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L. A., parts Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Saturday Morning: Still woke up relatively early. Transcribed my Friday night adventures into my diary, then packed up and headed once again to the internet cafe for another dose of WiFi. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to plug in my laptop to charge overnight, and it slipped into unconsciousness about five minutes into the two-hour session I'd just paid for. I ended up crouched by the entrance of the cafe, hooked into the only plug I could find, my cell phone pressed to my ear, talking to arielography (hereinafter Ariel) and trying to figure out how the hell to get from where I was to where she was. Using her directions, Mapquest and my handy-dandy AAA map, I managed to chart my course and made it there without a hitch. Ariel showed me her small but nifty apartment, largely bare of furniture but full of her artwork. It was interesting seeing in the flesh, if you will, some of the paintings I'd seen in her journal.

We took a little driving tour of the posher parts of Pasadena and then parked at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. They didn't open until noon, so Ariel took me on a little walking tour of the area, including a stop at one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen in person. As it turned out, they were having a book sale, so we pawed our way through stacks of volumes and found some neat stuff for cheap. I snagged a hardcover copy of A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for two bucks and a book about pirates (research . . . I'll explain later) for fifty cents. Ariel got a couple of art books for fifty cents apiece.

Saturday Afternoon: We took our loot back to the car and went to the museum. At the entrance was some kind of kinetic piece involving automated umbrellas that wasn't moving. Ariel showed me a room of watercolors by various artists in styles that I didn't even think were possible for watercolor. There were also a few photographs of Las Vegas--Ariel was able to figure out which hotel they were taken in based on the carpet patterns.

From there, we toddled over to the Norton Simon Museum, which was absolute artgasm for me. After a quick run through the ancient art downstairs, Ariel asked me if I wanted to do the rest of it by section or chronologically. I opted to go for reverse chronology, so we started in modern art and worked our way back to the 1400s. The art gradually become more and more detailed as we progressed. (Or regressed, if you like.) I drank it all in, while Ariel had clearly been there quite a few times, since she noticed that the light pointed at one of the paintings had blown out.

After that, we walked a bit and had lunch at a rather nice little Italian restaurant. I had angel hair pasta with pomodoro sauce (heavenly), Ariel had fettuccine with a pesto sauce that turned out to be a little spicier than she'd anticipated. We returned to the car and I drove Ariel to her favorite art store so she could buy a canvas that was almost as tall as she was. I took her back to her place, said my goodbyes and phoned up Kenny.

Kenny Howes used to be one of my favorite local musicians. The "used to be" part by no means indicates that his musicianship has dropped in my esteem, it just means he lives in California now and is therefore no longer local to me. To be specific, he lives in Orange, California, which is a bit of a ways from Pasadena, but I've got the car by the day instead of the mile, so what the hell. I spread my map on the trunk of the car, Kenny got in front of his computer and pulled up Yahoo Maps and I scribbled directions on the back of a scrap of paper. And off I went.

Saturday Evening: Kenny had warned me when I emailed him that he was 45 miles outside of Los Angeles "in the stupidest traffic you've ever seen." He wasn't kidding. It was sludgy for long, long stretches as I watched the sun go down. Strangely, the time flew by quickly, probably because all the landscape that was strolling past me so slowly was all new and fascinating to me. Plus, it gave me time to check my map regularly to make sure I was going the right way.

I finally made it to Kenny's digs (about an hour later) and we chatted for a bit. We went out to a place called The District, with red plush walls and huge TV screens, so Kenny could have some dinner. I was still full of pasta, so I had a Newcastle and nibbled some of his chips. Kenny showed me around the downtowny parts of Orange, including the Chuck Jones gallery there (closed, alas) and a square with a park in the center that reminded me a touch of Savannah. (I made a wish in the fountain.)

We returned to Kenny's digs and hung out for a while. Kenny introduced me to an internet radio station that played nothing but cheesy lounge music. They played a version of "Jeepster", replacing the vocal line with a twinkly Moogish keyboard, that simultaneously amused and horrified us. (No, check that--I was amused, Kenny was horrified.) Kenny also showed me a keyboard he picked up at a garage sale for four bucks that played "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" when you pressed the demo button. I'm not sure which was more ridiculous.

