October 03, 2004

LA Trip

Sorry it took me so long to get this up (fortunately Lori is quicker) - it has been quite a week. This is a fairly long account, so most of it will be in more....

Monday morning - Of course, because it is me, I was running behind. I got to Lori's place just before 10 and she looked quite chic and set for a road trip - including a selection of driving scarves. We had to stop for gas and munchies - and caffeine - then we hit the road!

Despite the fact that I have no CD player we had brought along music for the drive. Hey, I still have quite a selection of tapes from back in the day. Silly, though - did we actually think we would stop talking long enough to need music? Puh-leez. We were gabbing the whole way.

(the pop-up pictures work perfectly in Netscape, kind of iffy in IE - they are there, just not always near your mouse..?)

No trip from Phoenix to LA would be complete without a stop here, especially after he did it. I did get a couple of pictures - though the T-Rex mysteriously vanished from my camera.... Took a spin through the gift shop which would be great fun if you have kids. So much dinosaur stuff you could have a real treasure hunt.

We made it to Banning before we stopped for food and chose Carrows..should've backtracked to the IHOP we missed. The waitress was a trip (in a good way), but the service was sooo slow. I think they were baking the bread and laying the eggs back there. We saw an example of a real right wing religious fanatic in the parking lot - so we had to get a picture.

Finally made it to LA. When we left Phoenix and I told Lori I was not looking forward to driving in LA she asked "how bad can they be?" After all, we deal with Phoenix drivers all the time and they are bad When we got to LA she was converted - as bad as it is here, LA is sooo much worse. We did manage to find our way down Hollywood Blvd to the Motel 6 safely. The lobby looked promising, and you can't beat the prices - besides the fact that we had very little time to shop for a place since I wanted to get to the concert early (general admission and all) The floor we were on (5) smelled awful, as did the room - although opening the window and cranking the AC helped a bit. We did have a lovely view..of the alley. And if you contorted just right you could see the sign for the big Frederick's of Hollywood there. Why didn't we stop and shop? They also had ashtrays in the room with no smoking stickers on them - ?

My old friend A came to visit for just a couple of minutes and, like the gentleman he is, he brought flowers. Amazing how they can make such a difference in the atmosphere (and odor) of a room. Then Lori and I got dressed, and I had to take this picture for Michael who claims to be nerd-like. I tried to sell the idea of taking a taxi, but I think Lori and A both thought I was crazy, and I couldn't convince A to drop us off so we drove..more LA traffic.

The House of Blues wasn't too far, but I did manage to drive right past it once. When we came back to it and I saw the line around the corner I decided to just go ahead and use the valet parking ($15). We got in line and met Todd - a definite nerd. Talked to him till we went in, then he took off for the front of the house. We headed to the bar where we were disappointed to see that the drinks, in little plastic cups, were $9 - ouch! We each got one but there was no chance of us getting loopy at that place - I'd have had to take out a second mortgage. Lori grabbed us a nice spot in the corner where we spent the rest of the evening. The opening act (Jesse something?) was OK, seemed like he had a decent voice, not bad on the guitar. However, he had these horrible synthesizer backing tracks he was using. In between songs he would bend down to change the drum track or some such. Those tracks were pathetic and made it so unpleasant to listen to him - dude, if you've got the chops you don't need that crap. If you want to get the sound of a band - get a band!

The I love nerds shirt should have been much more popular considering the crowd (serious cliche version of nerds) - but it actually drew more attention at a pub in Tempe when I wore it for Broken's graduation. There were a few who made conversation with us, but mostly just stares. On the trip over, we had discussed alter egos, and I had mine all picked out. I was so ready to give my pseudonym - but every time someone asked, my real name just popped out. I guess I am no good at that covert stuff.

Finally Marillion takes the stage! It is very loud, and too much bass and drums for them - almost completely drowns out Steve Hogarth, who is as cute as ever. The first hour is all music from the new CD, then they took a break. He promised the next set would be 'older' stuff - but it was all from Brave (1994) or after. Their first two encores were also newer songs, thankfully they did a third and I got to hear them do two of my favorites; Cover My Eyes and Easter (which is a very moving, simple song about the terrorist activity in Northern Ireland)

We had to wait quite a while to get the car back from the valet people due the swarm of folks who seemed to have used the service. We chatted a bit with some of the people in line, Marillion fans are friendly folks. At one point we noticed a guy eavesdropping on our conversation and chuckling - he was just looking for an excuse to break in. So when I told Lori I needed sleep so I could drive, he piped in with "where did you come from?" Just a couple of minutes later his car showed up - dammit. As Lori pointed out, it isn't often you find cute, friendly people at stuff like that alone - we could have invited him for drinks - though then she wouldn't have met her fantasy man. We finally got the car and I had nothing left to tip the guy - sorry, I paid $15 to get it parked and $18 for drinks, you get nothing cause I have nothing.

