how to vacation, kissam style

my brother flew out this past sunday. we’ve both been working some pretty long and stressful months. i had ‘spring break’ and he had a lot of time off due to him. and since he didn’t get to see the are when he helped me move out here. . . why not spend some time in the greater LA area?

what you need to get started. . .
a sibling- check
a plan, or some semblance of a plan- check
a friend who knows the area much better than yourself- check
a camera for documentation of good times had- check
a car (you are in LA. . . hello!)- check

the plan included far too many things than could actually be accomplished in the time that existed. . .

a trip to vegas
the penn and teller show
universal studios
venice beach
the getty
the getty villa
the science center
magic mountain
the arclight
a couple of movies
amoeba records
some good dinners
several hours of guitar hero
a walk through hollywood
griffith observatory

after sitting down with my brother and the friend that knows far more about the area than i did (that would be michael). . . we knocked the list down to an accomplishable amount.


dan arrives, and we stop for a late lunch at dink’s- a good jewish deli in town. we also stopped at target, i forget what for. . . but we seemed to think it was necessary at the time. later that night a dinner at george’s bistro.


i had to go to work for a part day. dan had never seen the school, so it turned into a tour, of sorts. the hallways were really quiet, but we walked the parts that i knew best. then another meal at dink’s. . . the evening was dedicated to hanging out in hollywood. we got to grauman’s chinese theatre and saw a bunch of the handprints, footprints, and tourists. we walked around a bit and then headed to dinner at chandara. . . yummy thai food. michael had to break off, but dan and i spent some time at amoeba records, and then set out for the arclight movie theatre. dan hadn’t seen pan’s labyrinth yet, and the arclight is a pretty great set up.


first off, i should let you know that it was our intention to not get up early to start our day. the idea being that we both also wanted to relax. . . so none of our days really started much before noon. we needed to stop by the school and check my mail, since dan shipped my birthday present and it was somewhat integral to our vacation. the box was there.. . . but we were onto the getty museum. it seemed to become dan’s favorite early on. we got to see handful, but there is much more. one of those problems about getting up late. . . a lot of places aren’t open all night. but we saw a decent amount for that day, and we were headed out to the santa monica pier for dinner. we arrived just in time to watch the sunset over the water.


we started off by breaking open the box dan had shipped and then a few rounds of guitar hero. . . . hehe. then. . . well. . . we were off to disneyland. we started with an hour long wait to get onto space mountain. the lines gradually got better throughout the day, but we fit in the jungle cruise, pirates of the caribbean (ps, the new animatronic jack sparrow is kind of amazing), mr. toad’s wild ride, the haunted mansion, buzz lightyear’s astro blasters, star tours, indiana jones adventure, it’s a small world. . . and space mountain again. the new red hot chili peppers music is pretty fantastic. i kept trying to compare it to disneyworld. . . but i don’t remember enough. it seems like the park has been going through some serious updates. even tink’s been updated during the fireworks. she’s all fiber optics and glowing.


some more guitar hero to start the morning. in order to guarantee a spot into the star wars exhibit at the science center, we had to buy tickets to an imax movie. michael joined us again, and we got tickets to the 3D sea movie. . . pretty great. it almost made me feel bad about the sushi dinner we would be having later that day. . . but not THAT bad. :)
turns out the star wars exhibit is the same one they had in boston. there were some great artifacts and videos. it didn’t seem as large as the lord of the rings exhibit. . . but there was an R2D2 centric robot theatre thing that made up for any other inadequacies. it would’ve been nice to see what else was in the science center. . . but i guess i’ll have to do that later. there was a lot of annoying school children around, and it was obvious that there was some fancy function being set up as we were leaving.
dinner was a mon’s. it was something i was working up to for dan, since it’s some of the best sushi i’ve ever had. i was looking to find something dan would be impressed with, since he has really good sushi in boston. at one point he took a bite of something and in a slightly surprised tone said, ‘that’s really good tuna.’. . . . and i feel vindicated. we did have a small star sighting as well. i guess he shows up to this place pretty often. fabio had dinner a few tables away from us.


we had left friday open when we made our original plans. there were so many things we could put into it, but after dan saw the getty, we made the getty villa a priority. the villa requires more planning, and when we checked earlier in the week, it seemed as if it was booked up. a quick check on thursday evening showed that some appointments opened. . . so we quickly booked ourselves. it’s a pretty phenomenal place out in malibu. we got to get closer to the ocean again. . . .and well, walking around a roman style villa, filled with courtyards, gardens, fountains, and roman/ greek/ etruscan antiquities is a rather lovely way to spend a day. (universal studios was our backup plan, but i think we lucked out in getting to the villa.) we then traveled up the coast a bit to this well known fish fry place called neptune’s net. and another sunset across the water.

