Most people will remember Alison Arngrim as the wickedly evil bitch, Nellie Oleson, from the television series “Little House On The Priaire.” The show ran from 1974-1983 and since I was born in 1975 so much of my experience of “Little House” was in reruns in the early 1980′s when the show aired on one of the three channels my family had while growing up in the rural areas outside of Calgary. You see in Calgary, which sits in Canada’s Prairie region and the outskirts of Calgary didn’t look so different from the scenery of the show. Also Calgary is well known for the Calgary Stampede celebration where the entire city embraces it’s Wild West past and is home to Heritage Park Historical Village which preserves many Little House era buildings in a town like setting, so the “Little House On The Prairie” show didn’t seem quite so removed from the 1980′s I grew up in.
I had no plans on going to Disneyland but caught the tweet on Twitter of one of my local friends, Michael Carrera indicating he was on his way up to Disneyland. I sent him a post back saying I wished I had known he was going because I would have gone. So he said, just come on up, and after thinking about it for probably the briefest amount of time possible, I wrote back saying I would be on my way up shortly. My Twitter conversation was picked up by another friend, Chuck Salerno, who was at Disneyland helping out with a “Flat Stanley” project for one of his family members. (If you’ve not heard of “Flat Stanley” (as I had not) essentially it’s just an elementary school project consisting of a cardboard cutout in the shape of a person (aka Stanley) that gets sent to people to photograph in random places to create a photographic travelogue of the cardboard cut out. Essentially a neat way to travel vicariously through photos and the creativity of the people Flat Stanley gets sent to.)
As I arrived at the Disneyland resort, I notified both Michael and Chuck that I had arrived. Michael sent back a text saying he and his friend were just finishing Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure Park and would be crossing over to Disneyland right afterwards. Chuck indicated he was on a park bench near the central hub of Disneyland. I was going to wait outside for Michael and his friend outside Disneyland when Michael sent a text saying he and his friend would be making a quick stop to the car, so I opted to go into Disneyland and meet up with Chuck and would catch up with Michael and his friend later as the trip to the car would add at least half an hour to the wait time for them.
When I was asked to be an evaluator of the first paid Belly Fat Cure coaching group as someone who’s been in the program and had great success with it, the last thing I expected to happen was to actually make some new friends in the process. I wasn’t really looking to have regular interaction with any of the folks in the program, just serve as an independent observer lurking in the shadows. However, one of those clients, Amber, who had started a blog entitled, “Me & Jorge” to document her journey through the Belly Fat Cure coaching program, reached out to me as a fellow blogger and the rest is as they say, history.
Amber initially was very shy about photographs, so I didn’t know what she looked like until well into the coaching program. This reminded me of my early days in my blogging as the program was at that point, still a work in progress and I wasn’t quite sure what I could share or not share on my blog about the program. I worked around it by always pointing people to the free report that was available on JorgeCruise.com at the time so that those who wanted more program specific details could download what Jorge was freely making available and just recap what had been working for me. I was very careful to leave out more specific details that were not yet available to the public.
I don’t normally write about social networking sites designed for dating purposes, so this is a little bit of an unusual entry for me. When I first felt comfortable enough to come out it was really the bear community that was the friendliest and most welcoming to me so naturally I felt it best to fit in with people who friendliest with me. Fast forward to today, most of my best local friends are members of the bear community and I have really enjoyed getting to know so many great people.
Recently a new site meant for bear community members to socialize has come on the scene called BearGrind and can be found at BearGrind.com and it’s founding has occurred as a result of complaints addressed to the management and handling of another site. As I like my blog site to focus on the positive, I’ll leave you on your own to discover those complaints if you choose to find them, in any case, the newly born site that came online this month is rapidly growing everyday as the word gets out. I learned about it from a Twitter post by Brian Hill of the 619 Bearcast podcast and it seems he was one of the first in San Diego to learn about it.
Following my visit to the Sonic Drive-In in Vista, I stopped at the nearby Frazier Farms Market mainly to see they had any Ginger Ale Zevia, which they did have, but I was intrigued by what I saw next to the Zevia. With so few beverage manufacturers realizing that there is a market for sugar free drinks that don’t use artificial sweeteners, it’s always a nice surprise when a new comes to market that is able to be naturally sugar free, and today, I discovered a new product that I just had to bring home to try out.
That new product is Steaz Zero Calorie Sparking Green Tea. Essentially it’s a flavored tea product made with sparking water so it looks and tastes more like an exotic flavored soda instead of a tea product. The tea is sweetened with Erythritol and Stevia extract thereby making it a great option for people following Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program. The teas are also organically grown with special mention on the bottles about how its sustainably sourced for a natural and organically based beverage. There’s also several logos on the bottle to indicate it’s compliance with several programs such as certifications for being organic, vegan, fair trade, and a low carbon footprint during manufacturing. Essentially indicating the company is as environmentally focused as it is profit driven, definitely an admirable quality.
To most of the rest of the country, Sonic Drive-In restaurants are a common, everyday sight and experience. Perhaps, one hardly worth taking note. However, they are relatively new here in San Diego, with their first store appearing in Santee about a year ago. I still have not visited that location, but on my way to my Post Office Box in Carlsbad I was driving through Vista and found they had put in a Sonic Drive-In near the recently redeveloped Main Street area. In fact, it’s really close to the old Peppertree Frosty shop that has an amazing variety of milkshakes and other ice cream treats.