We drove back to the hotel so I could put on some warmer clothes - though I didn't have any that were actually warm. And then I left my jacket in the car, which we had to park a block from the hotel. We headed out for food, conviced the only thing we could get at 1 a.m. would be Popeye's Chicken but, lo and behold, we spot a gem. Looks like a cool little Bistro and they still have a menu propped up on an easel out front - could it really be open? Yep, and it is adorable. Brasserie Les Voyous

The cutie patootie waiter, Chris, showed us to a table by the window and Lori was instantly smitten - amazingly smitten. Neither one of us could stop giggling every time he got in our eye line. When he came back to apologize for Lori having to change her order he squatted down to be at our level - nice touch. In honor of the cafe, and some music that was playing, and Lori - here is a special song.
The song was "Whatever Lola Wants" from Damn Yankees

As we are leaving, the owner tells us that we just missed movie night which is every Monday. They put up a 15 foot screen in the courtyard and show classic films, we missed The Manchurian Candidate and something else (I forget) This week it will be the first two Godfathers. Very cool, very fun. They also have a band night with live music. Very cute place, very good food, very hunky waiter. Almost makes me wish I lived there.

Up early on Tuesday morning for the trip to the studio, it was so cool of A to arrange that, especially on such short notice. It will be fun to see the movie when it comes out and try to place the scene they were doing. I just wish we could have spent more time with A, but he is one of those employed people - he had actual work to do :-(

After that, we drove up La Cienega to Norm's Diner for brunch - big portions, good prices. Quite yummy and, though they were packed, very quick. Great chocolate shake!

After that a stop at Ralph's for munchies and cash - then we made the decision to skip the touristy wandering of Hollywood Blvd and Sunset since Lori was a bit under the weather. On the way out of town we spotted a perfect example of a whacko anti-Bushie - but the picture didn't turn out. He had the "buck fush" bumper sticker on his helmet, and many generally obscene stickers on his bike. Classy. And we passed Hollywood High (after Lori had been talking about Valley Girl) - here is the picture, that's the back of my head - lol. And, we thought about stopping here to give them a piece of our minds but decided against it - it's not like they would actually listen.

Despite Lori's discomfort, I couldn't pass up the chance to stop at Ikea - sorry, girlfriend. The Ikea in Covina is a newer, larger one so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, it was not well stocked, there were a lot of prices not marked, staff was not friendly - not the usual Ikea experience. I still managed to spend some money, though :-) and I got meatballs to bring home.

We made one more diner stop on the way home, I think it was called the American Diner or something like that.

Made it home safe and sound - happy to have had good company on my adventure. Thanks for joining me Lori!

Posted by Vox at October 3, 2004 09:33 PM | general

You posted my theme song!!!! Kewl! This is a funny post - though not all the pictures would pop up for me - I wanted to see how that Hollywood High turned out with your head. LOL The ashtray picture is cracking me up - when did you snap that? This was a fun trip! Thanks girlfriend.

Posted by: Lori at October 3, 2004 10:54 PM

I just read that blog that featured that place where Man in Black was and realized that they had Chris too - now I have his last name - heh heh.

Posted by: Lori at October 3, 2004 11:09 PM

Glad you guys had a great time!
BY THE WAY Ikea opens in Tempe I think November 10th. Happy Birthday to ME! I am SO going since the dresser drawer on their website will probably be there (if not a better one) and it will be cheaper (no shipping AND grand opening prices) WHO CAN RESIST!!!!

Posted by: rachel at October 4, 2004 04:28 AM

Glad you two had a great time! :)

Posted by: Uptown Girl at October 4, 2004 05:51 AM

Sounds like a blast! Glad yall had a good time.

Posted by: yayaempress at October 4, 2004 06:07 AM

Hey, I like Norm's too, but the one I used to go to was torn down for widening I-5 in Anaheim.

Next time you go to LA or Anaheim, you have got to try Zankou Chicken. They serve chicken or beef nearly like a gyros, but with a roasted garlic paste that is to die for.

I know that this was a quick trip, but you missed out on "It's A Wrap".

Posted by: PCD at October 4, 2004 07:37 AM