Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Viva Los Angeles

Well, I'd say the last week and a half accomplished a lot. For one thing, it diminished my quasi-existential dread about living in LA, and replaced it with a comfort about living there, if not a desire to do it right now.

The itinerary:

Saturday, 12/22 -- A day of flying and driving. We land in Las Vegas, and meet one of my dad's old friends for dinner before heading off to LA. For lack of better cuisine, we end up eating at a family-style restaurant. I end up consuming a burger that has, among other things, a fried egg for a topping, presaging just how well my diet will do this vacation. We then get in the car and haul ass for LA, finally collapsing when we arrive at our rented house in Hermosa Beach.

Sunday, 12/23 -- After getting somewhat adjusted to Pacific time, the family heads out for Venice Beach, where we see children sledding down sand dunes, transients fighting, and a man on Rollerblades doing something with a Pomeranian that looks less like "walking" and more like "yo-yoing." We eat at the Sidewalk Cafe, where I once again have a sandwich that has a fried egg somewhere on it (this time, a BLT). We later hit up the Farmer's Market to make arrangements for Christmas dinner.

Monday, 12/24 -- We head over to Union Station, just because, and then check out a nearby Mexican street market. After a delicious and obscene meal, we decide to get in the car and risk catching affluenza by driving about Beverly Hills the day before Christmas. It's, uh... well, it's shiny.

Tuesday, 12/25 -- Christmas. Since pretty much nothing is open, we decide to go check out the apartments I'll be staying at when I pursue my internship opportunity. They're pretty damn decent. We also decide to check out some of those internship opportunities, which are pretty close-by and make my mother extremely glad that I will not have to attempt the freeway so soon (which is somewhat homicidal, even on Christmas). After that, we have lunch at Griffith Park, but since we can't get in the observatory, we decide to drive down Mulholland Drive. We do not run into any mysterious blue boxes or lip-synching Spanish women, but who knows -- maybe they have Christmas off. My dad loves the curves of the drive, while my mother has her usual reaction to the curves of any elevated road, which is, extended whimpering. In the evening, we head back, watch Mallrats (blame my cousin from Jersey; it's her kind of thing), and enjoy Christmas dinner. Not a bad day, in all.

Wednesday, 12/26 -- We finally decide to hit up Hollywood. After taking one look at the dining and parking options, my parents decide we've seen all we need to see (true, we did see Grauman's, Mann's, and El Capitan) and head off to Melrose for something reasonable. We end up in quite a many awesome shops, including Aardvark's Odd Ark, where I pick up a great bomber jacket for less than $30, and, if you can believe it, what looked like an European techno frozen yogurt shop. That night, we met with an old friend of my mother's and his screenwriter wife, and we talked shop (and other things) while enjoying the leftovers of their Christmas dinner (including an awesome pecan pie and some damn fine cookies).

Thursday, 12/27 -- My mother once again braves Mulholland Drive as we decide to check out Malibu. We find it kind of lacking, but maybe we're not in the right tax bracket to enjoy it. So we go to the Santa Monica Pier, which is flashy, somewhat tacky, and utterly awesome.

Friday, 12/28 -- Our plans for a day of decompression are thwarted when my dad decides to take us to Newport Beach. The family's been on an Arrested Development kick all vacation (I can't believe I missed that show the first time around, by the way), so we decide to see where it was filmed. We also end up stopping in Laguna Beach, because apparently, we have an unconscious desire for MTV vapidity. Not that the real Laguna Beach is bad; in fact, we have a pretty awesome lunch and, once again with the Arrested Development kick, my little brother finally ends up experiencing a frozen banana. I, on the other hand, end up enjoying a delicious atrocity known as a chocolate-covered frozen cheesecake on a stick. Remember what I said about the diet? This was another example of that.

Saturday, 12/29 -- We abandon LA in favor of the Grand Canyon, driving for hours upon hours until finally getting to Arizona. Arizona is... well, as a guy up in Massachusetts, I honestly thought it was all desert. I didn't expect it to shift between desert and forest tundra at the drop of a hat, but... well, it did. We finally arrive somewhere around five, get dinner, and collapse.

Sunday, 12/30 -- We get up at the crack of ass so that dad can see sunrise. It's pretty good, by his description, but as mom and I are the stragglers of the family, we don't see it. After getting a fine breakfast at the El Tovar lodge, we decide that it's too damn cold to go hiking, so we just do a drive about of some of the canyon destinations before deciding to make a break for Sedona. We reach Sedona, see some of the hippyness, then turn around. It's a nice place, but it was getting late. Once again, we get dinner and collapse.

Monday, 12/31 -- We leave the Grand Canyon early and drive to Vegas. On the way, we experience In 'n' Out burgers for the first time, and they are awesome. After arriving in Vegas, we decide to spend New Year's Eve on the Strip, like, apparently, everyone else in the universe. The evening begins well, but we don't end up staying for the fireworks, as by the time 11 PM rolls around, we're bombarded by hooting, drunken yahoos and wishing for a neutron bomb to fall. They looked real pretty on TV, though.

Tuesday, 1/1 -- We fly home. Hey, they can't all be exciting days.

And that was the vacation in full. Man, this travelogue took far too long to compose.

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