Sunday, February 28, 2010

L.A. Day 1: Paramount, star sightings, Hollywood Boulevard, and why we don't go to bars

I can't believe how long it has taken me to get around to this. But since I hardly write in a paper journal anymore I'm forcing myself to go ahead and record it before I forget it. This is day 1 of 3. And all my pictures are up on Flickr.

First, this is Jan, my hostess for the weekend and one of my best friends. We've known each other since a French class the first semester of college.

Getting there
D.C. had a true blizzard on the Wednesday before I was scheduled to leave, resulting in one cancelled flight and one near nervous breakdown. I got lucky, however, and was able to book a different flight only an hour after my original, and made it through the mountains of snow to the airport and out of Dodge. I got to L.A. late Thursday night, greeted by weather in the high 50s, which felt more like summer after the week I'd just had.

Paramount studio tour
A few weeks before my trip, Jan and I were emailing back and forth about things to do. She asked about doing a studio tour and when we were deciding on which one, she sent me the following thought process:

"We should do a studio tour. Hm. Bonnie will want to do Paramount - because it will have [the] most Audrey stuff there."

She knows me so well. So to Paramount we went on Friday morning. From those recognizable gates, to the iconic symbol on the water tower, it was perfection.

Our tour guide, though his nametag identified him as being from Kansas, was at least one part typical Hollywood fast talker. Very informative and sarcastic, but as Jan put it, she kept waiting for him to say "that's beautiful" or "let's make it happen." (Which, thankfully, he did not.) He drove us all around the lot, stopping at different soundstages for us to take a peek and filling us in on Paramount history along the way.

We saw them setting up for My Boys and Hung. We also got to go on the set of Community, which was interesting because it was the most put together of the ones we saw. We saw an outside lot used for water scenes, one of Forrest Gump's benches, the studio movie theatre, some buildings that used to be major star offices and dressing rooms (including Audrey), the set of two Nickelodeon shows, and more. We also had a whopping 4 star sightings. (Jan said the chances of even one are rare, so to have four is just unreal.)

Our guide tried to make it to the New York lot, but sadly we could only glimpse it from afar as Desperate Housewives was filming there. We did, however, use an alley to turn our golf cart around. At the time I thought it was just an alley. Later, however, and only because Jan asked, we discovered it was the alley used from the final scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's. (AKA MY FAVORITE MOVIE!) It would have been nice to know that at the time, but still, just knowing I was there is nice.

Celebrity Sightings
Oh yes, those. We saw:

Matthew Morrison and Jayma Mays from Glee and Chevy Chase and Alison Brie from Community. (She's also in Mad Men.) Everyone on the tour was freaking out, but Jan and I kept our cool. And were the only two who even realized it was Matthew Morrison. Everyone but Chevy Chase smiled and waved at us, but he might have, Jan and I were just too busy looking away as everyone in our cart screamed "That's Chevy Chase!" These were my only celebrity sightings of the weekend but I'd say that's ok.


Jan had a very long list of places she loves that she wanted to take me to eat. We started with In-n-Out. I love a good burger and fries and these were excellent.

Hollywood Boulevard

After lunch I saw more of downtown Hollywood and we stopped on Hollywood Boulevard to do a little shopping and walking and looking. We went to Zara, which is a store I love and went to a lot in London and now in D.C. Funnily, I haven't bought anything there since London, but I found tons to buy at the one in L.A. I only bought one top, however, and Jan ended up with the same one. We are different in a lot of ways, but some times we are just so much alike, it makes me feel really good.

Kodak Theatre
While here we also went by the Kodak Theatre, where many events are held, including the Oscars in just a few weeks. The space leading up to the theatre has columns with all the Best Picture winners. They have space up until 2050, after which I'm not sure what they'll do.

