Tag Archives: adventures

February Free Event

This month’s free event was a Nature Photography Workshop at Franklin Canyon, which is a little nature preserve snugged away in the middle of Beverly Hills that I had no idea existed.  The local canyon parks have various hikes and workshops every month, and they always catch my eye as I scan EyeSpyLA for free events. 

It was a pretty casual arrangement.  Basically one of the park’s volunteer naturalists led the group on a trail and gave tips here and there.  She also worked with people individually to help them learn how to use their cameras.  I was able to finally get some guidance on taking distant shots and landscapes to some success, but man I’m starting to crave a zoom lens!

Anyway, it was super fun and I’m really glad I went.  Here are the results from the day:


With a few favorites:

Anyone recognize this place?

Looking ahead to March, I most definitely want to return to the Annual Festival of the Kite.  Still, I’ll keep an eye out for any other interesting events that show up.

January Free Thing Recap

I did two free events in LA in January, and both were pretty neat.  The first was a free pipe organ concert by Hector Olivera.  Unlike many other musical concerts, for a pipe organ concert you have to go to where the pipe organ is, and seeing as pipe organs are generally in churches in the choir loft and the pews face the opposite direction, there was that awkwardness of sitting facing away from the performer.  The first half was just stuff on the pipe organ and it was super cool.  For the second half, he performed on his symphonic touring organ, which is the kind that has synthesizers for all the other instruments in the symphony.  While technically impressive to watch him hammer out all the instrument parts himself, unfortunately symphonic organs just don’t sound very good.  It’s like listening to a midi keyboard.  Nevertheless, the performance was good, and free, and they had homemade baked goods as refreshments, score!

The second event was a workshop given by graffiti artist, Galo “MAKE ONE” Canote.  It’s part of  a program by the Craft and Folk Art Museum called “Folk Art Everywhere,” which has various workshops held in different cultural centers all throughout LA.  He gave us a lecture about his work and LA street culture, then had a workshop on very basic lettering, showing us the most basic way to deform letters without losing their inherent structure, and we all practiced lettering our names with markers on papers.  Basically it was “How to make a locker sign.” It was cool, though, and I learned some things for sure.  As a bonus, everyone who came was given free passes for the Craft and Folk Art Museum. 

February Free Events that look promising:

  • Nature photography workshop at Franklin Canyon
  • Astronomy walk at the observatory
  • Staged reading of Sophocles’ Ajax

We’ll see what other events pop up

Thoughts On the Train

Nick and I decided to take the train up to San Francisco just for the hell of it, because neither of us had been on a proper Amtrack ride before. It was really, REALLY nice. Perhaps you are wondering if you should try out the train on your next traveling adventure instead of flying and driving. Here are some observations that may help you decide.

First, if time is a luxury for you and you aren’t in any hurry, then I’d say go for it! Certainly if you are on a tight schedule it would be way more convenient and not much more expensive to fly from LA to San Francisco (and we are flying back so we didn’t have to take an extra day), but the time it takes is really the only downside to the train. Fortunately, if you aren’t on a schedule and aren’t in a hurry, there are plenty of things to do to fill up that time. Also, there’s no “get there an hour early and suffer through security” that eats up that time. The train shows up at the stop, you give your ticket and get on. Boom, done.

The seats on the train are comfortable and have a million miles of legroom. There are no rules about bags having to be stored overhead, so you can just sprawl your stuff out at your seat (and if you’re short like me and can’t actually reach the footrest in front of you, it’s nice to be able to use your bags as one instead). There are power outlets at every seat. You can get up and wander around at any time. The windows are large and the views are pretty, and it took me back to memories of being little and staring out the car window on any car ride, absorbing the landscape.

In the lounge car, they have even more gigantic windows and seats facing directly out, in case you are into the sightseeing part. They also have big booth tables and free wi-fi, and several people were just at these tables working away on laptops. One lady had even brought her scrapbooking project, and had her crafts spread out on the table. I think she was working on it for most of the train ride. Nick and I spent several hours at one of the lounge tables playing Magic: The Gathering.

The lounge car also has snacks that you can purchase, and either eat there or take back to your seats to eat. The diner car had some decent food, but that’s the only other negative about riding the train – since space is scarce, if you have a party of less than 4, they will seat strangers together to fill up the booths. There is nothing I hate quite so much as awkward socialization with strangers when I’m trying to eat, but if you are an extrovert then this could be really exciting for you.

So, in spite of it being an 11 hour ride, I spent that time napping, gazing, playing Minecraft, Spacechem, Poker Night at the Inventory, playing Magic with Nick, watching a movie, and so on. It was no different than having a particularly lazy day at home, except there was no Mr. Davis to snuggle. When we got to San Francisco at 10:00 at night, I didn’t feel exhausted the way I normally do after even the shortest of flights.

In conclusion, if you’ve never been on an Amtrak trip, and you have some time to kill and are in no hurry, and perhaps have many personal projects that you’d like to get some work done on, then yes, try it out at least once!

