Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nighttime Selfies in Hollywood

When the Pat and Ron Show goes on the road, you all know I take a lot of selfies.  Occasionally a stranger will take pity on my struggling with my iPhone to take a selfie and offer to take a picture of me and Pat but most time I take selfies.  

My friend Lar noted that Pat is always behind me in the selfies.  Uh, Lar . . . . just how am I going to get Pat in front of me when I take a selfie?  Just saying. And of course there are those to bemoan that we are a selfie society. Oh please, give me a break.  I just wish I had an iPhone camera when I was young.  Just think of the fabulous pictorial history I would have.  

Me and Pat loitering on Hollywood Boulevard

When Pat and I make our annual visit to Hollywood, California, we have no set agenda.  Other than eating most of our meals at the Veggie Grill at 8000 Sunset Blvd. and visiting modern furniture stores (Pat's passion), we go with the flow (California style) when we visit California.

Selfie in the Veggie Grill - I love the lighting (and the food) - always brings a smile to my face

The video at the top is of me an Pat at the Coffee Bean, a Starbucks style coffee stop.  By the way, Pat's given up coffee now and is currently going through withdrawal.  I've never been a coffee drinker, the one vice I have avoided (not so lucky in other vices but we won't go into that now). 

The banner photo at the top of this blog is the lobby (living room) of the bed and breakfast (The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast) where we stayed.  Oh how I love this bed and breakfast.  Pat left a gift of a small bear for our delightful hostess Nina.  We'll check next year to see if this little bear is still on the mantle. 

Pat leaves a "gift" on the piano in the living room of the bed and breakfast where we were staying - we'll check next year to see if that little bear is still there

The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast is located right on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard.  We can walk to the Veggie Grill, Rite Aid and even Hollywood and Vine (which we did last year).  However, the traffic is rather challenging.  Check out the "raceway."

Me and Pat waiting for the light to change so we can cross the street

We push a button on the light post to get the "WALK".  Power, making all that traffic stop.  I wonder if we ever slowed down a star.  By the way, we have yet to see any celebrities in person.  Two years running and no celebrity sightings.  Oh except for Drew Carey when we attended "The Price is Right!"  

So this blog is like the old "Seinfeld Show."  Basically about nothing but I think interesting because you know I post the videos and photos to give you, the reader a feel for our experience in California.  Even though we have no set plans for our activities we do have a fabulous time.  I guess a lot of that depends upon the company you keep.  

Thanks Pat!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pasadena, California Visit

Every year, during our annual January visit to sunny California, we make the short drive to Pasadena to visit one of our favorite vegan restaurants, The Green Earth.

Pasadena is a beautiful small city not far from Los Angeles.  In fact, all the cities of southern California seem to run together, being one big city. We're always amazed at how little distance (less than ten miles) separates such well known cities such as Santa Monica, Burbank, Pasadena from the city of Los Angeles.

As regular readers of this blog know (and you know who you are), I go vegan when Pat and I partake in one of our travel adventures.  One of Pat's favorite vegan restaurants in Toronto is The Green Earth restaurant.  That restaurant just happens to have a sister restaurant (run by the same Vietnamese family) in Pasadena.  Pat and I visited the Pasadena restaurant the first time last year.  We had a great vegan meal followed by a fabulous dessert.  

Our delicious vegan lunch at The Green Earth restaurant in Pasadena, CA

This year we returned to our host, "Tranh" (I think that was his name) at The Green Earth restaurant in Pasadena.  We had another fabulous vegan meal followed by yet another spectacular dessert. 

Pat had vegan chocolate cake (delicious) and I had vegan cheesecake (also delicious!)

The only difference this time with our meal was a crazy man stopped in from the street and interrupted our meal.  He seemed sane enough at first when he saw me and Pat and said "Now there are to men who look like they're enjoying life" (we do).  But then the more he talked, the crazier he got.  Then he asked to see the menu from Tranh.  While looking at the items he kept saying "Too much! Too much!"  Then he asked Tranh "Where do you get your vegetables?"  He didn't like Tranh's answer.  All the while Tranh was trying to stay pleasant, which a forced smile.  Later we found out that he thought The Crazy Man was our friend.  WHAT? Tranh said when he returned to our table he saw the man talking to us and that's why he assumed he was our friend.  Thank goodness The Crazy Man finally exited the restaurant.  Just another adventure for the Ron and Pat Road Show.

Selfie of Pat, Tranh and me at the Green Earth Restaurant in Pasadena, California

After lunch we stopped in a modern furniture store in Pasadena. 

