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Olympic Dreams

I’ve been hooked on the Olympics this year.

Watching Michael Phelps slowly make his way to Olympic history has been a joy to watch. When the week started, I read a sports column that presented a very realistic outcome — Phelps not winning eight gold medals. The columnist went on to point out that even if Phelps didn’t win eight gold medals, we shouldn’t think any less of him. Most athletes don’t even win one gold medal in their lifetime. Even if Phelps won just one gold medal, he should be praised, not admonished for his efforts.

But here we are on the brink of history. Last night’s victory was by 1/100 of a second. What a race!!! It looked surely like Phelps would get the silver in the race, but he somehow prevailed. 1/100 of a second. Think about that. The result could easily have been the other way around. One thing about sports — sometimes it’s that lucky bounce or something that helps you to victory. It seems like it’s Phelps’ time and nothing can stop him.

It was interesting watching Mark Spitz humbly passing the torch to Phelps. I am lucky to say that I was able to watch both swimmers win seven gold medals in my lifetime. Who know when someone like Phelps will appear again. It’s been over 30 years since Spitz won his seven gold medals.

Tonight, we’ll see if Phelps can break Spitz’s record. He’s already won more gold medals than anyone in history. Eight gold medals in one Olympics will be another record he can hold. But even if he doesn’t, he will still be one of the greatest Olympians in history and we can proudly say that we saw it in person.

Go Michael!!!

Room 1313 in Las Vegas

I spent (pun intended) a few days in Vegas at the end of June. Arrived around 11:30 PM on Thursday, June 26th and left Monday morning on June 30th. I went with three of my high school buddies. One lives in Las Vegas. Another lives in Seattle. The third friend and I are living in Hawaii.

This is our second trip together. Six years ago, we all went to Lake Tahoe for our 40th birthdays (now you know how old I am). It was a memorable trip, as we enjoyed skiing, gambling and partying like we did in our younger days.

After a pleasant flight to Las Vegas, things turned a little ominous. We checked into the Orleans Hotel. The hotel front desk girl handed me my room key and said: “You’re in Room 1313.” I looked at her in disbelief. There’s a 13th floor in a Vegas hotel? And a room No. 13 on the 13th floor? I had quick thoughts about asking for a different room, but decided not to be superstitious.

I should have asked for a different room. Prior to this trip, I have never lost money every single night of gambling. On this trip, I lost every night. Even my favorite game, blackjack, was letting me down. I didn’t win any time I sat at the blackjack table. Darn room No. 1313!!

Other than the gambling, the trip was very enjoyable. My friend from Seattle is not a big gambler, so we made time to do other than gambling activities (My other two friends on the other hand, are major poker fiends — playing until the sun comes up in the morning.). On Saturday, we went to an indoor electric go-cart track. You may not think an electric cart can go very fast, but these carts zipped around at 35-40 mph. Good fun!

We also went golfing on Sunday. Nice course, but the temperature was 107 degrees! My poker friends were hurting after staying up all night drinking and playing poker.

One of our other friends drove up from the San Diego area to join us for Friday and Saturday night. It was like old times again — just having a good time with the boys.

We’re already thinking of our next trip. Maybe for our 50th birthday?

Family Trip to Disneyland

Insurance Agent Reid Fukumoto's Daughters at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

Disneyland!!!!

I just came back from a family vacation at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. I must say that this was one of my more enjoyable trips to Disneyland. Over the years, I have visited Disneyland as a child and as an adult. This was the first time that we went there as a family.

It had been over 10 years since I last visited Disneyland. I was dating my wife at the time and we went with my friend and his girlfriend. We went during off-season, so the lines weren’t long. Also, the weather was pleasant.

On a previous trip to Disneyland (maybe 15 years ago), we went at peak time. Lines were unbelievably long. I think on one day we only rode two rides. The rest of the time was spent waiting in line.

I had heard from co-workers that the peak times coincide with school breaks for the kids. My wife and I decided to pull my older daughter out of school for a few days so that we could go to Disneyland during an off-peak time.

It turned out to be a great choice. In addition to the pleasant weather — mid 70s during the day and lower 60s at night — we also enjoyed short lines. The majority of the popular rides were no more than a 20-minute wait. Some of the rides were 5-10 minute waits for all the time we were there. The longest wait was an hour for the Finding Nemo submarine ride (probably the most popular ride at this time).

I guess the question is whether or not it’s worth it for us to take the kids out of school for a trip to Disneyland to enjoy the off-peak benefits. I know the schools do not tolerate this. The teachers really disapprove of taking days off for a vacation. My younger daughter will be entering elementary school this fall, so we will have to take both of them out of school in the future.

To me, the benefits outweigh the negatives. I’m not planning to take my daughters out of school every year to take advantage of off-peak times, but maybe once every few years!

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