Three or Four Days in El Lay

Neil Peart
Even though you’re going through hell, just keep on going.

So, four days in a row of work and events. . . not recommended for someone who usually needs a day off for ever day out. I’m surprised I feel as good as I do, though not enough to. . . but we’ll get to that. . .

On the subway there’s a tiny redhead–the crimson-haired always get my attention, of course–wearing an even tinier skirt and carrying a matching–both in size and color–skateboard. Now that might be worth photographing. . .
Had to miss the opener of UCLA sand volleyball in Santa Monica, not wanting to risk rush hour traffic, so stayed in Hollywood, first going to Mel’s for an orange freeze–my first in years, lovely–and then rambling around the corner to McDonald’s, where you can get pretty much the same burger and better fries for a third of the price. Hollywood Blvd. was closed off for the premiere of Captain America: the sequel, but that didn’t interest me that much. . . until I found out via Chloe Bennet’s twitter that she and the rest of the ladies–and I guess the guys too–from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be there, so instead of making fun of all the tourists gawking I went up into Hollywood/Highland and found a balcony. In the end I didn’t see anyone, but I did find the hugest candy store ever, though their Pez selection leaves much to be desired. Ariel and Merida dispensers, though. . . I do so love the redheads. And I finally bought some new shades, though this time the girl selling them wasn’t near as hot as the last time I bought sunglasses. . . but I digress.
Finally it’s time to head into the Dolby–no longer Kodak–Theater for Veronica Mars, wondering if any of my favorite actresses has sat up here in the boonies for an Oscars; I am literally two rows from the very back, a different zip code compared to last year’s Paley Fest at the Saban. Since I don’t watch the Oscars, I had no idea the place had boxes on the sides like it’s a damned opera. The bartender, who initially snorted at my order of Sprite, saw my hoodie and promised to keep me informed on the UCLA basketball score, but he never did. That’s okay, I was confident.
For a moment I’m worried I’ll have trouble seeing the tiny Kristen Bell from this height, then I remember there’s a huge video screen right there. Still, for being this high up I coulda stayed home and watched it streaming; remind me to go ahead and pay a little more next time. Don’t remember where my seat will be for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but probably in this same vicinity.
There’s only one other person in my section and she’s sitting right in front of me. . .
At least the house music didn’t make me cringe. . . until Crazy for You and Careless Whisper come on. It’s already 7:10 and nothing is going on. . .
Finally we get a voice with the usual warning about turning off cell phones–everyone’s taking photos, so I’m sure they’ll all forget. Then comes the obligatory selfie–not a photo–for the Paley Center, where we learn Mr. Paley started CBS, followed by a clip of Freaks and Geeks, where the guy whose name I can’t remember is watching Seinfeld while having his unfrozen dinner. Nice.
The blonde lady who’s in charge of the whole thing is giving the opening speech when a politician comes on to surprise her with a proclamation from the mayor. Finally Rob Thomas, the guy who created Veronica Mars, comes on to give the intro speech of tonight’s events, mentions Adele Nazeem, then–rather than showing some long clips from the movie–plays the behind the scenes documentary, which was more interesting than I thought it would be, especially all the Kickstarter angles and the people who got to be extras and such. Had to snort that they were at Comic-Con; sure, it’s no longer about comics, but there’s no science fiction or fantasy here. . . unless you count Lily’s ghost, and I don’t.
The documentary was also longer than I thought–possibly because I was holding off on a trip to the restroom till the end–and by the time I returned the introductions were over and all the actors were sitting on the stage at 8:32. Don’t remember much of the talk, though there were a few shining moments, like when Rob Thomas mentioned “Veronica Mars pleasure zones” and Kristen gave him such a look. It was fun to see her innocent face as she said, about the fans and Kickstarter, “That’s fuckin’ radical!” As for the others, Jason didn’t have much to say, but then not much was asked of him. Ryan Hanson, as one might expect, got in the best jokes, with Chris Lowell sitting next to him and shaking his head at everything. Percy and Tina got their digs in, Francis seemed to be trying too hard, and Enrico alternately grinned and tried looking tough-guy. So all in all a pretty cool night, though nothing earth-shattering that would make me want to do it again.
Checking the clock, I see I have 8 minutes to get to the subway, which is right below the building I’m in. I make it. . . and then the subway is 15 minutes late! Same thing happened last Thursday after Book of Mormon, so I reiterate: how can a subway be late when it doesn’t have to deal with traffic? Because of that and the eventual bus being late and missing my last connection, I got home two hours after I really should have. Grrrr. . .

Back on the subway, with a VERY Swedish girl sitting across from me: blonde lobster braid, pale face, short shorts, so basic tourist. She woulda been much more attractive if not for her perpetually confused face. . .
Budgeted 2 hours for my foot x-rays, got it done in about ½ hour. So now what should I do with the extra time? Got on the Wilshire express heading west, where out the window I see a fat guy carrying a Sleestack bust. . . I hope that’s for a party. . .
Soon enough I landed on the outskirts of UCLA, but rather than heading to campus I walk into the huge building on Wilshire, where I go to the donor offices and get a little bit of a runaround until I finally find a guy willing to help me out as to why they grabbed $100 from my bank account for no good reason. Nothing settled, but after a promise to look into it I’m back on the bus and heading east again, where I sit across from a guy who pulls out a lunch pack of sushi! Considering you’re not supposed to eat on the bus, he got his sauce all over the place! And no, that’s not a euphemism. Those tiny sushi rolls almost look like toys, or displays used for photos; I’m just glad it didn’t smell.
I always climb up the wrong stairs at the 7th Street interchange, but luckily the trolley pulling out was the blue line instead of the Expo, and that one came right away. Not much of a view heading south from downtown Los Angeles, mostly Trade Tech’s automotive bays–diesel technology?–and the freeway, but at least it was fast. Then had to walk by the Galen Center, with everything bunted in that ugly shade of red, reminding me I am far from my UCLA home. Every time I’m forced to be in this neighborhood I can’t help but think of Henry Jones Sr. in the third Indiana Jones movie, when they’re in Nazi Germany and he mutters, “We are pilgrims in an unholy land. . .”
Heard so many oldies in the last 2 days, first at Dolby and now here at u$c sand volleyball. It seemed like every hit from the 80s was interspersed with more modern stuff, though thankfully no country or rap. They even played Tom Sawyer, and while I’m always glad to hear Rush included, I wish they’d do a different song sometimes.
Who knows why, but the UCLA-FSU match scheduled for 5 has been pushed back; looks like a couple of hours before it starts, and I do not want to stay late in this neighborhood. And then of course a country song comes on the house music. . . well, shit. The only fun moment while waiting for everything to start was watching the Asian ref up on the stand grooving to Superstition. Most of the unfun was the u$c wifi kicking me off every two minutes. . .
The only good thing I can say about the actual match was I got 777 photos; no wonder my wrist is sore. Down to 115 by the time I look through all of them. I also finally met Sarah Straton, but that’s another story. . .
Dashed off to the trolley, which I barely caught, but then it was so slow! Had to rush to catch my bus, just like Thursday, and according to the board over the bus stop I barely got there on time. . . lie! It came 10 minutes late, so of course I miss my connection. Had to keep going on this late one, but it was too late to catch the other route as well–of course–so I went over to the gas station to grab some mini oreos and milk while I wait almost another hour for the next–and last–chance to get home. At least that bus came on time, with a far too cheery driver; all I could think of was had things worked out as they were supposed to, I would have been home at least two hours earlier than midnight. . .

Surprised by how well I feel waking up, not very tired at all. Unfortunately that wouldn’t last. The first bus was only five minutes late, hardly worth complaining about. The subway wasn’t that fast either, but I still got to the x-ray/MRI place–same one as yesterday–ten minutes before my scheduled appointment. Having been through all this before by now, I took my time getting undressed and heading over to the room with the giant donut-shaped machine, not at all sure I would be able to lie still for as long as it took them to scan my knees for their pretty colorful 3-D x-rays. The dread only got worse when I was told it would be one knee at a time, but in the end it was only 40 minutes total and I managed it better than expected: despite some itches I didn’t move, and I didn’t have to make a bathroom run either. Got through the first knee by counting the seconds–that was the most damaged knee, so good–but I kept losing concentration on the second.
Still, it went so well I celebrated myself by heading over to Denny’s for a country fried steak skillet. Props to Conrad, one of the best waiters ever; you earned that 25% tip, bro. Of course I am legally bound to admit that had it been a hot waitress the tip would have been more like 40%, like that time in Seattle with Autumn. . . never mind.
Just to switch things up I took the gold line trolley to Pasadena, a pretty relaxing ride. The final bus home was supposed to leave at one minute before the hour, but usually they arrive quite a while before so the driver can take some time off before starting the return route. Well, he showed up with two minutes to spare, but luckily there was a change of drivers and we took off only two minutes late. Still, I got home after four, so it took well over two hours when the morning ride, even with the latebusness and weirdness, took only an hour fifteen.

So tired I had to forgo UCLA gymnastics, and on Senior Day. Miss Val and Sam are so gonna kill me. . .

Earthquake at 6:26AM. Nice. . .


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