Posts Tagged ‘Hampton Inn’

Family stuff first:  Thursday, I drove down to UCLA to pick up Rebecca.  She finished her last final at 6:30, but wasn’t allowed to move out until 11, so we went to dinner and then just hung out until she was ok to leave.
We got back to the hotel (the Hampton Inn in Van Nuys) after 12:30.  We got back on the road by 9:30 the next day (Friday, 11 June) and were home by 3:30.  All in all it was a nice, smooth trip.  I was not looking forward to the drive down – mostly because it was all by myself, but it turned out to be not bad at all.  I listened to music (sang along) and it was quite enjoyable.
I had one of my serendipity moments on the way down.  I was at the northern end of the Grapevine and looked up at the hills and saw a unusual purple color on several of the (mostly brown) hills.  My first thought was, “Wow, they’ve either had a fire already or they’ve sprayed fire retardant in advance of the next fire.  As I got closer, I realized the color was from a small flower and not a chemical spray.  It was a faint, but very distinct purple.  It wasn’t on all of the hills or spread as evenly as the brown from the grasses – which was probably why I thought it was a spray and not naturally occurring.
Anyway, it occurred to me that I was probably seeing something which only lasts a couple of days a year and which probably only happens a couple of times a year – kind of like a “desert bloom”.
I would like to make a few quick comments about the hotel.  I’m not a big fan of hotels, but this was a nice little place for the price ($130).  It wasn’t much to look at from the outside and I can’t comment on the locale, but it was reasonably close to UCLA, which was my primary criteria.  The inside was surprisingly quite nice, appearing reasonably modern and well kept.  The room was a nice size with two full size beds.  There was a large flat panel TV, and free wireless internet in the room.  The bed was very comfortable and the shower was hot with good water pressure.  The room smelled a little musty when I first entered it, but that soon went away with the AC on.  All in all, I would highly recommend it.
I injured my back last week crawling around on the floor, shifting PCs at work in Oakland.  At first I thought it was just a strained muscle, but by the end of the day, I had tell-tail sharp pain all the way down my right leg.  The next morning, Tuesday, I tried to do a light jog to work it out, but all I did was aggravate it severely.  I had to stop jogging because the pain in my leg was so bad.  The pain continued all day until I could barely walk.  I texted James to set up my inversion table and I hung when I finally got home.  I managed to relax after about five minutes and I felt my spine snap back into place.  The leg pain was gone and I gingerly made it through the rest of the evening.  I decided not to risk injury by taking Wednesday off.
I haven’t had back (and leg) pain like that in quite a while and it put the fear of God back in me.  Thank God for inversion machines!!
James’ girl friend – Natasha – graduated from high school on Friday.
Sarah had her end of year band dinner last week – Saturday before last and we went.  It was lots of laughs and we are very proud of her.  Go Minuteman Marching Band!!
Home stuff:  Hil and I took a trip down to The Shed Shop in Fremont to have a look at sheds.  We picked a model and size, so now we just have to have them come out and do the site evaluation and then we agree a day for installation.  Finally!!!!  We’ll have a shed.  We’ve also decided we’re going to start doing the floors with bamboo.  It’ll take us a few years to get it all done, but at least the decision has been made to move forward.
Perhaps, the most significant thing (to me) is that Hil has finally decided she likes our house and wants to stay in it.  I think this will mean we’ll move forward on a lot of different things now.
Movie Review:  Well, I finally got around to watching my DVD copy of “Slumdog Millionaire“.  It was a very intense (and moving) movie.  I discussed it with my son James who dismissed it as a chick-flick, date movie.  It was – at a certain level – simply a love story, but it was a lot more as well.  It raised questions of philosophy – are our lives destined?  It also hi-lighted man’s inhumanity towards others – particularly in circumstances of dire poverty.  Bottom line – I highly recommend it.
Book Review:  Yesterday, (Sunday, 13 June), I finished “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell (2005).  The book is about how we are able to make almost instantaneous decisions based on limited information and those decisions turn out to be (frequently) as reliable as decisions we make with great consideration and lots of data / information.  Another interesting discussion was about using different parts of the brain to remember things.  If we think of the picture of a cow, we use a different part of the brain than if we think of the word “cow” and try to describe it, height, weight, color, etc., and the very act of trying to describe something tends to make us “forget” the thing we are trying to describe.  This seems to happen because of the difference in the amount of brain power allotted to long term versus short term memory.  Long term memory is virtually unlimited, but short term is “thimble sized”.  It takes some time to move memories from short to long term and the act of interpreting the memory, by describing it, seems to short-circuit the transition from short to long term memory.
I found this point very interesting because at one point, I used to “think” in text, as in when I “thought of” a “brown cow” (in my mind), that’s what I saw – the words, not the “image” of an animal.  I remember being mildly surprised at the time that others didn’t “see” the way I did.  (I asked several of my friends.)  I actively tried to “see” the image of a brown cow instead of the words when I thought of it and in the space of a couple of weeks, I started “seeing” the images.  Unfortunately, I found I had lost the ability to “see” the words now.  I’ve tried a few times to think my way back, but it seems to be completely lost to me.  I don’t know if it’s a permanently one-way street, but it certainly seems to be since I’ve never met anyone else who admits to ever thinking of things that way.
Bottom Line:  the book was a very fast read and raised some interesting points for me to continue thinking about.  You can’t ask for much more than that from an author.  I now plan to make time to go back and read the author’s other work:  “The Tipping Point”.
Running and Diet:  Not so good of late.  With the continuing little injuries (back and legs), it’s been easy to make excuses for not running at night.  I’ve found the jogging in the Gym to be not the same.  For one, I try to run instead of just enjoying my time jogging.  I also tend to get distracted by the TV.  This means my brain is not continuously involved in my moving.  It also means, when I go do my school yard jogs, my head is missing the extraneous input (distraction) from the TV.  I believe the long term solution is to not jog at the gym and instead do other cross training, cardio workouts.
I’m still wearing my first pair of test shoes – the Ahnu Delta Water shoes.  Granted I haven’t been pounding them daily, but they still seem to have almost no wear whatsoever.  I’m already over a month using them (sporadically) and I’ve not done a hundred miles yet, but they still seem very sturdy to me.

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