Christmas, 2010

It was a good year for me. And for the first time in years, almost nothing bad happened.

The year started off on a high note with the final divorce and house settlement. That marked the end of two years of fighting over basically nothing. It was good to be done with it. To celebrate the end of the fighting, I bought a new pinball machine. It’s a 1993 “Last Action Hero” game, and it features the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The camp value of that just can’t be beat.

I had a lot of good adventures this year. I ran in five stair climbing competitions. The climbs were up the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, the Aon, U.S. Bank and Wilshire-Figueroa buildings in Los Angeles, and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago. It’s easily the hardest athletic thing I’ve ever done, but it’s great fun in its own peculiar way. My best finishes were second place in the 50-59 age group, and I’m in the top 5-10% overall, which is pretty good.

I went to Disneyland seven times. Five with Lucinda and twice with my girlfriend Kathleen. Lucinda has now decided that California Screamin’ is her favorite ride. One day, we rode it 21 times. I also took Lucinda to Universal Studios twice, and we rode the Mummy ride about a dozen times. I used to hate roller coasters, but I’m really enjoying them now.

Lucinda graduated out of 5th grade this year, and she’s moved up to middle school. This has been an adjustment for her, but she’s getting the hang of it.

For cultural adventures, Kathleen and I went on a true-crime tour of Pasadena. We  saw John Waters at a book signing in downtown L.A. And Dean Cameron’s hilarious “Nigerian Spam Scam Scam" show as well as the always-amusing Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Other adventures included the Reagan Museum to see Air Force One, and also an exhibit about eugenics and Nazi medicine in World War II. We went on three trips this year: Las Vegas for the Stratosphere stair climb, Chicago for the Willis Tower climb, and Austin for the big party my old club puts on. I even got to give the keynote address in Austin.

I took Lucinda to San Diego several times to visit my father. Each time, we made a point to go see the seals at La Jolla Cove. We also went to Sea World and the Wild Animal Park.

I did a lot of baking this year. I perfected my peppermint chocolate cookie recipe, which went on to win a second-place ribbon at the L.A. County Fair. One of my friends remarked that I was probably the only person to win a stair climbing medal and a county fair baking ribbon in the same month.

One sad note this year is that our dog Ripley is no longer with us. But we still have Suzie, and she’s a great companion.

I’m still leading the Sunday morning bike club ride. This year we went on a lot of good sightseeing rides, including a former top-secret Air Force film studio above Hollywood, a hot spring in the San Fernando Valley, the largest bougainvillea, and Bela Lugosi’s grave. All told, I rode my bike about 4,000 miles.

My job is still the same. The big M7.2 earthquake on Easter has kept us very busy this year. And the Earthquake Notification Service, aka My Pet Project, is approaching 250,000 subscribers.

It was a fun year. As always, my adventures are all on my web site: