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Week22

Well, things are beginning to wind down now as I prepare to return home on Thursday. My father returned home a couple of weeks ago and before he left we visited a number of places, including Lake Elsinore and Sunset Beach.

We also made a return visit to Santa Anita Park where it was big race day, the Santa Anita Handicap, otherwise known as the 'Big Cap', had a purse of $1million and was previously been won by SeaBiscuit many years ago. We also visited Los Alamitos Race Course, this is a floodlit dirt race-track, holding mainly evening racing, with the most bizarre aspect being some of the short-course races, just a 350-yard sprint down the home straight. This is known as 'quarter-racing'.

We also paid a visit to the PGA of Southern California Golf Club, a course that Andrew and I played last year. I had the most remarkable start to a round of golf ever, getting a par on four of the first five holes, then I had some miserable holes before finishing with a birdie on the 18th. In the end, a score of 97 was very disappointing.

A couple of weeks ago the temperature hit a record 97 degrees in Santa Ana, thankfully things have cooled down a bit. Almost every day at the moment the day starts shrouded in fog, but the afternoon turns into beautiful, warm & sunny days. Temperatures have constantly hit 80 degrees in the afternoon every day for the last couple of weeks.

A week last Friday I went across the road to the Orange County Performing Arts Center to see the Four Tops in concert with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. The concert was split into two halves, the first with just the orchestra doing popular classics and film themes, then the second half was the Four Tops with their band together with the orchestra. It was a very enjoyable evening but the Four Tops were only on stage for about 75 minutes, so only a selection of their many hits were performed.

I've utilised some free evenings to catch up on some movies recently. I've seen "Twisted" starring Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson and Andy Garcia. Judd is a San Francisco cop involved in a hunt for a serial killer who is going round killing everyone she sleeps with!

"Taking Lives" stars Angeline Jolie, Keifer '24' Sutherland and Ethan Hawke. Jolie plays a FBI profiler, similar to Jodie Foster in 'Silence of the Lambs', hunting down yet another serial killer.

Last week I also saw "The Passion of the Christ", produced by Mel Gibson. I have no doubt that the movie has caused as much furore as it has over here, even though I know it doesn't open in the UK until next week. Suffice to say it is a good movie BUT it is brutal in its portrayal of the violence. The actual crucifixion wasn't too bad as I had previously seen on tv how they did the special effects, but the scene when Jesus is flogged in public is long, painful, and very real. I have only ever seen one movie worse than this for it's graphic violence. Three people walked out of the movie while I was watching it.

The latest estimates from Hollywood suggest that Gibson, who financed the movie with his own money, will reap a personal fortune in excess of $400 million from the film.

Last night I went to the Long Beach Terrace Theater for a jazz concert with three headliners; Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson and Phil Perry. Each artist did a one hour set and I was impressed that each artist spent time after their set in the foyer of the theatre signing autographs. That's my last concert of my current stay, meaning that I've seen 15 gigs whilst I've been here - thankfully some of them were free! Click here for an up-to-date database of concerts that I have attended. Click here to see the photographs from the last two weeks.

Well that's about it. Unless anything significant happens in the next few days this will be last update until the next trip, wherever that may be. Thank you for reading my diary over the last 6 months and take care.

Photos

Week01
Week02
Week03
Week04
Week05
Week06
Week07
Week08
Week09
Week10
Week10 - page2
Week10 - page3
Week12
Week13
Week15
Week17
Week18
Week20
Week20 - page2
Week22

  (C) 2004 Mark Sykes