Sunday, November 11, 2007

To do: LA


Take a trip down Mullholland Drive

Stroll down Venice Beach

Visit the Getty Center

Bikeride the wrong way up a highway onramp

Productive weekend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And what did you accomplish tonight?

My evening in a surrealist movie

LA I hung out with my friends B and I last Friday. We weren't planning on doing much exciting, but I's friend J (that makes four of us now, for those of you keeping track at home) knew of a party way out in Downtown LA that we thought might be fun. After making the half-hour drive out there, we receive news that the party is, in fact "lame", and that our time would be better spent elsewhere.

Not wanting to waste a drive, we decide to hang out, and maybe go exploring. Visit the Hollywood sign, perhaps, or take a swing down Mullholland Drive. Eventually, we decide to visit Silverlake Reservoir, because it's supposed to be pretty and, hey, it's nearby. We look on a map and start driving. On our way, we pass a film crew on Sunset Boulevard. They've taken over a gas station, put two people on a motorcycle, and started filming under amazingly bright floodlights. "Neat!" I think to myself, since I haven't seen one of those before.

It is unclear what happens next, but about ten minutes later, without having turned around, we find ourselves passing the film shoot again. And then, ten minutes later, we pass it again. Weird, but hey -- we're new to the area. After breaking down and getting directions, we make it to Silverlake which is, well, a reservoir. And probably pretty during the day, when the park portion is open. So instead, we decide that perhaps a foray to the nearby Silverlake Lounge would be in order (we hear it's quite cool). At a nearby gas station, we ask for directions from a seedy looking gentleman.

On our way to the lounge, we pass a convent. And then, we pass the same convent again. And again. Hmmm. We find the lounge, though, and pull into the lot. And just as we get out of the car, we see... the exact same seedy looking gentleman from the aforementioned gas station. Bear in mind that we are several miles away from that gas station at this point, yet he's somehow ended up at the same place as us, anyway. "There are bitches dancing on the walls in there!" he tells us as we walk by. There are not, in fact, bitches dancing on the walls. Let down, we move on.

B has a friend in the area, so we park our car near his house and decide to go exploring. Our routing algorithm is: take the most scenic looking road. Which puts us well aways from our car. We spend a delightful hour or so chatting on a street corner, next to a Spanish-style house with terra cotta tiles and a nice garden. Eventually, noting the time, we decide to meander on. At this point, we're not quite sure the direction back.

"Fear not!" I say to my companions. "That is the road we're supposed to follow!" I point down route A. "No," says B, "it's that way!" He points down route B. "Silly people," says J, "it's clearly that way" pointing down route C. At this point, we have picked all possible routes except D. Well, we figure, let's just pick one and start walking. We pick my route, which is downhill (the correct direction), and seems promising. We walk for a good 10 minutes or so, keeping up a lively conversation. "Wait a minute," says B. "Doesn't that house look familiar?" we move closer. It is, indeed, familiar. It is, in fact, the exact same Spanish house we had just left, moments before. Somehow we looped around and came back on route D.

Well, fine. I was wrong. Route B it must be. We walk down route B, which is uphill at first, but we eventually see familiar landmarks, and sure enough, we're on the path back down to the car. Until J says, "Wait a minute..." And yes, somehow, we are back at the Spanish house. Route C serves us no better. A few minutes of walking and we are mysteriously back at the Spanish house. Take a moment to realize how this feels to us. We have gone traveled on all four roads leaving this intersection. Every single road leads us back to where we started.

At this point, I realize what has happened. LA is falling apart at the seams. The center cannot hold, and a vortex has formed around the Spanish house. Everything makes sense, now. The movie shoot, the convent, the seedy guy, the Spanish house, the lack of bitches dancing on walls. Yes, LA has finally collapsed under its own weight, and it's taking us down with it.

Fortunately, Google is not fooled. I plug in our destination on my cell phone and, ignoring the evidence of our own eyes, we follow its directions back to the car. Carefully, carefully, we drive home.

This is the path we were supposed to take back to the car:

As best as I can tell, this is the path we actually took: