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16 August 2012

"I Love SM" (Santa Monica)

Last Saturday (11 Aug.), after doing some preliminary packing for my vacation, I worked the Mehlville-Oakville Alumni Association (MOAA) table at the Mehlville High Class of 2002 reunion, which was held at Kirkwood Station Brewing Co. Myself and another volunteer had MOAA activities info and we persuaded many of the alumni attending to fill out contact information forms for the association's database. It was a nice time for volunteer work, before returning home that night.

The next morning, with my bags packed, Mom drove me to Lambert-St. Louis International airport (STL) for the flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It was a nearly four-hour flight, but I occupied most of that time reading an ebook on my laptop. The book I started was "Let's Get Trollied (The Return Legs)" by Liz & Julie, two British stewardesses with their second work on their adventures and misadventures. I had read their previous book, "You f'Coffee Sir," and have become quite a Liz & Julie fan.

Doug was waiting at LAX to pick me up and we drove us to his home in Santa Monica, where his fiancee Helen and their dog Sake were waiting. That night, we went to The Home Depot Center in Carson to watch the SuperClassico between CD Chivas USA and LA Galaxy. The Galaxy won, by 4 goals to nil, with Landon Donovan assisting on all four goals. It was a blast for me to watch a match at this venue, and Doug and Helen also liked it a lot.

Monday afternoon (13 Aug.), while Doug was at Work, Helen took me to the Santa Monica Pier. On a gorgeous sunny day, we strolled along the pier, road the ferris wheel, and I played the arcade games while Helen watched. I won quite a few tickets from those, which I redeemed at the arcade for a toy jet fighter and two plastic bling rings. A fun time for sure.

Midday Tuesday, I drove to the University of Southern California (USC) campus in Los Angeles, borrowing Doug'a GPS-equipped car. After getting lost because I did not set the GPS properly and making my way through traffic, I arrived at USC. After parking in the public garage, I walked to the Accounting building for a meeting with Dr. Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business. Like me, Dr. Perner also has Asperger's syndrome, so it was a great meeting of like-minded people. He said he could put me in touch with publishers for which I could do part-time editing and fact checking work, and said I was interested. Dr. Perner also gave me an autographed copy of his book "Delightful Reflections: Quips, Conjectures, and Pontifications." Perner gave me a guided tour of the USC campus, including showing me the Film Studies Center.

After my visit at USC, I drove to the nearby California ScienCenter, where I browsed among its exhibits. These included a few aircraft displayed outdoors (including a DC-8 jetliner and an SR-71 spyplane), and three American manned spacecraft (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo). The space shuttle Endeavor will be displayed at that center starting this fall.

Before visiting the ScienCenter, I walked by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena, both of which are near the ScienCenter. The Coliseum hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, and is home to USC Trojans football. (The only other Olympics stadium I've visited is Washington University's Francis Field, from the 1904 games.)The Sports Arena is used for USC men's basketball.

Yesterday morning (15 Aug.) Helen took me to Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades for a bit of beach time. Unfortunately, it was not sun time, as it was cloudy while we were there. We mostly relaxed and read, but I got towards the waterline and dipped my toes into the Pacific Ocean. It's been a long time since I've been on a beach.

I've eaten well so far, including some fine dishes Helen cooked up, plus we dined out the last two nights. Last night, it was seafood at Fish Commerce Co. in Santa Monica. Doug and I jogged yesterday morning and early this morning, going from the house to the beach and back--a distance of about 2.6 miles (4.2 km).

Doug and Helen gave me two shirts they recently bought on a trip to Italy. One's a replica Italian national soccer team jersey, the other's a German national soccer team polo shirt. Both fit me well, in more ways than one.

Last night, I was watching the Mexico-USA friendly on TV, from the Estadio Axteca. I was over the moon seeing the US win 1-0, their first victory over Mexico in Mexico. U-S-A!

Off to more adventures before I fly back to St. Louis Sunday. Later.