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.


Dan said...

That pretty much sums it up.

The only thing I would add is that it really helped getting around with a GPS-honed map program, complete with an operator for it sitting in the navigator's seat. (That would be me.) :-) It ended up bailing us out of a short drive in the wrong direction at one point. One which could have turned into a really long drive.

Stephen said...

Hi Erika!

Steve, Dan's college roomate here, we've met, tall blond dude. Just saying hey!