Things We Love About Summer

AND YET STILL EVEN MORE THINGS WE'VE HEARD IN BARS, NEAR BARS, OR ON THE BEACH

"Oh, I got so wasted on Friday night."

"Yeah, me too."

"I was just ready to kick somebody's ass."

"So whose ass did you kick?"

"Oh, I kicked Rosa's, you know she's so little."

"Isn't a bummer when you're all dressed up and you look so nice and your hair looks nice and we're wearing dresses and they come looking for you, and then you go at it?"

"Yeah, remember when we used to go to the Daily Planet in Downey? I used to get my ass kicked there all the time."

—Two girls in a dive bar

FILM FESTIVAL THAT HANGS TEN

Op—the Irvine-based maker of tees and oversized shorts, sponsor of world-class surfer Tom Curran and answer to the trivia question "What is the more familiar way to refer to Ocean Pacific Apparel Co.?"—is teaming up with Projekter: Action Sports Cinema to present surf movies the last Thursday of each summer month at the Lido in Newport Beach. The Op Summer Surf Series kicks off Thursday, May 29, with a screening of the original 35mm print of John Milius' '60s surf epic Big Wednesday. Other films and dates are: Hal Jepsen's Super Session, June 26; Scott Dittrich's Fluid Drive, July 31; and the premiere of Jason Baffa's Singlefin: Yellow, Aug. 28. Showtimes are at 9 p.m. Regency Lido Theater, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 722-2219.

TAKING THE IOWANS TO BALBOA ISLAND

Swear to God, I actually just did this after dining with family in town from Iowa: we drove over the bridge to Balboa Island and—not finding a space on the main drag, as usual—parked on a side street. We window-shopped along the touristy boulevard, laughing at the corny slogans on T-shirts, checked out the prices of pricy Bal Isle digs posted on real-estate offices, and stopped for the requisite frozen banana. We walked that off by heading to the bayfront to take in a snort of sea air and ogle the yachts, gulls and tourists actually going into the stinky water. Then it was back to the car to take the ferry across to the Fun Zone. The Iowans were amazed—especially since it was one of the few things around here that cost barely any money.

ADVENTURE CITY

You get the feeling that if Walt Disney had to do it all over again and re-create the Midwest America your cousins inhabit, he would have created Adventure City. This 2-acre Stanton gem is small and navigable with a carousel in the middle, little roller coasters and whirly rides. The staff is far less regimented and far more—oh, what's the word?—human than you find at big ass theme parks. There's only one entrance and exit, so kids are safe to wander on their own, and the park's diminutive layout means they can never wander far. There are puppet shows, face painting and an area where kids can just go and play with trains. That's right, play. They can dress up like firefighters and cops and ride around a track in cop cars and fire engines. And there's a miniature train that circles the whole place. It's gloriously cornball, wonderfully goofy and brilliantly hokey. Walt would understand.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

UCI can claim deconstruction giant Jacques Derrida; Nobel Prize winner F. Sherwood Rowland (chemistry); Francisco Ayala (evolutionary biology); Mark Poster (critical theory); and Harry Eckstein (political science); William Pereira landscaped the campus (which served as setting for one of the many Planet of the Apes sequels); buildings by Eric Owen Moss, Charles Moore, Frank O. Gehry and James Stirling; advantages of going to school in Asia with none of the nasty Communist Party politics (nearly 60 percent of students identify themselves as "Asian/Pacific islander"); tied with University of Wisconsin Madison for No. 36 in U.S. News & World Report annual ranking; No. 9 among public universities; Irvine is safer than Singapore and has fewer canings; fine central park landscaped by a former chancellor, who turned out to be a kind of obsessive collector of rare trees.

ATLANTIS PLAYCENTER

Atlantis in Garden Grove looks like something the Cat in the Hat might hack up—and we mean that in a good way. Atlantis is the very best kids' park in Orange County and probably in all of Southern California. Sea serpent and whale slides, shark climbing toys, sea-horse swings, Viking ships and giant-clamshell picnic areas. Your relatives will appreciate that Atlantis is also ultrasafe, with only one entrance and exit, so kids can't go wandering off, which means they can actually play. Remember play? That's when kids went off on their own to come up with their own games, meet their own friends and do their own thing without you hovering around to make everything just right? In fact, the best thing about Atlantis is the many shrubs, bushes and grassy knolls that, over the years, have been converted into forts, paths and hiding places. What's more, adults are not allowed in unless accompanied by a kid so you can rest easy and let your kids be kids. Yeah, it costs a buck to get in, but, c'mon, a buck.

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