Grauman's Theatre
Our last stop in the area was Grauman's Theatre to look at all the hand and footprints of stars past and present. I can't believe how tiny some of the women's footprints were! Natalie Wood's especially, I really should have measured against my foot since mine are quite small too, but hers looked minuscule. I believe my favorites were Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, simply because they shared a block and wrote "his" and "hers" beside them, which I thought was sweet.

More shopping and dinner
We then went back to Burbank where Jan lives and wandered around downtown. I bought a very cute jacket and shirt at a consignment store, and then we had sushi at one of Jan's favorites. Then it was back to her apartment to get ready.

Going Out
The L.A. Carolina Club (UNC has alumni clubs all around the country) happened to be having a mixer that night and we decided to go. It was fun to get dressed up to go out, reminded us of our last year of college, but not so fun once we got there. We had to realize that we just aren't go to a bar to meet people, people. Whether it's being incessantly talked to by someone you barely know, (Jan), or hit on by someone who can't even read your last name off a name tag correctly (me), we just don't have a lot of patience for it. We had a drink, left, and then Jan drove around L.A., showing me different views of the city and several landmarks.

And that was day 1 and just the beginning...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Los Angeles

I really will get around to writing about my L.A. trip. Hopefully before I leave for Austin for a work trip. But until then, I did manage to upload and caption my pictures on my Flickr. All nicely organized and labelled.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Soapbox

Testing out blogging on my new phone. I think I have freakishly large fingers because typing on this thing is hard! Also, this is when being a grammar Nazi is especially annoying. But alas, that's not the soapbox. Because...I can't think of a single thing to rant about. I know, I'm worried too.

But after being snowed in for a week, an amazing trip to LA (more on that later), and being happy to be back at work and out again, I just can't complain.

There is of course all the snow still hanging around, the Tiger thing, the train wreck that is UNC basketball, and the continued rise of ultra-conservative Conservatives, but, I'll leave those for another day.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Go to hell Duke, ok?

Occasionally I'll think that maybe, just maybe, I'm crossing over into adulthood. I'm never happy about it and I immediately try to counteract it by putting my hair in pigtails or watching a Disney movie. (Both of which, in my opinion, are still acceptable adult behaviors, as long as done in the privacy of your home.) But then, someone says something derogatory about UNC, or worse, something derogatory about UNC and something nice -- shudder -- about Duke, and I feel my grasp on maturity slip away. And all I want to do is kick them in the face. Twice.

And in the mental list I keep in my head of "things a grown up would do" and "things a grown up probably wouldn't do," I have to say that a kick in the face is probably in the latter. I'm also sure it does not qualify as a classy thing to do, and since I endeavor to always lead a classy lifestyle, I guess I can't just go around kicking random people in the face. Even though they really, really deserve it.

Which leads me, finally, to the point. To quote Jay Z, as I have before, "you can pay for school, but you can't buy class."

I am of what I consider to be a rare breed of someone who was a fan of the school before she was a fan of the basketball team. Seriously, little ol' six-year-old me, playing on the elementary school playground*, talking about going to UNC one day, didn't even know what basketball was. But damn if I didn't know that early that I was in love.

Keep on paying your hundreds of thousands for that education, Dookies. It doesn't equal class, no matter how much you think otherwise. And for the record, my Carolina degree doesn't equal class either; no degree does. I just wanted to hate on Duke for a bit.

*True story.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow Fatigue

I'd love to be able to go more than a day without using the word "snow" in a post, a status message, a phone call, an email, or in casual conversation.

Today is not that day. We're expected to get 7-14 inches more tonite, down from the original projection of 10-20 inches. I've never been so happy about just a foot of snow. Except the happy only lasts for a second because I'm tired of the snow. Tired of being trapped in my apartment. Tired of not being able to go to my office. Tired of stressing about the fact that I have a trip planned for sunny Los Angeles and a plane ride on Thursday evening that might not happen.

Not to mention that I'm physically tired from little sleep due to congestion and mentally tired from having writer's block and struggling with my work. (And as the picture shows, I had to resort to a high school method of producing productivity: pigtails. It's a long story. Also, just to clarify, I wasn't taking a nap, I was banging my head on my personal computer. The computer on the right is my work computer.)

However, I'm trying to be happy, I'm really trying to appreciate the simple pleasures. So here are five:
  1. We haven't lost power or hurt ourselves, we have food and water.
  2. I have a job that allows me to work safely from home for what is about to be five days now.
  3. I share a living space with a good friend and though we've had very little contact with others, we haven't killed each other.
  4. There were new episodes of some of my favorite shows last night: "How I Met Your Mother," "Big Bang Theory," and "Life Unexpected." This last one is a new show that I simply love, everyone should watch.
  5. Robert Gibbs mocking Sarah Palin's hand notes during the White House press briefing.
Ok that hurt, time to go back to being tired and angry.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snow Crazy

For a slew of pictures, check my Flickr.

Well, I made it, I survived [insert annoyingly cutesy name for] D.C.'s first (and last?) blizzard of 2010. I know the picture suggests otherwise but, well, this is me after all.

We estimate about 20-25 inches at our apartment. Though really, after the first foot, I think the point has been made. It was a lot of snow, that's all that really matters. And the shear amount of it is still throwing me for a loop. I just don't know how it is all going to melt or where it will all go when it does.

I'm very lucky that (so far) we haven't lost power or sustained any injuries. All in all the experience wasn't too terrible. I have had entirely too much to eat, a little to drink, and been embarrassingly lazy, but I think it's excusable. A brief recap:
  • Day 1: Roomie made chili, we played Trivial Pursuit and started our Tom Hanks film fest with "Apollo 13." Played in snow a bit.
  • Day 2: I made potato soup and we watched "Forrest Gump." Took a walk down Pennsylvania to the Capitol. B posed on a bench and swung on a pole. I posed with an igloo, pulled my back trying to run and play in a snowy field, and ended the night with a snow angel.
  • Day 3: No playing in snow today. I made a trek to the grocery store, which was mushy, slick, and no fun. Watched the Heels fall to the turtles. Made a dip in the Crock Pot to munch on during the Super Bowl.
As much as I love being busy and doing things, I can be a real homebody at times, so it has been kind of nice. I will be working from home again tomorrow, though, and think the stir craziness will hit. (It also just occurred to me that because I worked from home on Thursday and Friday, I haven't been out of Capitol Hill since last Wednesday.)

And that's about it. Check my Flickr for pictures and a few funny captions. Now I just really need it to melt fast and to NOT snow again Tuesday, because I am bound for Los Angeles on Thursday and NOTHING is going to stop me from getting the heck out of Dodge.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Soapbox

It comes very naturally for me to be ragey and cynical. But I saw on several other blogs where they were listing their simple pleasures, and thought that in light of how ragey and cynical I've been lately/always, I'd make that today's soapbox. A few of my simple pleasures are:
  • When a metro train pulls up right as I get off the escalator.
  • Anything argyle
  • Huggy sweaters (Sweaters that make you want to hug someone/be hugged.)
  • Fountains, chandeliers, tiaras, and pearls
  • Scalding hot showers
  • When my bank account has more money than I thought it did.
  • Finishing a book in a day because I had the time and it was just that good.
  • Lounging around in a pair of jeans and a Carolina hoodie.
  • Bebe chapstick from Germany
  • When things match
  • "I look at you, and I'm home." (Finding Nemo)
  • Exclamation points
  • Anything Carolina blue
  • Being warm.
  • When my friends just "get it."
  • Reading a book or article and thinking, "I could do better."
  • Anytime there's a new episode of a favorite TV show, especially when I thought it was going to be a repeat.
  • Obama
  • Every time the space shuttle lifts off.
  • Center Street at Christmas, The Old Well, Big Ben, and The White House
  • "If I could just find a place that made me feel like Tiffany's, I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name." (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
  • To be continued...