dan and i headed home with the intention to see blades of glory, but it was all sold out. we’d been talking a lot about 300, and i made him watch a video i found that focused on the hawk-man character from flash gordon, which i think was the inspiration for king leonidas. so. . . . we saw the 300 again, laughing at how much the two characters were alike.


dan and i geeked out on our computers, downloading gps points of our excursions, photos, and such. he hopped on his plane after we stopped for some quick pizza.

just note. . . it wasn’t ALL fun and games. after sleeping in a bit each morning, i spent a few hours multitasking. . . on the phone either contacting students who had left me messages the day before (problems with their show), contacting places to reserve times and tickets, holding phone interviews for perspective crew members this summer, more phone conversations with my boss in santa fe discussing all the recent phone interviews, laptop at the ready looking up resumes for perspective crew members, emailing notes from interviews, and getting directions for that day’s outting. by the time dan and i would leave i was already high strung. . . so i can’t say i found it disappointing that in most places i had very little cell service. though i did hold an interview during dinner at disneyland.

overall themes for the trip. . .

        sleeping in a bit
        great weather- or at least, the weather that i like
        getting ushered out of every place we visited by security (that’s the drawback of starting your day later, places will close)
                getty- we were there till it closed, and there were no sandwiches left at the bakery
                disneyland- we were there till the park closed, of course they keep the shops open later (for our convenience- so they said). . .                 in other words, BUY OUR CRAP
                science center- they were bringing down the separation gates while we finished our snack (guess we don’t get to see any                 more of the museum?)
                villa- again, ushered out by security
        never getting to see everything. . . but possibly getting to see as much as our brains could handle that day
        gift shops- nearly every outting landed us in a gift shop while being ushered out
        oh yeah, and guitar hero.

did i leave anything out dan?

hmmm. . . is it any surprise that the most productive thing i did today was go grocery shopping? didn’t even bother to shower. . .

i need to become more personally productive. i need to find a dentist, and a chiropractor. . . . maybe a masseuse. . . i need an exercise regiment. . . i miss having a life, friends and stuff.

do i really have to go back to work tomorrow?

already got a phone call about a problem. . . . and so it begins.

enjoy some pictures of our week below.

fat cat

fat cat, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i took dan to school the first day. . . i know, how exciting right?! but we found this drawing in the animation school, and i can't help but think it looks a lot like his cat at home, scout.

52 card pick up

52 card pick up, originally uploaded by ekissam.

there's always something interesting going on in the basement of the building. here's a spewing deck of cards trailing across the ceiling.


minerva, originally uploaded by ekissam.

is this the original? there's a minerva statue at the potsdam state library. mom has some writing framed next to it. . . i can't remember if it's the same pose. (getty museum)

dan at getty

dan at getty, originally uploaded by ekissam.

dan seemed to really like the getty. we could probably spend another couple of days there. we certainly didn't see everything in our afternoon. . . but we saw a lot.

fun with shadows

fun with shadows, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we had some great weather all week for outtings. and the sunlight lends itself to some shadow play. here with dan, michael, and myself in the getty garden.


getty, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it's hard to take a bad picture anywhere at the getty. this is looking back from the garden.

santa monica sunset

santa monica sunset, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we ended our day at the santa monica pier with a nice sunset and some mexican food.

guitar hero

guitar hero, originally uploaded by ekissam.

always good to start off the day like a rock star.

disneyland castle

disneyland castle, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it's kinda funny. when dan and i initially started to plan out vacation, i mentioned disneyworld. i had been as an adult, but dan hadn't since he was about 7. . . totally forgetting that disneyland is just a bit away from me where i live now. so. . . we tacked it on to our wednesday afternoon and evening.

my brain hurts. . .

my brain hurts. . ., originally uploaded by ekissam.

i tried to tell him. i tried to warn him, but since he hadn't done the 'small world' ride since he was a kid, he needed to do it again to remind himself of the horror. and, now he knows.


staring, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this guy just got off the 'small world' ride too . . . oh. . . oh no. my mistake. this is a bust from the getty villa. sorry, the pictures got out of order.

space mountain pic

space mountain pic, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we started the day at space mountain, and we ended it with space mountain. this time, we both flashed the horns the ENTIRE ride, just to be sure that we made the shot.

the horns

the horns, originally uploaded by ekissam.

in case we were too far away to see it in the previous picture. . here's a closer look. yep. . . something for the parentals to be proud of for sure.

my idol

my idol, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i missed the star wars exhibit while it was in boston. . . but it came around to LA recently. . . and dan, michael and i made an afternoon of it. first the 3D under the sea imax movie, and then a stroll through the star wars memorabelia. . . where i could see my own personal idol again. . . hehe.


yup, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we're all adding robotic attributes and enhancements to different human characters that have been preselected for us. this is a rather lame component to the star wars attraction.

there is no try

there is no try, originally uploaded by ekissam.

gotta love gift/ museum shops. michael was really hoping this yoda backpack would belittle him as he set about his tasks. . . but it remained silent.

in between

in between, originally uploaded by ekissam.

in the rose garden outside the science center there's this small place (if you can see it at dan's feet) where he apparently isn't in the formal usa. good to know. . . just in case. . . you know. . . anything's possible. muhahahahahahahahaha

michael at the fountain

michael at the fountain, originally uploaded by ekissam.

michael at the fountain, and dan soaking up some shade in the east garden. it was a great day to visit the getty villa out in malibu.

me at the fountain

me at the fountain, originally uploaded by ekissam.

self portrait. . . at the getty villa east garden. . . at least i think it was the east garden. there were a lot of courtyards, gardens, fountains and such, easy to get it all confused.

dan and i

dan and i, originally uploaded by ekissam.

yeah. . . dan was here too. . .


courtyard, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is pretty impressive. if there wasn't so much else to see i would've just sat in the shade with a book and soaked up the peacefulness.

greek theatre

greek theatre, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the greek theatre at the getty villa.


antiquities, originally uploaded by ekissam.

they say that history repeats itself. . .

ancient ipod

ancient ipod, originally uploaded by ekissam.

. . . i just thought it was slightly more metaphoric. . .

ancient bluetoothing

ancient bluetoothing, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i guess having a personal laptop holder back in the days of ancient rome was useful. . . but i wonder what her kilobites per second rate on her bluetooth was.

reflection pool

pool, originally uploaded by ekissam.

yeah. . . you can see how it's hard living at the getty villa.

more courtyard

more courtyard, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is dan't attempt to shoot off some more pictures before we were ushered out.

fun with optics

fun with optics, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so, this was a cheap little toy in the getty villa giftshop, which proved for some camera fun. i would've got it, except the 'cheap toy' cost $12. i'll wait till i find one more appropriately priced. the gift shop pretty much concluded our trip to the getty villa. we stopped for dinner after wards at neptune's net up the coast on the PCH.


another. lame. week.


i’m tired.

i’m frustrated.

i’m frustrated with working hard and still coming up short.

i’m tired of feeling like i’m not doing a good job.

i’m tired of being frustrated.

i have an overhire person in to help with one of the shows. he’s a former student, so i feel slightly less embarrassed by the state of my office and the theatres. . . he’s already seen it this bad. and for now, that excuse is good enough.

it’s kind of nice having someone else around, and it’s boosted my energy slightly. . . but then i hear things like, ‘yeah, a bunch of us got an email asking to ME the school, but we weren’t going to answer that!’

. . . and i realize i’m the fool at the table that took the job no one else wanted. they all had the inside information that i didn’t have. and what’s worse is. . . mom warned me. but i was too excited at the prospect of ‘moving up’ that i pushed her advice aside. . . and here i am. . . the fool. had i stayed in santa fe. . . i’d be somewhat bored. . . but i’d have some friends i could hang around and work with, i’d have the doctors that i had just started seeing, id have a workout schedule, i’d have my chiropractor and acupuncturist- as well as the time to visit both. . . and possibly the ability and time to get a dog. i’d have a . . . what’s the word i’m looking for? . . . a ‘life.’

nope. . . instead i get late birthday cards and cards of encouragement from family that have me seeking the solitude of a bathroom stall to cry in. . . i don’t have time to call or write to thank them. and i’m in such a completely foul mood 24/7 that i’ve lost the ability to exchange pleasantries at any level. . . i wouldn’t want to talk to me.

aside from that somehow i’ve managed to avoid all the sickness around me. all the students and all my roommates have all been through several rounds of colds. . . i usually get two or three myself. . but none this year. i’ve also taken to drinking a nyquil nightcap before sleeping each night since about july . . . . wonder if there’s any correlation. wonder if there will be any long term liver damage?

down two pieces of life candy this week.

#1 ‘the show’ with zefrank ended. i liked watching it, and passing it onto other people. i wish i had the inclination/ time/ creativity to take part in his challenges and games more often- or even once. but now, it’s too late. his year long experiment ended, and now i’ll have to look for something else to download and giggle over.

