January 15, 2023

It was an interesting week. With some time off this week, I decided to focus on so,e things that help put me in a positive mood and make me happy. First off: I took so,e time to walk around Disneyland and take in all of the changes that they are currently making.

The first thing you notice as you enter from the Downtown Disney parking lot is the rapid progress being made on the DVC section of the Disneyland Hotel. This thing looks a bit bigger than the other three sections of the hotel, and they are flying through construction. Now I’m wondering when the points for this one will go up for sale.

Once you enter through the security checkpoint, you’ll notice that the old ESPN Zone is still set up as a pop-up space for pictures, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming into this one on more of a full-time basis. Then, if you look to the right, you’ll notice that they are really working hard on the total gut refurb of the Paradise Pier Hotel. The exterior looks like it will be a brighter white paint with these odd red, yellow and blue stripes along the side of the building. Cannot wait to see how this one turns out….will they build a walkway over Disneyland Drive to give the hotel guests access to Pixar Pier from the hotel itself?

Next to the old ESPN Zone is a Star Wars store…..which used to be a Rainforest Cafe. Yes, I’m serious.

As you continue to walk through Downtown Disney, you’ll notice that they are working on the Monorail area too. Looks like they are altering the name of the whole area to the Downtown Disney District. (Oooohhhh…..fancy….). They are changing the Jazz Kitchen, and have also closed the Art and Home stores for now…. Lots of construction walls all over the place…….

Walls, walls, everywhere….

Quick note on the changes: La Brea Bakery abruptly closed this week. In its place will reside The Earl of Sandwich!

Disneyland always puts me in a positive mood. Quick note: check out the art store in The theme park – it is extremely cool.

One thing I am noticing is that the signs posted within the parks have taken a less “Disney” tone lately. This one is almost like being called a “Treasured Guest…”. (Trust me – not a good thing to be called)

The gallery has this vault in it. In it currently resides a timeline for the Pirates of the Caribbean, using the lines of a tree carving for aging. So cool!!!! Yet another reason to play the Mega Millions….

I crossed over to Disney’s California Adventure, just to continue to get my steps in and raise my spirits. With all the changes they completed here over the past few years, this park may now be in the top three out of the six domestic parks (I rank only EPCOT and Disneyland ahead of it….and EPCOT could be tied with Cali Adventure due to all of the work in THAT park going on as well…)

Grizzly Peak

I really enjoy walking through tree Grizzly Peak area of the park, which leads into the center and the bridge to Pixar Pier.

I think I’m going to begin mailing a postcard to someone each time I visit. Yes, this is a ,ail box inside of the Grizzly Peak section of the park….and yes, it is real

I was able to walk right up to The Lamp Light Lounge and enjoy a cocktail before continuing my walk. #hydration lol

Cars Land never ceases to be impressive. Seriously. It’s incredibly immersive and creative.

Cali Adventure really is full of great references!

Anyone for an $8,000 Iron Man suit? Lol

I also spent a little time enjoying the Ocean and the feeling of peace that comes with the waves crashing along the shoreline….

January 8, 2023

I’ve begun doing Intermittent Fasting, where I refrain from eating anything for at least 16 hours. So I will stop eating anything after 7:30ish and will wait for at least noon the following day to open my fueling window. At first, it was NOT easy. But now that I’ve been consistent with it for a bit, it’s actually not too bad. However, as the volume of workouts in the morning escalates, sticking to this one won’t be easy.

The main motivation: I weighed myself this morning and was NOT happy with the number. So every time I now think about caving in to a craving, that number from the scale rings in my head and I shut the door to the fridge or the pantry. Having discipline apparently takes some discipline. Go figure.

January 7, 2023

Studying for my WSET level 2 exam made me think about how I’d like to put my qualifications to use in my second career. After I retire from the investment management industry, I can see myself working behind the bar at a quality establishment in Orange County. And I can also see, already developing in my rather dense brain, a few rules I’ll bring with me to whatever locale I wind up serving.

Rule #1: If you’re a guy and you you walk into my establishment wearing a hat, take it off before you sit down. This rule is non-negotiable. Period.

Rule #2: If you are a gentleman, and you show up to a place where I’m tending bar with a lady, have the manners to pull her chair out for her. If you don’t, I’m serving you cranberry & club soda all night. I cannot believe I need to have this as a damn rule – but after what I’ve been witnessing lately in local restaurants, apparently common respect and manner has been collectively flushed right down the gabinetto.