You're bound to lose control when the rubber band starts to jam

Joey and I used to love watching "Mr. Wizard's World" on Nickelodeon. Neither of us are big science people but I would say we are both curious about the way things work. And occasionally we would do some of the experiments ourselves. Like putting milk in a pan and adding food coloring to watch the designs it forms. (The only thing milk is good for, in my opinion.)

It's not an experiment and it's fairly mundane compared to most everything else on the show, but I'm fairly sure that Mr. Wizard is also where we got the idea for rubber band messages. We'd stretch out a rubber band on a ruler, write a message on it, and then when it was un-stretched we'd have a rubber band with tiny words on it. I'll still occasionally find myself doing this if I have a thick rubber band and some time; it amuses me. But even more amusing was one I found today that said:

"Have a good day! Hello! Joey! This is a rubber-band note!

It's hardly Pulitzer-worthy writing, I'm aware. Not to mention the excessive exclamation points and unnecessary hyphenation. (Proof it is from me, however.) Now, I don't know for sure that this was written when we were kids, but it sure wasn't done any time recently. But the fact that it's with me after 14 moves and a good number of years, is quite a feat. It shows the enduring nature of the rubber band message.

Yes, I wish my message had of been a bit more exciting or prophetic, but the message endures nonetheless. And just think of the possibilities! Marriage proposals, dinner invites, apologies, advertisements, political platforms, revelations, innovations! The rubber band message knows no bounds. You truly were a man ahead of your time, Mr. Wizard.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

We're done, snow, we're done.

This is from Wednesday's snow. This is the last time I will post anything remotely nice or joyous in regards to the white stuff that is making me long for spring despite the assurance of allergies and bees that it brings.

These are from my neighborhood. When I walked out of my apartment it took my breath away. Every tree branch was perfectly coated in white and I felt like I was on a movie set. I think my eyes were the size of saucers until I got to the metro it was so beautiful. Columbia Heights and Old Town were just as lovely.

But now they are projecting 18 to 24 inches for this weekend so I'm done. Having grown up in the south where snow is rare and a treat, I never understood those people who got tired of it. Well, I am sad to say, I am now one of those people. And it's probably largely because I grew up in the south, where everything shuts down when the white stuff hits, that I'm growing to hate it. But up here, even though most everything still shuts down, I still have to do work, walk in it, go to the store in it, put on 14 layers to be out in it, etc. Maybe I just need a good, old-fashioned snow day to make me love it again? Probably not.

Daddy says that this is what I get for moving "above the Mason-Dixon line." However, according to Wikipedia, I'm still below it:

I told Daddy this and he decided D.C., and specifically my apartment, is in a de-militarized type zone on account of Virginia's Confederate status, Maryland's border stateness, and D.C. being surrounded by both. I assume this means I will be protected in a DMZ bubble and be unaffected by the snowfall, though this has not been the case thus far. (I could point out that only one of us was born/lived above the M-D line, but as he has chosen to stay safe in the south while I have ventured off to the Great White North, it would be a moot point.)

Semantics and geography aside, life in the DMZ will be pretty dull the next few days, I imagine. But I've got a stack of books, my dozens of DVDs, some wine, five pounds of potatoes to make soup, and the hope that the weather people are way off and we'll just get rain.

That's the southern girl in me talking: you just never can trust the Yankees.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Yesterday I was near the front desk at work when a package came and I signed for it. And who did the package just happen to be for? Why, me!

(Note: I took the pictures after I got home and was waiting for my dinner to cook. I wouldn't take pictures of a gift at my desk at work, that would be weird. Though I'm not sure the clarification makes it any less obsessive.)

Design on the box:

The bow:

The tag:

The box:

The goodies, or at least what remains a day later after
some co-workers, my roommate, and me got to them:


I love gifts -- obviously, who doesn't -- but they are even more lovely when they are a SURPRISE. And these cookies are AMAZING. Mom sent me a box several months ago and I think I still have a few in the freezer. I loved every single flavor in this box and though I've probably had too many, they're so good I don't care.


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