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2012/10/29 Skip Barber Offsite
π 2012-10-29 01:01 in Cars
We got a fun offsite at Skip Barber on a half day car handling class.



2nd exercise: Skid Pad


coming back from the skid pad, all nice and clean :)
coming back from the skid pad, all nice and clean :)

3rd exercise: Keep The Tennis Ball In The Bowl

the tennis ball game
the tennis ball game

If you weren't smooth enough, you had to run out and put the ball back at the end (losing time)
If you weren't smooth enough, you had to run out and put the ball back at the end (losing time)

At the end, we weren't able to get track laps, but we got some fun laps around the Auto-X



and seen from inside:

Lots of fun was had, it ended all too soon :)

See more images for Skip Barber Offsite
2012/10/28 Mythbusters Exhibit at the San Jose Tech Museum
π 2012-10-28 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
When I heard that there was a mythbusters exhibit, I thought it would be fun to go see, and indeed they did a good job.

Half the exhibit was to show props from the show, and some were cool to see in person:



the jetpack they built
the jetpack they built

that was a bad ass shark they built for another myth
that was a bad ass shark they built for another myth

this one was to see if you could surf a wave made by throwing dynamite in the water
this one was to see if you could surf a wave made by throwing dynamite in the water

a full boat made out of duct tape and wood from an island
a full boat made out of duct tape and wood from an island

can a plane on a conveyor belt take off?
can a plane on a conveyor belt take off?

The other part of the exhibit was being able to try and replicate some myths

pulling a table cloth without dropping the plates and glasses
pulling a table cloth without dropping the plates and glasses

do you get more wet by running or walking?
do you get more wet by running or walking?

how long can you hang on your fingertip strength?
how long can you hang on your fingertip strength?

can you avoid a bullet (or paint ball in this case)o
can you avoid a bullet (or paint ball in this case)o

We spent the rest of the time having a look at the rest of the tech museum, which is always fun to visit:



Time well spent.

2012/10/22 Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific
π 2012-10-22 01:01 in Aquariums
During our last day in LA, we went to the long beach aquarium for a full visit, including a backstage tour which was quite worth the time:






the giant aquarium which you can actually dive in
the giant aquarium which you can actually dive in



cleaning shrimp
cleaning shrimp





this little guy was great :)
this little guy was great :)

he had too much fun and tipped itself over
he had too much fun and tipped itself over






They also had lorikeets that were fun to interact with:



where are you going? :)
where are you going? :)

2012/10/22 Dusk/night flight from Long Beach to Palo Alto
π 2012-10-22 01:01 in Flying
After a week in LA and day in Long Beach to visit the quite good Long Beach Aquarium, we left a little late, but headed back to Palo Alto. I elected to go IFR due to the uncertain weather and my not being sure that I could navigate LA airspace while staying clear of clouds. Turns out that I could likely have done without IFR, but it was difficult to know for sure, and I was able to use the recurrent training anyway.





Weather was reasonably good, but I left too late and had too much headwind to make it back by sunset, so we got to enjoy that from the air.



Interestingly, by the time I got to Palo Alto the winds had shifted and I did a GPS 31 approach circle to land 13 which was uneventful.

2012/10/21 Aaron and Nicole Wedding
π 2012-10-21 01:01 in Public
Aaron was almost a brother when I was living in LA and working for Byron in 1996, so when he invited me to his wedding, I was able to take some time off around that time, and go attend with Jennifer. Jennifer flew in the day before and since I was going to be in Palm Springs the week prior, I used the opportunity to spend the week in LA before the wedding.

The wedding was on a saturday by a beautiful sea-side setting:













After the wedding, they had a very nice reception:








It was a great party, and nice to see the wagners I hadn't seen in quite a while.

See more images for Aaron and Nicole Wedding
2012/10/19 Petersen Automotive Museum
π 2012-10-19 01:01 in Cars
Due to a very long day in LA, I unfortunately got there barely within 1H of closing time. It was so not enough time, that they let me in for free. Indeed, it's quite big and they have a wonderful collection of cars from all eras.

Being able to have a quick peek was better than nothing, but clearly you need minimum 2 hours, and 3 is better to full appreciate the collection.




the ancestor of a AAA tow truck :)
the ancestor of a AAA tow truck :)


wooden doors, that's good for weight, right? :)
wooden doors, that's good for weight, right? :)












genuine turbine car (turboprop)
genuine turbine car (turboprop)

a slightly faster one:)
a slightly faster one:)


See more images for Petersen Automotive Museum
2012/10/19 Los Angeles Science Center
π 2012-10-19 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
While in Los Angeles for a week, I went to the LA Science Museum which had just received the Space Shuttle but it wasn't ready for viewing yet, however I saw the Egypt/Cleopatra expo:









For the rest of my week in LA, it's here

See more images for Los Angeles Science Center
2012/10/19 Visit of the new Google LA buildings
π 2012-10-19 00:00 in Google
I had already been to the old Santa Monica Offices, and then the newer ones close to the beach, but in the meantime Google LAX has moved again to new buildings by Venice Beach. They were quite nice, I'm happy I got to see them and work there a day:






nice view
nice view

fancy a game of angry birds :)
fancy a game of angry birds :)

how about a roof BBQ party?
how about a roof BBQ party?

they also had their own google earth display
they also had their own google earth display


2012/10/15 A Week Long Visit in Los Angeles
π 2012-10-15 01:01 in Trips
Since I was in Palm Springs for the AOPA Expo and I was going to Aaron's Wedding in South Los Angeles, I figured I'd spend a week in the middle and do a proper job playing tourists and LA to see all the things I never managed to go see when I lived there (albeit with less time and money then).

I actually got a tourist book to get a list of all the things I didn't really even know was there too see, and it was a good move. There was actually much more to see than I had planned for. I originally was going to spend a few days working at the LAX office, and in the end, only had time for a single day (pictures of LAX Office here).

I got a nice apartment on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. That kind of sucked for parking (or lack thereof), but the view was great, especially from the rooftop.

That wasn't so bad and worth the premium of staying in Venice :)









Here's an overview of where we went:



Day 1: Getty Villa

The first day, I went to see the Getty Villa, which was simply fantastic. It is by far the best thing I'd recommend seeing in LA. Paul Getty had it built to host his huge art collection. He had it built it like a Roman Villa, and it looks fantastic. It's now maintained with a foundation that sustains itself with what's left of his estate.

The entrance looks like old Roman streets and matches what you can still see in Pompei
The entrance looks like old Roman streets and matches what you can still see in Pompei









The sun make patterns that are part of the art
The sun make patterns that are part of the art







I only showed a few pictures, but once again, I greatly recommend seeing the Getty Villa.



Day 1: Hollywood

From there, I went to Hollywood through Sunset, with a quick detour through Rodeo Drive, which allowed me to see a very nice Yellow and Black Veyron:






Ok, I had seen Hollywood a few times before, but it changes quickly, and I never had the time to visit some of the museums or do the inside tour of the Mann Chinese Theater (well worth the few dollars)

Iris is actually worth seeing, I enjoyed it
Iris is actually worth seeing, I enjoyed it

for a few bucks, you can get fun pictures :)
for a few bucks, you can get fun pictures :)





The Mann Chinese
The Mann Chinese




I got to visit the inside between 2 movie showings
I got to visit the inside between 2 movie showings

inside a candy store...
inside a candy store...







Madame Tussaud is quite good like its other locations:








Oh boy, do I love this movie, pure genius
Oh boy, do I love this movie, pure genius



I also went to see a few things like Ripley's Believe it or not. It's not fantastic, but worth the view dollars and the time if you have a little bit extra:





Day 2: Downtown LA

For day #2, I thought I'd start with Downtown LA, which had more to visit than I knew before I got the guidebook. I had plans to only spend part of the day there, but there was more than enough to keep me the entire day.

I started with the Disney Concert Hall, quite worth seeing and visiting:




Downtown LA had a huge church, not that pretty compared to old ones, but huge nonetheless:


Next I went to City Hall which was worth seeing both because you can go to the top floor and get a great view of downtown, and its 3rd floor is quite nice ot see too:



Chinatown, which I drove through later
Chinatown, which I drove through later

Back to the 3rd floor, quite nice:




Seen in downtown:

picture on the side of the LA Times
picture on the side of the LA Times

Next, I went to see Japantown, also worth seeing




Yum :)
Yum :)

I specifically liked the Japan Integration Museum which recounts the story of Japanese concentration camps

there was a great guide working there, and he told stories of his internment as a kid. Ironic considering I speak better Japanese than he does...
there was a great guide working there, and he told stories of his internment as a kid. Ironic considering I speak better Japanese than he does...




I learned a lot about how many people who looked japanese but really were born Americans, were interned as possible Japanese spies when they had no ties to Japan and didn't even speak Japanese.

Closeby, there is an old historical Spanish quarter, El Pueblo Historical Monument







Last, was Chinatown:




And that was it for downtown LA, a good day. That evening, I had dinner with my friend Jennifer



interesting decors to say the least :)
interesting decors to say the least :)



Day 3: Getty Museum

The 3rd day, I went to see the Getty Museum, which contains the rest of Paul Getty's huge collection. It's not a Roman Villa, but it's also impressive and worth visiting.
The visit starts with a tram that takes you up the hill, from which you have a good view of LA:



nice view of 405 :)
nice view of 405 :)

and LA
and LA

It also has nice Gardens:




Of course, many paintings and works of art:








riding the tram back to the parking lot
riding the tram back to the parking lot



Day 3: Mulholland Drive

All the time I lived there, I actually jogged up Mulholland from Sherman Oaks, but never drove it, so went to fix that. It may not be a must do, not too many turns you could drive at speed safely due to houses and people:








Day 3: Griffith Park

I purposely used Mulholland to get to Griffith Park, and did a quick tour of the park and zoo before going to the Observatory:







And then I went to the really nice Observatory which was much bigger and had much more to see than I had planned for (so I went back to Jennifer a few days later):



if you have time, you can hike to the Hollywood sign from the park
if you have time, you can hike to the Hollywood sign from the park





It's a great place to see a sunset:










Day 5: LA Natural History Musem

Day 5 was crazy, I went to see way too many things :)

I first went to south LA and started with the Natural History Museum, which is quite nice. They also has a special spider expo:







a rare megamouth very deep water shark
a rare megamouth very deep water shark






Day 5: LA Coliseum

Just next door was the Coliseum, and I was able to sneak in and have a look:







Day 5: LA Science Center

Next, I went to the Science Museum which had just received the Space Shuttle but it wasn't ready for viewing yet, however I saw the Egypt/Cleopatra expo:











Day 5: Petersen Automotive Museum

Next, I "raced" to the Petersen Automotive Museum, I got there a little bit late, but saw what I could, see pictures of the Petersen Automotive Museum in a different post.



Day 5: LACMA

To finish a crazy day, I went to LACMA which had evening hours that night, and while it wasn't quite my cup of tea, I went through most of it before it closed, and here are a few pictures:








Day 5:The Grove Farmer's Market

I finished the evening with French crepes at The Grove, and a little bit of browsing:


petting zoo for kids
petting zoo for kids





Day 6: Santa Monica Boardwalk and Venice Beach

By then, we were saturday already. I used my foldable bike I had flown in to ride the entire boardwalk. I had done this before a couple of times, but it's fun to do again, and there are always new things to see on Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach:

Morning Joggers
Morning Joggers



I hiked up a nice little trail at the end of the boardwalk
I hiked up a nice little trail at the end of the boardwalk

On the ride back, I spent time at Santa Monica Pier




One guy had great parrots to watch and interact with:


this one liked me :)
this one liked me :)

they both were happy to climb on me, but the big one made lots of holes in my Tshirt :)
they both were happy to climb on me, but the big one made lots of holes in my Tshirt :)

I loved the colors on this one
I loved the colors on this one

Once done, I went back to Venice Beach to see all the fun things on boardwalk:











there was even a freakshow :)
there was even a freakshow :)

2 headed turtles and other animals
2 headed turtles and other animals





Day 6: Griffith Observatory with Jennifer

After Venice, I went to pick up Jennifer and took her to Griffith Observatory to visit and see some nice planetarium shows



the newly built downstairs had a lot of planetary and galactic info, well woth a detailled visit
the newly built downstairs had a lot of planetary and galactic info, well woth a detailled visit


I had planned for a sunset dinner with Jennifer, but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. We still made the best of it though:





