Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chinese New Year celebration

We were able to find a Chinese New Year Celebration in Long Beach a couple of weekends ago (Feb 10). I thought there was going to be a Lion Dance but was disappointed to find out that there wasn't going to be one.  Nonetheless, we did this discover this place called "Crafted At the Port of Los Angeles".
What a neat place!  It is a warehouse that is a permanent marketplace for handmade artisans.  There are also lots of DIY classes.  Might be something for me to explore. Anyhow, I digress.  I just get so excited about DIY projects! Ha ha!  :-)

We park and are greeted by a huge ladder fire truck:
Crazy to think the Fire Department would still use a wooden ladder???!
Look!  It's the Oscar Meyer "Weinermobile"!  Supposedly there are only 11 active Weinermobiles and we have one here!!!
Daddy and the boys are figuring out who is what animal.  This year it Daddy's year - the Dog!
As usual, Charlie is all excited about face painting.  Not so much the case for Graham:
While I am waiting for Charlie, I take some random photos :-)
Show your dragon face, Charlie!  Grrrr...!!!
There is a small petting zoo:
Graham finds a rabbit to pet.  There are some funny looking chicken in front of him, but he doesn't go for those:
We step inside the Warehouse and the boys have fun with some mirrors.  I thought Graham and Charlie were quite clever playing with their "reflections" - a boy on each side.  Almost got me fooled!
I love LOVE this photo of Graham and Charlie with this shark.  HA HA HA!!!
Back outside, we catch a traditional Chinese fan dance.  I think it's cute how it is actually older ladies that are doing this dance.  They were probably in their 60s or 70s:
As we watch, there are some kids in their uniforms getting ready to perform their Kendo - a form of Japanese martial arts.  Wait... I thought it was a Chinese New Year celebration.  Hmmm.... I hope they don't think all Asians are alike!
We go over to the other side of the building where there are more warehouse space and we find a massive brewery.  See the excitement in Bobby's face??!! :-D  Belgian-inspired beer is brewed and bottled here.  I am just reading up that this 25,000 sq ft space is actually a former WWII-era Navy warehouse.  Woah!!!
But first, everyone is hungry.  We opt for the pizza food truck.  See that red thing in the food truck, in the background?  That's the pizza oven!
Graham love pepperoni!
Charlie and I opt for plain cheese:
Once we are done with our pizza, we make our way out.  We catch a little bit of the Kendo.  The kids are warming up by hitting their sensei/teachers with bamboo swords.  Thankfully the sensei is wearing protective gear but even so. Interesting!
As we head out, Bobby spots a cruise liner:
We turn the car around and go chasing after it.  I think it's funny how this tree is leaning left, even though when it is not windy!
Not sure if this port/building is still active.  There is no one here, although it is the weekend:
This cruise ship is MASSIVE!!!
Someday, we will make it on a cruise!

Point Vicente Lighthouse

We finally made a visit to the Point Vicente Lighthouse, which is not too far from our apartment.  It is open to the public every 2nd Saturday of the month.
Can't believe this was actually built back in 1926.  And based on what I am reading on the internet, the light source was dimmed during WWII to avoid aiding the enemy.
The lighthouse was manned until 1971 and now is maintained by the US Coast Guard.  There is a museum and 3 houses on site which are Coast Guard residences.
Graham and Charlie were very busy with the Morse code machine in the museum:
Lots of other miniature of actual lighthouses on display:
An old light of the lighthouse:
On this particular day, we also saw some dolphins out in the distance by the lighthouse. A fun day out!  Speaking of fun, just read this as well - that the lighthouse was the finish line for the 25th season of The Amazing Race.  Too bad we don't watch that show a lot!

Garden update

Graham and Charlie's school has a Garden program and for $3 the other day, I managed to buy some veggies that the kids at their school planted.  Pretty neat!
I have never seen purple brocollini before.  Charlie did help me cook them.  Interesting... it did taste like regular brocolli. I think :-)
There were also red and white radishes:
I actually had Charlie try one. He was not so keen on it. Ha ha! So proud that he tried one though. Still can't get Graham to try any new veggies, although he did like my zucchini bread. Might be my only way to make him eat veggies!
I decided to put them in the ground since the roots were still attached.  They are doing really well in our pot!  Maybe it will flower and we can plant more seeds from there:
The pepper plant in the background is doing really well too.  We might need a bigger pot soon!
I recently bought some green onions so I put those in the ground too.  Oh, I also put a carrot in the ground. Not sure how/if those will grow though:
I think we finally have a pumpkin growing!  Charlie is careful in checking the male/female flowers :-)
Here is the "female" flower.  According to Charlie, we "married" the boy to the girl flower :-D 
I think the "marriage" worked out pretty well!  Ha ha!
Funny enough, today at school - Charlie's class was talking about pumpkins so I was so happy that Charlie was able to relate to it.  Hope the spider mites stay away when the temperature starts to rise!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Griffith Observatory / Hollywood

