Posts Tagged ‘california adventure’

California Adventure

February 2, 2010

Today, I went to California Adventure. With the same partner in crime as last week’s Disneyland Redux. Seeing as we both now had free tickets, and both don’t have day jobs, of course we took advantage of it on a weekday!

Neither of us had any idea of what to expect. This time we got there  just as the long lines of cars were waiting to park, just as the gates were opened, just on time. So, we wandered about. First off, we saw Disney characters, there right in front of us, in the costume! We saw the Chipmunks, Minnie, Mickey, then Pluto, and finally, Donald. Since this had been a big complaint of Chris’ at Disneyland, the not easily running into Mickey he had expected, this meant we no longer needed to stop at Customer Service to complain, which we had tentatively agreed we would do on the tram ride in.

So we wandered into the faux Hollywood, saw the Tower of Terror, heard the screams and had no better sense of what it was as a ride.

Tower of Terror


We wandered into the Bug’s Life and marvelled at the garden hose fountain.

Garden Hose Fountain in Bug's Life

We wandered through to the Farmer’s Market, the wharf obviously meant to be Monterey, across a bridge and stood watching a person with a pool skimmer standing still in the water below us. We had to wait and see if he was a statue or actually doing something. He turned out to be a duck herder, for all intents and purposes.

Duck Herder/Water Garbage Collector

Then we wandered over to the boardwalk, obviously modelled after Santa Cruz. Our first ride of the day? The Ferris Wheel.

The Ferris Wheel a la Disney

But more than just a ferris wheel. Each enclosed gondola had its own track, so as the gondola advanced to each station of the wheel, the car would move about on its own track. Some cars would be quite still while others were swinging wildly about. Each time we moved, I was focusing a shot through my camera and I would lose the horizon and start laughing/shrieking as I knew we were moving and experiencing vertigo. And I could never predict which direction we would move, or how fast. I was so glad it was just the two of us in our car, since we both immediately braced our legs against the seat opposite the ones we were in.

We debated the next ride, as we continued strolling about the grounds. We went back more than once to a vendor booth we saw in the Farmer’s Market that said shakes. As Chris put it, he wasn’t in the mood for a shake until he saw the sign for it. And then he was really in the mood for it. He really wanted a shake. But they were not open. No matter how many times we looked.

About this time we saw people walking by soaking wet. What ride had they been on? We hadn’t seen a water ride anywhere. We found it. It is meant to be a white water rafting thing, set in the Sierra Nevadas. We too got soaked, and I am only completely dry now, having finally been able to change out of my clothes!

The Rafting Excuse for a Good Soaking

The third time we circled to check on the shake shack, the wine tasting area opposite was open. We had to go see if there really was wine. And, there was. He had gotten a slice of pizza earlier, where I noticed beer was sold, and here, there was wine! We both enjoyed a glass. California vintage, of course.

That was when I agreed to the roller coaster. I figured, I was quite relaxed, so now would be the best time to do it. It was an impressive looking thing, wrapping entirely around, above and beside the pier boardwalk. The actual starting point was on top of the water.

Some of the Roller Coaster

Waiting for a roller coaster is always the worst for me. I try hard to think of other things, but Chris kept telling me that we were going to die, and that just didn’t help. I start almost getting to panic attack stage. Once on a roller coaster, I just tightly scrunch my eyes and focus on relaxing. This coaster was going to do a full 360 loop, so I knew that was coming up. Breathe. Breathe. This coaster also had the harness and cushioned pads that came down in front and encircled your upper body. No serious neck jostling, and the harness would keep me in my seat when I became momentarily weightless. Nothing to do but relax.

And that’s what I did. I don’t scream, I just focus on breathing, and often laugh. The man in the seat ahead of us sounded like he was having a great time, and then all of a sudden screamed: “Oh my God! Oh my God!” and that definitely set me off laughing. In what way had the ride gotten any worse?

It was good. I felt fine. It was fun. I’m sure my Merlot helped, but the remembering to breathe and relax had been all me. Like a zen exercise: can you relax even when at 0 Gs? Chris was actually worse off, as his pizza slice was reminding his stomach of its presence.