After that, we went to see Circle du Soleil Iris in Hollywood, and it was different and well made.


this piano played music as you went down the stairs walking on the notes
this piano played music as you went down the stairs walking on the notes



Day 7: Palos Verdes Coast and the Cabrillo Marine Museum

The next morning we were in Palos Verdes for the wedding the afternoon, so we went around the coast for some pictures and went to see the Cabrillo Marine Museum:






it was a special day with demonstrations, taiko drums here
it was a special day with demonstrations, taiko drums here



those shells had vvvery long tongues and could feed by putting a long tongue through little slots
those shells had vvvery long tongues and could feed by putting a long tongue through little slots

Yummy :)
Yummy :)




We then had the time to see a bit more coast on our way to the wedding:






Day 7: Aaron and Nicole Wedding

I wrote a separate page about Aaron and Nicole's Wedding



Day 8: Long Beach Aquarium

The next day, before flying home, in the end much later than planned because the aquarium was quite nice, we went to the long beach aquarium for a full visit, including a backstage tour which was quite worth the time






the giant aquarium which you can actually dive in
the giant aquarium which you can actually dive in



cleaning shrimp
cleaning shrimp





this little guy was great :)
this little guy was great :)

he had too much fun and tipped itself over
he had too much fun and tipped itself over






They also had lorikeets that were fun to interact with:



where are you going? :)
where are you going? :)

And that was it for long beach aquarium, definitely a good place to spend a day.



Day 8: Flight Home

I made a different post for the flight home from Long Beach to Palo Alto
See more images for A Week Long Visit in Los Angeles
2012/10/11 AOPA Expo 2012: Palm Springs
π 2012-10-11 01:01 in Flying
The flight to Palm Springs turned out to be a lot worse than what I had planned for. My plan for VFR on top didn't quite pan out for the whole flight.

Departure from PAO wasn't bad
Departure from PAO wasn't bad

I brought my foldable bike
I brought my foldable bike

So far so good
So far so good

Trying new flying software :)
Trying new flying software :)

Mmmh, not as nice anymore
Mmmh, not as nice anymore

Doh, this got bad quickly, and from there, I was hosed for VFR
Doh, this got bad quickly, and from there, I was hosed for VFR

Then, if you pay attention to the red track, I didn't quite get lost, but avoiding rising clouds, I got cornered until I ended up IMC and resumed on course, but on IFR rails. Typically I hate that, but considering the weather, I was happy to oblige.

I got stuck at 16,000ft with the plane at the edge of stall and clouds still climbing around me. I ended up having to switch to IFR, and thanks to ATC I was able to go through the clouds on the nevada side after a while, but it was "interesting" for a little while.
(some time passed where I was way too busy flying the plane, transitioning to IFR and making sure I wasn't icing up)

the other side in nevada was much nicer
the other side in nevada was much nicer

VCV, the airplane cemetary
VCV, the airplane cemetary




And finally I made it to Palm Springs, relieved. Few people made it that day.





made it!
made it!

weather was still bad there on the CA side
weather was still bad there on the CA side

barely anyone flew in and crossed with weather like that
barely anyone flew in and crossed with weather like that

Some pictures of the expo:




Harrison Ford was there for one of the keynotes
Harrison Ford was there for one of the keynotes


Brian Shul gave a great talk on his days flying the SR71. Great stuff...







I bought his book and he signed it for me
I bought his book and he signed it for me

More pictures of the expo:






The kings always give a nice safety talk
The kings always give a nice safety talk






Two pilots from Flying Wild Alaska gave a talk
Two pilots from Flying Wild Alaska gave a talk

They had some nice parties. The first one was a pool party with entertainment:










The 2nd night party, was even better, we went to fault line, with nice entertainment, and jeep rides to the nearby views from the fault.














On my way out I went to the air museum before flying out. Nice little Museum.

















After visiting the museum, it was time to fly out towards Long Beach which was my next destination for my trip. I took off a bit before sunset and went to fly to fault line to get a couple of shots before turning back




this is where we had our party
this is where we had our party


and got to Long Beach with my rental car waiting, nice.
and got to Long Beach with my rental car waiting, nice.