Free thing for November

So I slacked off in October for the Free Event for the month. Partially because Blizzcon and Halloween-themed activities ate up that time. Time to forge ahead and look at November!

Tuesday, Nov 2, 6-10pm Day of the Dead Festival. I know it’s tough to get people rallied to go out and about on a weeknight, but I really love Dia de los Muertos stuff and would really enjoy checking this out. If anyone would be up for a middle-of-the-week adventure, please let me know!

Saturday, Nov 12, 2-3pm Family Origami Day. Who doesn’t love origami!

Saturday, Nov 12, 3:30 – 5:30pm Myth-busting Bats. I love bats so much, they are the coolest critters ever. I also like nature lectures a lot.

Saturday, Nov 19, 2-5pm Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective. Just a meeting of a local knit group that’s open to the public and free. I’m secretly a knitter.

If any of those sound intriguing, please let me know and I’ll get an event organized up!


With Resistance 3 wrapped up, and with me transitioning onto a new (SECRET) project at work, it was a perfect time to take a nice rest.

My parents came out to visit, which was great. I really am not quite used to only getting home at Christmas, so I get pretty homesick during the summer, and it was wonderful to see them. We did a few cool things: went to the botanical gardens, walked around El Pueblo and Little Tokyo, and saw a Dodgers game. Otherwise, we pretty much just sat around and did nothing by the pool, or took naps.

I had two days between their leaving and the MLG mini-vacation, which I spent sleeping for the most part. There were a few instances of taking Mr. Davis out for a walk, of course, and some reading, but the rest was blissful, blissful sleep.

This past weekend was MLG, and Nick and I stayed at a hotel down in Anaheim. It was super fun! I really love watching Starcraft in a great big riled up crowd, and man what a crowd it was! On Saturday I got there early to snatch a good seat, and Nick and I rotated out for food and breaks so that we could keep our spot. Everywhere else the chairs were packed and people were standing in the aisles, but the matches were fantastic!

We did decide to head back home today, though, and watch the finals on the stream at Nick’s place. This was for two reasons: Nick lost his wristband and it would have been really expensive to buy another for just one day, and we surely would have had to get there at like 8am again to get a seat on championships day, but the matches go on all day, and it would have been incredibly exhausting to stay there until the grand finals. I don’t mind, though, because I had great fun on Friday and Saturday, and would rather assure that this last day of vacationing is nice and relaxing.

Tonight I will mentally prepare myself for the return to work, and then tomorrow it’s back to makin games!

Plight of the Pacman Cup

When I was a little girl, my grandma had a pacman drinking glass, this one here. Every day after school, I would walk to my grandma’s house and pour myself a beverage, usually orange juice, and often in this favorite of drinking glasses. I remember peering at the image of the game board on the back, fascinated, wondering where pacman would go next, frustrated at his inefficient pellet collection strategy. Such love for this glass!

One day, in pouring myself some orange juice, perhaps too excited to get to my peering and pondering, I knocked over the pacman glass and broke it. I was devastated! I pleaded with my grandma that we glue it back together, convinced that it could be saved! But no, it had reached its time, and was relinquished to the trashcan. Heartbroken, I moved on with my life.

Fast forward 12 or so years.

I’m working in the theater, living in New England, out shopping for props at the local antique stores, like we do. I was photographing a chest of drawers of some sort, arranging purchase with the shop owner, who was so excited that one of his antiques would appear on the stage (I did not tell him that we would be sawing it in half and beating it with a rasp and hammer. I’m still amused at the relationship between prop shop and antique store, and remain convinced that if they knew half the things we did to their wares, they would never speak to us and would kick us out of their shops.)

Anyway, after taking some measurements and notes, I looked up, and there it was. A pacman glass! Just like my grandma used to have! It was sitting among an arrangement of vintage clutter, easily overlooked by the average passerby. After hopping around in a little dance, I purchased it in a heartbeat, relaying the sentimental story to the shop owner. Once again, pacman glass was in my life!

When I had it at home, I sat down to make an important decision. Would I use this glass for drinking? And chance another accidental knock-over? Or would I use it as a pen holder, a much safer occupation where it could be constantly in my view. I chose the latter, and pacman glass held my pens and sat on my desk through many adventures and moves.

Fast forward 7 more years.

On his nightly play romp, Mr. Davis miscalculates the angle of his leap from dresser to cat tree, and pacman glass falls to the floor, shattering.

I’m contemplating trying to glue it back together.

Crawfish and Fun

It’d been a rough time for me in terms of sudden and terrible vertigo that plagued me for most of the work week. This happened to me once before about 2 years ago, and it’s probably just a viral inner ear infection or something, but I was out flat for most of the week.

Today it was mild enough that it didn’t interfere much with our adventure to the Long Beach Crawfish Festival! This was my second year for the festival, and it was tasty as ever with good music and an amiable crowd. I didn’t actually partake in the crawfish feast this year (those little crustaceans are too much work for the sustenance they provide), but I did hit up the booths for some jambalaya and bratwurst.

