I am getting back into the swing of things after a low-energy week and a bout of something of a chest cold. Knowing my luck, it was probably H1N1, but I won’t find out for several years. Now that I am back up to 90% or so, I have to turn my attention to several exciting events on the Club Josh Calendar.
First up, tomorrow is the 54th Anniversary of Disneyland, always a fun day for me at work (nothing compares to the 50th in 2005 and the craziness that ensued). Tomorrow, in addition to all the festivities, Marty Sklar gets his long overdue window on Main Street. He is finally retiring which is sort of sad, but glad he is still around to receive the window and still tell stories of Walt and the fun days of WED back in the 50’s and 60’s. Marty was a special guest at our opening party for the Nemo crew back in 2007, and it was a highlight that he came down and told stories about Walt and the original subs. I’m hoping to get a photo with him to add to my series of “Imagineers with a Window on Disneyland’s Main Street with Josh” photos. (Joining Bob Gurr).
After that is the gala wedding celebration for my friend Kris. I have known him now for over 24 years and will get a chance to summarize that relationship during the wedding. I have a rough idea of what I am going to say, but still want to put some more thought into it. My usual route will be to jot some notes down in the bumper to bumper traffic up to Silverlake, so I endeavor to not wait until the last minute. Tomorrow night I want to go shopping for a nice comfortable outfit to survive the heat. Thank goodness he’s not getting married in Arizona!
After that, it will be off to the aforementioned hot heartland of Arizona – Phoenix to visit the relatives. Shooting for either the end of July or the end of August. July would be preferable since we are planning a quick trip to Georgia and Tennessee in September. Really, I do not have a sweat fetish, but it seems like I will be visiting a lot of sweaty places this year. Combine that with a Summer-for-them visit to Argentina in December, I think I need to head to Alaska or Finland or someplace cool next year!
There is a lot of cutting going on in my circle – not just budgets and jobs, but also the physical variety.
First up, last week Gary had spinal surgery to plus up the fluid and bone structure in his neck. He made it through the surgery and is now on the long painful road to recovery. It’s one of those situations where I wish I was closer to help out, at the same time I want him to relax and recover and stay out of the way. I’m hoping he gets well soon so we can be off on another trip with my mom.
Next up, Sarah had her second child Levi today via C-section. Everyone is doing well in the family and I hope they get home soon!!
Finally, my good friend and mentor Paul is going down on Monday for hip plussing and will be down for refurbishment thru the beginning of April. I’m interested to see if one recovers from hip surgery or neck/spine first. Maybe Steve Jobs will beat them all.
At any rate I wish everyone better health ahead!
You would never know it by visiting Club Josh, but I have been incredibly busy the last few weeks of December!
Starting on December 22, I went back to Phoenix to visit the relatives again. It is always a bit strange when I go there twice in a short time, but I always like staying at Casa Mammacita. Plus as a bonus, I got to see my aunt from California who was on her way out of town. Nothing like good bonus relative visiting. The rest of the visit was spent running errands and doing Christmas shopping. We also did an early gift exchange for the Phoenix relatives as well as a great Pre-Christmas Dinner.
Returning back to SoCal, I spent the next 8 days at work. I managed to do Christmas breakfast at IHOP with my father’s side of the family and then another round of gift exchanges. I really liked the cold wet weather we had around Christmas, it really drove home the feeling of the holidays for me.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, my life consisted of two things: Crowds and Cleaning. The park was crazy busy as per usual for the holidays. It was my first one in Guest Services, so it was fun to see how our department deals with the holidays. I have to say it was a lot of fun!! As for cleaning, I prepared my apartment for the arrival of Nathan from London which for some reason required more cleaning than usual. Thankfully, things were fairly clean (save for my over cluttered bedroom) when he arrived just in time for his birthday.
I had a great time with Nathan – we managed to celebrate his birthday, ring in the New Year with Daniel, hang out with my family (I am not sure Nathan will ever be the same), sample a bit of California Adventure and Disneyland, and then end it with a Hollywood excursion which of course featured several crazy adventures that we tend to get into when its just the two of us.
Life is slowly returning to normal here and next I will post some thoughts on 2008 as a whole. It ended on a high note, and hopefully this means 2009 will be great!
Last Thursday and Friday, I did my first of two express trips to Phoenix. This time was with my Dad as sort of a late Birthday visit for my brother. It was a long drive, and we were there less than 24 hours, but I always like driving there with my Dad. When I was younger, I never really liked the long family road trips, but for some reason I actually like them better when I am older.
