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Book Quotes

I love being able to highlight parts of books on the Kindle and then easily look through them later on the web. Here are some of my favorite quotes looking back over the things I’ve marked in the two years since my last post on this topic.

His internal GPS updated and the horror that had become his life came rushing back.

Blake Crouch, Pines: Wayward Pines: 1 (The Wayward Pines Trilogy)

I especially love that quote! This is how I feel when I wake up before my alarm in the morning. If I can fall back asleep before my internal GPS gets a lock on the day, I’m good, but as soon as I remember all the troubles that I have to face, I’m done for and I might as well get up.

At least twenty percent are going to be wrong, and we’re going to alter them later. But if I don’t make decisions, we die.

It’s OK to be wrong. Just don’t be confident and wrong.

I’m a big believer that a small number of exceptional people who are highly motivated can do better than a large number of people who are pretty good and moderately motivated.

Every year there are more referees and fewer doers.”

Elon Musk as quoted by Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk

When we struggle with depression, what we need most is not a list of things to do. It’s a reminder of what God has already done through his only Son.

Jesus did not tell his disciples to tell people who aren’t his disciples to start acting like disciples.

You’re not being bold when you stand up for God’s law on social media.

Our job is simply to love every person and love every passage, even the passages that tell us to repent.

What’s the goal of the government? Peace on earth. What’s the goal of the church? Peace with God… No legislation can do what the Bible values most: changing the human heart.

Mike Novotny, Taboo: Topics Christians Should Be Talking About but Don’t

Jorgen had always seen Cobb as strong, immovable. And he was strong. But strong men could still be used up.

Brandon Sanderson, Defiant (The Skyward Series Book 4)

It was one of life’s rules – Never trust someone who is willingly rude to low-paid service staff

Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millennia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world.

Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility

I have always found that there’s an inverse relationship between the number of people in a room and the amount of useful work that can be done.

John Scalzi, The End of All Things

Book Quotes

It has apparently been six years since I did my last post of things that I’ve highlighted while reading books on my Kindle. I thought I’d do another batch but this just goes back through books I’ve read in the last two years. For a full list of all the books that I’ve read, you can follow me on goodreads. It’s mostly science fiction and fantasy with a few nonfiction thrown in every once in a while.

Before I get to that though, note that I chose Hail Mary by Andy Weir for the thumbnail but I didn’t include any quotes. I’m not giving you any spoilers, but I think this was my favorite book of the period. If you’re even a little bit sci-fi curious, check it out.

Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?” “Uh … that’s a trick question.” “It is the key question, dear Wyoming. A radical question that strikes to the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands—and what he will die for.

Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

“Relaxing isn’t relaxing,” he said. “Sit around too much, and you start sitting around even more.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War

If your joy lives in a codependent relationship with anything on earth, then your joy is dependent on something undependable. You don’t want that. The wisest man in history doesn’t want that for you either. King Solomon warns, “Hopes placed in mortals die with them” (Proverbs 11:7).

Mike Novotny, 3 Words That Will Change Your Life

I always thought when I became a man, I’d feel more confident, but towering over this boy, I feel so very small.

Pierce Brown, Iron Gold

Anger is nothing more than justification for bad behavior. And I have no time for bad behavior.

C. Robert Cargill, Sea of Rust

He defined good company not by the conversation but by the lack of it. When there was no need to talk to feel comfortable, that was the right company.

Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

This time, when she’d pointed it at me, she’d flicked the safety on. If that wasn’t true love, I don’t know what was.

Brandon Sanderson, Firefight

When you’re young, you can assume that everyone older than you has life figured out. Once you get command yourself, you realize we’re all just the same kids wearing older bodies.

Brandon Sanderson, Starsight

The huge moments in life seemed like they should have more ceremony and effects. The important words—the life-changing ones—should echo a little. But they didn’t. They sounded just like everything else.

James S. A. Corey, Tiamat’s Wrath

And I have to give an honorable mention to Grace Abounds by Daniel Deutschlander. I clicked on that to look at the highlights and I made over 700 highlights in ONE BOOK.

Book Quotes

wheeloftimelogoIt’s been a couple years since I’ve posted some of the text that I highlight while reading books on my Kindle. I’ll pick out a few good ones since the last one.

