Christmas, 2013

So here we are at the end of yet another year. The big news of the year is that Kathleen and I got engaged, and we moved her in to my house in Pasadena.  We also bought her a new car, but that wasn’t as big a deal. And finally, she had to have surgery twice this year, but even though that all worked out all right, it wasn’t a fun adventure, so we won’t go into details here.

Aside from this, we also had some other good adventures. We took several trips to San Diego to visit my father, where we went to see the seals in La Jolla, the Zoo, and the Safari Park.  Lucinda and her friend got to ride the long zipline over the animals at the Safari Park. We also went to Las Vegas for the Stratosphere Tower stair climb, and while we were there, we visited both the Mob Museum and the Erotic Museum.  Closer to home, we went to see the battleship Iowa, the Space Shuttle, and the Los Angeles County Fair. My blueberry muffins won second place this year. More obscure sightseeing included the Chandelier Tree in Silver Lake, a popsicle-stick bridge-building contest, and the Neon Cruise neon sign tour.

I did a lot of stair climbing this year. A lot. During practice for the Aon building climb here, I did a vertical mile - eight times up 51 stories in two hours. And in the fall, between the practices for the U.S. Bank climb and the Cystic Fibrosis climb, I climbed the Wilshire-Figueroa building staircase 101 times. We also went to Chicago again to climb the Sears Willis Tower. All told, I climbed something like 14,000 floors this year. That’s about 35 miles straight up. In addition to that, I was one of the featured stair climbers in articles about stair climbing in both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. I was also the guide and interview subject for a radio piece about the sport on KCRW’s “Which Way L.A.?”

In cultural adventures, we went to see a number of ALOUD talks at the downtown Library. We learned about Haitii, the St. Francis Dam disaster, and the story of how people changed from regarding whales as swimming bags of fat to be harvested to being sensitive, intelligent creatures. Theatrical adventures included the Johnny Ramone Tribute in Hollywood, a party celebrating Lance Loud from PBS’s “American Family”, and we even got to see “The Nigerian Spam Scam Scam” again. “Never Built" was a gallery showing of things that were planned, but never built, like Disneyland in Burbank, an offshore freeway across Santa Monica Bay, and a Los Angeles World’s Fair that never happened. We went on a true-crime tour of East Los Angeles, visited a pinball museum in Orange County, and did a Google-sponsored “Field Trip” here in Pasadena, where we visited locations of odd bits of local history.

This fall brought the shutdown of the federal government, which meant that my job turned into a pumpkin for two weeks. So I went hiking with friends from the office. We climbed Mt Baldy, Mt Wilson, Echo Mountain, and visited the Bridge to Nowhere. It was good to keep busy during the shutdown, since it kept us from dwelling on the absurdity of it all. In addition to this, Kathleen and the other L.A. County social workers went on strike for a bit in the fall.

I’m still riding my bike a lot. I wrote a letter to the city of Pasadena and got them to fix all the traffic lights on my route to work. Now the lights detect my bike, and they turn green for me. My Sunday morning bike club group is still going. Some of the tours we did this year included seeing a giant tamale, the urban oil fields of L.A., the V.A. building that played the American Embassy in Tehran in “Argo”, and filming locations from “The Terminator”.

It was a fun year. As always, it’s all on my web site: