Friday, July 27, 2012

Vonnegut, recently reminded of his greatness…

I recently picked up two books by/about Vonnegut that I did not own, ‘While Mortals Sleep’ & ‘The Last Interview and Other Conversations.’  The first is a compilation of previously unpublished short stories and the second is compiled of various interviews with Vonnegut over the years as well as his final interview.  If you love anything concerning this great man, then I recommend both.  I fell in love with Vonnegut my junior year in high school (17 years ago…eek!) when Slaughterhouse Five was required reading.  Before that point, I did not have much interest in reading but that book changed everything.  From then on I vowed to read anything I could get my hands on by Vonnegut.  The top shelf of my bookshelf at home is dedicated to him.  I also vowed that I would meet him one day.  Sadly, I never had the chance.  We were living in London when he passed away.  I remember I was just about to go to my going away lunch with my office mates since my work visa was up and checked yahoo news right before we left.  I was crushed but did not have time to mourn at that moment. I made up for it later after I got home from the pub.  I called Ben sobbing since he was in Scotland at the time.  It can be hard to handle when one of your heroes is gone.  And so it goes.

I really like one of the quotes by John Leonard of The Nation on the back cover of ‘The Last Interview’…

“Like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, even when he’s funny, he’s depressed…The way he goes about his business has helped most of us to go on living, if only to find out what happens next.”

Vonnegut had such a way of looking at the world that could teach another way to see to those with minds open wide, and people can still learn from his writing if they have the ability to take a moment out of their gadget ridden lives to acquaint themselves with this man.  Put down the internet/phone/doohickey and read a book!

Here’s to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 – 2007), a great author and humanist!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Orange County & Disneyland

Got to go to Disneyland for the first time in about 15 years. I was amazed at how much had changed. Last time I was there, California Adventure was just a mound of dirt and you could still park out front of Disneyland. The original reason for the trip down with my family was to surprise my uncle on his 60th birthday but figured while we were down there we would take my nephews on their first trip to Disneyland as well. They were so excited when they found out they got to go. It was tough, but we all kept it a secret up until we were about to board the monorail to enter the park. They freaked out when my brother told them. Those little daredevils went on all of the rides and were loving every minute, except for the heat which none of us were enjoying.

While the rest of the family drove down, Ben and I cheated and flew instead. We rented a car and did a little exploring before the family arrived at the hotel. We walked around the Circle in Orange. That area is so cute! We had a Belgian beer sampler at The Bruery and lunch at Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen. Did some antique store shopping but was good and did not buy anything.

After Orange, we headed to the hotel near Disneyland that we were staying at, parked, then headed over to the Disneyland Hotel to check out Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. We loved it! It is of course modeled after the Enchanted Tiki Room at the park. So many fun little things happen, such as an erupting volcano when a Krakatoa Punch is ordered and a sinking ship in a bottle when someone orders a Shipwrecked. I had both and left with three souvenir mugs. It was a nice refuge before spending three days at Disney with loads of people and children. I did return a couple of days later and tried the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum which reminded me a lot of a Painkiller.  So glad I got to go there twice!

Enjoying some Belgian beer at The Bruery in Orange...

Even my drink was glowing lava!

Erupting volcano...

My rad nephews when we finally got to Disneyland!

My brother and his boys

And finally, back at the Enchanted Tiki Room! 

 My favorite ride!!!

It's a Small World

Main Street

Entrance to California Adventure!

  Tower of Terror at California Adventure!  Been dying to go on this!

Hollywood at California Adventure

The gorgeous Grand Hotel 

Goofy getting down in a zoot suit

Saturday, July 14, 2012

4th of July in Alameda

We have been living on the island for more than 9 years now and I have to say Alameda has got to be one of the best spots for the 4th of July holiday. Even when it lands in the middle of the week and I have to get up for work the next day. And after all these years I never thought I would actually end up in the parade as a sailor. After our friends bought a bar last year they decided to have a float in the parade. A bunch of us were sailors on the Swell Bar float last year and had a blast. We won a trophy as well! I unfortunately do not have any photos from last year but made up for it this time. There have been some additions to the float, namely the back in the back where two mermaids are posed. These folks sure know how to transform an ordinary work truck in to something spectacular! And we won a first place trophy this year!

After the parade we headed to, where else, Swell Bar! Besides Independence Day, we had Jodi’s birthday to celebrate! 

Leah and I await the USS Swell

Our ship finally arrived!

Athena and Jessica

Julie and I

Molly and Julie

Ben and I

Ben making his world famous wings

Amy, Jodi the b'day girl and Zach

Gray and I

Jon and Ben

Shenanigans at the Lemon Tree

Posing with my '65

The glorious trophy from the parade!