It started to rain outside. I called Brenda to determine if she was back from the party she'd gone to that night. She didn't answer, so I left a message asking if she was back to let me back in, or if I should try to wheedle Kenny into letting me stay the night. ("Wheedle?" asked Kenny.) Brenda called back and I wheedled Kenny into letting me stay by asking him "Hey, Kenny, is it okay if I stay here tonight?"

"Sure," said Kenny.

So I did.

Sunday Morning: Kenny had a long drive ahead of him to pick up some equipment, and he had to hit the road early, lest it be even longer. So I said my goodbyes, gathered my things and hit the road. I stopped for an enormous breakfast at some restaurant and then muddled my way back to Brenda's digs. I tried to write a bit, but mostly zoned out on the couch while I waited for everybody to get up.

Sunday Afternoon: Brenda kicked me awake and we all piled into Brenda's car and headed out. Brenda was so proud of the fact that I didn't even so much as ask where exactly we were going. It turned out to be Venice Beach. I said hello to the ocean and we walked up the row of shops, dodging aspiring rappers hand selling their CDs and the occasional skateboarder. I bought a hat to keep my ears from freezing off, since the wind off the ocean was going pretty constantly and wasn't very warm. Jo bought some luggage and I bought Jo and Brenda each a little clay figurine from a guy who was selling them for a buck apiece.

From there, I was introduced to the wonders of Amoeba Records, which is like a cross between Tower Records (for its hugeness) and Book Nook (for its plethora of all used media.) I picked up a DVD of miscellaneous clips of Beatles stuff, including a TV appearance with Paul and John playing Pyramus and Thisbe. It was three bucks. I figured (as Brenda did) that alone was worth the price of admission.

Sunday Evening: We got back to the apartment with our stuff and flopped about for a bit. Brenda watched football; I used her computer to check my friends list. Eventually we all got hungry enough for dinner. Brenda took me to Mel's, which she swears up and down I've been to before but I have no memory of whatsoever. They took a picture of me there just to make sure they'd have hard evidence. We all had big sloppy Melburgers and went back home. I wound down and sacked out on the couch. Brenda tucked me in.

Monday Morning: Got up, packed, said my goodbyes to my gracious hostesses and took the car back to the rental place. On the shuttle ride back to the airport I realized that I couldn't find my house keys. I'd taken them out when I first arrived, on the basis that I didn't need them when I was bomping around L.A. I thought I'd shoved them in the bag, but after taking everything out my suitcase and my backpack, I was unable to find them. I called Brenda, who promised to ship them back to me. I called my mom and had her dig up my spare keys still living at the house. Then I put it out of my mind and got ready to get on the plane. I tried to get breakfast at the Burger King, but the line was so long that by the time I got to the front of it, they were no longer serving it. So I had a Whopper for breakfast.

Monday Afternoon: I spent the bulk of the flight plugged into the XM jazz station, detailing the rest of my adventures in my diary and reading the Nick Hornby book I'd bought at the library. Yes, next time I'm flying across the continent, I'm definitely taking a book.

Monday Evening: I read the book all the way on MARTA up to Lindbergh Station, where my mom handed me my spare keys over the turnstile and then hopped on on the train the rest of the way to Dunwoody.

Then I get to my car and there's a bit of a snag. The door unlocks, no problem. However, when I parked my car in the long term, I'd taken a certain precaution. I'd put The Club on the steering wheel. I do not have a spare key to it.

I cussed, swore, and, yeah, called my mom. So my parents dutifully trundled up to Dunwoody station to pick me up so I could sleep at their place and figure it out from there.

I texted Brenda with the address to ship the keys to. Brenda texted me back with the bad news--the keys were not at her apartment.


It wasn't until I was in the backseat of my Dad's car that I looked in the makeup bag. Buried under makeup pencils and deodorant were my keys.

I apologized profusely. Really, really profusely. Really, really, really profusely.

So I went back to my car, unlocked the door and the club, left this entry in my LJ and went to bed.

The end. Now I can go back to posting memes and shit.

Today I took pleasure in hearing one of the most sublime pop songs in the history of recorded music on the radio. ("Perfect Way" by Scritti Politti, in case you wondered.)

Today I learned the lyrics to Kenny Howes' songs as displayed on his website. (Damn, but some of those songs make Nick Drake look like "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.")


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
Well at least you FOUND your keys.

Mine are somewhere between Bridgeport CT and Port Jeff NY since they fell out of my pocket on the ferry.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )