Sony Pictures Studio Tour

When you are in the LA area, it's kind of a rule that you've gotta do something Hollywood-y. If you're in town to do a taping of Wheel of Fortune, it only makes sense to have your Hollywood-y thing be a tour of the Sony Picture Studios in beautiful(?) Culver City.

While the price tag on the tour was a little steep, I justified it as a way to get a little more comfortable with all things Lights Camera Action, before I had my big day. But it was really just an excuse to do something that I knew would be really cool, and it totally was.

The coolness fell into two different categories. First, there was the "I've always wondered how they did that". One example of that was the sound effects room, a room filled with all sorts of crap with piecemeal flooring, where they record everything but the dialog. Super interesting. Or the sound mixing room. Or sound stages with sets*, green rooms, etc.

The other coolness category was the "I know that thing/place from TV/movies!". There were old movie props, building facades, and more. It was neat to see how often a certain building would be reused for different shows, scenes, etc.

But really, the crowning glory of the tour was being able to see the sound stage where the Jeopardy! set was set up. There was a neat museum documenting memorable moments, history, etc. There were replica lecterns*, rows and rows of Emmys, and a life size reproduction of the Man himself. I was in hog heaven. Someday I will be back here as a contestant. But until that day, this tour was good times!

Seeing how movies and TV are made is fun! Rubbing elbows with the stars...' assistants' valets, so much history, and lots of behind the scenes anecdotes made the Sony Picture Studios tour a great way to spend an afternoon! Plus it took my mind ever so slightly off my big day of taping the following day. Yikes! I mean, Yeehaw!
Monday July 14 2014File under: travel, USA

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A Brief Visit to Madison

The happy coincidence of having family in the same city as a well known juggling festival led me to hop on a plane and bounce on over to Madison WI for the weekend, a place I've always wanted to check out anyway. The verdict: pretty dang neat.

Seeing the midwestern version of a juggling festival was interesting. Madfest, now in it's 47th year is pretty big as far as juggling festivals go. Lots of people, lots of talent, and lots of age diversity, which was really nice to see*. And while between the awesome show and all the happenings in the gym, there was plenty of great stuff to watch, the overall vibe was a bit cliquey. I mostly juggled by myself* and am looking forward to getting back to the awesome Bellingham club meeting to get my fill of high level passing.

Aside from the juggling festival, there was lots to do and see in Madison, and I had a great tour guide and host. We walked the city in freshly falling snow, sampled a bit of the local cuisine, got a geocache(!), saw Cora's school, and much much more. It was the perfect taste of the place and it has me looking forward to coming back someday.

In short, my time in Madison was awesome. Getting there and back, however, there were a few more ins and outs. But that'll have to wait for another post.
Monday January 20 2014File under: travel, USA

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Swing Tour Oregon 2012


I now feel like I know what it would be like to be a traveling salesman. I just spent 2 days on the road from dawn til dusk, covering 900 miles and meeting with 10+ people in 5 town in Eastern Oregon in preparation for this year's Chautauqua tour. From navigating in new places to eating fast food on the go to living out of a rental car, I felt the experience was just a motel away from the epitome of traveling salesman*.

The upshots: seeing beautiful countryside*, meeting with our partners in great communities, getting back on the road*, and feeling more prepared for tour this year.

The downsides: go go and then go some more, way too much time in a car, not any time to keep up on normal life, and, well, the loneliness.

All in all, a great trip and super helpful to the cause. But next time, I'm taking someone with me and going about half as fast!
Wednesday June 6 2012File under: travel, USA

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NYC Whittling

It feels like I've passed through New York City quite a few times in the last couple years. If I had to guess, it'd be about 5. In that time, I've slowly ticked items off the list of NYC activities. But it's a big city and it seems like my to do list grows despite my slow whittling.

While visiting wonderful friends is always highest my highest priority, I always seem to have enough time to throw a few other activities in the mix. This time around, I found a spare hour to ride the oft-touted Staten Island Ferry*. The highlight was a closer than expected view of the Statue of Liberty.

Another activity that was on my list for quite a while and am so glad to finally check off was a visit to Dube, Inc. juggling store. Over the years, I've bought more than a few props from them, all by mail order, and it was neat to simply be surrounded by props.