Next we did a shoot ’em up using 3-D Toy Story, that was lots of fun, then Mulholland Madness, a little mini roller coaster, then the Jelly Fish drop, swinging our legs madly, then the Zephyr as we floated above the water and the construction zone of the new Wonder of Color exhibit they are working on, and then we went to the Bug’s Life and attempted to play bumper cars. But the kids weren’t aggressive enough, and by the time everyone had figured out a strategy not to get caught in a traffic jam, the ride was done.

It was time for the Tower of Terror, the elevator drop. Since we had to go through a service/utility area of the fake hotel it is housed in, it got us both thinking of the Edison in downtown, a bar that is housed inside of what was the first electrical generating plant in LA, in the basement of the only building it electrified. He has not been, and I have not been when it actually was open as a bar, only as part of a tour of historical architecture. Of course we will need to go and check that bar out, in the future.

We got in the actual ride part. We were to sit in the back, so fortunately we had someplace to rest our heads. I was a little worried, since we didn’t get strapped in, only lap belts and only had metal handholds beside each seat to clutch. And clutch we did! The first time we dropped, maybe three stories, my hand immediately grabbed the only thing within reach, where Chris’ hand already was. And I did not let go! I would have grabbed anything available at that point. I felt sorry for any strangers sitting next to one another. Awkward! Relax, breathe, relax, breathe, was my only mantra and thoughts. And oddly exhilirating. There was one point where I honestly could not tell if we were going up or coming down. And just when you thought we were done, we weren’t. Several times over. Even when we were done, I didn’t believe we were, even though the doors opened. Trick! But no, it was just time to get off. I kept my eyes open the entire time. I think.

Not a favorite of Chris’, who had already mentioned on the ferris wheel, he is not a fan of plummeting. And plummet we did! Chris has now plummeted enough for a lifetime. I could do it again. Apparently I am more of a plummet fan, and he more a roller coaster fan. Previous to this experience, I did not think I was a fan of either. And yes, I am aware these are tame rides compared to some other amusement parks.

There were a few more rides and exhibits we did, and then we were done. I was hungry and refused to pay as much as was being charged. We did go through the tortilla factory in fake Monterey, and so I had at least one fresh and warm tortilla in my stomach. But I needed more.

Fake Monterey with Tortilla Factory and Bakery

So off we left, passing under mini-Golden Gate Bridge, which hide the overhead monorail tracks, just before the sun set.

Mini Golden Gate Bridge

I think I actually enjoyed California Adventure more. Not just because of the wine or the rides, but because the places it was trying to evoke are real and tangible, and could be easily experienced in real life for more adventure. Seeing fake Sierra Nevadas at the top of Grizzly Peak made Chris want to get out of the raft and explore the mountain. Seeing faux Monterey made me want to go and really explore that town, since every time I have passed through I have not had the time, or it was the middle of the night. And Chris confessed he had never been to Santa Cruz, so had no idea about the boardwalk it was similar to here. In fact, the whole experience made the both of us want to go on a road trip. Again, something we may arrange to do in the future.

Disneyland does not create that same tangible wanting moreness afterwards. Okay, maybe the part that is like New Orleans. Or the Mississippi River. Or the Jungle Cruise. But those are real places again. It’s a Small World doesn’t make me want to go visit any place in particular. Riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or twirling in the Tea Cups doesn’t make me want to rent those movies or throw a tea party.

 All in all, a most enjoyable time. Enjoyable weather, company, sights, experiences. And with a Mexican meal to finish off the night, perfect. In my very own neighborhood, a little restaurant Chris just happened to know. A perfect all day date, if that was what it was. A perfect day, if it weren’t.

Disneyland Redux

January 27, 2010

As broke as I am, there was still money enough to go celebrate my friend’s birthday at Disneyland yesterday. It had been a planned ahead expense, nothing unexpected, thank goodness.

And as the rain falls over Los Angeles-land again today, I called to self-congratulate ourselves on picking the one day of very few lately that did not rain.

Since we both are Southern Californians by address, if not birth, we were able to get the TwoFer deal presently going on until April, and now must plan our other escapade to California Adventure, as we get to go there for free now, within the next 30 days. Perhaps next Monday, if the weather behaves.

An earlier start, and a certain someone not sleeping through his alarm clocks would help, as California Adventure closes a whole two hours earlier than Disneyland. It was the reason we ended up going there, since we were running about two hours later than we had planned. But I had a good book to read, while I was waiting, thinking he was already on his way, so I didn’t mind. That and Disneyland was where I wanted him to go to begin with anyway, it all worked out as my evil plan had intended. 

