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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Monday, January 21, 2019

My Backyard Bucket List Compared, Part One: Westways September 2017

Back in 2017 Westways did a "Bucket List" of Southern California attractions--what you must see and do in the Los Angeles area before you die. I'm not a fan of the term, "Bucket List." You don't really have to do anything before you kick the bucket. I'd prefer to see a list that focuses on how to lead a richer, fuller life--ways to squeeze as many life-affirming experiences while you're holding what George Bernard Shaw called a "splendid torch."
That said, how do my life experiences stack up against the Westways recommendations? Below are the lists of what I've done and won't do. In Part Two of this two-part post I'll discuss the remainder of southern California attractions that Westways thinks you must do before you die.

DONE!  Been there, done that!
  • I've watched the Rose Parade "in person" from the curb.
  • I've heard mariachi music--live and in person.
  • I've toured the Getty Museum.
  • I've watched a game at Dodger Stadium--and at Angels Stadium, and at Wrigley in Chicago, too!
  • I've been on a whale watch cruise--I was about five years old, froze half-to-death and didn't see one whale.
  • I've seen the Watts towers. I'll post my picture of them sometime.
  • I've seen several rodeos, and I don't see why it matters which one.
  • I've rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. 
  • I've been to the Griffith Observatory.
  • I've toured Hearst Castle.
  • I've eaten Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken, enough times for several dozen lives. I'd add doing just about anything at Knott's Berry Farm to a lifetime achievement list.
  • I've watched more than one drive-in movie, back in the days when it was a normal everyday family activity.
  • I've watched more than one film at a classic movie palace--I saw 2001:  A Space Odyssy at the Chinese, I've been to the Cinedome more times than I clearly remember, and to a few other of Hollywood's grandest movie theaters for very serious and important cinematic experiences.
  • I've toured Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach.
  • Although I haven't driven on the sand at Pismo Beach, I've rode in the car as the whole family drove on the sand at Pismo Beach.
  • I've attended the Ramona pageant.
  • I've seen fields of California poppies.
Does This Count? Although I haven't done exactly what the magazine suggests, I think I've come close enough--or even better:
  • I haven't heard the 2600-pipe organ play at El Segundo's Old Town Music Hall or the world's largest outdoor organ in San Diego's Balboa Park, but I've heard the 5000-pipe Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ in the Nethercutt Collection at Sylmar. 
  • I haven't flown in a vintage plane at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, but I've toured the Planes of Fame Museum and I've flown in a plane--a rickety nail-biter type of plane, too! (That's a life experience I'd preferred to have never had.)
  • I haven't been to the Imperial Beach Dog Surf Competition in Huntington Beach, but I've seen a dog surf on TV. I've seen humans surf in life, too!
  • I'm haven't fed an ostrich at Ostrich Land USA in Solvang, but I've fed peacocks and geese at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia. I fed an elephant at the zoo, when I was about six, too, and she kissed me with her trunk as a "Thank you!"
  • I haven't seen a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl, but I've seen the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.
  • I haven't been to the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, but I've seen "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland and I've seen Lincoln's tomb at Springfield, Illinois.
  • I haven't taken a cruise of Newport Bay, but I've rode the Balboa Island Ferry (several times) and I've taken a cruise of San Diego Bay.
  • I haven't danced or seen a concert at Mission San Juan Capistrano, but I've toured the mission--and most of California's other historical Spanish missions.
  • I haven't attended the Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School but I've hiked in Joshua Tree. 
  • I haven't stayed overnight at the Hotel Del Coronado but I've toured it.
  • I haven't stayed overnight aboard the Queen Mary but I've toured it.
  • Although I've never hunted for fossils at Sharktooth Hill near Bakersfield, but I have hunted for fossils, and found them.
  • I haven't seen the site of the original San Bernardino McDonald's along Rt. 66, but I've seen the oldest still-serving McDonald's in Downey, and its McDonald's museum.
  • I haven't been to the races at Del Mar, but I've been to the ones at Santa Anita, Los Alamitos, and Hollywood Park. Maybe I should go back because I didn't properly wear a hat? Once I wore a little black hat to go with my little black dress to a job interview at Angels Stadium. The interviewer made a snide remark about "We don't wear hats in the parking lot." I wonder if he ever sees news footage of women in hats at the horse races, and becomes livid at the sight of women, in hats, in parking lots.
No, thanks! The things I could care less about:
  • Bungee jumping, hang gliding, and zip-lining? Somehow I don't think I need to do any of that to have lived a rich full life. Maybe I'm just not the outdoor type.
  • The Nixon Library and the Reagan Library--you honestly expect a progressive Democrat like me to set foot in either of those?
  • You do not need to volunteer to be a cast member at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, where you can get all painted up and pose as part of a "live" replica of a famous painting--and the pageant often doesn't even do all that good a job of replicating the painting. I've been on a stage, in a play, with lines to speak, and that beats this.
  • "Slide down the side of skyscraper. The 45-foot-long glass-and-steel Skyslide protrudes from the US Bank Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the West. From 1,000 feet above downtown, the slide offers one of the best views of the City of Angels." I've had a number of "the best views of the City of Angels," including from the revolving Bonaventure restaurant in the days when you really could see a 360-degree view of Los Angeles from it, and I didn't need to submit to a PR stunt for US Bank to see it. Besides, just how much of a view do you get while you're sliding down anything?
  • Rock climbing is more a survival skill than a before-you-die adventure--and one slip and it will be the last thing you do before you die.
  • The magazine lists four kayaking and/or whitewater trips, indicating an unnecessary fondness for kayaking and/or whitewater rafting--down the Los Angeles River, the Kern River, around the sea caves at the Channel Islands and among the leopard sharks in La Jolla. Once again, I'm not the outdoor type. 
  • Did my aeronautical-engineer father ever drag me through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and if he didn't, why should I care?


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