Monday, December 06, 2010

L.A.-la land, pt. 4: "Bacon? No bacon?"


(Foreword: oh my god, I completely forgot to post this, like, two months ago. Wait, three months ago? Four? This is embarrassing. Sorry. Not that I imagine anyone was waiting with bated breath or anything, but still!)

Me & Regina had one more full day in L.A. after Jamie's wedding...and oh boy, we really had a lot we wanted to pack into that day. We didn't get to do everything that we wanted to, but despite the best efforts of the GPS to send us into the Pacific Ocean, we survived and we put a lot of miles on that day, so we chalked it up as a success.

First stop: the La Brea Tar Pits, which were much smaller in-person than we were expecting. And right in the middle of town, surrounded by skyscrapers and stuff. Just kind of disorienting, for some reason. I think in my mind's eye, I'd been confusing it with an episode of Reading Rainbow I saw in about 1984 where Levar went to Dinosaur National Monument. Thanks a lot, PBS!

Here, enjoy a heartwarming scene of a mammoth drowning in tar.

La Brea Tar Pits.

Also, please savor this piece of clipart featuring a germ brandishing a tommy gun. (It was in the museum so it's totally factual.)

The germ has a tommy gun.  Of course it does.

Next up: an ill-fated attempt to find the Natural History Museum. It was only a few blocks away from the tar pits, but it took us the better part of an hour to find it, thanks to dueling instructions from a guy at the tar pits and our trusty GPS. This was right about when I lost it. It happens on most trips: eventually, my food/sleep/stress levels get all out of whack, and until I get some snacks and/or lazy time, I turn into a pouting sad sack. As much as I'd like to convince myself I'm a world traveler and that I'm soooo adventurous, I'm more hobbit than anything else - if I'm out of my shire for too long and surrounded by too much of the unfamiliar, I just want to crawl into a bag of Doritos and take a nap. And the driving in L.A. really got to me - I was way, WAY out of my element and felt a huge knot growing in my gut every time we had to get back into the car.

Thank god Regina's used to having toddlers around - she plied me with trail mix and kept me laughing, and I got over my funk before too long.

After we got out of there, we darted toward Hollywood Boulevard. On our way there, two things caught our eye:

Behold the majesty!!!

Griffith Observatory.

We could see Griffith Observatory off in the distance.

We had two options. One, continue to obey the GPS and (presumably) head toward the Walk of Fame. Two, turn off the GPS and just start driving toward the observatory.

Fastest decision ever.

Ta-dah!

And so began the high point of our day, when the car was safely parked (on a winding, narrow mountain road, since the parking lot was filled well-beyond capacity), a snack bar was available, there were plentiful opportunities to make Uranus jokes, we found a creepy eyeball-less James Dean statue, and after about ten minutes of discussion, we were finally able to figure out where the Hollywood sign was.

Huh-huh.

"OH MY GOD HE HAS NO EYES!"

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!

That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood!

Soon, it was time to wind our way back down the hill...we made it back to Hollywood Boulevard without incident, only to find ourselves in a little traffic jam on our way to Grauman's Chinese Theater. Whatever would cause a traffic jam at 7:00 on a Sunday night?

Why, the premiere of a cinematic masterpiece called Cats vs. Dogs in 3D, of course.

And then we stumbled on the "Cats vs. Dogs 3D" premiere when we went to the Walk of Fame. Stuff for the cats to climb?
(Did they have cats at the premiere, climbing all over the trees & junk they'd loaded into this truck? We may never know, or care.)

While we waited for the red carpet stuff to get packed up, we walked around and checked out the stars on the sidewalk.

TESH! JUDGE JUDY!!!!

Shatner! Someone spilled juice on Jack LaLanne's star.
(There was no end to my amusement when I saw that someone appeared to have spilled a juice-like substance on Jack Lalanne's star.)

Eventually, the red carpets were all gone, so we joined about a billion other people who'd been waiting to look at the famous slabs of concrete in front of the theater.

Regina compares feet with Johnny Depp.
Regina compares feet with Johnny Depp.

"Keep punchin' America!"
Sylvester Stallone gives America a thoughtful pep talk. Or, maybe I'm misreading it, and he's actually telling someone named Ted to keep punching America? That's not very nice, Sly.

Harold Lloyd!
I squealed when I found Harold Lloyd's prints, but it seemed like most of the people in the crowd with us didn't know who he was. What a shame.

As darkness fell, figures emerged from the shadows with carts bearing hot dogs, buns, and a wide array of condiments, chanting their siren song over the streetscape: "Bacon? No bacon?" Only it came out so fast it all sounded like one word, machine-gunned: "BACONNOBACON? BACONNOBACON?" Over and over, from every direction. Regina needed a snack of her own by then and ordered one...with bacon, of course.

"Baconnobacon?"

And with that, we'd had enough. It was time to go back to the hotel and decompress. But first, a stop at the In-N-Out Burger down the street for some grub. What could go wrong? (Well, besides getting lost again on our way back to the hotel from there, like we'd done the day before, which is all the more pathetic since this place is less than a mile away from where we were staying, but whatever.)

THIS COULD GO WRONG:

Me (as I put the car in park & looked up): HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF SHIT!

Regina (digging in her purse and not looking up): What?

Me: THAT PLANE ALMOST HIT THAT BILLBOARD!!!!!!%&*#$!!!!!!!

Regina (getting out of the car): Oh, no, c'mon, I'm sure it was just a trick of the eye.

Me (rocking back and forth): HOLY GOD I SWEAR I AM NOT INSANE AND THAT ALMOST JUST HAPPENED.

Regina: Let's go get something to eat, you'll feel better.

Me: No, no, we need to stay here and wait for another plane to come. Because I am not crazy.

Thirty seconds later:

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.

Me and Regina: HOLY MOTHER OF CRAP THAT PLANE ALMOST HIT THAT BILLBOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If there was any doubt left at that point that we were ready to go home, well, that was the end of that.


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