We are both looking forward to the next trip now. He hadn’t known what to expect of Disneyland, never having been, and never really paying attention when people talked about it, since he hadn’t gone.  

I got to see more of the park than I had before, visiting ToonTown, and riding Space Mountain and Indiana Jones’ Adventure this time, and the whirling Tea Cups, and Autotopia, but my friend did not get to experience the wonder that is “It’s a Small World,” as it was closed when we got to it. He also passed on Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn and Thunder Mountain. After Space Mountain, he was okay in the roller coaster department. I hope he didn’t pass strictly on my behalf, since I mentioned I don’t really enjoy them. I found myself closing my eyes tightly and squinching my body as small as possible towards the center of the cart as we flew around the corners and dropped suddenly. When I did open my eyes (without glasses as recommended), I found the walls were spinning and lights rotating, making me dizzy in and of itself. Tightly shut once again, so they remained.

The Indiana Jones ride was almost a roller coaster, but not. It was like Star Tours, hydraulic lifts and sudden braking to enhance the experience, but it actually moved on a track like a roller coaster. But just as it was about to gain enough speed to go really fast, LURCH! to a stop. For one not fond of roller coasters, this was an excellent substitute, without the stomach drops. The almost speed, the whipping corners, the hesitation before it really gets going, and then, STOP! I’m sure it’s frustrating for roller coaster lovers. And this time, someone walked up to us and handed us the FastPass tickets to bypass the 35 minute wait on that ride. He said he was leaving the park, and if we hadn’t gone yet, to use them. There was still a wait once inside, but we probably halved the time we would have spent. That was awesome in and of itself, passing all the patiently waiting other people, to be allowed to cut in line ahead of them, with everyone’s permission!

So all in all, great fun was had. Both fans of science fiction, science fantasy and Terry Gilliam, we spoke of the herding of humans, abattoirs and the daily human sacrifices that make Disney run, and started looking for alcohol as the hot sun of day wore on, singeing his brow and making us mighty thirsty. My friend would announce randomly to people that he was drunk, when we hadn’t had a drop to drink, and everyone would laugh nervously. The joy of messing with stranger’s heads!

As we drove the silent ride home from behind the Orange Curtain of Orange County back to LA, both of us exhausted, we discussed whether dinner was desired. Yes, then finally no. We both decided we were too tired, and I could tell for myself that being polite was starting to become a strain, I just wanted food and bed. He said pretty much the same thing. But when I started talking about bars and the happy hour research my girlfriend and I are conducting, how her tastes are a little more highbrow than mine, since I just don’t feel the urge to dress up to go have a drink, dive bars are just fine with me… he exclaimed “I love dive bars!”

And that was how we found ourselves, both professed exhausted, spending a few more hours together in a downtown dive bar, suddenly refreshed and animatedly discussing an evaluation system by which we could go and compare dive bars of Los Angeles by an accrued point system. Time Bandits played on the televisions above our heads, and then Back to the Future. We began drawing up a list of places we knew we could research, some West Side, some downtown, and some Valley. We decided we needed to get funding for such important research, and discussed whose third mortgage we should use, and since neither of us technically have mortgages, we would need to use someone else’s.

Any volunteers? He’s good with computers, and I’m good with spreadsheets, I’m sure we could whip up some really awesome website displaying our hard work and research, easily referenced, and of course, frequently updated. Maybe even an app to go with it.

 And thus concluded the day. He dropped me off at home, after I showed him a few more landmarks of downtown. He used to live downtown, before it got cleaned up and made as interesting as it is now, so it was all new to him.

In the continuing mystery of whether that might have been a date or not, for the first time that day, I finally heard him mention an ex-girlfriend. Apparently they are still close, since she called him up on his birthday to wish him a happy one, along with various members of his family. Since I hadn’t been sure if he dated women or not, I was glad he finally mentioned her. In fact, he mentioned ex-girlfriends three times that day. Could be the same one, who knows, but at least now I know he has dated women in the past. Doesn’t really help guide me as to where his present interests lie, or even his thoughts or intentions in my direction, but it is at least a start. He flirts with everyone, I notice, so it’s hard to tell.