See more images for AOPA Expo 2012: Palm Springs
2012/10/11 Visiting Palm Springs
π 2012-10-11 01:01 in Trips
Since I was in Palm Springs for the AOPA Expo, I used the opportunity to visit the place a bit.

The day I arrived had a street fair that night:




The next days, I went around town:



I got to take the cable car to the top of the mountains thanks to Dan Dyer and FOG who nicely picked me up from the convention to drive me to the cable car station. It takes you from sea level to around 8000ft in a rotating gondola in 15mn or so. Nice (cold) view from the top, and opportunity to do a long hike to see the LA side, but that was way too far for that day.


FOG 1
FOG 1

FOG 2
FOG 2







On Sunday after getting a nice overview of the fake city of Faultline, CA at the AOPA party the previous night, I decided to do the full 3H tour with a guide the next day. It's interesting geology since it's right between two tectonic plates.










this was a jeep tour
this was a jeep tour

lots of nice solar panels :)
lots of nice solar panels :)

Right at the fault line, underground water gets pushed up, and they have oasises.
Right at the fault line, underground water gets pushed up, and they have oasises.





water just coming out of the desert between the plates
water just coming out of the desert between the plates

rattlesnake tail
rattlesnake tail

snake sleeping in the shade
snake sleeping in the shade

They had a recreation of an indian village that was there years ago;






Later, we drove the canyons. Now, compared to the Antelope Canyons in Arizona, it's not all that exciting, but still cool:




I went back to Palm Springs, had a very nice lunch at a local French restaurant:



And then, I went for a nice hike up, on the way to the cable car (I only did a small piece of it):







top of the hike, a bit after going 1h up, which is where I turned back
top of the hike, a bit after going 1h up, which is where I turned back




And that was it, I went back to the airport, stopping by the air museum on the way, and flew my butt to Long Beach for my following week in LA.

See more images for Visiting Palm Springs
2012/10/05 Another Visit of St Louis for my 20th High School Reunion
π 2012-10-05 01:01 in Trips
I flew in for an early gathering on friday evening at our HS' football game. I arrived in pretty bad weather on the horizon.

this didn't look good
this didn't look good

But eh, I was there, so I went to the game in drizzling rain and temps cold enough that I wish I had brought gloves. I started by re-visitting the school I hadn't set foot in, in the last 20 years. They added some nice murals:

oh my, memories...
oh my, memories...



And then was time go to see the football game, but really it was more to meet old friends since I don't care much for football :)


I still wonder how girls get brainwashed into thinking cheerleading is cool. They should play sports themselves and half guys come watch them :)
I still wonder how girls get brainwashed into thinking cheerleading is cool. They should play sports themselves and half guys come watch them :)

After that, we went to the nearby Third Rail Bar where it was a bit warmer :)



The next morning, I went to meet Patrick at his parents' place



picture from next morning, with Patrick
picture from next morning, with Patrick

Saturday evening was the point of my flight there, our HS reunion, which was quite well organized by Katina and other volunteers. Thanks to you all!





We got your Jelo shots right here :)
We got your Jelo shots right here :)






It was a great evening, it was just too bad that some expected folks weren't able to make it, including my host brother I ended up not seeing at all during the 5 days I was there :(

The next day, sunday, I went to St Louis to visit the Science Center and Botanical Garden:











That evening I also met with Anne for dinner:


The next morning, Monday, I went to check out the Zoo, also is Forest Park, a decent zoo at that.






bad piggies, bad! :)
bad piggies, bad! :)


those rodents that make swiss cheese out of your yard almost look cute
those rodents that make swiss cheese out of your yard almost look cute


Lama!
Lama!




friends?
friends?

that's a big miou, looks sad though
that's a big miou, looks sad though








Next to Forest Park, there is a very nice Basilica






On my way back, I went to see a bird rescue and sanctuary


they had a pet chicken
they had a pet chicken





and hit the Lone Elk Park next door which you can drive through:





Tuesday, the last day before flying home, I stopped by Sculpture Park and a Butterfly House:
















And that was it. I stopped by Pappy's Smokehouse to pick up some fresh ribs and grilled piggy to take home to Jennifer after my flight home.

It was great to see some of my old schoolfriends, and a few of my host family, as well as other nice things in St Louis I never got the time to see while I lived there.


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