It was a low-key couple days in the big city, but wonderful nonetheless. Thanks to the friends that made it great, and thanks to the city itself for continually showing me something new (like these yummy donuts made with mashed potato dough from Wonder City Donuts!).
Sunday March 20 2011File under: travel, USA

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Snow Fun At All

I grew up in a place where snow wasn't a foregone conclusion every winter. In fact, I remember very few winters where there was enough snow to get out and play, sled, build snowmen, etc. Because of this, when I find myself in a situation where there is good snow on the ground. I feel like I have to get out and enjoy it.

Such is the case here in Colorado. There was a fresh blanket of snow awaiting me when I stepped off the plane coupled with single degree temperatures. The temperature has since risen enough to make for outdoor activities being reasonable. On a walk through Denver the other day, I couldn't help but stop and do a little snow construction. Not as good as that igloo on Garcelon Field back in the day*, but pretty fun.

The only downside of the whole thing was the inability to feel my fingers for a good while. Oh well. Totally worth it.
Monday January 3 2011File under: travel, USA

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Me in Front of NYC Stuff


I'll admit I have a nasty habit of always mucking up an otherwise good view when it comes to picture taking. But what other way can I prove I've been somewhere? So here's me in front of a bunch of stuff in New York City.

Friday November 5 2010File under: travel, USA

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Thoughts on Pay Phones

As most of you know, I'm one of those stubborn holdouts that refuses to get a cell-phone*. This makes for some tricky planning in today's "I'll call you with the details 15 minutes beforehand" social culture, esp. when travelling. Because of this, I find myself using pay phones now and again, enough to start to notice a few things.

For one, finding a pay phone is hard. There are occasions where I've spent almost half an hour looking for the nearest pay phone. And presumably because of the reduced use, many of them are in disrepair. So even if you find one, there's no guarantee that it will work.

Secondly, you probably didn't notice, but the price of pay phones is no longer a quarter. Occasionally you see a $.35 one, but most of the pay phones these days are $.50 for local calls. Long distance, of course, is much higher. (And long distance is usually what I need because a person's phone number no longer relates to where they are, what with cellphones, etc.)

Pleasantly, though, I've found New York City to buck both of these trends. Public phones are plentiful and [mostly] functional and, to my utter surprise, only a quarter for local calls. In one of the most expensive cities in the world, who would have thought pay phones would be so cheap. As silly as this sounds, this little fact boosts my opinion of NY more than I should probably admit.     I <3 NY (pay phones!)
Friday October 29 2010File under: travel, USA

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Autumn in New York

If I was to ever write a list of 1001 things that someone should do or see before they die, one of the first things I would add is Autumn leaves in someplace like New England. In its peak and the right place, you are just surrounded by the beautiful colors. It's not often that I have this feeling of being so engulfed by such an incredible phenomenon.

Luckily, this trip has taken me exactly along the path of the changing season, it seems. It was in the parks and along the streets of Toronto. The drive from Toronto to Montreal was possibly the most epic I've ever seen...until the drive from Montreal to NYC. Now, as I meander around Manhattan and Brooklyn, while peak leaf-peeping has come and gone, there are still some truly awe-inspiring vistas.

Wednesday October 27 2010File under: travel, USA

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Oregon Coast

Alas, 2010's New Old Time Chautauqua is over. But instead of returning to the real world, I've opted to let the fun and magic continue, albeit in a slightly different form. I'm currently enjoying all that the Oregon Coast has to offer, and believe me, it has lots.

The past 2 nights have been spent at Nehalem Falls campground, a small county park up Nehalem River that is exactly what we were looking for (after being hugely disappointed by the commercialness of Oregon State Park campgrounds).

During the day, entertainment has been found in the form of playing on the beach, exploring the quaint little towns, and visiting the Tillamook cheese factory....twice*. On the possible agenda for the rest of the time is sea lion caves, more beach time, and maybe, just maybe, another visit to the cheese factory.

This little vacay to the coast has been just what I needed to buffer re-entry into the real world. Back to back vacations is really the way to go. Dare I try back to back to back? Stay tuned to see.
Thursday July 8 2010File under: travel, USA

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Familiar Giant


Familiar giant (remember?) with a familiar goober in front.

Friday June 18 2010File under: travel, USA

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