history!
After that, home later, we finished watching From the Earth to the Moon, a docu-drama produced by Tom Hanks. Brilliant piece of work; dramatic and historical. I'd highly recommend it.
Before calling it a night, I pulled out one of my birthday presents to play. This was a DVD called Faire: An American Renaissance, a documentary about the Renaissance Faire; more specifically the Renaissance Pleasure Faire as it used to be in Agoura, lo these many years ago. I can't recall when I first went to Faire, but it was likely that I was in college at the time. My sister Laurel acted at Faire for a season or three, and I've had many friends over the years who've spent time and money there. I loved the Agoura Faire; attended but didn't like the Devore Faire; and mostly avoided it in Irwindale. As the documentary states, it just isn't the same any more for many reasons. However, they left me with the desire to go again to Northern Faire. Apparently, instead of being owned and run by a corporation, it's now run by the vendors and actors themselves. I wonder...
And now to work!
July 20th, 2014
There's a million things around the house that just couldn't get done while my associate was on vacation (or, for that matter, while *I* was on vacation!), but I made a start at getting some of that done yesterday.
I took the car in for an oil change at our mechanics; normally I get there when he opens, but yesterday I was persuaded to just go back to sleep when the alarm went off, so I got to the shop much later than usual. By arriving early, typically I'm out very quickly, as an oil change doesn't require much work, but there were cars ahead of me, and I had to wait for a while. Hanging out there was fun! We chatted, had a bite to eat...very nice.
After that, a quick stop at the grocery store, and then home.
Midafternoon, and we left the house to go to Newhall to see Ben, one of the cast of Dungeonmaster, play in a musical called Return to the Forbidden Planet. Now, forestcats and I aren't fans of musicals, in general, but this one was different. The cast was backed up by a four piece rock band, and they used rock and roll classics to fit into the narrative structure. The show appealed to the Shakespeare geek, the old 50s movies geek, the Science Fiction geek, and the Rock and Roll geek, all in one! Very amusing. Once there, we recognized the bartender in the foyer as a player from DM, and later found out that the robot member of the cast was our new Guardian of the Flame! Nice to support our own in that way!
BTW, before the show, we stopped at a restaurant a mile from the venue called The Hidden Havana Cuban Cafe, and without Yelp, we'd never have found it. The food was fantastic, and reasonably priced. I don't often clean my plate; here I did. Every morsel, every drop. Wonderful place.
Yesterday, I finished reading a book devoted to the details of role-playing gaming. Called Play Safe: How to Work Less, Play Harder and Add Stories to Your Games, it discusses certain concepts to avoid the gamemaster's frustrations when his players completely ignore work that had taken him hours to prepare. Oddly enough, the book in general describes how I run my games! It was nice to see my own techniques laid out in specific terms. Good for aspiring game runners.
July 19th, 2014
Last night was my father's Yahrzeit; a Jewish word meaning (more or less) the date upon which we recall his passing. Typically, this includes lighting a candle, and reciting a prayer.
We hosted for our Havurah, and I just barely got home from work in time. I lit the candle before the Shabbat candles were lit, and I led the services.
When it came time to recite the prayer, I barely got through it. My voice cracked, and I had trouble seeing the Hebrew from the tears in my eyes.
I think of you, Dad, daily. I wish you were still here...
July 18th, 2014
July 17th, 2014
During my wee vacation, I did get a bit of reading done.
First was Cruise Ship S.O.S., an excellent, fictionalized biographical work by and about being a doctor aboard a cruise ship doing a round-the-world trip. Being a physician, and having gone on cruises, I found this a fascinating and enjoyable read.
Then, The Trojan Colt by Mike Resnick was next. This book follows the career of a private investigator from a previous book. In this one, he gets embroiled in a missing person mystery in Kentucky, associated with the horse world. Resnick is able to show off his knowledge of horse racing and the financial aspects thereof, and does it with finesse. Nice read.
Last night I then finished reading Osprey New Vanguard #10: Warrior: Mechanised Combat Vehicle 1987 – 1994. Not bad; obviously the authors are proud of the quality of this particular ACV. I didn't find the book all that engaging, though.
July 16th, 2014
I took several days off for my birthday.
Last Thursday, we headed north, driving to a town called Groveland and checked into a B&B. I was occasionally disturbed by continued calls from the answering service because they ignored the fact that I was on vacation. Good things? We saw deer, wild turkeys, and some pretty terrain.
Friday, we got out fairly early, and caught a bus into Yosemite. forestcats had never been there before, so when we popped out of a tunnel into Yosemite Valley, her reaction was priceless. What a beautiful place!
We wandered, followed the trail up to Lower Yosemite Falls (and, yes, the drought IS affecting the Upper Falls), which were beautiful. We also found that various wild bushes were laden with black raspberries; we tasted a few. We caught the bus back to Groveland, and crashed.
Saturday our transport was the same; the hike differed. In a more vigorous trail, we worked our way along the origins of the Merced River not quite making it to another falls. Stunning beauty along the way, though the altitude was getting to us (headaches and fatigue, I'm afraid). This time, on our return to the B&B, we tried the restaurant of the hotel across the street, and they served some delightful dishes, tapas style. Very nice.
Next morning, we drove from Groveland to the coast, and met up with our friends Leah and Ivan in Point Reyes Station. Ivan was singing in the chorus for a production of H.M.S. Pinafore, and we went with them to the cast party following for a little while. From there, we stayed with them in Inverness, in Marin County. Weather was much cooler than in Yosemite Valley; however, oxygen levels were higher! A nice dinner, a nice chat, then to bed.
Monday, we did a bit of sightseeing, taking in the Charles M. Schultz Museum (small, but it has some great exhibits), and then a picnic lunch in a park with a lake in the area. A good day!
Tuesday we were off again, heading into Palo Alto (a neighborhood obviously affected by the close proximity of the Stanford campus), and we met sekl for lunch at a Paxti's, a chain of pizza parlors that provide Chicago stuffed pizza to the hungry. Very tasty. We also stopped at a local ice cream parlor, which made their own, apparently. I had a scoop of saffron and one of dark chocolate; the former pretty good, the latter a bit grainy. Then the drive home to have our menagerie express delight at our return.
Back to work...
July 15th, 2014
July 14th, 2014
I had serious trouble getting Internet access yesterday, and so I missed a chance to wish silme, justlykbudyholy, belladonna713, and enderfem a happy birthday. I hope that each one of you folks had a terrific day yesterday!
July 12th, 2014
July 11th, 2014