A Survival Guide for Life: How to Achieve Your Goals, Thrive in Adversity, and Grow in Character by Bear Grylls

  • If you can be the most enthusiastic person you know, then you won’t go far wrong.
  • Success almost always follows great attitude. The two attract each other.
  • How you speak about others speaks loudest about yourself.
  • The smart man and woman save the best for those they love. If we show our loved ones the most gratitude every day, then life will smile on us in return.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

  • Reason is the first victim of strong emotion

The Well of Ascension: Book Two of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

  • Those who take lightly promises they make to those they love are people who find little lasting satisfaction in life. This is not an easy time in which to live. That does not mean that it has to be a difficult time to love, but it does mean that you will find unusual stresses upon your lives and your relationship.
  • When you can’t have both freedom and safety, which do you choose…?

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

  • Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
  • Morgase claimed she had just made it up, her reply was “At my age, if I make it up, it’s still an old saying.”
  • Never make a plan without knowing as much as you can of the enemy. Never be afraid to change your plans when you receive new information. Never believe you know everything. And never wait to know everything.
  • Married life taught a man about women; or about one woman, anyway.
  • One nice thing I’ve noticed about getting older is that your body doesn’t seem to need its sleep as much anymore. Dying doesn’t take as much energy as growing, I guess.
  • Darkness cannot push back Light. Darkness exists only when Light fails, when it flees.


Book Quotes

There were too many good quotes to fit them all into yesterday’s post. Here’s another batch.

The Evolutionary Void (Commonwealth: The Void Trilogy) by Peter F. Hamilton

  • We all regard the past too highly. We should cut ourselves free of it. You can only ever look forward to the future.”
  • Most people who have failed miserably in life itself have one last resort left available to them. They become politicians.

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman

  • The young boss realized that his job was not to show his subordinates how much smarter he was than they were, but to bring them up to his level.
  • Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. —HENRY FORD
  • When you get a whole country—as did ours—thinking that Washington is a sort of heaven and behind its clouds dwell omniscience and omnipotence, you are educating that country into a dependent state of mind which augurs ill for the future. —HENRY FORD
  • “You have to expect the unexpected, and you have to deal with it,” he said. “Whining is not a plan. Wallowing is not a plan. We have a plan, and if we need to adjust it, we will.”
  • Washington was now spending taxpayer dollars to pay for advertising touting the benefits of GM and Chrysler products over competing Fords. Those companies were also using taxpayer dollars to offer bigger incentives in an effort to win back sales. Even more troubling for Ford was the fact that the government was using General Motors’ former lending arm, GMAC, to offer attractive financing terms to buyers that Ford simply could not match.
  • The leader’s job is to remind people of that vision, make sure they stick to the process, and keep them working together.

WAR by Sebastian Junger

  • Apaches have a 30 mm chain gun slaved to the pilot’s helmet that points wherever he looks; if you shoot at an Apache, the pilot turns his head, spots you, and kills you.
  • Good leaders know that exhaustion is partly a state of mind, though, and that the men who succumb to it have on some level decided to put themselves above everyone else. If you’re not prepared to walk for someone you’re certainly not prepared to die for them, and that goes to the heart of whether you should even be in the platoon.
  • We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. —Winston Churchill (or George Orwell)
  • The only way to calm your nerves in that environment was to marvel at the insane amount of firepower available to the Americans and hope that that changed the equation somehow. They have a huge shoulder-fired rocket called a Javelin, for example, that can be steered into the window of a speeding car half a mile away. Each Javelin round costs $80,000, and the idea that it’s fired by a guy who doesn’t make that in a year at a guy who doesn’t make that in a lifetime is somehow so outrageous it almost makes the war seem winnable.
  • “Combat is such an adrenaline rush,” he says. “I’m worried I’ll be looking for that when I get home and if I can’t find it, I’ll just start drinking and getting in trouble. People back home think we drink because of the bad stuff, but that’s not true… we drink because we miss the good stuff.”
  • The most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.
  • Men say they miss combat, it’s not that they actually miss getting shot at—you’d have to be deranged—it’s that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life.
  • Statistically, it’s six times as dangerous to spend a year as a young man in America than as a cop or a fireman, and vastly more dangerous than a one-year deployment at a big military base in Afghanistan. You’d have to go to a remote firebase like the KOP or Camp Blessing to find a level of risk that surpasses that of simply being an adolescent male back home.