#2 the penn jillette radio show ended. granted, it ended a week or two ago, but because i podcast it, i just got the news this week. it only makes me want to get to vegas even more. . . i need a jillette fix stat! guess internet video will have to hold me off.

up 1/2 piece of life candy. . . ?

at the end of the week i had a momentary lapse of fun. michael shot out for a late dinner and movie sort of thing as i skipped out of tech. i needed to see the 300 to find out what the big deal was.

it was pretty. . but SO over the top. . . .i had a hard time containing the giggles when the male chanting and hard rhythmic soundtrack broke out into a rob zombie/ pantera . . . duhn duhn- duhn duhn- duhn duhn- duhn duhn. . . riff as the SPARTANS! launched another assault. (i don’t think it will be possible to say or think SPARTANS! without capitalizing it and ending it with an exclamation mark.)

ps. . . if you, like me, were wondering who king leonidas reminds you of. . . look no further. it took me up until about the last 5 minutes of the movie to pinpoint it. . . but i’ve got it. i kept rummaging through overly masculine shakespearean characters and actors and such, and kept coming up short. . . till i grabbed it from the depths of the 80’s. remember ‘flash gordon’ with the queen soundtrack. remember the leader of the hawkmen. . . or whatever they were. real robust guy who was kind of an ass, but then came to fight the good fight in the end? yeah. . that’s the one. he and king leonidas are practically interchangeable.

having trouble remembering?

copy and paste this. . . it’s an annoying remix, but it will get the idea across. . .

gotta split. . . gnight.


today's anthem

here for now- ani difranco

i bet you're wondering
if you woke up today
just to learn why the caged bird sings
i bet you're wondering if the godesses are all crazy
or just keeping it interesting
situated slightly outside society
at odds with its odd offerings
i bet you're teetering on the edge of sobriety
just to alleviate a few things...
like the fear that you're standing here
cuz you want to be liked
you know you need your instrument
but does your instrument need to be miked?

you keep imagining
that pretty soon you will just disappear
and thinking that one thing
is what saves you from your fear of being here
here for now
here for now
here for now

i bet you're looking for the little red x
next to the red arrow
and the words 'you are here'
i bet you're hoping that your heart will send up
the white flag this time
or some sign that the coast is clear
yeah the moment when your heart jumps
it's all that's happening
and once again
it's like the first time you've felt that shock
yeah the moment when your heart jumps
it's all that's happening
and i was right behind the door when you knocked

thinking maybe i'm just standing here
cuz i want to be liked
i know i need my instrument
but does my instrument need to be miked?

i keep imagining
that pretty soon i will just disappear
and thinking that one thing
is what saves me from my fear of being here
here for now
here for now
here for now

cliches aside. . .

four tell tale signs you know you’ve been in the theatre building too long. . .

(from the barter years. . . )

when leaving the building to go home you approach your car extend your hand and attempt to shove your mag-lite into the keyhole only realizing after the *thud* that you aren’t holding your keys.

feeling an overwhelming sense of relief that there are 1) very few other drivers . . . 2) cops. . . 3) turns on main street after snoozing through two red lights on your 4am drive home.

nearly thwart your own attempt to hire an assistant by giving him stage directions (stage right equals a real left) from the freeway to his new residence and place of work. thankfully he was smarter than me :)

(and more recently. . . )

being filled with an immediate instantaneous sense of dread after realizing that you will have to touch up the light in front of you that was obviously focused horribly by another crew member to only realize half a heartbeat later that the light is supposed to look that way, because it’s a traffic light. . .

my brain hurts. . . .

as well as my back. . . and my feet. . . errrrrrr


some more smiling

i’ve been smiling a bit. . . granted not at work so much, but a little more often than usual. . .

friday i walked out of the building, with the sun still visible in the sky (the first time in about 2 months) and i walked out smiling. again, not because of anything at work, but some news that i got while i was at work.

several key elements have fallen into place in the past few days, making another summer in santa fe with friends and the opera completely possible. we were all waiting to hear about the final decisions of a few people. . . and they came in just as i had hoped. i’m so glad to be able to have another summer there, with a decent group of people. yes, hard work, but good friends and a good working environment. . . . i miss that. . . A LOT.

the next reason i’m smiling, my brother and i just started talking about doing a vacation thing together over my spring break. perhaps him getting to visit me and actually seeing more of the area than a rental truck and storage facility. and then, perhaps a detour. . . vegas perhaps? hmmmm? an evening with penn and teller perhaps? or seeing how many other friends we can get to show up for an impromptu trivial pursuit blow out? possible. . . . . . . . . . . pig. . . :)

i don’t think the new shoes hurt the situation any. i’ve been wanting a new pair of red keens. i ordered them online and was worried they wouldn’t fit and i’d have to send them back. . . blah blah blah. . . . they were a perfect fit. . and they are totally cute. i totally have a pair of work shoes, and play shoes now.

it’s nice to have something to look forward to. something that doesn’t immediately tighten the muscles in my shoulders and pinch my face into a wince.

i did have a performance review recently. i don’t think i totally knew that i was on a three month probation. . . i’m a little upset that i didn’t fail. only because maybe i’d be relieved of my position through failure. . . . but no. apparently i’m doing a stellar job. i wonder if my stellar performance will manifest a raise?. . . . or an assistant? HA. . . . what is this. . . a job or something?