We also waited in the longest line ever for beignets, but to their credit, they were pretty tasty.

Hoping for a reprise of last year’s festivities, we walked over to the nearby arcade only to find it had been shut down. How depressing! No worries, though, for we all ventured over to Josue’s place to partake in some good old fashioned 4 player split screen Halo 1.

It was a blast! For a bit there I was back in my junior year of undergrad, in Rodes 2, pistol sniping (and regular sniping) an jaunting about Hang ’em High and Blood Gulch and running my Halo mouth just like old times. That game holds up incredibly well 🙂

It would seem that most shooters these days don’t support 4 player split screen, often because of the decrease in visual quality (we can’t have poor visual quality on our beautiful next gen games! It would be SCANDALOUS. I was not a fan of the original Goldeneye, but kudos to them for supporting it) or because it’s just not possible given how much the game squeezes the console. What was so common in the past has become rare in the hopes that “everyone plays online now.”

This, in my opinion, is a damned shame.

In addition to my platformer that uses Rock Band peripherals, the next game on the list of “Lisa’s To-Do Indie Game” list will be the ugliest freakin shooter known to man, made explicitly for the 4 player split screen experience.

But! Enough sighing for the lost past. There is WoWing to do and StarCraft to squeeze in at lunchtime and board games to play and D&D sessions to be run and Indie Picks of the Week to play through. Adventure!

Out and About

I feel like my life as of late has been rich and full, like a giant chocolate cake. The days and nights outside of work have been filling up with new experiences and adventures and time spent with various friends in varied circles.

Today, Josh, Nick, Nathan, Ben and I set out to the Renegade Craft Fair, which was fantastic. There was a huge variety of local and touring craftsfolk selling their wares.

One interesting thing about it was that every booth was incredibly unique in its ware, be it the style or the craft itself or some clever idea or twist. However, when you have a huge collection of things and every one is unique, it creates a weird, noisy effect that’s hard to digest. You can’t really easy group or categorize things, and my overall impression of the festival was “loud,” but not in terms of audio.

There was great stuff, though! I helped myself to a crafted pocketwatch, a wallet made from photography, and a few homemade scented candles.

Pho was had for lunch and we set out for home and a brief nap. Afterwards, Rob, Carlos, and Carren came over to my place for a last minute pool party, grillin, and games. It’s crazy that Carlos has been here for as long as he has and I’ve only gotten together with him but one other time!

We played The Great Dalmuti, Monty Python Fluxx*, and Give Me the Brain, and generally caught up and played about. When everyone departed, Nick and I closed off the evening by taking Mr. Davis on a late-night walk.

For the moment I’m content to chillax here and blog on the couch with a Nick at my feet and a DJ Hero-ing Nathan at my side. Socializing and adventures are all fun and healthy, but I feel like tomorrow is going to be the laziest of days.

*Note, the Monty Python theming still didn’t help Fluxx win my heart. It’s just that the game has no pacing whatsoever by its very nature. I know some people love it, but I don’t think I ever will.

Crawfish and other fun

Today was a fantastically social day, by my standards, seeing as I normally spend my weekends napping. Rob and I and some others were commenting about how the older ETC alums know very little of the current first-years (or rising second-years at this point), so we decided to organize a brunch for the LA alums and students who were interning in the city this summer.

A healthy crowd turned up, and a fun time was had by all mingling and chatting and such. I got a really tasty drink, which was essentially water infused with lemons, oranges, and cucumbers, with a large amount of each floating about in it. It was cheap and refreshing, and I’d like to attempt making some myself at some point.

After the ETC Brunch, Ben and I headed south for the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, which is supposedly the largest festival of its kind out of New Orleans. The buzz had been spread around Insomniac about the event, and we were all for it. I’m certainly glad I went, for the crawfish were DELICIOUS. They scooped up a giant pile of steamed crawfish onto my platter, along with some red potatoes and corn, and it was all seasoned very well. I also picked up a plate of jambalaya from another booth, and it too was fantastically made.

We sat down in the shade with a multitude of other people and listened to some great live Cajun music, including one band featuring a washboard played with spoons. Fantastic! The atmosphere was great all around, as there were tons of people decked out in fancy hats, dresses, and parasols (much to my delight, as I was carrying my own). Everyone was having a great time, and I couldn’t help but snap up some photos of people dancing and enjoying themselves.

After our crawfish feast, we met up with Josue, who lives in the area, along with his wife and friend, and went to an arcade. Normally I am not one to pass up on playing arcade games, but today I was content to watch Josue and his amazing skills at the old school Star Wars game, as well as some crazy sword game on which he got the high score for the day (some other girl was doing quite well playing after us, and Josue eyed her intently, thinking he may have to defend his sword game title, but she only got 2nd place. Fortunate enough, as we may have been there all day, otherwise).

We parted ways at last and Ben and I returned to Burbank, where I was quick to catch a nap upon arriving home. Today was a delicious adventure, for sure. I think I’m going to have to make a pot of shrimp creole before too long.