Christmas, 2011

It was another good year here. Lots of good adventures.

I’m still doing competitive stair climbing. It’s a rather insane sport, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. I ran in six races this year, from a little 30-story one in San Diego to the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, to some 51, 63, and 75-story skyscrapers in downtown L.A., all the way to the 103-story Willis Tower in Chicago. I came in third in my age group several times, and my times were significantly faster this year. Kathleen and Lucinda even did some races. Lucinda came in second in one, and third in two others.

We had a range of cultural adventures, from Shakespeare in Griffith Park with “Hamlet” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, to Varla Jean Merman’s musical drag show at a gay bar in Silver Lake. Along the way, we went to Art Walk in downtown L.A. four times, took one Neon Cruise, went to the Tim Burton Retrospective at LACMA, and even saw Cirque Berzerk again. We also saw a couple of movie screenings at Hollywood Forever cemetery. One was “The Captains”, with William Shatner interviewing all the actors who played starship captains in all the incarnations of “Star Trek”, and the other was our old favorite, “This is Spinal Tap.” We even went to see an eating contest in Little Tokyo. That was hilarious and horrifying at the same time. The winner ate 264 gyoza in 10 minutes. Yikes.

Kathleen and I are both in our fifties, so we went to some nostalgia shows this summer. We saw the Go-Go’s 30th anniversary show at the Greek, and an 80s show with the B-52s and Human League at the Hollywood Bowl. Those were both good fun, even if we were all weeping for our lost youth.

I took Kathleen and Lucinda to San Diego several times to visit my father. Once was the weekend of the stair climb there, and we also went twice over the summer. Each time, we made a point to go see the seals at La Jolla Cove, including seeing the newborn seal pups in February. We went to the San Diego Zoo to see the giant pandas. And in the fall, we took a special day trip to San Diego to move Kathleen’s daughter Melissa into the dorms at UCSD.

We went on four major trips this year. Twice to Las Vegas, for the stair climb in March and again in May just to take Lucinda and Kathleen’s daughter Trinh. We got to see the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. Kathleen and I also went to Austin in the summer to visit with my friends there, and to Chicago for the Willis Tower stair climb.

I did lots more baking this year. I entered my blueberrymuffins and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the L.A. County Fair. Sadly, I didn’t win a ribbon this time. But it was still fun, and I’ve started development for next year’s recipes.

We went to Disneyland five times this year, and we’ve really grown to enjoy it. And Lucinda still likes riding the big California Screamin’ roller coaster.

I rode my bike almost 5,000 miles this year. I’ve taken the Sunday bike club group on rides all over Los Angeles, including rides to look at topiary, street murals, houses by famous architects, and of course, celebrity graves. Once again, we visited Bela Lugosi’s grave for Halloween.

The USGS Earthquake Notification Service, aka My Pet Project, passed 300,000 subscribers this year. The Tohoku Earthquake in Japan and the Virginia earthquake in August pushed it over the top..

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