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Archive for August, 2009

Think Blue, Part 1

So many of you already know this, but I am a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan. I have been since the sixth grade. And although I have been to some pretty great sporting events in my life I had never been to Dodger Stadium. I have seen the Dodgers play before, but that was in Washington DC when I was there for a conference and the Dodgers were there playing against the Nationals.

At the time of this writing, the Dodgers are currently in first place in the NL West and when we went to LA they had the best record in baseball (currently they have the best record in the National League). Of course my hope is that they will win the World Series so being the eternal optimist that I am, I convinced Keao that we had to see the Dodgers this year because this is their year.

And, not only do we need to watch a game at Dodger Stadium, but we also need to take the stadium tour so we can really get the good fan experience. So instead of being at the ballpark just once during the day, we would end up going there twice.

The sign that greets you upon entering the parking lot

On a clear day you can just make out the famous Hollywood sign

The tour started out with us walking around the upper deck for a while as our Dodger Ambassador, Jordan, gave us some history of the park. This part was pretty interesting. But that was just the start…

Our next stop was down an elevator to the press box level. We went into one of the conference rooms where we watched a short video about the future of Dodger Stadium. Of course it was hosted by Vin Scully, the legendary Dodger broadcaster.

This is Tommy Lasorda‘s retired jersey number in the conference room

Next up was the Vin Scully press box. The actual box where Vin Scully calls the games every night. I believe it is literally one of the best seats in the house.

Here I am pretending to call the game

Here’s the view from the press box

After fooling around in the press area for a little while we then got to check out the luxury suites. Some of them are really nice, it’s too bad I’ll probably never get to watch a game from there.

There’s everything in here including food!

I like the theme of this table and stools

Ronald, Tommy and Keao

They even have a pool table in case the game gets boring

Frank Sinatra’s actual seats

Here he is sitting in one of them

Afterward we kind of worked our way down to the ground level stopping by the entrances to the Dodger and visitor clubhouses. We then entered the Dugout Club, a high-end club with tons of Dodger memorabilia.

Before the World Series trophy they gave out bats to the World Series winners. Those five bats are from the Dodger World Series championships before 1988

This is home plate from Ebbets Field that the Dodgers took with them when they came to Los Angeles

Did you know that Babe Ruth briefly coached for the Dodgers?

Then we got to go tour the field and the dugout, but not before getting to walk through the tunnel that leads directly to the doors of the Dodger clubhouse.

Keao doing her best Prince Fielder impression

In the dugout with the Jr. Dodgers

Next to Joe Torre‘s bench

The view from behind home plate

To view the rest of the pictures click here.

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Last month Keao and I celebrated our second full year of marriage (yay!). To celebrate we decided to take a short trip to LA (yay again!). Now, when it comes to planning trips, I like to squeeze in as much as I can because I only have a limited time so after flying all night (we landed at LAX at 6:30am) we got our rental car and drove straight down to Anaheim, home of the Disneyland Resort. Now if you do the math that meant that we only had around 4 hours of sleep on the airplane (by which I mean I slept and Keao read a book next to me) before we started our really long day.

Ready for a fun-filled day at Uncle Walt’s place

We first met up with Nich and Tricia for breakfast as we would be spending the day with them. Tricia, our roommate, spent the summer in California and Colorado going to various conferences and doing some vacationing so we hadn’t seen her since May. Nich, her boyfriend, lives in California so we hadn’t seen him since before even that. So after scarfing down some food from Mimi’s Cafe, we headed over to Disneyland for our day full of fun.

We decided to go to California Adventure first and after taking a few pictures we headed to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Look! We’re on a really long street!

Right before the ride while we’re still smiling

The story behind this ride has something to do with the Hollywood Tower Hotel being struck by lightning and you going to the Twilight Zone. This is one of my absolute favorite rides and I’ve ridden it in Florida as well as Tokyo. Every time I ride I just keep thinking what a great job Disney did with it. It should be noted though, that the American version is a much tamer version compared to the Japanese version (well at least the story is, the actual ride part is quite similar).

Notice the difference in architecture in the Japanese version?

Since it was such a hot day we also decided to hit the rapids ride as well. You gotta love rides that have the disclaimer “you will get wet, you might get soaked”. I for one, didn’t really want to get wet. I was perfectly content to stay dry and warm. Unfortunately it was not meant to be. We almost made it the entire way when my lovely wife started complaining about how she didn’t get wet. Literally five seconds after she says that a huge geyser shoots up behind us and soaks us to the skin.

She how happy she is?

It should also be noted that I was wearing a Spam shirt that day. I don’t know what it is about Spam, but over the course of the day I got 7 compliments or references to my shirt. From the time we got on the rental car shuttle, to the Disney employee who told me he loved Spam, to the girl that simply screamed Spam as she was passing by. People really seemed to notice the shirt.

People also noticed the big turkey leg I ate while I walked by them too. One of the best things about Disney theme parks is the turkey legs. I’m sure you have seen pictures of me eating them before, but just in case you haven’t, here’s one more.

Me and Nich acting all manly with our huge turkey legs

After having our fill of turkey legs we did some exploring. We managed to find a real Hawaiian girl in Lilo during the parade and even found the entrance to Club 33, a super exclusive club that’s the only place within Disneyland proper that serves alcohol.

This parade almost made us late for our Fast Pass to Soarin’ over California

I wonder what it would take to get me in there…

It’s no secret I love Disney. Last year I was fortunate enough to visit the Animal Kingdom in Orlando and Disney Sea in Tokyo and then to top it all off I now was able to spend a nice day at Disneyland with my wife and a few close friends. Does it get any better than this?

I’m not going to lie, it was a long day. We didn’t leave the theme park until almost midnight and if you compound that with our lack of sleep we were pretty beat. We did manage to sleep in a little the next day though. I’ll tell you about that adventure real soon.

To view the rest of the Disneyland pictures click here.

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Otto Cakes

So around 15 years ago my good friend Tom-Tom was playing in a punk band called Grapefruit. During that time, Tom-Tom and Grapefruit were kind of quasi-celebrities in the local punk scene. He did tell me of a bass player in another band that made these incredible cheesecakes. I’m not too huge of a cheesecake fan, but based purely on Tom-Tom’s recommendation I have always wanted to try one, but I just never got the chance.

Last month that all changed. Even though it’s now 15 years later and Tom-Tom doesn’t play with his punk band too much anymore, Otto is still making cheesecakes and he even opened up a store in Chinatown. Since I was in Chinatown last month and we happened to come across his store, I finally had a chance to try one of his much-heralded cheesecakes.

Otto’s one-of-a-kind cash register

The cheesecakes of the day

Otto boasts 86 different flavors of cheesecake (no doubt a reference to his band the 86 List) and he normally posts the flavors of the day on his Twitter page. The flavors on the particular day that we went in there were: lemon blueberry, white chocolate chip, black forest, key lime, irish creme, plain, and cherry chocolate chip. It is a bit pricey at $5 a slice, so if you want a slice make sure you’re getting the right flavor.

The menu board

Even the boxes are punk rock

Here’s what $10 will get you (at $5 a slice)

Now I’m no cheesecake connoisseur. In face, truth be told, I’m not even that big of a fan, but I must say that Otto Cakes are pretty darn good. They’re very rich so one slice may be good enough for two people and they’re very heavy. If you’re in the mood for a great cheesecake with a really good crust Otto Cakes may be the right choice for you.

If you’re interested in stopping by and having a slice Otto Cake is located in Chinatown at 1160 Smith Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817 and their phone number is (808) 834-OTTO

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