While in Phoenix, we visited the restaurant of one of Kevin’s friends and it was fun to see how at home they felt in the restaurant. If they were in LA County, I am not sure they would receive an A rating since my nephew was passing gas and then running around the kitchen.
I did get to see some of my Mom’s photos of her trips to the Mediterranean and then to Argentina in October. I am very jealous since she visited Greece and Istanbul as well as a continent that I have not been to. She really has put some distance between her and me on the Traveler’s Century Club List. I really need to plan a long massive 10+ country trip to at least get back in the hunt. Right now, I am in last place!!
I’ll be back in Phoenix for another overnight stay at the end of the month. Mom and I have noticed that it is either feast or famine – we go months without seeing each other than we see each other multiple times in the span of a few weeks.
Originally uploaded by Club Josh.
Another recent event was the wedding of one of my second cousins. I actually had a great time getting in touch with some close and not so close relatives. The best part was being introduced as the commander of the 12th largest submarine fleet.
My favorite Science Officer
Originally uploaded by Club Josh.
I was presented this photo today when I went over to my Dad’s house. i think it speaks volumes as to what was to come much later on in life.
This weekend I am in Phoenix for a quick gathering of the family and I almost didn’t make it. I knew I should have had my act together and got an earlier start on my trip. I left Friday afternoon around 2:15pm – about an hour or two after what I wanted to leave. The plan was to be ready to go from work and then get on the road. I was really tired and wanted to relax a bit before I took off so hence the delay. I also was a bit worried since I went to see David Lynch’s Inland Empire on Thursday night with Daniel and Tara. The movie was three very involved and demanding hours. After the movie I was completely drained and to boot I had to get up in the morning to go to work.
So after much delay, I was finally on my way. Two hours later I had only traveled 56 miles and was in Riverside. I was so tired and miserable I wanted to just go find someplace to take a nap. I pressed on and when I passed the 215 split It was wide open. I drove through Palm Springs and was thinking of making a quick stop to pee and get something to drink, but I was waiting for the last exit before going up the Chiriaco summit. At the last minute, I decided to press on and see if I could make it to Blythe or at least the top of the summit or Desert Center.
About 5 to 10 minutes into my ascent, all traffic suddenly started to slow down to a crawl and then finally came to a complete stop. People started to get out of their cars and just up the road I began to see glowing lights on the side of the hills and then flames began to shoot up in the sky. In a brief moment I considered what I would grab if I had to make a run for it. I discovered my flashlight was dead and even worse – my accessory outlet had shorted out and there was no way for me to re-charge my cell phone in case I needed to call for help. I left my car and scrambled up the side of the freeway to see if I could get a better view and more importantly get a cell phone signal so I could call my mom and let her know that I was delayed.
We stayed put for 35 minutes as first a fire truck and then a tow truck went up the shoulder of the freeway to get to the scene of the accident. When I was on the top of the berm, I could see the traffic backed up all the way to Indio on the freeway. If only I had stopped to pee, then I would have just stayed there until the freeway re-opened. Once they got a lane open, I passed the scene of the accident and it looked like 3 cars had collided and 1 had burst into flames. For the next hour I really was spooked – just a bit of timing here and there and it could have been me.
Luckily, I made it to Phoenix in 7h34m. I figured that if I hadn’t been stuck on the freeway and in traffic, I would have made it in just under 6 hours. The first part of the trip really made me want to fly, but when I got into the open road, I remember why I like to just get on the road and go. I get nice quality me-time and its almost like a mini-vacation.
Today was spent picking up a my remaining Christmas presents as well as surprising my grandma with a new larger TV that she can actually watch without her glasses or her hearing aid. We paraded around her senior apartment complex singing carols until we arrived at her apartment. Boy was she surprised! Tomorrow we are having a family dinner since I have to go home tomorrow night and be back at the park on Monday morning.
For the first time since the 50th Anniversary Spectacular started in May 2005, we finally have an off-season at the park. I never thought I would make it since it seemed that the people just kept coming and coming. Actually, this past summer was nice – I think because it was a normal summer. I look back on the first few summers I spent in Fantasyland thinking how busy it was, I had no idea what busy really was.
For the first time in my Disney career I do not have to worry about hours in the slow months of September and October. Being a lead and also working on the project I am pretty much set for hours. I am eagerly awaiting going full time to the project. I think my replacements are ready to take over and sometimes I just feel like I am in the way and they should be given the reins. I am there to help and guide them, but I think its time for them to soar. Then again, maybe I am just impatient and want to dive into the next thing.
