Archive for June 13th, 2011

Well, all in all, it’s been an eventful few days…
On Wednesday, Sarah (my youngest) graduated from Concord High School.  We went up to the Concord Pavilion for the ceremony.  The weather was cool during the day and chilly for the evening, so much more pleasant than Rebecca’s and James’ ceremonies (where it was in the 90°s).  It was almost too cool once the sun dropped.  The main thing was how proud we are of them and of ourselves to have gotten all of our kids through high school (as I told a co-worker) with no prisons and no pregnancies.  Of course, it’s great they all seem to have grown up as good people too.  We are looking forward to Sarah continuing to grow up into the beautiful young lady she has already started to become.
Hil and I were both a little sad to see the Concord Band instrument van drive into the school parking lot one last time.  The band (and our travels) has brought us lots of good memories.
On Thursday, Hil, Sarah and I drove down to Los Angeles for the weekend to attend multiple ceremonies for our oldest daughter (Rebecca) graduating from UCLA.  Bec had finished her finals, so we picked her up and took a quick trip over to Santa Monica to see the pier and have dinner down in the shopping district.
On the Friday was the first of the graduations.  This was for the full senior class.  Sunday’s was for only the Political Science Department (Bec’s major).  The event was in the afternoon, so Hil, Sarah and I went down to Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame.  We took some photos (which I’ll post later) and just hung out then headed back to Drake Stadium for the ceremony.  We were there for the opening, so we pretty much got to sit wherever we wanted, which was way up top so we’d have the best view.  There really wasn’t much to see from the field, because she was one out of several thousand and they don’t call your name – they only ask your department to stand.  That narrowed it down to around 500.  Anyway, they had two big event display screens so you could see the speakers and the view of the campus was beautiful.  We were cautioned (by the school web site) to dress for warm weather, but it was actually quite pleasant – in the high 60’s with a steady breeze.
Afterwards we headed back to Santa Monica for dinner on the street of the shopping district.  We ate outside and the food was pretty good, even if the service wasn’t particularly.
On Saturday, Hil and I went for (about) a two hour stroll around a park near the hotel we were staying at (the Ramada Inn at Marina Del Rey).  The walk was quite pleasant.  It started off a little warm and humid, but then started barely spitting (very light drizzle) which made it perfect for walking – LA sights with SF weather.  We got back to the room and I rested my back and knees for a bit before heading off to pick up the girls and visit the Getty.  (Sarah was spending the nights at Bec’s dorm.)  When we got there, Bec asked if it would be ok to skip the Sunday ceremony and just leave early.  She said she was tired and still had a lot of packing to do and we’d have to skip the Getty as well.
Neither Hil nor I minded skipping both as Bec definitely still needed help with the packing and I preferred to get out of LA before the Sunday mid-day traffic.  And that’s pretty much what happened.  We completed the packing.  We had take-out Thai food for dinner in her dorm and the next morning we were back at 9:00 AM for a quick load of the van and trip home.  We left at 9:30 and managed to get home in great time – by 4:30 – so we were home in time to catch the Giants 4-2 come from behind victory over the Reds.
Re-reading A Classic On Conservatism
Because we were going to be travelling, I wanted a light (weight) book to carry with me to LA.  I took along “The Conscience Of A Conservative“, by Senator Barry Goldwater (1960©).  This is a book I originally read as a college student, because I had heard of it and knew it represented the bedrock of Conservative political theology (oops, I mean theory).  When I originally read it thirty odd years ago, I remember thinking, “Wow!  I didn’t realize how conservative I am!”  I didn’t agree with everything the Senator was saying, but some of it struck deep chords with me.
This time around, although there were still a few (VERY FEW) notes which struck me as well written, my overall  impression was, “Wow!  It’s like reading Peters and Waterman’s “In Search Of Excellence” – almost everything has been proven incorrect by the passage of time.”  As I do with most of these types of works, I began underlining things I intended to quote on this blog and respond to / comment on.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem feasible as almost eighty percent of the book is underlined!  Time and again, what is stated is either factually unsupported (and unsupportable except perhaps anecdotally) or has been proven incorrect by history.  It’s amazing that someone can get it (a prediction for the course of history) so wrong.
Having said this, the book is still definitely worth reading and I highly recommend it – less for it’s predictive value of American freedom and more for its descriptive value of the American Right (Neo-Conservatism / Corporate Capitalism) today.  If you substitute the words “Corporate Capitalism” for “USSR”, “Soviet Union” or “Communism” in Goldwater’s book, you have the current threat to the liberty and freedom of America today.
Other Notes:
The pier and beach at Santa Monica are worth a good full-day visit.  We only spent a couple of hours, but could have easily spent a lot more shopping and wandering around.
The Ramada Inn – doesn’t look like much on its web site and the room was a bit musty smelling, but the location was excellent.  Other than the initial smell, the room itself was quite pleasant – roomy, adequate seating (couch and two chairs) and clean.  The continental breakfast was more than adequate (pastry, fruit, cereal, toast and yogurt) and the staff were friendly.  We would definitely stay there again and, based on the experience, consider Ramada’s in other locations, too.
Marina Del Rey –  looking back, we definitely wish we had more time to explore the area and local restaurants.  We also missed out on the chance to explore Venice Beach.
Los Angeles driving – believe it or not, it was not that bad.  I believe we were fortunate not to get in any accident related stop-n-go situations and we were also fairly lucky in being able to find parking (even – shock of shock – around the UCLA campus)!  Hil and I actually felt like we knew how to get around a bit from Bec’s apartment (in Westwood) to our hotel (in Marina Del Rey).  Only one negative comment: the gas prices were extremely variable.  On I-5, the price was $4.40/gallon; at Westwood $4.30; about half-way between there and the hotel, we filled up for $3.95 per gallon; and about 400 yards down the street from our hotel it was $3.90!!!!
In-N-Out – Hil and I had our first experience with “In-N-Out”, which we visited twice for lunches – once on the drive down (off I-5) and once in Westwood.  The I-5 was superb!  We got there at 10:00 AM, just as they were opening and we were customer number 1!!  Needless to say, everything was fresh and hot.  The Westwood – not so bad.  NOT McDonald’s average, but nowhere near as good as the first time.  In any case, we would visit them again if they ever open a place up here in Concord, CA.  (Hint, hint…)

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The big sin in exposure culture is not copying, but instead, failure to properly attribute authorship.
    —    Tim Wu
Columbia University law professor
Quoted from:   “The Long Tail
Written by:  Chris Anderson

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