This is a continuation of the previous "Hollywood" post.  It's amazing how even with 24 hours in a day, I can't seem to keep up with my blog postings. :-P

There is a really cool sundial in the lawn of the observatory:
What time is it, you ask?  12:46pm!
There is also a scaled down version of how far apart the planets in the solar system would be.  Pretty cool!
There are 2 domes here at the observatory:
The first one that we see is the Zeiss telescope:
So cool!!!  You can actually come by after sunset to use this one.  Some day!  I mean, some night!
Here is a look at the lawn from the top of the observatory:
Here is the close-up of the white pillar at the very front - the Astronomers Monument, a large outdoor concrete sculpture that pays homage to the six of the greatest astronomers of all time:
 Moving on to the second dome, but first we need to look at...???
Okay, this second telescope is aimed at the sun!
That dome was actually closed, so we move downstairs.  By the way, did you know that entry into the observatory is free??!  Even better!

All the planets in the solar system are on display downstairs:
I find the list of meteor showers for 2018.  Will need to pay attention to this one so Graham and Charlie won't miss it!
Here is an interesting fact about cosmic rays.  Coincidentally I was just watching a documentary recently about how cosmic rays are being used to find undiscovered tombs in the Pyramids in Egypt. Fascinating!
It was difficult to take a photo of the spark of a cosmic ray, so here is a video the spark chamber and the boys ;-)
There is also "Public Star Parties" at the observatory.  Might be another thing to do as well on a non-school night!
Here is a better look of the planets from the bottom floor.  Each planet gets it's own information "booth" so to speak:
Graham and Charlie really enjoys anything you can touch and play with :-)
We head back upstairs for lunch and head back to the main floor.  Look at the ceiling!
There is actually a cable hanging from the middle of the ceiling, that you can almost see.  It is a cable for the gently swaying Foucault Pendulum - which demonstrates the Earth's rotation.  As the day passes, the pendulum knocks over these pegs in the pit which indicates the progress of rotation:
Interesting pattern on the front door:
We have been seeing a lot of Tesla lately.  Too bad the timing didn't work out for this demonstration:
There is still more to see:
We are actually viewing the sun here through a special filter.  The SUN!!!
And here is an actual live projection of the sun.  The boys probably didn't think to much of it but Bobby and I were totally impressed!
We are finally able to drag the boy out of the Observatory over 2 hours later.  One last look at the Hollywood sign before we go back to the car:
Interesting how these little baby pine needles were growing out from the trunk:
One more shortcut??? Did we not learn anything from a few hours ago when we were going UP a shortcut???!!
There was a tricky spot so we wait while Bobby gets down first, then Charlie, then Graham and finally Mommy.  Why is it that Mommy always goes last???
Phew!  We make it down with no drama this time.  A dad and daughter were making their way up by the time we got down. Somehow it doesn't look very steep in the photo.  Hmmm.... :-\
We drive along Hollywood Boulevard before heading home.  Looks like Aladdin is playing now at the Pantages Theatre:
Some really neat architecture on the buildings:
Look like this is as close I am going to get to the "Hollywood Stars"... for now!
More interesting carvings on the buildings:
Bobby is driving faster so I am just barely catching the Hard Rock Cafe.  I was never big into this restaurant but I know people that love to buy their souvenir shirts.
Chinese Theatre IMAX?  I am just finding out on the internet that the IMAX was added on in 2013.  The theatre is also now called the TCL Chinese Theatre after a Chinese electronic manufacturer TCL Corporation purchased the naming rights in January 2013.
It is so busy in this part of Hollywood.  There is even a limousine parked in front of the Theatre:
I can't imagine how many souvenirs one can get from the movie La La Land, where it actually requires a whole corner store???!
The tall palm trees are such an icon for LA although I just came across a news article dated Sept 2017 mentioning that the palm trees are being attacked by the S. American palm weevil (beetle) and a fungus called Fusarium.  Sadly these palms won't be replaced and on top of that, other palms are also drying. Oh no!
We make a turn and go along Sunset Boulevard and somehow this empty Morgan Camera Shop catches my eye. The store opened in 1938 but closed in the early 2000s.  What's strange is all the vintage camera stock is still sitting inside.  We will have to stop next time to take a peek inside! Supposedly this property is still owned by the Morgan family:
We finally make our way back on the freeway and what a shocking scene when I spot homeless shelters along the freeway.  Always puts things in perspective as to how lucky we have it:
Hmm... so maybe I shouldn't complain about traffic so much!