One thing I would like to do sometime at Disney is their new Adventures by Disney program. It seems to be the perfect fit for what I decided five years ago when I left Edmunds – be a tour guide. I have commitments for the next year and if things go well I could be on my way to bigger and better things. I just hope when the time is right for me they are still around.
In the meantime things are slow at home as well. I did some baby viewing over the weekend in San Diego with Isabella, Sarah, and Ray. Dad and Dianne took great delight in taking photos of me holding the baby. I didn’t hold Kameron until he was 3 months old and it was a big difference holding a 2-week-old baby. It was also funny that Granny and Dianne were naturals with the child, having been through many themselves.
Hard to believe that one year ago I was in Hong Kong! David is there now and I hope he is enjoying the squid and the heat.
The views and opinions expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily represent or reflect those of The Walt Disney Company.
My sister had her baby in the wee hours this morning. That makes niece #3! She was delivered via C-Section, which I can tell you, I NEVER want to witness.
Mom and Gary were in town this weekend and we had a great time driving around the sights of LA. We ventured up to San Gabriel Canyon where my great-grandparents had a cabin when my mom was a kid. When I first moved to LA, we went up there in my Xterra and we found the cabin. Two years later it burned in the big Williams fire. We wanted to go back and see what the area looks like now, but the road was closed down by the OHV area. Seems there was some storm damage a few years ago and it has never been fixed.
We spent the rest of the day driving around Hollywood, Pasadena, and Beverly Hills. We even attempted to drive by Charo’s house, but I forgot what the address was. When I got home I looked it up and realized we actually passed it and didn’t realize it.
It was good to spend some time with them out on the road. It was a bit like being back in Victoria, Australia driving around Melbourne or out to the Penguin Parade. I joked with them that I have spent more time with them in hotels this year than at either of our houses.
For the first time in at least 5 years, I have returned to Sacramento. It was a melancholy experience. I was coming to the area to attend the internment service for my grandfather’s ashes as well as a reception for all of my grandparent’s friends from Paradise. But on the other hand, I was excited to see my old stomping grounds and some of my friends from Davis.
I arrived in Sacramento last night and the first thing that struck me was the new parking structure outside Terminal A. When I was living here, Terminal A had just open and there was a huge surface lot that you could usually park near the front and then get on a plane without any trouble. Driving to my hotel, I also saw how much the area around Natomas had sprung up with homes.
This morning, I got up early to meet my old boss and friend Reed for breakfast. After a quick bite to eat it was off to UC Davis to see my old co-workers and to see various new buildings and items of interest on campus. I had a great time seeing the gang again. It made me think back to those years working on the map book and all the other projects around campus. I also thought about how I was coming full circle at Disneyland since I am working in a capacity on a construction project. At that moment I really missed life in Davis – how you could drive out of town in 5 minutes and be in the middle of fields. Driving around with Reed I was also amazed at all the new developments on campus. It was nice to see that today’s UCD students get so much more than what I got when I was there, but it still retained a lot of its charm.
We stopped into the bookstore on campus to see if there were any souvenirs that I might take home, but I opted to pass them up. It was time to say goodbye as I was off to the airport to pick up a family friend to head up to Paradise. We chatted all the way up and it didn’t really seem like an almost 2 hour drive.
Arriving in Paradise, we had just a short time before we headed up to the cemetery for the internment ceremony. It has been 2 months since he passed away, but it was nice to see him finally be put to rest in one of his favorite places. They put his ashes into a marble wall made up of little alcoves that are covered up and sealed. We had a small service that I thought was perfect, despite the 100+ degree heat. After all was said and he was sealed up in the wall, I said my final goodbyes. Tomorrow we have a reception with 40-50 people in a park where we will all gather and toast him one final time.
Afterwards, we chilled in the hotel lounge and then had a fine Mexican dinner at one of my grandparent’s favorite places in Paradise. Dessert was Foster Freeze and after some more chatting in the lobby it was finally time to go to bed.
After tomorrow’s remembrance, I will head back to Sacramento to see another one of my friends who I haven’t seen in over 2 years – Matt. I am not sure if I am going to go down the hill tomorrow night or if I will just stay the night and then return on Sunday. I have decided that I will try and stop by all my old houses (4 in Davis, 1 in Chico) and take some photos since I don’t have any. By the time I go back to So Cal on Sunday, I will be pooped!