This week has been a much-needed vacation. We didn't leave home, instead, our vacation came to us in the form of many visitors over the course of one weekend, and many would-be visitors.
First, was the Man-Basket Society. Stacy had to stay home and work, but Katie, Kristi, and Ashley (and Ashley's husband Andrew) came down for a few days. We started off with Disneyland.
Thursday, we spent a day in childlike bliss. We went to Disneyland and had a blast going on all the rides and being silly and immature. Kristi and I even got to reminince about last time we were at Disneyland (8 YEARS AGO!) for Orchestra tour, flirting with boys and eating junk food. This was when Kristi and I really became friends. I tried to find a picture from that trip, but they are all at my parents' house, but I did find one from our senior year tour to San Diego. Is it scary how little we've changed?
Friday was a beach/girl day. We went to Diddy Reise, ordered chinese take-out, did our nails, and watched chick flicks until we couldn't stay awake anymore and all fell asleep on a blow-up mattress.
Saturday, Katie and Ashley had a family activity, so Steve and I doubled with Kristi and Sam. We went to Boomers in Upland. There was everything from glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, to race cars and rock climbing. It was a blast.
Saturday night, my oldest brother Phil, his wife Traci, and their kids Abby and Spencer came into town. Spencer's favorite part was my "animal Rita" and the dogs.
We walked around Griffith Park and La Brea Tar Pits on Sunday. Monday, we went to the science museum at USC and the beach.
Tuesday was an opportunity to use the CA Resident 2fer pass and go to CA Adventure with the kids. We had an amazing time and it was great to get to see family after living away for so long.
Spencer was thrilled to see Wall-E, and nearly hyperventilated when he walked by Lightening McQueen.
Abby liked everything, but couldn't decide what her favorite thing was. She did enjoy this girlie-looking door and the letter A (for Abby and April)
Steve and I especially liked the Hollywood area, even if they put the Crest (which is in Westwood) there.
All of the adults loved the Hollywood Tower.
Though it was fun taking a few days off to play, it is nice to have things back to normal now, even if it means I am back to work. But that doesn't mean I don't wish I were back at Disneyland.
We decide to go hiking today so we spent the afternoon hiking in Runyon Canyon with the dogs. The canyon starts almost right off of Hollywood Blvd. It offers beautiful views of the city (the white line in the above picture is the Hollywood sign) and is a perfect hike for dogs. They had a great time running around. We stopped by Jalisco's on the way home for some al Pastor.
Today I was chosen to be one of Progressive's Brand Ambassadors. I had to write a 500 word essay on how I help the Progressive brand. Out of over 20,000 employees, about 200 were chosen to go to the Cleveland Indian's opening game at Progressive Field.
I get to be involved with all the festivities there---a flag ceremony, the player's gauntlet, great seats, and much more. Plus I get travel and lodging expenses paid for by the company. It's a free vacation (and I might even get to meet Flo).
This is one of the reasons why Phish can sell out any show that they play. The fans come first. Giving away concert recordings doesn’t hurt ticket sales. It boosts them. It boosts album sales as well. If I get to hear last nights concert, how good they are right now, of course I’ll want to see them when they hit my town next week. But most bands can’t see this. They have a severe case of tunnel vision that forces them to try and get money out of every song they play. It doesn’t even occur to them that they should give anything away. What’s in it for them right now? Instead they should put the fans first. Give people what they want for free and they will come to your show, buy your CD, and get it on vinyl too.
I wish more bands would do this. The only problem is that they can only play their own songs. Otherwise they would have to pay the statutory mechanical royalty (currently 9.1 cents) for each track downloaded. So they can’t do Dark Side of The Moon. But who cares when you’ve got a catalog like Phish.
My mom sent me this one for Valentine’s Day. The story of the missionary evacuation of Europe under the advancing clouds of the Nazi war machine has a special interest to my family. My grandfather Mark B. Garff was a young mission president in Denmark when the war broke out. As Europe drew its last breath before it was plunged into World War II, Denmark was one of the last places where people could escape from the Continent. As a result Mark Garff was instrumental in getting the missionaries home safely as the war broke out. This book is not really his story but is the story of some of the missionaries who were forced to flee from the war. To tell her narrative Montague focuses on the personal accounts of these missionaries, reconstructing the evacuation from journals and personal interviews. The result is an often suspenseful story of the panic, chaos, wrong turns, and narrow escapes that Mormon missionaries experienced as they fled Nazi Germany. Some of the more interesting trials experienced by these missionaries include: piloting through minefields, commandeering a train, and getting arrested by Nazi officers. Many of these missionaries also witnessed first hand the plight of Jewish Germans as they tried to escape Hitler’s plans.