Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Amazing Biking Trip!

(Kitty) On Sunday, we were so tired of life and the day had dawned so beautifully that we made an instant decision - play hookey from church and go on a bike ride!

We'd never really been south much before, so we headed that direction. Since we weren't trying to get someplace, we kept veering west whenever we could so we could stay close to the ocean. Great decision! We saw so many cute little "downtowns" in a bunch of beach towns. We recognized some of the names - Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach. But many were cute names that I've never seen on a map.

Two things stuck in our minds - one, we drove past the Trump National Golf Course and both of us were thinking, "Hey, this is the place that was on 'The Apprentice' TV show!" And the second thing was a part of the road called Portuguese Bend. It's a curvy bit of road (and there's a subdivision there with, apparently, the same name) with warning signs to drive 10-15 miles per hour because the land for the next mile is constantly moving! Isn't that wild?! Explains the new blacktop - they probably have to repave it every time the road cracks away. The shape of the road is very weird - curves around back and forth, and also has a lot of deep dips, hence the slow speed limit. It was a strange mile to ride.

The whole trip was about 75 miles and took us about 3 hours including a 20-minute break for food and gas - and to let our behinds get the feeling back! By 10am, we were back home - and it was already 82 degrees! We stayed inside for the rest of the day with the A/C on! LOL!

Now we can't wait for the next opportunity to drive some more. We're thinking maybe we'll go farther south and spend the day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Or not. Who knows? All I know for sure is that neither of us is keen to get on the freeway yet, so we're just going to enjoy driving slow for a while longer. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cute Picture of the Future

(Kitty) I finally pulled this off our camera today. Here is John with Spike, the mascot from Animation Mentor. We met Spike when we were at Siggraph two weeks ago, along with the very nice Admissions lady, Victoria. If John ends up enrolling in A.M. for the January term, you'll hear A LOT more about it, so I'll just stop typing now and leave you with the picture. I will say, they are all so nice!

Hope you're having a great day! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Too Hot!!!

(Kitty) That's all I've got to say. It's just too freakin' hot! In May and June, I was so blissful with the Santa Monica weather - which made me suspicious. So I went to weather.com and looked at the monthly averages. Sure enough, August and September are supposed to be the hot months here.

Today, I can definitely feel it!!! Thank God for air conditioning!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Our First Bike Night!

(Kitty) John found out that there is a "Bike Night" every Tuesday up at Universal CityWalk. It's sponsored by the Saddleback Restaurant, which ropes off a huge area in front of the restaurant for the motorcycles to park (FREE parking, I might add, which is HUGE in LA) as well as a 20% discount off food and drinks for the bike riders.

We rode up there last night to check it out. Inexplicably, the traffic was awful. Yes, that is sarcasm. But it was still a nice ride. Took us over an hour to get up there, and about 50 minutes to get home. That's because we still don't ride on the freeways. Which is fine. We took some streets we normally don't drive, saw some things we normally don't see when we're driving a car, talked at the red lights. It was fun. :)

Anyway, so we got up there and we were in the 50% of bikes that were nice but not special. Then we walked around and looked at the other bikes (like everyone else at Universal CityWalk was doing). Some had interesting colored lighting, some had amazing paint jobs, some were part of a club or whatever with the club name painted on all the bikes. One was even some kind of 3-wheeler with 2 wheels in front and 1 wheel in the center in the back, and it had two bucket seats side-by-side. Sort of reminded me of a dune buggy, but I have no idea what it was. Had a great paint job, though!

So we parked, immediately took off our riding jackets because it's August and still hot after dark, and walked around the shops. Then we meandered back to the restaurant for a surprisingly pleasant dining experience. By some fluke, we were seated in a dark corner in front of two TVs - one playing baseball highlights and one playing music videos. Between the two TVs, the kissing, the two guitarists who came by and played "Peaceful, Easy Feeling" by The Eagles for us, the great waiter named Lake, and the FABULOUS breaded mushrooms - we had a great night! I think our biggest problem at this point might be finding the will power not to go up every Tuesday night and blow our "dining out" budget! LOL!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Plans

(Kitty) Hi everyone! If you're wondering why I'm posting all the time and not John, it's because he has to work 60 hours a week. Since he doesn't like the idea of working weekends, he tries to get all his hours in Monday through Friday. That means he's exhausted by Saturday and has no interest in typing. :)

So...here I am trying to update you. We went to Siggraph, the annual visual effects convention, on Tuesday of this week. Very cool! I've never been to it and I thought it was so interesting, especially the emerging technology! I wanted to drop everything and become a research assistant! LOL!

John talked to a lot of people and gave away more than a dozen resumes and demo reels. (We put together a very cool package to hand out.) A couple places seemed particularly interested in talking to John further, so on the way home we tried to come up with a plan. We came up with a kind of A, B or C plan.

Our apartment lease ends November 15. If we renew for another year, but John gets a job outside the area, we have to pay the balance of the lease until and unless they re-rent the unit. So we're building the plans partially around that. Plan A is - Weta calls between now and Christmas and offers John a job - we move to New Zealand. (Yea!) Plan B is - a good company in San Francisco, or perhaps one in another city, calls and offers John a job - we move to that city. (From what we can glean, there aren't many companies in our local area that are going to be doing what John does between now and the end of the year.) Plan C is - no one offers John any long-term work between now and Christmas - we move to our friend Doug's near Temecula, CA, and I get a job and John goes to animation school for 18 months.

So...one way or another, it looks like we're moving in November. We just don't know where. John is totally committed now to this school he's been researching; he met with the admissions director at Siggraph, and is ready to change from being in motion capture to being in animation itself. If he gets a good job by the end of the year, we'll just keep saving while he works that job, then he'll start school when that job ends and we won't have to borrow as much in student loans. If instead he starts school in January, he's that much closer to his dream job. Either way, it looks like a win-win situation.

Now we simply have to wait and see what happens. We'll keep you updated! God bless you!
Love, Kitty & John :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Some Firsts

(Kitty) Couple interesting firsts lately, one for a friend of mine, one for us. :) My friend Janice just sold her first book! Hurray!! You can check it out at Capstone Fiction. Janice and I are in the same writing group, so this is very exciting for us and our friends! She used to be a police officer, and now she's a novelist - writing about a police officer and her K-9 partner. Very enjoyable book!

The other first is that John and I FINALLY got to see the Tigers play!! Hurray!! We asked a couple friends of ours, Ray and Jessica, if they wanted to go. (Our friend Doug originally told us about it because he was going to the Saturday game - to root for the Angels! Little devil! But there were no more tickets left, so we went to the Sunday game.) The good part is that we've now finally seen the Detroit Tigers in person. Yea! The bad news is that they LOST 4-14 in a nearly sold out game!! (Don't laugh, Doug, or we'll have to hurt you!) There were a lot of Tigers fans there, and we were all sorely disappointed.

So now we've seen the Tigers (baseball), the Red Wings (hockey) and the Lions (football). We just need to see the Pistons (basketball) sometime and we'll be all set! :) Below are some pictures of us with Ray and Jessica. (Ray's co-worker Kara who is also from Michigan came with us, but wasn't able to get seats with us.) John's wearing his Tigers cap that his mom mailed to Austraila last year. Enjoy!