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina

  • I had deep feelings for my son—always will—but I wondered at the time what ever made me decide to have a baby. I had no idea that something so wonderful was also going to be so hard. I learned a difficult but important lesson: Once a kid comes into the world, the calculus of daily living coughs up new equations. I am good at math, but I was no good at this. I had no idea how to solve these problems.
  • The baby takes. The parent gives. End of story.
  • When I lecture on the science of young brains, the dads (it’s almost always the dads) demand to know how to get their kids into Harvard. The question invariably angers me. I bellow, “You want to get your kid into Harvard? You really want to know what the data say? I’ll tell you what the data say! Go home and love your wife!” This chapter is about that retort: why marital hostility happens, how it alters a baby’s developing brain, and how you can counteract the hostility and minimize its effects.
  • Couples who regularly practice empathy see stunning results. It is the independent variable that predicts a successful marriage.
  • For all of us, nature controls about 50 percent of our intellectual horsepower, and environment determines the rest.
  • There are four nutrients you will want in your behavioral formula, adjusting them as your baby gets older: breast-feeding, talking to your baby, guided play, and praising effort rather than accomplishment. Brain research tells us there are also several toxins: pushing your child to perform tasks his brain is not developmentally ready to take on; stressing your child to the point of a psychological state termed “learned helplessness”; and, for the under-2 set, television.
  • Along with the ability to regulate emotions, the ability to perceive the needs of another person and respond with empathy plays a huge role in your child’s social competence. Empathy makes good friends.

Book Quotes

I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately thanks to Good Reads. Here are some of the quotes that I’ve highlighted while reading them on my Kindle.

Pandora’s Star (The Commonwealth Saga) by Peter F. Hamilton

  • He never did understand why people collected or even admired art; the greatest human artist could never hope to match what nature did with a single flower.
  • That’s the thing with serious money, you can do so much that you never have time to do anything.
  • Ozzie knew just how much truth there was in the old saying that every conservative is another liberal who got mugged.

Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle by Si Robertson

  • When you were born and they were handing out brains, you thought they said ‘trains’.
  • Christine was ready to have a baby, so she really wanted me to visit the doctor to find out what was going on. I wanted to have children badly as well, so I agreed to go. After an examination, the doctors thought my sperm count might be low. They handed me a glass jar and told me to bring back a specimen the next day. Now, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Despite my embarrassment, I agreed to come back with a specimen. The next day, I returned to the doctor’s office. “Where’s the sample?” the doctor asked me. “Hey, I tried to do it,” I told him. “But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. I asked my wife for help, but I still couldn’t do it. Then I asked my neighbor to help me, and I even asked my army buddies for assistance. No matter who helped, I couldn’t do it.” I looked at the doctor and his face was bright red. “Hey, none of us could get the lid off the jar,” I said.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

  • In World War II, 35,933 AAF planes were lost in combat and accidents. The surprise of the attrition rate is that only a fraction of the ill-fated planes were lost in combat. In 1943 in the Pacific Ocean Areas theater in which Phil’s crew served, for every plane lost in combat, some six planes were lost in accidents. Over time, combat took a greater toll, but combat losses never overtook noncombat losses.
  • In one time frame, in the Eastern Air Command, half of the Catalina flying boats attempting rescues crashed while trying to land on the ocean. It seems likely that for every man rescued, several would-be rescuers died, especially in the first years of the war.

The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One by Patrick Rothfuss

  • When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
  • If there is one thing I will not abide, it is the folly of a willful pride.
  • My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you’re lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute or a day.
  • There are two sure ways to lose a friend, one is to borrow, the other to lend.

The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two by Patrick Rothfuss

  • Books are a poor substitute for female companionship, but they are easier to find.
  • Everyone knows a man’s reputation except the man himself.
  • Nothing in the world is harder than convincing someone of an unfamiliar truth.
  • Trying to have a conversation with him was like playing catch with a well.

Book Quotes

One of the best features of the Kindle is the ability to highlight passages and then retrieve them on your computer later. Here are some of the passages I’ve highlighted in the last few months:

  • ATLANTIS by Bob Mayer
    More missions meant they were better at what they did, not less afraid.
  • The Time Machine by H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
    I could work at a problem for years, but to wait inactive for twenty-four hours—that is another matter.
  • The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    Nitwit ideas are for emergencies. You use them when you’ve got nothing else to try. If they work, they go in the Book. Otherwise you follow the Book, which is largely a collection of nitwit ideas that worked."

I’d say Mote in God’s Eye is the best of the books I’ve read recently. I’ve been very impressed with two of the Jerry Pournelle books I’ve read. The other is Lucifer’s Hammer. If you’re at all interested by the synopsis of the books, give them a shot and you probably won’t be disappointed.

Studio711 – The Book

I've hinted at my newest project a couple times since last fall, but the first stage is finally nearing conclusion. As the title of the post implies, I'm writing a book. More accurately, it will be a series of six volumes – one for each year of the blog.

I have no illusions that anyone else will purchase this. It's purely a project that sounded interesting to me, and I think it will be interesting to see all those books lined up on my bookshelf. But how do you publish a book without spending thousands of dollars?

That's where steps in. They are a printing/publishing company that makes it super easy for you to create your own books with professional printing and binding. You can choose from paper back, hard cover, coffee table books, and a large number of other formats. Each format has a bunch of different binding and printing options. You can even pay $50 and get a real ISBN number. I'll be skipping the ISBN number, but the books I'm getting printed are standard 6"x9" hardcover books with a color dust jacket and black and white pages.

For the past few months, I have been scrubbing old posts. The first 1000 or so posts didn't have titles or categories so that took a lot of time. I also had to write a program that pulled each post out of the database and stuck it into a word document while preserving the images and formatting.

It has been very tempting to edit the content of some posts. While I am ok with correcting spelling, I'm holding back from removing posts entirely. I disagree with some posts I wrote in the past, but that's part of what makes this an interesting project.

I'm getting close to sending year 2002 to the printer. Once I get that back and make sure everything looks as expected, I'll print off volumes for 2003-2007. It all depends on how I format the books, but I'm expecting to have well over 2000 pages in the complete set.

And now for the part that you can participate in. I'm trying to mimic an actual published book, and books that you buy in the stores always have quotes from reviewers. If you leave comments or send me an email with a review of the book, I'll consider using it. I realize I'm opening myself up for a lot of jokes, but that will make the book better. Don't worry, you're not going to hurt my feelings. If you don't make fun of the book, I will.

[Update] Fixed typo. Thanks JimW.

Disneyland Review

Ever since Elijah was born, Tyla and I have talked about if and when we’ll go to Disneyland for vacation. We know that we’re probably not going to end up being frequent Disneyland visitors so we hemmed and hawed a lot about what year would be a good one, but eventually, we pulled the trigger and put Disneyland into the 2018 budget.

This post is going to be a bit like when a relative sits down with a huge photo album, but hey, at least you can skip through this without hurting my feelings. Note that you can click on any of the photos for a bigger version.


Planning a trip to a Disney resort felt overwhelming. Neither one of us has ever been there. (I was at Disneyworld when I was in kindergarten.) So many people have been there and they all have opinions. Searching around on the web reveals endless websites, videos and podcasts telling you the right way to do it. I ended up reading The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland mostly because it had good reviews on Amazon and it was available for free as an ebook from our library. I got so much out of it, that I ended up purchasing a physical copy of the book too. The book covers everything from hotels to rides to food and more. There’s an incredible level of detail if you really want to maximize your trip (for example, stand in entry line X when entering the park because people end up forming one line but when you get to the tree it splits into two lines so it moves twice as fast.) But for me, it was simply nice have a full picture from a single source. I took lots of notes on my first read of the book and then went back to reread some of the sections again.

We decided to pony up for one of the official Disney hotels and we booked a room at Disneyland Hotel. We even upgraded one notch to get a pool view instead of a parking lot view. If you stay outside the park, you can stay close and get a bad pool or stay farther away and get a better pool. Staying in the park gives you both. A good pool was important because our plan was to spend two days in the park with a day at the hotel/pool in between. Staying in a Disney hotel also gives you early access to the parks on certain days.

To figure out dates for the trip, I went back to the book, or rather, to the website associated with the book: I spent a couple bucks and bought a one year pass to the website. They’re a bunch of data science geeks who happen to love Disney so they have built up a sophisticated model to predict traffic at the various resorts and even wait times on every ride. I used their data to pick relatively low traffic periods (and low hotel price periods) that coincided with our availability.

Once I had the dates, I found our flights and a shuttle service between the airport to the hotel that wouldn’t require us to bring a car seat for Elijah.

The next step in the planning process was going through all the various rides and trying to come up with some sort of a plan going in. I narrowed it down to the rides that I thought Elijah would enjoy (nothing to dark, nothing scary, nothing too intense, etc.) Then I plugged them all into the Touring Plans website and it created an optimized route for us based on our walking speed, predicted waits for every ride, etc.

The final step of planning was figuring out food. I heard from multiple people that you need to make reservations for your meals if you’re planning to sit down and eat. I picked out one character dinner for our day off and then booked a meal at a restaurant in each park for dinner.

Two Days Before We Left

I was on my way home from work on Friday when I got a text from Tyla telling me to come straight inside as soon as I got home because Elijah had a big accident on his bike. He was zooming down the hill in front of our house and ended up going over his handlebars. He scraped his face across the pavement and came to a stop. He ended up with pretty bad cuts around his eye and a big swollen lip.

Thankfully there was no permanent damage (other than a slightly chipped tooth which we did get checked out when we got back). That was less less than 48 hours before our plane was scheduled to leave so you’ll see some sores on his face in the pictures. It was incredible to see how quickly he healed. Seven days later, you could barely tell he’d had an accident!

Hotel Review

There are three Disney hotels and Disneyland is the second closest to the park entrance. It has a nice pool with some good water slides. In our final minutes of swimming on the trip, Elijah finally got up the courage to try the yellow one (the middle of the three intensities.) He did great and wanted to do it a million more times.

We were in Frontier Tower on the third floor facing the pool. It was a reasonably nice view and we were able to see some of the fireworks in the park every evening. The room felt nice and big. The highlight was the big headboard that stretched across both beds. It had the castle drawn into it and when you flipped a switch on the nearby lamp, lights came on that looked like fireworks.

One of the buildings that was part of the hotel also housed Goofy’s Kitchen which was the site of our character dinner. We did that on our day at the hotel/pool so it was convenient to not have to go very far for dinner. The dinner was the most expensive frozen kid’s food that I’ll ever eat, but it was fine if I thought of it as private time with 5 characters. As a surprise bonus, Mickey was there and we got to take our picture with him as we checked in with the hostess. Throughout the meal we got to take pictures with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, Chip and Dale. If I had that to do over again, I’d probably book breakfast or lunch since I think the characters are similar but the meal is a little cheaper.

Disneyland Park Review

We arrived at the hotel Sunday afternoon and then spent all of Monday in the park. The park opened up at 9am (no Magic Hour early entry that day). We had decided to use the park’s stroller rental instead of other options, so we walked from the hotel to the park entrance and arrived at about 8:30. We picked up our stroller and walked into the park around the time it opened. (The stroller rental opened a bit later than normal for some reason.)

We walked up Main Street with smiles on our faces and headed through the castle for our first ride: Peter Pan. No deal. I think all the people and excitement were too much for Elijah. Looking back, I shouldn’t have been quite so ambitious on the first attempt. There’s no way for him to see what he’s getting into with that ride since it’s all inside. No worries. We scrapped that and moved on. We were there for a fun family time, not to ride every awesome ride. Here’s how the rest of our day shaped up. It’s pretty close to what I had planned on the Touring Plans website, but we definitely moved slower than I thought we would. No problem though, I was able to use the app to re-optimize our remaining rides. That app saved us a lot of steps and a lot of time.

  • Dumbo was our first ride. That was a big hit and it was a good one to start with since it was something like what he’s seen at the fair. This ride was my first taste of not feeling awkward riding a kid’s ride by myself. Dumbo only seats 2 comfortably. At the fair we would have just had one of us go with him, but at Disneyland, they just ask you how many cars/elephants/etc you need for your party and that’s how many you get. Plenty of adults ride the kid rides by themselves so it doesn’t feel weird. That proved to be very nice since we actually got to participate (even if the rides weren’t super thrilling) without feeling awkward.
  • Autotopia was a lot of fun. I rode with Elijah and Tyla got her own car. He thought it was pretty funny to let go of the steering wheel and let it bonk off the center rail. I think he was a little short to see over the front but he had it mostly figured out looking around the side.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – Elijah was fine waiting in line, but as soon as we got down into the submarine, Elijah asked if we could get off. That wasn’t a great start. He asked lots of questions but was ok with most of it until we got to some of the scarier parts. I held him on my lap, put my hand over his eyes and tried to explain what was happening. He was putting on his brave act but he did ask nicely if we could not do any more submarine rides.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat – It was time for something a little more low key before lunch. We walked over to the riverboat. If I could skip one ride, I think this would be it. The boat was beautiful and the ride was fine, but honestly it was better to see the riverboat from the shore than to be on it.
  • I had planned for us to have lunch at the Hungry Bear restaurant before the crowds got to big, but just as we got there, they had a power outage and had to reset the equipment. Instead we headed over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We were next in line and… ride malfunction. It was improvisation time. Thankfully we spotted some characters out for a meet and greet and the line wasn’t too long. We got to take pictures with Eeyore, Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh. Elijah got autographs from all of them. Kudos to Tyla for making simple autograph book out of note cards.
  • By the time we finished that, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was working again so we took a ride on that. It was ok but not super special.
  • I was more than ready for food at this point and thankfully the Hungry Bear was in action again. Unfortunately the line was much longer and probably waited 30 minutes, but we finally got what turned out to be a good lunch.
  • After lunch, we hoofed it back to the Fantasyland Theater to watch Mickey and Magical Map. I think we all gave it two thumbs up and it was a nice way to let our lunch settle.
  • I had previously snagged a Fastpass (yay for Max Pass!) for It’s a Small World and we rode that next. Elijah was hesitant for an indoor ride but I told him there couldn’t possibly be a less scary ride in the whole park. But as I was riding through, I thought about how it could easily be turned into a torture device. Imagine being on a nonstop loop with that music…
  • By this point it was around 3:30 or so and we had early dinner reservations at 5pm. We spent some time over on Tom Sawyer’s Island walking around the Pirate’s Lair. There are some great views of the riverboat there and they play area is huge and impressive. It’s a good thing it’s an island though because it would be very easy to lose track of your kid in all those tunnels and passageways.
  • Dinner was at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street. I made an early reservation so that we’d be done in time to watch the parade at 6pm. We weren’t terribly hungry since we had a late lunch but the food was good and it was fun to eat outside right on Main Street.
  • We finished dinner at about 5:45 and then set off to find a spot along the street to watch the parade. Some nice people made a little room for us and we got a great viewing spot. We were near the end of the parade route so we probably waited about half an hour and Elijah was getting pretty worn out, but we survived the wait and boy was it worth it. The Pixar Play Parade is a new parade for Pixar Fest and we had a blast watching all the characters go past. All those dancers must be completely wiped by the end of the route but they didn’t show it.
  • Elijah was toast. We were hoping to get him on Jungle Cruise but no deal. Instead we rode the train around to Tomorrowland and got on the Monorail to ride back to the west side of Downtown Disney for the short walk back to the hotel. I think he finally got into bed a little after 9pm and was instantly asleep.

Disney California Adventure Park Review

As I mentioned earlier, Tuesday was our day to rest, hang out in the pools and go to the character dinner. Wednesday was another park day and this time we got to use the Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure. We were near the front of the line and got to walk into the park with the first wave of people.

Our first ride was in Cars Land and before I get to the rides, I have to stop and talk about how amazing Cars Land is. That movie has gotten a lot of air time in our house, so maybe we’re biased, but I think all three of us would pick that as our favorite area of either park. The detail is incredible and it’s a blast to walk through the town that looks so much like the movie!