No pictures were taken of Disneyland, to protect the identities of the guilty. That and the fact neither of us brought cameras, and my cell phone’s memory is presently all full, even after deleting a few more pictures. Oh well. Another time, right?

More Drama, More to Do

January 22, 2010

There has been more drama in my life, what with the news yesterday that I wouldn’t be getting paid this month at all, and the repercussions of that on my bank account, blah-dee-blah; I spent yesterday taking care of that as best as I could at this point, ho-hum, blah-blah-blah. Details not to be revealed in order not to bore.

The good news is, I have two new students to begin tutoring. That’s only good news if I actually get paid for tutoring them, but I will say nothing further on that subject. I have vented plenty already. Zip. Lips. No more complaints about that.

The other good news is I was contacted to work an expo I worked last year, and know that will put some cash into my pocket that weekend, a month from now. So things are looking up. I just have to magically make some more money materialize in my bank account in the next few days, and all is well.

Even a band I intend to go hear on Friday is playing for free, so no excuse not to go.

I am in a new class, and with other people in my local area, we agreed to meet as a group on weekends to discuss homework, and explore the places to get food and coffee in our areas of Echo Park, Silverlake and Westlake! One member used to live a mere seven blocks from where I live now, speaks Spanish and told me he would show me some fine places to know in my neighborhood. I am excited at the prospect!

We have projects to take on. I said mine was to get my ENTIRE LIFE in working order, and they wanted examples. I said, for example, a clean apartment. One person said, “Okay, I’ve heard that before from others, one guy I know said the same thing for four years and never cleaned his place. What makes your promise different and why limit yourself to something so small? You can hire someone to take care of it.” I love this group already, no pussy-footing allowed! I took it in the spirit intended, of support, and I said, “This is but a small part, and I am already working on it. New storage unit, purchased and assembled shelving units, painting closet to re-arrange furniture, expected house guests in less than two weeks. It will get done. But it isn’t small, because I am also taking on cleaning my apartment, my car, myself, and getting a job; I’m taking on remedying the things in my life that just don’t work as they are now!” Just to document this process, I went and videoed the bedroom now so I will have before and after to show my group of progress made.

The Storage Unit Woefully in Need of Organization

Our homework, of course, is to write a list of everything incomplete in our lives. And to take at least one action each day to complete them. Great fun for a list writer like me.

In the meantime, I got a random text yesterday, from a phone number I didn’t recognize. It was a nice text wishing me warmth and safe harbor from the torrential rains, but I have no idea who sent it. Mystery admirer? Someone I deleted from my phone list because he is no longer in my consideration of potential dating partners? Uh…

I got a phone call this morning that I didn’t answer because I was coccooned in my bed to keep warm and the phone was not within arm’s reach. No message when I went to check it. I called to ask the person what was up. He invited me to lunch. By the time I called, it was too late for today, so he invited me for tomorrow. Random. This is a guy I like. He’s asking me to lunch. His birthday is this Sunday, and we are making arrangements for him to experience Disney for the first time in his life. It might be Monday, if the weather cooperates. It might not be Monday if the weather doesn’t break. But, since neither of us work full time, finding another day to go to California Adventure shouldn’t be too difficult.

I’m just happy-thrilled he called to ask me to go to lunch. He has never done that before. We have been chatting recently, and our last conversation had us both laughing. I like him, I really like him! He just might like me too. Maybe. He was asking if there are rides to be ridden at California Adventure, and I see that there are a few, and it got me thinking about our sharing the little cozy ride cars, pressed against one another, me screaming because I do not like fast rides, and him being right next to me… Ahh. The prospect of Monday is looking good….

That’s it. Time to go put coat number four on the closet walls, and even if it still looks like crap, streaky some places and dark on the patches of bare wood I applied paint, I will declare it done at that point. It just needs to be. In the grand scheme of things, that wall will be knocked out when I finish remodelling my place, and I am painting it to put a piece of furniture in front of it anyway, so really, who cares?

That’s it in a nutshell: in the grand scheme of things, who cares I didn’t get paid this month? Who cares that I have multiple crushes and that it takes so little for me to get thrilled at prospects? Who cares that I intend to get my life in order by the end of this course in a few months? No one else truly may, but I do. And you’ll just have to put up with me yammering on about it.

And now, from the archives:

Mountain Goats in Glacier Park, Montana