Pat considering this couch (you already have a modern couch Pat, from CB2) 

Pat loves these modern furniture stores.  Actually I do too. At one time in my past life I had considered going "modern" but you know how life is.  Over time Bill and I have accumulated different types of furniture here and there and before we knew it we had the typical American Household, which is just a conglomeration of all styles of furniture that (hopefully) is comfortable. Works for us.

Maybe in the future if I should reach a very old age and find my current home too much, I may opt for smaller quarters and decide to get all new furniture.  If I do I will go modern.  

We had a fine visit to Pasadena and we will return next year.  I love setting new traditions.  I just hope we don't run into any more Crazy Old Men.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I'm On TV! (Finally)

Ron the Ham in all his glory (and Spo Shirt) high fiving our friend Lloyd (hand in orange pullover) who go the cal to "Come on down!" (he didn't win but did get up on stage with Drew Carey)

Hey folks, I was on TV yesterday!  Yep, your old blogger buddy here had his fifteen minutes of fame and was on national TV yesterday.  

Actually I didn't even have fifteen minutes, more like fifteen SECONDS, but there I was.  In my custom made Spo shirt of very colorful parrots.

That is our friend Lloyd (in the orange) who was called to "come on down!" I'm in the back to the left of Lloyd looking like the fool that I am.  Is this any kind of activity for a 74 year old retired bank operations manager? By the way, I thought for sure my Spo shirt would guarantee me being called.  As it turned out all I was good for that day was audience eye candy.

My venue for fame was the longest running TV game show "The Price is Right!"  I had written for tickets at the end of last year and received two Priority Tickets (for me and my Travel Buddy Pat).  We attended the taping at the CBS Television Studio City on January 18th.  

Can you feel the excitement?  That's me and Pat (gray pullover with hands above his head) in the second row behind the Ladies in Yellow cheering the guy in back behind us who was making his way down to the stage after getting the call to "Come on down!" - why didn't they call us?  Damn!

There was some confusion as to when the show would be shown on TV.  When we entered the studio we passed a placard that said the show would be shown January 27th.  However, when I returned home from our California holiday and checked the website it said the show would be aired this coming February 29th.  So that's the date I advised everybody to look for.  So wouldn't you know it they did air the show yesterday.

I found out by my friend Larry, who faithfully watches the show everyday. He saw me high giving our friend Lloyd Mullcom who was the last contestant to get the call to "Come on down!" by George Gray, the announcer (who we were seated near).  

You can see Pat (in gray pullover with hands in air) and me (my hands are covering my face, what was I thinking?) seated near George Gray as he made the calls to "Come on down!" I got to talk to George right before I left.  A very nice man indeed.  Genuine like Drew Carey, who unfortunately I didn't get a chance to talk too. Maybe next year when I do get the call to "Come on down Ronald Tipton!" 

I took these pictures from my TV after freeze framing the scenes that Pat and I were in.  

This is a good picture of how close Pat and I were next to the announcer George Gray - we're in the second row - Pat in the gray pullover and me (with my hands in front of my face again) in my parrot Dr. Spo shirt with the Guy in Red standing next to me

After looking at these pictures and the video, I have decided I will write for tickets again next year and give the show another try.  Even if we don't get the call to "Come on down!" it was great fun to be part of the very happy experience that day, even if we did have to wait in line over four hours.  You know what folks?  With all the bad news in the world today, those five hours I spent that morning of January 19th will be among the happiest I have spent in my lifetime.  And you know, we can never have too many of those moments in our life.  Below, it's quick but you can see me to the left high fiving our friend Lloyd (in the orange pullover) who was called to "Come on down!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast

One of my absolute indulgences is that we stay at The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast on Hollywood Boulevard.  This is the first bed and breakfast I've ever stayed in and I have to tell you I hit a home run by choosing this delightful bed and breakfast.

Pat checking his e-mail by the pool

Last year was the first time we stayed here and again, I was very pleased.  The location is ideal, right in the heart of West Hollywood.  Within walking distance of 8000 Sunset Boulevard,

Pat at 8000 Sunset Blvd, taking a picture of the Chateau Marmot on the hill across the street

were we often eat at the Veggie Grill.  We can also walk to Hollywood and Vine as well as our laundry, conveniently named The Hollywood Laundry.  Hey folks, a lot of the businesses in Hollywood are named "Hollywood."  What are the odds?

Me soaking up the ambiance by the pool

Well, we LOVE The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast. Last year we stayed there the whole of our ten days.  This year we split our stay between The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast and an Air B & B in the Hollywood Hills, that Pat choose.  That stay wasn't a good experience, which I'll write about in a future blog posting.

"Let's take a dip!" (Pat suggests)  HA! I don't reveal my pudgy bod in public anymore

Pat, being the minimalist that he is, was at first put off by all the "busyness" (color, nick nacks, etc) of the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast but soon became accustomed to our host Nina's eclectic taste in decor.  Of course you know I love all the color and tchotchkes.   

Pat and our host William in the breakfast area - spotless!

When I'm at the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast I feel like I'm at home.  Our hosts William and Nina are gracious, available but not intrusive.  And the place is SO CLEAN, which you know I love.  

And the breakfast is perfect.  Anything you could want in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.  This year we didn't get to meet any fellow travelers but last year we did and they were most pleasant to share a breakfast with.  

Folks, I have to admit I feel like calling the airline right now and arranging for another two weeks in sunny California to stay at this wonder home away from home.  At least to get through the month of February. There is nothing like getting off the plane in California in January, walking out the door the LAX to catch the Enterprise Car Rental Shuttle buss and to see the swaying palm trees and the warm caress of California sunshine on your cheek.

Real palm trees folks and that's California sun warming our faces . . in January!

What was the name of that Mama's and Papa's song?  Oh yes, "California Dreaming."  

Monday, January 25, 2016

"The Price is Right!"

We made it folks!  Ron and Pat with our faux photo in front of The Wheel

Check out the banner photo folks!  That is the queue to get into the long-time running, very popular TV show "The Price is Right!"  That was the afternoon line on January 12th.  We (me and Pat) were in the morning line.  

So how long does one stand in line to get into the TV studio audience for "The Price is Right"? About four and a half hours.  That's right folks, 


Not that we minded.  I had written for tickets several months before our trip.  I received priority tickets which guaranteed that we would be admitted and we were.  But that didn't preclude that we still had to stand in line.  

We didn't have to be there until 8:30 am, which is just about when we arrived.  Of course we arrived at the total opposite end of the huge CBS studio building. You should have seen me hobbling with my arthritis and game leg to try and get to the studio on time (like they were waiting for me, I am so full of myself).  

I saw the line but I bypassed it and tried to enter through the employee's entrance, which I didn't realize it was until I was told to "go to the end of the line."  I said "But I have priority tickets."  HA!  "End of the line buddy!"  No doubt this wasn't the first time a rube like me tried to jump the line.  The CBS security guy handled me with professional dispatch.  He said "They'll get you. Just show them your tickets."

"End of the line you two!"

So to the end of the line I go.  Oh, by the way, I don't have any first hand photos or videos because we were told that we were not allowed to bring cell phones or cameras into the studio so I left mine back at the bed and breakfast where we were staying.  Later on I found out I could have had my cell phone with me but turned it in before we entered the studio four and a half hours later, which is what I should have done but hey, this was my first time.  The banner picture I took at the top of this post was taken of the second group to go in that day, in the afternoon.

The view of the colorful and happy stage of "The Price is Right!" from the audience - FUN!

We walk past the long line of peeps back to the end of the line on this chilly Tuesday morning in LA.  Even though we were in line a lone time I have to say it wasn't a bad experience.  We got to talk to several people standing in line with us, including a retired couple from Utah.  The gentleman, "Lloyd", was called to "come on down!" later which Pat predicted he would because he was so gregarious and pleasant to talk too.  He was the last contestant called and did get up on the stage but didn't win any further prizes other than the one he bid on.  Of course it goes without saying neither Pat or I were called to "come on down!" but I did get to high five Lloyd and he bounced on down through the audience to the panel of four.  

So while we're standing in line there is a whole process that the contestants go through.  Employees of "The Price is Right!" go through the line and collect all the priority tickets.  Then we're told to go ahead of the line to an area where they explain the ground rules once we're in the studio.  We also are asked to sign release forms because we're told that the "all members of the audience will be on TV."  Of course we gladly signed the release forms (how many you can say you've signed release forms?  Huh? Huh?)

We're also advised to be cheerful no matter who wins or loses.  We're told that this is a fun process (which it was) and we will all be on TV, which you KNOW I love.  And just between you and me I think Pat loves to although you've never get him to admit to that fact.

As we inched near the entrance we hear whoops and cheers.  And as we got nearer we saw where those happy sound were coming from.  The "Price is Right" people were placing singles and couples before a green screen and taking photos.  Turns out the green screen was The Wheel.  Hey, we all get to memorialize our visit (for a price of course, $20 a photo which I got three, greedy tourist that I am).  

Most of the potential contestants who posed before the wheel jumped, including Pat.

Pat "Won" the dollar! Sure. 
Me?  I can't jump. In fact I was going to get a T-shirt that said "I can't jump, pick me." I instead opted for the butch thumbs up pose.  I don't know, do you think I pulled it off?

What an 74 year old guy with arthritis and a bum leg does when he wins on The Wheel, thumbs up!
After the picture taking, and ordering (if we wanted any), we were moved (still in line) closer to the studio entrance.  By now folks were getting hungry because it was near lunch time (12 PM).  I found out later two shows are taped.  We were in the morning taping.

Many people in line ordered food from their concession which, Pat found out, was quite expensive.  Four dollars for a small bag of potato chips!  I saw people with spaghetti dinners on paper plates.  I can just imagine what that cost.  But hey, load up on the carbohydrates, you'll need them for what was to come once we got into the studio.

Then, after the Long Wait in Line, the time comes to enter the studio.  EXCITING!!!!!!!

This photo not the day we were there but looks the same - lots of color and excitement and great music - really put us in the mood!

Folks, I have to tell you that entering "The Price is Right!" studio was thrilling.  I am truly a tourist at heart.  This is the first time since 1964 that I've entered a TV studio.  The last time was when I took my Mother (and Bill) to New York City to see a taping of "To Tell the Truth."  While that was exciting, and a long time ago, this was even more exciting.  Why?  Because by the time we were entering the colorful (if tacky) studio), we were hyped.  And I mean HYPED!!!

All the seats are assigned.  Pat and I were quickly ushered over to the far right, just about where George the Announcer (who is a very nice guy by the way, he is in person just as he is on TV as is Drew Carey).

Pat and I were seated right behind George and as you can see, blocked from the cameras. We couldn't see what was going on the stage.  We have to watch the TV monitors above which we didn't realize were there until about a half an hour into the show

I noticed that in the center of the audience were placed all the groups in matching T-shirts and the screaming and jumping ladies.  The Old Men were put to the side.  And while we're entering the music is blaring and people clapping to the music.  They were keeping his hyped!  And I didn't mind.  Fun times!!!

We were all standing, clapping, and cheering to the music until everyone got seated.  I noticed that behind where George was standing was a bank of TV monitors.  They were watching the audience from behind!  Ah hah!  That's how they pick folks to "come on down!"  They want to see who the most enthusiastic were.  Well, they had a lot to choose from because just about everyone in the audience of 280 (total seating capacity on the smaller in person studio) was HAPPY! Anyone could be picked.

Right before they started to tape one of the folks on stage reminded us again that we were all there to have a good time, we would all be on camera and even if we didn't get called up on stage to be happy for those who were called.  And no one had a problem with this.  We all cheered.

Then, while we were hyped to near orgasmic frenzy, the show started with George the Announcer announcing Drew Carey.  Drew comes darting out on the stage and the day's taping had begun.

Now here is something interesting folks.  Where Pat and I were seated we couldn't see the products at first (later we watched the TV monitors above the audience which we didn't realize were there at first) nor hear the prices. 

The first four contestants were called to "come on down!"  We couldn't hear the names.  I also noticed that each name was on a big cue card displayed before the audience.  We couldn't see that either since it wasn't shown on the TV monitors for home viewing.  So the first thought that came to my mind was "If they were calling us, how would we know it?"  Simple, as we later found out.  No one was calling us (the Two Old Men Seated to the Far Right Out of TV Camera Range).  Buy what the hey?  We were having a good time. 

So the show was off and running.  And I have to say the show moves along at a pretty much the same pace as you see on TV.  There were the commercial breaks during which Drew interacted with the audience.  And by the way, Drew Carey really enjoys his job.  He was and is a stand up comedian and he employed all his skills to the fullest the whole time he was on stage.  Nothing phony about DREW!  In fact all the members of the crew were good natured and happy and that good will easily transmitted to the audience.  

Drew Carey and the audience - Drew has to have one of the best jobs in Hollywood

Another interesting thing was there was one crew member who was like an orchestra leader.  He was the one who raised his arms to get us cheering and lowered his arms to tone us down.  After a while we felt like trained seals, clapping and cheering for I don't know what but we were having a good time.  Even Pat was whooping it up.  This being the same Pat I had to convince to go to "The Price is Right!" with me.  Pat, who prefers visiting modern furniture stores in LA as opposed to taking the Paramount or Universal Studio Tour (which we have yet to do . . . . Pat . . . maybe next year).  

So we didn't get called to "come on down!"  Out of an audience of 280, ten were called.  We weren't one of the Lucky Ten.  One of the contestants won TWO cars (lucky him).  He won one when he was first called up on the stage and then he won the show case.  Our friend, Lloyd, who was called did make it up on the stage but didn't win his price nor did he get into the showcase at the end of the show.  

We found out later from our new friend Johnny Knight some details about "The Price is Right!".  Johnny is a 30 year old transplant to California seeking a career in music and holding four jobs including his photo taking gig, while awaiting his Big Break into stardom.  Judging from his totally nice personality I think Johnny will make It.  He was so kind to us, two goofy old men from the East.  I'm always impressed with people who are kind to me for no other reason than to just be nice.  So often in this world today people like Johnny are a rarity.  I've noticed that the older I get I am too often treated dismissively or, if someone wants something from me (telemarketers, salesmen, etc), they're aggressive and rude.  What a pleasant change to have someone just be nice and helpful.

Pat, Johnny Knight and me at "The Price is Right!"

I told Johnny of my experience with a former co-worker who won the showcase and decided to leave it because she didn't want to pay the taxes on it.  He said now the contestants who win can take the cash value, less the taxes and walk away with a check.  Cool!  So if I was that contestant who won the two cars or the air hockey game (what is THAT anyway?), I could get the cash which would put a significant dent into our annual California Holiday expenses.  So, maybe next year if I can talk Pat into going on the show again and I'm called I have options.

So as the last showcase was finished and the winner enjoying his spoils, we were ushered out of the CBS "The Price is Right!" gaily colored sparkly curtained studio into the warm sunlight of a Los Angeles January noon, thoroughly hyped.  But not before I asked George the Announcer to shake his hand.  He asked where we were form and wished us well on our vacation.  What a nice man.

George Gray, the announcer on "The Price is Right!"

What a way to spend the morning!  Our first full day in LA was well on its way.  I love these January holidays to La La Land.  With all the troubles in the world, health issues at home, trying to keep up with the ever increasing bill and the always bad news on TV, what a delight to have just a few happy, carefree hours when everyone was just nice to one another.  Good for the soul folks! 

And just one more note folks, our taping is scheduled to be shown this February 29th.  Look for me and Pat, the Clapping Trained Seals along with 278 of our fellow "The Price is Right!" audience members. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Our Flight to Los Angeles and Landing

Now it seems so long ago but it was only Monday, January 11th, almost two weeks ago that I met Pat in Philly for our American Airlines flight to Los Angeles.  The flight took off at about 1:30 PM in the afternoon, depositing us six hours later in Los Angeles just in time for darkness to descend and rush hour.  What was I thinking?  I think what I was thinking was that I didn't want to get up real early in the morning like I did last year in order to avoid the maddening crowd at the airport.  Guess what folks?  Anytime of day there is a maddening crowd at the airport.

Our flight was about a half an hour late in take off but we made up that time.  The flight was totally full.  Since Pat and I don't travel first class nor are we any kind of priority flyers, we had to wait almost to the end to board the plane.  While we were waiting we were getting constant warnings that the flight was "fully booked" and we may not be able to put our carry on luggage in the overhead bins.  Oh great.  Just what I like, going to baggage pickup at the end of the flight, praying that my luggage isn't lost.  The woman announced that there would be no charge if we decided to check in our luggage.  I was worried that I wouldn't have room so, against my better instincts I checked my luggage in.  And wouldn't you know it when I got to my seat, there was room in the overhead bin!  Great!  

Oh, by the way.  To back up a bit here, I had a helluva heck of a time getting through airport security.  When I first took a plane flight after 9/11, I was ushered through airport security as an Old Man.  I didn't even have to take my shoes off.  Not now.  I'm pulled aside and scanned and patted down.  Talked to roughly (I had my hoodie on and one of the TSA guys said "Didn't I tell you to take that off!?" - They got  the power man and they're using it).  Welcome to the police state that is called TSA. 

At least when I was about to be patted down (all body) the TSA grunt asked me "Do you want to do this in private or here?"  I said "Here".  What do I care? I've had the prostate biopsy and kidney stones.  I've been catheterized by strangers. I can no longer be humiliated.  I have no privacy anymore.  They already have a full body scan X-ray of my body. So getting on the plane I felt thoroughly violated and disrespected, which I was.  Welcome to the modern age of travel Ron. 

The flight was long an uneventful (thank goodness).  And as I said we arrived just at dusk (good timing Ron).  Then it was off to the baggage claim area to pick up my carryon which did not to be checked in after all.  

Thank goodness my carryon bag did appear and we were off in the twilight of the Los Angeles early evening to catch the Enterprise Shuttle bus to Enterprise car rental. Our experience at Enterprise was 100% better than our experience with American Airlines (stuffed in the plane for six hours like sausages and the TSA body violations). This is the second time we have used the Enterprise car rental in Los Angeles and we continue (especially me) to be impressed.  

Pat does the driving, being the excellent driver that he is (and I'm not).  My main concern is that I have enough leg room.  We checked out a Hyundai.  I had enough leg room so we rented it and were off into the Los Angeles rush hour night in search of a place to get sneakers for Pat.  More about that later in this post.

It wasn't too long until I realized I made a mistake with this Hyundai.  I had enough leg room but I felt like I was sitting on the floor, which actually I was. Plus, there was a gap in the seat where the small of my back fit into the seat. So here we were, driving around in the darkening evening hours of LA, looking for a Wal Mart or something like that to buy sneakers for Pat.  Pat always wears sandals. We had an 8:30 am appointment the next morning to appear on "The Price is Right" TV show.  One of the instructions was NO SANDALS.  I guess they are afraid that if someone runs and jumps up on the stage when called to "Come on down!" they're going to fall flat on their face.  So off into the night to look for sneakers for Pat. 

It didn't take too long to realize that this trip was beginning badly.  Here we are, trying to find our way around LA at rush hour, in the dark, with my iPhone GPS working overtime, looking for a place to buy sneakers. And my back is killing me because of our rental car that had me sitting practically on the ground.  Every time we stopped someplace and got out, I had to practically roll myself out of the car like the arthritic old man that I am.

Finally we found Marshall's (which Pat never heard of, "They sell sneakers?" he asked).  We found the sneakers ($30).  They passed Pat's "cool test" and we were off into the night to check into our bed and breakfast accommodations.  

But first we had to eat.  And where to eat?  Of course the Veggie Grill at 8000 Sunset, right in the heart of West Hollywood, across the street from the Chateau Marmot and the Laugh Factory (Kevin Nealon appearing).  

Pat standing line at the Veggie Grill - we love the Veggie Grill!
The Veggie Grill is our main eating destination when in West Hollywood.  I go vegan when I'm with Pat on our adventures.  And guess what, I don't miss the meat and dairy products at all.  Oh how I wish I had the vegan and veggie options here at LSD (Lower Slower Delaware) but that is not to be unless you call an iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad enough to subsist on.  

Pat and I enjoying a vegan meal with nary an iceberg lettuce leaf in sight - lentil soup, Yukon fries, and Bombay Bowl of goodies

But for all the hassle in getting to LA, we were now here.  All we had to do was check into our bed and breakfast, have a good night's sleep and get ready for the next ordeal, appearing on "The Price is Right" the next morning at 8:30 am.  And what an ordeal (five hours) that was folks.  That I will tell you all about in excruciating detail in my next blog posting.  You have been forewarned. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

We're Back!

Hey folks, we're back!  Actually I arrived back to Philly yesterday morning. It seems like so long ago now just as our ten day stay in Los Angeles seems like last year.

This will be a short post as I am still recovering from both the trip and jet lag.  Last night I slept for almost twelve hours.  This afternoon I got back to my daily hour plus nap.  I'm almost "home" now.  Just in time for a Major Winter Snowstorm that is headed this way over the weekend.  What timing!  Can you imagine us returning to this mess? I was lucky . . . this time.

So how was our trip to LA?  Only one word can describe it:

I took hundreds of photos and videos.  I'll cull through those and post them to future blog postings.  But for now, I'm just trying to get back into my "Delaware at Home" grove and prepare for this winter snow storm and hope (and pray) we don't lose power.  

Stay tuned folks!  The best is yet to come.

We have landed! Check out the palm trees in the background. Love it!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Packed and Ready to Go!

Me and Pat with "friends" last August in Toronto.  Lookout LA, here we come!

Well folks, I spent the best part of this day packing or shall I say, deciding what to pack. I still have that tendency to pack too much.  

The most important thing is to pack the underwear and socks and some toiletries (I can buy the rest in LA). Also, all my Digital Age accessories.  MacBook Pro, iPhones, chargers, et al.  Wow.  

I guess you heard by now, I didn't have the winning Powerball ticket.  The next jackpot is estimated to be 1.3 billion.  BILLION!  Now let's see how much that is after taxes and early payout. Heck, if it is only about 300 mil, I'll take it!  

I bought eight more tickets today through our stay in California.  I don't want to take a chance on missing out on this Opportunity of a Lifetime.  The opportunity to win the biggest jackpot in the history of the world.  

Hey folks, I'll share something with you.  I've always believed that I was destined for something really big.  REALLY BIG.  I don't know exactly what that BIG would be but you know, it could just be winning this Powerball jackpot.  I've already made tentative plans on how to spend it using my career workplace background of working in a bank trust department.  I can't give too many details right now because I don't want to jinx my chances but let's just say that my family; nieces, nephew, grand nieces, grandnephews and even one grand-grand niece will have a healthy trust fund set up for them so they would never have another money worry in their life.  "Uncle Ronnie" sure would like to leave that legacy.  

Dreams folks, always nice to dream.  But in the meantime, I leave Casa-Tipton Kelly tomorrow at 9 am for my ride to Philly International and my 1:35 pm flight to LA.  I'll meet Pat at Philly International.  He's flying down from Toronto.  We'll take that 6 hour flight sitting next to each other.  

We arrive late afternoon tomorrow.  Early the next day we take the few blocks from where we're staying to the CBS Television Studio City studio to appear in "The Price is Right!" audience.  Can't wait folks.  

Life is indeed good. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Countdown To L.A.

Mostly packed (first run through) and ready to go to LA

Less than two days and we'll be on our way to L.A.!  

Of course I'm nervous that I'm not packing enough clothes.  Always I take too many clothes shirts but I am being very disciplined this time minimizing my wardrobe packing.  This is the way I look at it, anything I need I can always buy in Los Angeles.  I hear they have many fine stores out there.

Early Monday morning my longtime friend Lar will stop here at Casa Tipton-Kelly to transport me (my very own personal Uber Driver) to Philly International for my afternoon flight out of Philly to LA.  I'll meet Pat in Philly, he's taking an earlier flight in from Toronto.

The excitement is building folks!  

We'll arrived LA after a five hour flight from Philly.  We're checking into the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast, right in the heart of West Hollywood for the first half of our ten day stay.  The second half Pat has reserved an Air B & B accommodation in an ultra modern house in the Hollywood Hills, literally IN the Hollywood Hills.  I will take photos of those accommodations, you can be ultra sure of.

Tuesday, our first day in LA we have to get up early to get in line for our appearance in the audience of "The Price is Right!"  I just hope I can complete my bathroom needs by the time I get in that audience line, which, by the way we do have priority tickets so we're guaranteed to get in.  The last time I had priority tickets was to be in the audience of "American Bandstand" and that was in 1958.  I don't do this kind of thing too often.

The Powerball drawing is tonight.  Estimated jackpot is 900 million.  900 MILLION!  After taxes and early payout I might just clear 50 million.  Just think of what I could do with all that money.  I'm already dreaming of it.  Of course my chances of winning are one in 292 million.  I have more chance of being elected president of the United States or becoming a movie star (one in 20 million) than I do of winning this Powerball jackpot but you know what they say, "You have to play to win" and you know folks, that has always been my lifetime mantra. . . . . . in ALL aspects of life.  

Me and Pat in Philly last month 

Friday, January 08, 2016

Power Ball 700 Million Jackpot!

Okay folks, you're hearing it here first.  Save your money, I just brought the winning Powerball ticket.  Actually, I bought two Powerball tickets, one for Pat.  Pat always buys me a Princess Margaret ticket.  Just paying back folks.

The Powerball jackpot

is estimated to be 700 million dollars. The drawing is this Saturday, one day before I leave for California.  The question is, if I win do I cancel my trip to California?  Hell no!

So what will I do with my millions when I win?  Well, you know I will give a lot of it away.  And not recklessly either.  I'll bring in all my years of experience in working in a bank trust department (trust operations).  I'll set up trusts for all my family so they never have to worry about financial concerns the rest of their lives.  And I'll also do many random Acts of Kindness.  Remember the old 50's TV show, "The Millionaire"?


Remember the name of the millionaire?  His name was John Beresfed Tipton. What's my last name?  You got it! What a wonderful way to play out the last act of my life, making people happy, anonymously.  And anonymously I will do it too folks.  So if you never hear from me again, you can assume I won the lottery.

Seriously though folks, all my life I knew something big was going to happen for me.  Coming from very low circumstances (so poor we didn't even wear shoes in the summertime, shoes were only for school) I have achieved everything I every worked for wished for.  I have a wonderful home, loving husband, wonderful friends including my Special Friend Pat, and reasonably good health for  74 year old gay man.  

But wouldn't that just be the icing on the cake though folks if I won the lottery?  Of course I probably won't win but you know folks, isn't it wonderful to dream?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Excitement is Building!


Just got back from the dentist.  Good news!  I got another clean bill of health.  Oh there is that one tooth that is ready to collapse but I've had that diagnosis for about fifteen years.  I think I have a few more years.  I love the dentist I go to now.  So convenient, friendly and cost effective.  

I go to work today and then when I come home tonight I enter into my California State of Mind mode.  I'm starting to get excited now folks!

This weekend I'll start packing but I won't be packing much.  Just five days worth of underwear and socks.  One pair of pants, a festive shirt for my "The Price is Right!"

appearance (and I an convinced I will appear on that happy show).  A sweater (or two) but only one other shirt change.  Always in past vacations I've taken too many shirts which I invariably never wear. If I need another shirt (or two), I'll just buy them in LA.  I hear LA has a lot of stores.