I decided to give Sonic a try as I haven’t done a “drive-in” experience in years and thought it might be fun. I pulled into an open stall, decided on what to have then pressed the button to call the store to let them know I was ready to order. Once the order was placed, I loved the fact I could just pay with my Debit card (using it as a Mastercard) right at the menu board right next to the speaker and within a few minutes a young girl on roller skates was out to deliver my order and receipt. It was really cool. I know once the drive-thru was introduced, the drive-in’s were pretty much existing on borrowed time and nearly disappeared permanently, fortunately Sonic has been able to revive the format and make it accessible to folks who might never know the concept ever existed.
Yesterday, I decided to stop for some food after work and while driving through Escondido, I decided to stop at the Farmer Boys Restaurant on Valley Parkway. Farmer Boys is a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California although they have next to no presence at all in San Diego County. They have 2 stores in Escondido, but are mostly located in Riverside and San Bernadino counties. (They even have 2 locations in Las Vegas.)
The restaurants are pretty cool as a kind of hybrid fast food/sit down restaurant. You place your order at the counter like a fast food place and if you’re dining in, they give you a number and serve your order to your table on real plates with real flatware, not the disposable paper products of traditional fast food places. The place has a more rural appeal in terms of appearance and fits in with a country style home feeling, and is really quite a pleasant environment to dine in. And the service is quite friendly too.
Farmer Boys has the tagline “World’s Greatest Hamburgers” and while many places make that claim or something very similar, usually it’s just over inflated hype. Would I consider the burgers at Farmer Boys to be the World’s Greatest, no, not by a long shot. But what I would say is that they’re definitely on par or slightly above the average sit down restaurant. And while the tagline really focuses on burgers, they really do offer quite a selection of different things, burgers are just a small portion of the menu. They do offer a rather large breakfast menu, so they have a greater bit of variety than you’d expect for a place claiming to be a “burger” joint.
Now that 2009 has come to a close and 2010 has begun, I can safely say that it’s a year that has been very challenging and although I am not the least bit sad to see 2009 go, it certainly was not without some really incredible experiences for me that I would like to highlight before wipe the slate clean and start fresh with 2010.
This list was especially difficult to narrow down since 2009 was the year I kicked my blogging into high gear. I had started Ryan’s Incredible World in 2007 didn’t actually start blogging until 2008 and I would maybe make no more than five entries a month. So picking my highlights of 2008 was relatively easy since there wasn’t so many blog entries to go through to pick out the defining moments.
I had joined a couple of 30-Day blogging challenges which requires 30 blog entries in 30 days and it essentially got me into the habit of making almost daily blog entries. Now it’s pretty safe to say that each month sees about 25 new blog entries. The constant blogging has actually helped bring a bigger audience to my blog, so if your first time reading any of my writing has been in 2009, then no doubt something I wrote in 2009 caught your eye and is why you’re here reading this entry now. I am grateful for the many folks who’ve read my blog and left me comments, it’s been a pleasure to hear your feedback throughout the year. In any case, I looked through every post of 2009 to select what I feel were the 10 Most Incredible Things about 2009 that happened for me. You’ll note I combined a few complimentary things to narrow it down to 10.
I do hope you enjoy my reflection on 2009 and continue to join me on my quest to find the most incredible things of 2010. Without further ado, in no particular order.
The kind folks at Cumberland Packaging, the makers of Sugar In The Raw, sent me some samples of the Stevia Extract In The Raw product. As someone who’s been on Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program since April, I’ve been actively replacing sugar with a lot of alternative products, such as Truvia, and PureVia.
One of the big challenges is trying to find good natural substitutes for sugar, unlike the popular “packet” type sugar alternatives you usually find offered everywhere such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose all of which are toxic man-made chemicals. Stevia is a great alternative but I’ve only tried it when it’s blended with a sugar alcohol such Erythritol, as is in the case of both Truvia and PureVia. Those brands say that they combine the sugar alcohol with the stevia to help remove the bitterness of plain stevia. So I was a bit hesitant to try plain stevia.
So when I saw the opportunity to have the makers of Stevia Extract In The Raw to send me some samples, I thought it was a great opportunity to do so. I was following them on Twitter and they were offering samples to their Twitter followers. They saw on my profile that I am a bit of a blackjack expert so they asked me a blackjack question before sending me the samples.
When it was announced in 2008 that the Disney Resorts would be offering free admission to one park for people to celebrate their birthday in 2009, I knew I was going to make plans to enjoy Disneyland for my birthday. It’s not the first time I’ve spent my birthday at Disneyland. The last time was in 2004 back when I last had an annual pass to the parks. I was excited to come to Disneyland for my birthday as I haven’t been to the park since right around the time Space Mountain was re-opening following two years of being closed to completely replace the tracks.
I posted a note on my Twitter account to see if any of my friends would be free and available to join me at Disneyland, and I suppose the one thing as you get older is that the responsibilities of the real world doesn’t always allow your friends to come play with you in an amusement park on a “work” day during the week. So aside from several notes of regret of not being able to come from local friends and notes from international friends where the travel distances were prohibitive of being able to come, it was looking like I’d be doing the park on my own. No big deal as far as I’m concerned, I’ve never been the type of person to allow the fact others couldn’t come to stop me from enjoying the things I want to do. Besides, I’ve done the Disney parks several times on my own when I last had annual passes, sometimes I’d end up at the parks on a whim and would have no time to invite others anyway.