2012 Dec 29 | Naples Canal Christmas lights on hydrobikes, white elephant, Jetpack Joyride

Before sunrise on the airplane.

Neat cloud in some mountains.

Salt Lake City.

A little pass between mountains.

Very pretty.

The flight back to LA from Salt Lake City continued on to Hawaii. A lot of people were asking if they could just stay on the plane instead of getting off in Los Angeles.

I didn't think the temperature would be that different, but it really was. SoCal gets fairly cold in the winter.

That's neat; a water fountain with a water bottle refiller.

Well, I don't think I have to worry about my sausage thawing out.

Downtown LA.


Interesting clouds.

Not many houses in LA are very decorated, but this one was.

This is one of those jerks who parks in the middle of two spaces with one car.

Oh look, he came home in his SUV and then got right into his car.

Backing up the car.

Getting back in the minivan.

And backing that up.

We went up into the hills to play poker. Beachwood is a very narrow, twisty road. If you don't have GPS, you'll almost surely get lost, and even with it, a lot of other drivers come flying around the corners seemingly way too fast. Going up along the highway and taking another road is safer.

You could see the Hollywood sign.


Very cool door.

Another neat entrance.

I like the "No Heart Burn."

Friday night we went to Long Beach to look at the Christmas lights in the Naples canals on hydrobikes.

The restaurant nearby that we ate at had an eel in front.

A full moon.

Signing up and drinking hot cocoa.

Emergency numbers, just in case to drive away from everybody else, I guess.

The handles had very pretty Christmas lights on them.

And we're off!

Headed out. There was a series of lit-up Christmas trees in the middle of the canal.

A house with a lot of lights.

One that looks like a face with a Santa hat.

A disco ball.

The Griswold's Family Christmas, with Clark hanging off the front.

Flying pigs.

Pretty white and red.

A movie being played on a projector on the outside of their house.

Santa escaping.


Our group.

Around a corner.

Long Beach had the greatest number of Olympic athletes, so a lot of the houses had the rings.

Merry Christmas.

A closer look at the lit-up trees.

Some of the bikers.

And some more.

A really big house with mostly white lights and a big green tree on top.

Saturday night was a Post-Christmas white elephant party at Bar Celona in Pasadena. I had ordered an item from Think Geek to bring to it, but UPS got way behind on shipping, so it wasn't going to arrive on time.

So instead I bought this Angry Bird air swimmer as a gift. I had to fill it up with helium, but then it stared at me on the way home.

All wrapped up. I was thinking of putting in a box, but the cardboard would have been more expensive than the gift.

A sweater I made as well. I used Christmas ornament hooks to hang the mini candy canes, although I had to get hole protectors or else the hooks would just cut right through the plastic wrapping.

It got pretty crowded.


Getting tangled up.

Ah, that's nice.

A little less twisted.


Connect Four.


Drinks are building up.

A nice circle of drinks around the Uno cards.

Some sort of buzzer game.

The gifts.

People lined up by numerical order.

The woman who grabbed my gift because it was the biggest one. She's holding the remote for the air swimmer.

Off it goes.

In the sweater.

More gifts.

A vibrator, that's fun.

The George Foreman grill got stolen a lot.

I got this clock. This woman's friend mentioned she liked it and was in interior design, so I gave it to her.

A shake weight.

For the manliest of men.

A sparkly hat, fuzzy hand mittens, and...

... socks.

A very large dildo.

Having some fun.

They don't want to touch it.

A sausage package.

This woman stole the air swimmer, although the other woman kept the sweater.

Dive bombing people.

A patient gave me some alcohol from Mexico as a Christmas gift.

Someone dropped off a ton of these skull art pieces at a nearby thrift store.

White pants with gems.

Those are certainly interesting.

A huge line.

I bought a white belt at the thrift store for the all-white NYE party, but it didn't have a strap for the end. Oh well, nothing a little white duct tape can't fix.

Looks pretty good.

A new game I got on my phone is Jetpack Joyride. It's basically the like the very-simple helicopter game, the only control you have is pushing a button makes you fly up, releasing it makes you go down, and the game decides how fast you go. I've always thought those were really boring, but this does a good job of making it fun.

The coins spell out things, like "Barry" and "Coins!!!"

I actually like the lasers. They're really easy to dodge and you don't have to worry about anything else.

There are lots of mini missions, and completing one gives you 1-3 stars.

The stars go towards levels.

And when you get enough stars to fill a level, you level up, which gives you a bonus of coins.

No more missions? What's that?

Ah, when you get to level 30 or a multiple of it, you get a badge and start over. I really like the cyclical difficulty of that, rather than just taking longer and longer each time.

One of the missions has you give the scientists high fives.

Sometimes you can complete all thee missions in one play.

One of the downsides is it eats a lot of battery. I was low on battery, plugged my phone in, and it still died; the game was using more power than the socket was providing.

After each round is a slot machine where you can use tokens you collected to play. Another great way to vary the game.

There's a stash with lots of things to do.

You can get achievements for completing different tasks.

Most are pretty easy, but some you have to think about, like this one, Another Way In. You have to use the item that lets you start with a vehicle and keep playing until you start in the teleporter.

There are also ones that you have to figure out on your own (or look up online).

I usually only get to around 2,000m. I got lucky once and got to just above 4,000m, then was back to my normal 2,000m. Then I somehow randomly got to 5,000m.

Good thing; that's the hardest achievement to get.

There are also gadget combos that have special names. This was the last achievement I didn't have.

There are lots of fun gadgets that do different things in the game, and the missions make you try different ones.

The final gadgets.

One of them turns all the scientists into tumbleweeds.

Another makes a piggy bank fly around everyone once in a while, and hitting it releases a lot of coins.

X-ray specs let you see what vehicle it is before you touch the icon.

They also make the scientists naked.

And when you die, they fall off in separate pieces. Small touches like this really make the game seem very professional.

There are also different jetpacks, but unfortunately, I don't think they control any differently. This one shoots bubbles.



A rainbow.

There are some more, but since they all work the same, I'm not as encouraged to get them.

The profile has a bunch of different stats.

There are also different utilities you can buy, but I think they're to expensive for what you get.

The magnet upgrades for the vehicles are very useful, though, because it sucks in coins.

The vehicles all control differently and are really fun. The bird you fly by flapping its wings.

The stomper you can make jump and float.

The gravity suit flips gravity upside down.

The dragon flies up; pressing the button makes him go down.

The motorcycle. One of the items you can use is Flash, a dog who grabs coins for you. If you get in a vehicle, he also does something special with it. Here he's in a sidecar.

Here he has his own teleporter.

His own gravity helmet.

And his own bird.

When you're on the motorcycle, you shoot any scientists you come across.