Rule #3: If you’re a gentleman, and you show up to any restaurant where I’m tending, and you are with a female companion, help her off with her coat. Again – why the hell do I need to write this one up as a rule? This should be engrained already – but apparently it isn’t. The penalty for swinging and missing on this one is a limited menu of Zima or Old English.

Rule #4: If you order bourbon, and then ask for a straw….i reserve the right to slug you in the nads, Steven Segal style. (and yes – i just saw this happen at a bar earlier today…) (the bourbon thing – not the Steven Seagal reaction thingy…)

Rule #5: If you order a good bottle of red wine – one that is absolutely lights out – and then ask for it “on the rocks”, it is within my bandwidth of rights to absolutely go batshit and make a scene the likes of which were last seen about 43 minutes in to the film “Old School”.

Rule #6: Merlot = No Go.

Rule #7: Everything tastes better in a tiki glass. If you disagree, you are wrong. This is a perfect instance of the customer NOT always being right. Boom. That just happened.

Rule #8: I dare you to order Frangelico on my watch. I double dog dare ya. I’ll go full Terry Tate.

So far I only have 8….. so what should be Rule #9? 10? Share your thoughts in the comments!

January 6, 2023

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to “keep the past promises I’ve made to myself.” Now I know that sounds odd – but I’m the type of person that makes resolutions so damn easily…..and then forgets all about them as my daily dance card gets filled up. First one on my list: crank out my WSET level 2 certification.

What’s the WSET level 2? It’s a certification for wine and spirits. Wine is something that I’ve developed a fascination for over the past few years, as I’ve dived into how much effort (and a little luck from the weather Gods that site high atop the thing) goes in to making fine wine, and how the flavor characteristics express themselves when properly cared for by a vineyard. I’ve taken the on-line courses….and now it’s time to get this one over the finish line.

That’s just the first item on my list of promises to myself I’ve left unkept. Time to get my lazy ass in gear.

January 5, 2023

Where it began:

Where the winds took me:

Never forget where you came from.

Savor where you currently are and appreciate each sunrise and sunset, because you have no idea how many of them you have on your personal calendar. The fourth quarter of 2022 really drilled that lesson into my head. I guess that it’s never too late to begin appreciating the fact that life is a series of moments. Some you regret (Lord knows that’s true for me), and some you savor. Try to forgive yourself for those moments where you swung and missed, and bask in the feeling of those home run moments of your life.

January 4, 2023

A good day begins with a plan, and then sticking to it. This morning I shook off the congestion and got a workout in that is definitely going to hurt tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to feel that uncomfortable ache again.

Took some time today to tour Disney’s California Adventure. Here are some shots to flip through.

The dedication to the park is always a nice place to start…
A quiet day on the main drag….
The red trolley….
Carthay Circle
Gotta love the little things. Right near Grizzly Peak, they created lights in the trees that look like fireflies kept in bottles and strung along the branches.
Churros are always a good thing.
Roy E Disney….RED
One day I’m going to mail some cards to friends from here. Yes – the mailboxes are real.

Check out the Lamplight Lounge when you have an hour or two to relax….

The new Avengers Campus has a real old school Brooklyn feel to it.

Radiator Springs is still damn impressive. The attention to detail is fantastic.

I realized today that spending some time in quiet reflection while winding down the day adds some significant value to tomorrow. I will say that doing so while enjoying a short pour of MacCallan 12 whilst watching episodes of Lucifer makes one increasingly creative.

January 3, 2023

First week of the year, and my resolutions are still intact. January 3rd….this is definitely a new record for me.

Today had me thinking back to my days in New York City during the holiday season. So I figured I’d share some pictures for those of you who haven’t gotten a chance at seeing NYC during this magical fime.

The doors of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – or as my grandmother called it “Saint Pat’s”. I’m not the most religious person in the world – but bending the knee here whenever I visit the city is a must for me.
Across the street from Saint Pat’s is Atlas.
The windows of Saks Fifth Avenue….
The tree at Rockefeller Center…..
Rockefeller Center’s ice skating rink….
Dinner and dancing at The Rainbow Room. One day, I gotta do that.
Radio City Music Hall. See the Christmas show – it’s totally worth it.
Finish the walk around the midtown east side with a drink at the best bar in the city: Bemmelmans.

Traveling back to NYC in 2023 and playing the part of the tourist in my home town is one of resolutions. These pics serve as the kick in my ass to buy the ticket.

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