Christmas, 2009

2009 was, on balance, a good year. There were ups and downs, but nothing like the wrenching catastrophe that was 2008.

I had some good adventures this year, starting off with a trip to San Diego to see an exhibit of "Star Trek" memorabilia. I made several other trips to San Diego with Lucinda to visit my father and to go to Sea World and the Wild Animal Park, where we got to hand-feed a giraffe. We also rode the old "Giant Dipper" roller coaster at Mission Beach.

My one major trip was to visit Texas in July for the 16th anniversary of the club I started. Visiting there always leaves me feeling like George Bailey at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life". It's a nice feeling to know that something I did has had positive effect on the world, and that's helped me a lot during the difficult times. It's also been the hook that's connected me with all the women I dated this year, so that's a Good Thing.

Local adventures included taking Lucinda and her friends to Disneyland five times this year. Having a friend who can let us in for free is a really great thing. This was a year of discovery for Lucinda, and she's decided that she likes roller coasters now. I never liked them much before, but  now I do too.

I tried a new athletic adventure this year, entering two skyscraper stair climbs in downtown Los Angeles. The first was up the 62-story Aon Center, where I was 24th out of 327 runners. The second was up the 73-story U.S. Bank tower, and my time of 15:07 was good for 32nd out of 338 runners. It was fun, and I'm going to do these again in the future.

I'm now leading the Sunday bicycle club ride, and I like to pick routes to see interesting sights around the city. We saw a piece of the Berlin Wall, a llama named Lorenzo, an art project tribute to the Octomom, and we visited Dooley Wilson's grave. He played Sam the piano man in "Casablanca".

Theatrical adventures included two trips to see "Cirque Berzerk" in downtown L.A., and "Divorce! The Musical!" in Hollywood. Both were very entertaining.

Other adventures included the JPL Open House, the National Track Cycling Championships at the velodrome in Carson, and the L.A. County Fair. I entered some of my baked goods in the fair this year. I didn't win, but my black walnut bread made it on display.

This was not a good year for transportation devices. My car needed a part that is no longer made. And the frame of my commuting bike broke from metal fatigue. So I have a new car and a new bike.

I got a new couch and table for the living room, and a pair of cabinets to replace the china cabinet. The room had been bare since Cathy moved out last year.

The divorce negotiations dragged on through the year. We were near an agreement in April, but then we had to start over. I even had to hire a lawyer this time. Now we have a verbal agreement, but we are still not done, and for no good reason.

My job is still the same, and I'm still enjoying it. The year's highlight was when the Earthquake Notification Service passed 150,000 subscribers. It's nice to know that something I invented is being used by so many people.

And finally, I had my 50th birthday this year. I figured this was a good reason to have a big party, and it was great fun.

As always, all my adventures are chronicled with pictures on my web site: