For Joy’s mom’s birthday we decided to drive down to San Diego for the day and head back through Temecula to have a Lobster Buffet at Valley View Casino. We started the day out by having breakfast at King’s Hawaiian The Local Place for some delicious spam. I had a Hawaiian Breakfast Burrito that had Spam, Fried Rice, and Eggs which awesome, while Joy had the Spam Musubi with Egg.
After filling up with food we drove straight down to Coronado Island which i’ve never been to, but have heard about for some time. As we drove over the bridge to get to the Island from downtown San Diego we were in awe of the view from atop. Once there we parked on the street and just walked down the main street until we reached the Hotel del Coronado. It was a pretty sweet place, and it reminded me a lot of Maui with the Hotel right next to the beach, and the soft sand, but i’m pretty sure the water isn’t as nice.
After Coronado Island we drove to Old Town San Diego to visit the sites and get some tacos. The weather was nice, and we checked out the Historical Park which i’ve never seen before even though i’ve been there a few times before already.
We stared driving back up around 2pm and hit some traffic with no real detour around. Once we got passed the jam, we were stuck driving another 10-15 miles on surface streets with lots of lights so i was pretty unhappy by the time we got to the Casino. Once inside we had to wait inline with a couple dozen other people trying to sign up for their club card and free lobster buffet. I guess a lot of people had the same idea (or its a ploy to make us gamble more) because our dinner rsvp was 3 hours later. While Joy’s parents went out to gamble i headed to the bar where i figured i would spend less and just relax watching the olympics. Finally when our dinner time i decided i would eat angry and just eat as much of the seafood as i could, even though i’m not too much of a fan of lobster. I only ate 3 lobsters, and i would’ve eaten more they didn’t serve you one at a time. Suffice it to say i’ll probably not visit again.
The final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series comes to the conclusion with Batman The Dark Knight Rises. This movie falls probably as my second favorite after The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger’s awesome performance as the Joker, which made me tighten the grip on the seat when he came on screen.
This movie was well done but created too many holes which made me think less about the plots in the story, but more the things left unsaid to get to the plots. Time passes by which you would assume would be days, ended up being months, characters come and go without a sense of depth in their history. Bane’s voice doesn’t match the character, and his ruthless dominance that he has throughout the movie gets washed away by the final battle scene.
Anne Hathaway plays Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman, which is never referenced, and i liked that) as best as she could, but still doesn’t seem to fit the part for me. The one thing that did fit was that skin tight pleather suit she had to straddle the motorcycle with. After the movie Joy knew exactly what i was thinking about as we were exiting the theater. Where do we get that outfit at?
Eurotrip 2012 has officially been booked. So after years of talking about taking a trip to Europe we finally found the time to go. As much as i would have loved to take a month to take the Eurail from country to country we just didn’t have that much vacation time and money honestly to do it. We had 10 days to fill up and filling huge chunks of time on a train didn’t seem worth it. We chose the two most important destinations for us which ended up being Paris and Italy.
The itinerary ended up being leaving LAX on wednesday evening and arriving in Paris on Thursday evening. Sunday we fly from Paris to Rome where we spend a few days before taking a train to Florence for a few days and lastly one full day in Venice.
We decided not to book a tour because we wanted to be able to adjust the trip to what we wanted to do and not feel ushered to things that we might not care for. I really had no idea what to do in either of the two locations so a few months ago i decided to make a double experiment by trying out Pinterest for the first time, to create an idea board of things to do, places to eat, and sites to visit. It became a really useful tool to visualize each thing, while giving a reference of where you found it. You can check it out here http://pinterest.com/thechimmy/euro-trip/ .
The next part was finding places to stay. Of course if we could, we would stay at hotels at all the the places but man those places are expensive. I found a vacation rental online through numerous failed attempts, but each failure directed me to another possible available rental. Finally we found a studio situated in the heart of Paris near OpÃ©ra and Bourse neighborhood. Joy used Venere.com to book a couple b&b’s, and a hotel for our last night in Venie. We figured we better have a established final spot so that we could clean up and get to the airport easily on our last days in Europe.
The trip also happened to fall on my birthday so we needed somewhere nice/fun to go so after seeing this little restaurant called Frenchie on Bordain’s No Reservation 100th episode special and reading about it in a Bon Appetite magazine it looked really good. The hard part was that they only take reservations by phone between the hours of 3-5pm and from what i read they don’t always pick up the phone. This left me worried as 1 i had to call between 6-9am our time. Second i had to call France so had to load up my Google Voice number with some money and lastly i don’t speak French. My co-worker Chrissie helped me out by at least teaching me how to say, je voudrais fair une rÃ©servation pour dÃ®ner mais je ne parle pas franÃ§ais. Vouz parlez anglais which translates to, Hello i’d like to make dinner rsvp but i do not speak French, do you speak english? The first day i tried calling no one picked up but the second day someone did, but i chickened out of the entire phrase by saying instead, bonjour parlez-vous anglais, or Hello, do you speak english? Thankfully they did, and a reservation was made.
That was our first Euro Adventure and i’m sure many more to come. Its just two months away and i can’t wait to get my fill of cheese, wine, foreign languages. I also created a google maps of things in Paris which is quite a lot of things for 2 and a half days but i figured its better to be ready than have any lost thought of what to do.
View Paris, FR in a larger map
I thought i was pretty much done with weddings since all my friends (minus Roland) are married and most of Joy’s friends married too. Who knew that the friends we’ve made in the past couple years would invite us to their wedding too. We met May and Tony through Emily just a couple years ago, and i guess we really bonded over some good nights of partying, and gorging on Boiling Crab.
Their wedding took place at the Altadena Country Club which is a new one for me and a very nice location for a ceremony and reception in one place. The wedding was in the morning and a pretty good drive for us and we just made it in time to catch the entire procession. Luckily we got there a little late so we didn’t/couldn’t cut through to get to the seats but it was actually much nicer up over looking the ceremony in the shade because by 10:30 am it was already into the 80°s. The ceremony was pretty quick and a good thing too because all the guest below ended have to use the program as a fan.
I was lucky enough to snap this awesome photo before she started her way down the aisle. I’m really started to get the hang of snapping photos with my iPhone, and at 8MP i really don’t feel the need to cary around my other point and shoot camera. I’m not sure if thats a blessing in disguise.
After the ceremony the wedding party went off to take pictures and everyone else was left cool off with some Wine “Coolers” that were wine with a peach syrup and seltzer which was really good, but acted as our breakfast for the morning which kind of scared me. The whole morning/afternoon wedding confused me as a didn’t know if should drink heavily as i normally would because the wedding would be over by 3pm and then i would have to go to sleep? I opted to taking it easy and just sticking to the fruity wine drink for the entire day.
One thing for sure is that May and Tony sure do like to dance, and they do it well. They had a four part first dance which included the waltz, along with some choreographed dancing to 112 Wifey, and finally a little shuffling to LMFAO. It made me realized that i really should’ve practiced dancing when i was younger, because it looked awesome.
The rest of the wedding flew by after eating our meal, some wedding games in the middle and of course a photo booth where we got to take home some souvenirs.
The wedding cake was one of the more tasty ones that i’ve had and even went back to get a second huge slice to finish off the day.
Weekends have changed from lots of eating and drinking to just eating with friends and family. This past Saturday Joy had to take her parents to run some errands so I met up with Jonathan and Noah to see if Noah was really interested in golf or not. Jonathan is the most knowledgable when it comes to golf so i had to share my knowledge with both of them. Of course this meant i was basically had to keep Noah from hitting the grass with his club, and not run into the path of backswings on the range. Pretty sure i destroyed any enjoyment that he thought about golf.
Sunday Joy and I thought we would cook dinner for our parents so we searched and searched for some fresh mussels and ending to having to buy the big 5lbs bag of them from Costco. We knew we only needed about half of that, but we couldn’t find them anywhere else. We also cooked up a steak, and some tasty garlic bread made from the extra garlic confit used for the mussels. After dinner we logged on and FaceTime’d it with Nina to say hello to Janie, and the dog.
Any holiday that falls on a Wednesday is the worst possible day to do so. Its right in the middle of the week so you can’t make a long weekend out of it, and it also means that i had nothing planned for the day.
Joy’s cousins typically always head down to Huntington Beach to play volleyball and eat at Sushi on Fire but this year a lot of the roads were closed so i told them just to go to Manhattan Beach instead. With Joy working in the morning, they came by to pick me up, and got down to the gloomy beach by 9:30am to find a good spot to spend the day. I set myself up with a little island as they called it so that i could relax and get some reading in. I wasn’t sure how my ankle would handle the sand so i declined playing volleyball for most of the day, but eventually played a few games before it started to get really sore.
Joy’s family always knows how to pack for an afternoon out and we got to feast on lots of thai meats and treats. Definitely not your run of the mill beach food.
For dinner we headed to Road to Seoul in KTown for some AYCE KBBQ. I can’t think of anywhere else that can accommodate 24 people so easily. My favorite meat is still the brisket and dipping it in a simple oil and salt mixture along with some pickled radish and rice noodles makes all of it go down so easily. For dessert we headed to Boba Time for some super concoction of shaved ice, red bean, green tea fruit something something.
We made it home before nightfall and hung out for the rest of the night there. I guess it wasn’t a big deal because the neighborhood outside my window decided to have their own show of illegal fireworks and we had an eye level view of it all. I think everyone decided to head out to the desert to buy them before the 4th because looking out into the city fireworks were going up everywhere.
I readily admit that i like Facebook’s public sharing of activities. I’m a man that loves information and knowing what’s going on with friends and family’s going ons. This past week i noticed that my old disney co-worker current LA Times writer Esme joined a evening hike and thought it looked fun and joined in on the event.
The Paseo Miramar trail to Parker Mesa overlook is out in the Pacific Palisades up at the top of some secluded neighborhood. The trail is 2.5 miles straight up that suppose to lead to an area that looks out to the ocean, but it was overcast all day, and we ended up hiking deeper into the fog.
When we got up it was like one big’ol party with people breaking out multiple bottles of wine and even some tequila showed up. We all shared some snacks and shared stories of how we all ended up going to this group event.
By the time we left it was pitch dark and we had to make our way down through the cloud with just the lights that we brought. It was very fun to get in a little exercise, drinking, and meeting new people.