2014 Dec 14 | meteor shower, Christmas movie drinkalong

Went to the Century City mall for a CE event. I was early, so I looked to see if there was a Wells Fargo ATM around. Google Maps says there was.

I like that as I turn around, the little arrow on the map turns, too, so I know which direction to go.

There it is! Google Maps was a bit off, so I ended up using the mall map to find it.

I remember going to a little party this company had downtown. Weird names are a good idea for people to remember.

CE dinner.

It was a nice night out.

Eating breakfast on our balcony; it's a little sunny but cold out.

Ogii ate all of the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms and left me with the yucky stuff left. She said it was by accident; not sure how believable that is. Think of the probabilities.

The Da Vinci apartment complex that was under construction in downtown burned down the other night.

It was being built by Geoffrey Palmer, who has developed many other huge fake-Italian apartment complexes and charging fairly high rents in lower-rent areas. The others are Medici, Orsini, Piero, and Lorenzo. Most people hate them because they're so big and blocky. Another problem that contributed to the fire is that high-rise buildings, which is anything over 75 feet, are required to be made out of steel and concrete. These are made to be lower than that so their frames can be wood, but obviously, that burns.

You could smell the smoke even days after the fire.

Death, health, and wealth: the Museum of Death, the Saban Community Clinic, and the Hollywood sign.

I ordered a hamburger. The woman working there didn't speak English very well, but I thought she asked me if I wanted a larger version, so I said sure. I guess she was asking if I wanted chili, which I did not, but I ate it anyway. A tourist couple came in after me, ordered, and also incorrectly got chili. The guy took my approach: try something new. The woman kept whining and finally went up to order it correctly.

These air hand dryers are a neat idea, but the air always blows my hands into the sides. I wonder how many germs grow there?

It can be confusing which way to put parking tickets into these validation machines. The bank just taped a ticket to the top as an example. Kind of ugly, but effective.

Time to listen to some Metallica.

What? Only one song? I guess most of my songs are embedded with the artist, because I have way more Metallica songs on my iPod.

"Coustom" blinds.

I didn't know internet cafes even existed any more.

A big optometry CE on Friday and Saturday. I feel sorry for any families who came out to enjoy the weather, because it was pouring rain on Friday. Sorry, but it ususally does look like the picture on the front of the brochure; you just got very unlucky.

The room was pretty much filled up once they got going.

This is neat; the guy took a sunset picture every day in a year. I thought about doing this, but work makes it impossible right now. Plus, there are still quite a number of days where the clouds make you see pretty much nothing, so I wonder if he cheated a bit here.

He's not selling it for very much, though.

About the artist.

Yummy afternoon snacks at the meeting.

I've been trying to find new socks for a couple of years, but I always hate any I end up buying. By now they pretty much all have holes in them. Ogii found some at Macy's that I really like, though; the left one of these. She then bought three more three-packs, so I'm set and can throw all my old ones away.

I wonder how many different spellings they had to try until they found one that was available.

Second day of the CE meeting. See? Now it's nice out.

Another set of great afternoon snacks: big pretzels, banana nut bread, and zucchini bread.

Huge line for the valet afterwards, though.

Baby duct tape called Ducklings.

I was down in Huntington Beach for the CE meeting, and there was a Helen Grace chocolates in that area, so I stopped by.

Great special on these. The employee was super helpful, too. I was looking at some hard licorice, but she said they were pretty bad. She then cut open one of the bags of them, even though it was a factory-sealed one for sale, to let me try it. Great service.

I really like their logo; simple but eye catching.

Downtown with palm trees in front.

We went up north a bit to watch the meteors. We were in the mountains, too, so there was even snow on the ground. We decided to just stay inside the car instead of freezing outside. There's a little meteor on the bottom-left side here.

One at the top center.

One in the bottom center.

Upper left.

And bottom center. I'm still not very good at getting pictures of these things.

We had a movie drink-along and white elephant gift exchange on Sunday night. I bought some of these liquor-filled chocolates for it.

Kendra and Kat dressed up in onesies for A Christmas Story.

Present time!

More gifts.

Marie Grace and Dmitry.

English Christmas crackers.

Two people pull on them, it blows up, and a toy pops out.

Marie Grace ready for the pop.

Ogii likes her toilet seat cover.

Kat in her dinosaur costume.

Facebook Messenger pops up on to of anything.

I have two passed pawns on the right side, so I should win if I can get them to the end, preferably trading everything down as fast as possible.

Pinned his knight, forcing a trade, just like I want.

And I win.

A similar ending in our next game.

Pinning his rook to his king with my bishop.

He moved his knight, so before taking his rook, I figured I take the free pawn. Plus, he can't move his knight because then I get his queen.

Unless he moves his knight there, forking my king and queen. Man, I should have just taken the rook instead of getting greedy.

Fianchettoed bishops can get you sneaky checkmakes like I'm about to make because they blend in with the pawns on the side.

It looks dangerous, but my king is usually pretty safe behind a fianchettoed bishop, unless the opponent has multiple pieces ready to attack.

I have two more pawns, so I should win.

AFter this move, he resigned. I thought he was actually going to get a pawn for free here and make it closer, but maybe he saw something I didn't or maybe he just had to leave.

I tried playing poker on my phone, but only the buttons at the bottom with check marks on them worked.

The "check" and "raise" and "I am back" buttons did nothing for some reason. I emailed support but they said they don't support my phone. So much for that.