I'm getting a little of the subject here but I have to tell you I am thoroughly enjoying the Republican's dilemma now that Ted Cruz's qualifications for president are finally being challenged.  It's about time. Holy smokes, he WAS born on foreign soil.  In fact, up until eighteen months ago he held a dual citizenship for Canada and the U.S.  Karma is so sweet. Remember all the hub bub about Barack Obama not being eligible to run for president because of the claims that he was actually born in Kenya?  And the further irony is that Donald Trump, who got his start with the false Birther argument against Barack Obama, is the one who brought the subject up.  I wonder why the media hasn't brought up this valid issue before.  I'm loving seeing the smug Ted Cruz now giving tortured arguments that he really is qualified to run for president even though he WAS born on foreign soil.  Wonder how many of those low information voters in Iowa will do with this information.  I have to admit folks I do sometimes enjoy these schadenfreude moments. 

"Hey Ted, weren't you born in Canada?"

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Another "What a Morning!"

Early this morning I was again awoken by a power outage.  I always know when there is a power outage because my white noise air filter machine cuts off.  Folks, this is the SECOND DAY IN A ROW I've been jarred out of my deep rim sleep by a local power outage.

Remember yesterday?  At around 4:12 AM , nine time the power flipped on and off.  NINE TIMES FOLKS.  

This morning the power flipped on and off then back on again then off for 40 MINUTES.  Yep, over a half and hour the power was off.  As I lay in my bed, wide awake, wondering if I'm living in a Third World country, I have to remind myself I'm actually living in Lower Slower Delaware, or "LSD" to those of you in the know.

The power finally came back on about half past 5 am only to go on and off again twice before finally coming back on permanently, or until tomorrow when they do it all over again.  I don't know what's going on. 

Another drunk or drug addled Sussex County native slamming his/her car into a utility pole?  
Or more likely, the local power company repairing switching stations (their usual explanation).  

So, I went back to sleep and (thank goodness) was able to get back into my deep rim (unconscious state of sleep) for another few hours.  I got up at 9:03 am, well rested but my eating schedule seriously disrupted for the whole day.

After breakfast I my goal was to make a call to my favorite (said with a great deal of sarcasm) monopoly Internet service ("service" being an oxymoron in this case) to ask about the $19.95 charge for a "Self install service kit" I received from them to replace my RENTED modem from them.  Folks, this has to be a new path we're traveling here.  My Internet service company is charging me for replacing their defective equipment.  Unbelievable.  You have to give Comcast props for gall.  What?  Are they taking lessons from our medical industry by charging the patient for everything from tissues to compression socks?  Honest to God, their chutzpah is breathtaking.

So I called this morning knowing full well it would be fruitless exercise in getting them to take that charge back.  

After spending ten minutes going through the usual automated menu options I finally get a real person whose voice I can hardly hear.  Now folks, you know this is on purpose.  You just know it.  Anything to discourage the customer. 

I tell "Teresa" I can hardly hear her.  She amps up the volume a teeny weeny bit.  I can still hardly hear her.  

I whine again about being able to hardly hear her.  Finally she increases the decibel volume to the level where she sounds like I'm talking to her from the house across the street.  

I tell her that I was without service for a week and then when I get the new modem/router, which I had to install myself because the service person never came which, by the way is why I rent a router so I won't have to pay for a service person to service (and I know I'm overusing the word "service" in the context of Comcast).  She says "That is the charge sir."  Uh huh.  $10 for the equipment and $9.95 for "handling and processing."  Folks, I'm the one doing the "handling and processing." 

Alright, so a strike out on this one.  I could rant and rave and threaten to take my business elsewhere but the only problem there is I have no "elsewhere" to take my business because Comcast is a monopoly in this area where I live (and thrive).

My next move is to address the fact I was without service for a week and I want credit for that service.  I was willing to let that go but since Comcast is going to charge me for sending their replacement equipment to me, I'm going to get a credit.  And I got it.  It was $18.94, almost a wash.

And that folks is how I'm staring out my day.  

Tomorrow I have a dental appointment.

Friday I get my haircut.

Saturday and Sunday I veg out and get ready for my trip to La La Land Los Angeles. 

Me and Pat with our California Friend Nadege

I'm ready for that ten day sojourn in sunny Californina, especially now with the newly frigid temperatures around here.  And I do so need a break from the trials and tribulations of just everyday living.  That's why personal holidays like this are so important to me now.  Four times a year, Pat and I get together for more adventure.  

Life is good folks.   

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