  • Radiator Springs Racers is one of the most popular rides in the park and our optimized plan said that we should hit that first. Since we were some of the first people in the park, we only waited 5-10 minutes. I knew this would be a stretch for Elijah, but he loves Cars and had already spent a day going on rides, so I thought we could pull it off. It was fun to be on a more adult ride and all three of us enjoyed it. We should have sat in the front instead of the back so Elijah could see better, but he never complained about his view (or lack of it.) In the ride photo, you can see him looking out the side of the car.
  • Next up was Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. We all crammed into one car and laughed as the cars danced around each other.
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamoboree wasn’t on my list but Elijah wanted to try it. Imagine small tractors going in figure 8 patterns with a trailer behind that flings side to side. We couldn’t all fit in one trailer so I took Elijah and Tyla got her own. During the ride, Mater sings a song as the tractors dance around. Elijah loved that one and we ended up coming back for a second round later in the day.
  • We walked over to Bugs Land which has a set of relatively unimpressive rides for very young children. Elijah wanted to try the bumper cars (Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies) so we waited in a long line for that but it was worth it to see him cracking up as we bonked into each other.
  • We hit another simple ride called Francis’ Ladybug Boogie which is a slow teacup style ride.
  • Then it was time for lunch so we went back to Cars Land and had lunch at Flo’s V8 Cafe. Tyla found us a nice spot in the air conditioning by a window looking out over the Radiator Springs Racers ride. We beat the rush and didn’t wait long at all to get our food.
  • Earlier, I had acquired a Fast Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania so after lunch, we went through Pacific Wharf to Paradise Pier. Much of the pier is under construction for its conversion to Pixar Pier, but we found the Toy Story ride with no problem and our Fast Pass shot us to the front of the line. The ride is a fun ride through a midway shooting style video game. I had to keep reaching over and helping Elijah aim but I still managed to rack up 142K points which i think is respectable. I would have liked to try that one again.
  • From there we headed to The Little Mermaid ride. Elijah was nervous that it was going to be underwater again. He doesn’t know much about the movie and was a little scared by the witch, but it was an ok ride. It reminded me of It’s A Small World.
  • We walked over to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Grizzly Peak. It’s a big playground type area with lots of rope bridges and things to climb up.
  • It was time for ice cream and since we liked Cars Land so much, we decided to get it from the Cozy Cone motel area. The line wasn’t very long bug ugh, we waited a very long time in the hot sun. Getting ice cream there was a bad choice,
  • Next we walked back down Buena Vista Street to Turtle Talk With Crush. I didn’t know much about it, but it ended up being a big hit with Elijah. It’s a small theater with a big screen in the front. Crush (the older turtle from Finding Nemo) comes on the screen and interacts with the kids. There’s a voice actor talking and animating Crush as he talks so he can actually say the kids’ names and answer their questions. Elijah liked this so much that he ended up choosing a Crush ornament for his souvenir. It was the only souvenir he asked for on the whole trip!
  • We had a little time to kill before dinner so we went back to Bugs Land and rode the bumper cars again.
  • We also waited for Flik’s Flyers which is kind of a bunch of buckets that lift up and swing around. We all fit in the same bucket which was nice.
  • One final ride on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree brought us to our dinner reservation time.
  • Dinner was at Wine Country Trattoria at the Golden Vine Winery. The food was good and we got to sit outside as the clock wound down on our vacation at Disney.
  • Elijah had been asking to ride the monorail again so we walked back to the Downtown Disney stop and hopped on the monorail back into Disneyland. We thought we could just ride a full loop but they made us get off at Tomorrowland and get back in line. I was a little nervous because they were closing the monorail at 7:30 in preparation for the fireworks show but we made it back on.
  • Actually only Tyla and Elijah made it back on. Earlier in the afternoon, I had snagged a Fast Pass for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. I had no idea what it was, but the building was huge and I like the movies so I thought that would be fun. Tyla gave me her blessing so I hopped out of line and hoofed it back over to Disney California Adventure, used the Fast Pass and jumped to the front of the line. As I strapped into the ride, I still didn’t know what it was, but it turns out that it’s basically a giant elevator that goes up and down randomly in pitch black. It was awesome! The ride stops periodically and doors open to reveal the Guardians of the Galaxy talking to you. I was cracking up the whole time. Great ride! It was dark by the time I finished the ride so I walked through Cars Land one more time to see all the neon lit up at night.
  • Tyla and Elijah ended up with a magical monorail ride. There are a couple seats up with the monorail driver. Tyla asked if it was possible to ride with him and was told yes! So Elijah go to sit in the driver seat and ask a bunch of questions on the ride back to Downtown Disney. I’m sorry I missed that!

Throughout the day, we took a lot of photos including Lightning McQueen, Mater and Red. The cars must have had people inside to drive them because they could also hear what the kids were saying and use canned movie quotes to respond to the kids. Elijah loved Lightning and Red but I think he was a little intimidated by Mater’s big teeth.

Final Thoughts

That was a lot of detail about a bunch of rides that you maybe have never heard of. How about some more general impressions?

