Friday, June 17, 2005

Water From Above (L.A. Part 4) Fin.

It's a good day to wrap up the wall-to-wall-to -shaking-wall coverage of my trip to L.A. I have a lot of pictures I'd still like to share, so I'll let them do most of the talking, and keep my comments to a minimum.

It was a great trip. Not only did I get to see my favorite sister in the whole world (OK, my only sister in the whole world), but I had the chance to experience a great city, some great weather and a lot of new and interesting people and places.

As I've said before, I'm not sure what I could have done in L.A. that I didn't do. We didn't go to any television show tapings, but Jay Leno makes me gag like a puppy experiencing new sod and almost all of the other shows are on hiatus for the summer.

Beverly Hills really is beautiful. The streets are so wide and the trees so lush. Can you imagine living on a street like this? Yeah, me neither. Not on this salary.

Beverly Hills is also a great place to spot stars in their cars. There we were, sitting at a red-light, and who is right next to us but The Rock! Major movie star! I quickly snapped a picture of his wrist as he sped away in his huge, black, shiny car.

Alas, the next time we passed the car I realized my understandable mistake. It was a woman. The eyebrows threw me off.

I had to put this picture somewhere.

This is the ceiling of my sister's loft apartment. How cool is that? I told her that they need to get a porch swing to hang from the rafters. Also, barn owls.

There sure is some pretty scenery in L.A. Of course, it's all blocked by multi-million dollar houses perched on steep hills. Ah, no worry, a few mudslides will quickly remedy that.

Sometimes it seems as if everyone is rich and has a huge house. This house belongs to the producer of "Howard the Duck". That's just a joke - that producer lives in a gated community; I couldn't get pictures of his house.

Another exciting moment. This is the exact spot where Mel Gibson got the idea for the movie "Bird on a Wire".

Ha, ha! Not really, Mel Gibson's bird lives in a gated community. I couldn't get pictures of it.

On my final day in L.A. my sister and I went to Universal Studios. There are a few rides and attractions there, but you also get to take the front and back lot tour, which takes you through the studio area of the complex.

Above is a great pic of the soundstages. Many of the television shows you hate and movies you'll never see are produced here!

If you've a fear of being sprayed with water, avoid Universal Studios. While at the attractions there you will be sprayed with water from above to simulate spiders, beetles and, well, water. Almost every one featured it. I think it's L.A.'s lack of rain - Universal knows that no one remembers what rain feels like - so they set out to simulate it. Again and again. It's really fun in a not-fun-at-all kind of way.

The back lot tour takes you right past the lagoon used for Gilligan's Island! Sadly, this is one of the most recent shows mentioned in the back lot tour - you get the feeling that the tour script needs to be updated a bit. The one they use now was written by Faulkner. (Oprah loves it.)

My sister's neighborhood did not look good after the earthquake.

Actually, the above are shots from the upcoming War of the Worlds movie - directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring the Dianetics clone currently posing as Tom Cruise. It's hard to make out, but that is a wide-body airplane that has crashed into a little town. It's one of the only wide bodies I saw on my whole trip. (mirrors excluded.)

This is the road that leads to the L.A. subway.

Just kidding! That was a "town" set used in countless movies. This picture features my sister in an L.A. subway station, which we took to Universal Studios. The subway stations are in pristine condition. They should be, no one uses them. (That myth is totally true.)

A fellow passenger turned to me on a stuffy train and remarked "I guess they don't air condition these trains." Yeah, thanks fellow, I'll remember that when it's 98 degrees out, I'm on the packed D.C. metro and I am using the armpit of a homeless man to rest my head. I really feel for ya. Bitch.

The final picture features a random street in L.A. that gleefully bastardizes my own last name. God bless the folks on Graciosa Drive.

I can identify with the transformation; L.A. is a city of high emotions set against a blissful sea. While there you can't help but be swept up into the flurry of entertainment excitement, expecting a star to appear around each corner; and yet you never forget that you're merely blocks from the sea.

Karen, Brian, thank you for an unforgettable five days!


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