Thursday, August 2, 2012

The One with All the Adventures: I stole this title from Brooke

It seems almost ridiculous to suggest that there were events in my life prior to the Olympics....but there were one or two things that happened before the Opening Ceremonies, and so I’ll mention the ones worth mentioning.  

Adventure #1:
When going to see The Dark Knight Rises (for the first time .....) Katie and I were approached by a man who was handing out passes to a free screening of The Watch at the Fox Lot.  Well, Katie and I enjoy both free things and the chance to be on studio property, so we decided to go.
We got there early, as suggested, because they couldn’t guarantee seats.  We parked, and followed a crowd of people toward the screening theater, and eventually got at the end of a very long line.  Handing out pens and surveys was a woman wearing a terrible excuse for business casual: a cotton t-shirt stretched too tightly over her gut, a light gold suit with brown pinstripes, the pants nearly covering her black clogs.  She had dye-damaged red-tipped hair and a bag that swung as she stomped around up and down the line.  “Move to the side people, keep along the side.  Carts got to get through.  Cars got to get through.  Move aside.”  

I could not stop thinking about this woman...her attire led me to think of one of the rudest things I've ever thought, which I will now share with you: "It doesn't count if it looks that bad."  Ouch.  But seriously!  If you're wearing business wear to make a statement about how seriously you take yourself and your has to LOOK GOOD FOR THAT TO WORK! 
Anyway....nice cars and golf carts did take to traveling up and down the street (streets are names in Studios, because they’re just like mini-cities), 

A map of Fox Studios

and Katie swears that she saw Harrison Ford in a low black car driving past.  I missed it.  But what I didn’t miss were the parking spots next to us labeled:

                      MODERN FAMILY
                   RESERVED PARKING

Manny!  Manny! He’s only the most hilarious part of Modern Family.  There was someone parked there too!  Katie and I had a good laugh about how it was probably Manny’s Nanny parked there.

As we waited in line, dozens of reporters dressed very casually walked ahead of us.  When we got inside the lobby, I watched them check-in at a table, be handed a huge packet of information about the show.  “Remember the embargo.  Thursday night for online, Friday at 5 for printed press.”  Well it seems like rules like that might be one of the main reasons its so damn difficult for people to stay in print.  By having to wait another 12 hours, the review is hardly relevant, even if it’s “hot off the press”.  The lobby also held half a dozen Oscars for sound design, along with two single-stall bathrooms and a few coolers for water.  I took advantage of all of these.  
When Katie and I first set out on this Fox adventure, I was excited at the prospect of seeing a new movie.....after waiting in line for an hour, I decided just how ridiculous it was that we were serving as free market research...something I’m sure worth more than what a movie theater ticket would cost.
Anyway, the movie was terrible.  I was hopeful in the first 40 minutes, but the writer/creators were trying SO DAMN HARD, it was painful.  It was phallicphilic.  I don’t think there were 30 seconds of dialogue that passed that didn’t include swearing, or some R-rated allusion, or at times a few minutes of extensive R-rated, repulsive metaphor.  It was people working hard to match the new R-rated comedy genre, trying to earn the success of Superbad, Hangover, Knocked-UP, Bridesmaids, Ted....and abysmally failing.  After two hours in there, Katie and I bolted from the theater, wandered around the lot for a bit, peered into open soundstages, pretended to be big-wig executives...there was no security guiding us back to our parking odd (and useful!), and eventually made it back to our cars.

Adventure #2:
Michael Ferguson arrives.  I surprised him by getting the day off on Friday, so he didn’t have to sleep in my car as I worked, the poor thing was up at like 4 a.m. to fly out here.  So we spent most of the day napping and walking round Westwood.  Other adventures:
2a. Driving to Santa Monica Beach, finding the cheapest parking, and perhaps most exciting, I DIDN’T USE PAM THE GPS! 

            2a1. while at beach, Michael and I both applied sunblock to one another’s backs....and both our backs burned.  Clearly, our relationship is built on strong communication and Hammurabic principles.  

            2a2. We decided to get some Mexican food.  As we were sitting down, the woman asked us if we wanted chips and guac.  I said “sure!” because it seemed like a complimentary, bread basket thing.  Upon opening the menu, I saw it was NINE DOLLARS!  I then told the immediately annoyed waitress that we changed our minds on the chips.  Informed consumers = annoying customers.  Unfortunate.  
2b.  Driving to Malibu Creek State Park. This was my first time at any State Park because the Winters don’t really do the outdoors.  I’ve never been camping or hiking or anything, and this was my first taste.  My friend Molly said there was “cliff-diving,” so we thought we’d go.  It turned out to be a medium sized rock, not a cliff, into a tranquil pond-like place.  There were tons of people there, a man just sitting on a rock by himself, lots of clothes hung up in a tree, sitting in a folding chair, and watching. A group of high schoolers whose clear leader was the short boy who made fun of Molly all the time.  “oooh Molly!  What are you doing down there? Too afraid to climb up?”  There were some Black kids speaking in German, a group of tough looking Asian guys all eyeing a higher cliff....  It felt very literal American, all coming together at this watering hole, because water is a source of life...even though if you drank that still, green water, filled with slippery moss-colored rocks, you’d probably at least get some bad disease.  
I climbed up rocks for the first time!  We followed trails!  I saw an animal!  All the time feeling very safe and prepared with my Eagle Scout boyfriend.    

Nature!  But actually, this is Malibu Creek State Park.

It wasn't quite this green when we were there. Oh for those droughtless times!
2c.  I thought I’d show Michael Venice Beach, an area about as different from Santa Monica as it gets.
Santa Monica is a pristine. Designed in a perfect grid, the cars are only allowed to move horizontally away from the beach, the intersecting streets packed with shopping, dining, and street performers are pedestrians only.  The street performers are the greatest part.  I’ve seen, three kids singing original music with tambourines clearly connoted by parents,  a Black woman with her face painted to resemble a skeleton wrapped in yards of fabric playing castanets to her own music, country singers, folk singers, a couple dressed up like Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, and none of it would be complete without some people in bright yellow shirts and matching signs saying JESUS IS THE LORD, OUR GOD.
Venice Beach is mainly a line of shops on one side all competing to have the most offensive t-shirts, and the other side a line of homeless people selling their wares.  All of the people here are great: the “doctors” dressed up in bright green scrubs yelling “Get a Medical Card in just 30 minutes!”  A man in a huge poncho with a turban playing a string that was attached to his walking stick that apparently an instrument with a single string.  An Asian guy on his bike wrapped in a pink parka.  Girls selling sheaves of corn twisted into hearts.  A guy who had made signs out of cardboard and maker, and called his business “The Bum Who Makes Signs.”

This man was also there.  He is a great example of Venice.

The beachfront homes are considerably more run-down. I think it takes a special soul to live on Venice Beach.  A lot of the large glass windows were covered in bird poop.  There were a few places to eat, but  neither Michael nor I had a mustache, or could drink, so there didn’t really seem to be much of a point.  Instead we used Yelp to find....
2d. THE BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT EVER.  I’ll have to ask Michael what the name of it was.  It was great.  I almost had a complete parking meltdown, however.  Parking is very stressful to me in Los Angeles.  Sometimes I don’t‘ want to go places, because I know that when I get there, I will have to find a place to park.  I think it might be emotionally symbolic of feeing like there is “no place for you there” and that the city and the world out here is just a “do it yourself because no one’s going to help you” attitude, just as no one will give up their parking spot for you....or something like that.
Anyway!  We finally, we parked in the lot of the restaurant, after waiting for the slowest family ever to trickle one by one from the restaurant into their Yukon with its lights on for literally 10 minutes.  Very stressful.  But I had Pillows stuffed with spinach and ricotta and basil...and it was awesome.    
Adventure #3: 
Saw the Dark Knight again. Where last time there was shock, this time there were tears.  Lots of tears.  Liked it more the second time, as well.  The best part about the Superman trailer is that it used Lord of the Rings music.    
Adventure #4: 
The Olympics...follow my Twitter.  My cover photo is the Fab5.  I’ve lost count of the cry count...does crying when the event actually happens and during the slow-mo replay of the event count as 2 cries?  I have no idea.  Just to clarify, I don’t just cry when the U.S. wins...pretty much when any country wins, I cry for that person’s incredible individual achievement.  Michael Winters is a rockstar because he made me an account on NBCOlympics so I can stream things live!  And I do.  Oh, I do.  

I love them!!! ahhh!!!!

Adventure #5: 
My roommates threw a party.  I met some guys who taught me how to salsa dance.  
Adventure #6:
Got In ‘n Out for the first time.  First time I actually ordered things on my hamburger besides catsup and mustard....I had forgotten that tomatoes and lettuce and onions came on hamburgers.  I now understand what the fuss is all about.  It was great.  

Yeah. This is it.  

Adventure #7: 
Went to Sandellas.  A great flatbread place near the Chines Theater where Meg, Silbs, Michael and I went when we were in LA this spring.  It was awesome.  
Overall, it was really great having Michael Ferguson here.  When someone visits me, the person acts as a benchmark by which I can judge how much I’ve assimilated to the area.  And based on how much I was able to show him around the area, I think I’m getting along here pretty well :-)
The End
Coming up, in next time I get around to blogging’s blog:
I go to the Council of 100 Women’s Networking Event, and learn, amongst under things, that adults are awkward at networking too. 
I’m an extra on who got to dance right in front of the camera....I’m sure it will turn out incredibly foolish.  


  1. Just to clarify, we went camping once when we were Girl Scouts. Sometime around the second grade I think!

  2. Meeemmorrries! Yeah, I suppose you're right. Good catch, Bethy.

  3. Some of the "Winters" do/did lots of hiking & outdoor adventures and even have a house on a lake with 7 boats of various types:) We're very "outdoorsy".

    So glad you're really getting a well rounded CA experience. It's so different from the mid-west...quite a change and good life experience. Pat lived near Venice Beach when he attended UCLA and we had a ball on the boardwalk.

  4. You're so right Aunt Lois! I guess I was just thinking about my parents, Beth and Michael! Yeah, California has been incredible, so much to do and see; I'm glad to be here as well!

  5. I've never been more honored. Also these adventures sound incredible.