  • I was prepared to spend a boat load of money every time we needed to eat. Tyla did a good job packing snacks and we made oatmeal for breakfast at the hotel, but I knew we’d still be shelling out for lunch and dinner. But to my surprise, the prices were quite reasonable. For example, the three of us ate lunch one day for $27! As long as you avoid the wine, beer, $3.95 pop or $7 souvenir cups and drink water, the prices weren’t that far off from what you’d pay at a normal restaurant. They also had some reasonably healthy options at most of the food counter service and sit down restaurants. We planned to avoid French Fries and other greasy food and didn’t have a hard time following that plan.
  • Elijah was amazing. I couldn’t believe how long we got to spend in the park each day. He got a little whiny here and there but nothing out of the norm for a four year old. And I expected him to be asking for every souvenir in sight, but he only asked for cotton candy and the Crush ornament.
  • I was blown away by the cleanliness of the park.The cast members are obsessed with picking up any stray pieces of trash, and the trash cans all feed into a central vacuum system so people don’t have to walk around emptying the trash cans. The cleanliness is infectious. I watched numerous visitors pick up random pieces of trash. When’s the last time you saw that walking through the streets of your city?
  • The design of the various park areas was beautiful. It struck me how three dimensional everything was. I had to keep reminding myself to look up because there was so much more to see. Never once did we see outside of the park and the transitions from area to area were complete. I’d walk a few steps into a new area and realize that the music was totally different, yet I never remembered hearing both types of music overlapping each other. Meticulous doesn’t begin to describe it.
  • We were warned by multiple people to make reservations ahead of time and boy was that important. Dinner at a sit-down restaurant in either park is basically impossible without a reservation. It’s pretty difficult in Downtown Disney too. You can make the reservations online up to 60 days in advance. This also gives you the advantage of sitting with your guidebook and figuring out what kind of food you want to eat.
  • We splurged for both Max Pass and Park Hopper add-ons for our tickets. The Park Hopper ended up not being too useful. We basically just used it to ride the monorail on Wednesday. The Max Pass was excellent though and I’d definitely do that again. It lets you use your phone to collect Fast Passes instead of running all over the park and it also gives you free Photo Pass. Whenever you get your photo taken by one of the numerous professional photographers, they scan your phone and a few minutes later the pictures appear in your account.
  • There are lots of options for strollers from the park’s service to 3rd parties that deliver to your door to bringing your own. There are proponents of each with the park’s stroller rental seeming to be the least recommended, but we were quite happy with it. It was really nice to not stress at all about the stroller being lost in the stroller swarm. We knew we could just pick up another one. We never lost ours though, largely thanks to the bright orange dollar store lei that Tyla hung from it. Stroller pickup and dropoff was painless. You basically just leave it wherever it’s convenient and they will collect it. Elijah will probably be too big for it next time, but I don’t have a problem recommending it to others.

4300 words later you’ve probably gotten the idea that we did a lot of planning for this trip and it turned out even better than we hoped. The plan let us ignore a lot of the stuff that didn’t fit our family goals and focus on the areas that would be fun for us. I didn’t have to constantly worry that we might be missing something fantastic and we knew that with two days in two parks, we’d never come close to seeing it all. The goal was to leave wanting more and we succeeded, but I also think that a third day in the park might have been too much. Two was perfect for us at this point in our lives, and while I don’t expect us to do this again soon, I bet we’ll be back at some point.

Thank you to all the wonderful people at Disneyland for making our trip so memorable!

Time Left In Chapter

One of the great features of the newer Kindles is that they tell you how much time is left in your chapter and in the book. It calculates this based on how fast you are reading. It’s one of the great features you can add when you’re reading digitally instead of with dead trees.

Unfortunately, for some reason the calculated time remaining isn’t always accurate. If you find that it’s not quite right, you can tell the Kindle to re-sample your reading speed and make a new calculation. To do this, click Search while you’re in the book and then search for “;ReadingTimeReset” (without the quotes.) Voila!

Death Of Expertise

MattB posted an article on Facebook that I felt deserved it’s own post here. It’s from and is called “The Death Of Expertise”. The article discusses how our society is full of people who search the internet for 5 minutes and then denounce legitimate experts as idiots. Here are a couple quotes from the article but I encourage you to read the whole thing:

Yes, it’s true that experts can make mistakes, as disasters from thalidomide to the Challenger explosion tragically remind us. But mostly, experts have a pretty good batting average compared to laymen: doctors, whatever their errors, seem to do better with most illnesses than faith healers or your Aunt Ginny and her special chicken gut poultice. To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly…

People in political debates no longer distinguish the phrase “you’re wrong” from the phrase “you’re stupid.” To disagree is to insult. To correct another is to be a hater. And to refuse to acknowledge alternative views, no matter how fantastic or inane, is to be closed-minded…

Thus, at least some of the people who reject expertise are not really, as they often claim, showing their independence of thought. They are instead rejecting anything that might stir a gnawing insecurity that their own opinion might not be worth all that much.