Saturday, July 5, 2008

And the Sky Lit Up

Happy 4th of July all!

My town does a respectable little fireworks display. They set them off from a hill near the mall so everyone can park at the mall parking lot. They turn off the safety lights for the show so the view is good. They work with the local NPR station to simulcast a patriotic medley and did a good job of switching fireworks with different songs. There were some funky ones that shot up and appeared to zig zag, but it was closely timed repeats that gave the effect. They had a few that burst in the big ball, then started zigging and zagging all over (my favorites, I think). They did a couple of smiley faces, something that was probably supposed to be a square, several disk shaped ones and smaller balls with orbitals. I enjoyed it.

I didn't bother taking pictures because while my tiny Elph/power shot is good for lots of stuff, it doesn't let me manually override it in the way I need to get good pictures of fireworks, or the little bit of the hill they set on fire with the fireworks. Whoops! They got it put out in about 5 minutes, but since I was sitting around talking on the phone or reading a book waiting for the traffic to clear, I got to see some of it.

Today, I woke up feeling pretty good for once. This was good because I was meeting a friend in Westwood for an early matinee of Hancock. Who runs movies at 10:30am? Of course that was perfect for seeing on a big screen in a movie theater that cares about the film its running on its only screen and has good sound, then heading out for lunch. I had heard a rumor back when I had trouble with traffic detours that they were filming a Will Smith movie on the 105. Shor' nuff, the opening sequence was probably what I saw on the road because that stretch of road is the 105. And not in any way connected to the other roads or buildings they flew over or jumped on. Total Hollywood mishmash of places. On the whole, I liked the movie. There was a worldbuilding premise I had a little trouble with, but it didn't kill the movie for me halfway through like it did for Roger Ebert. My friend's biggest quibble was the product placement of Dunkin Donuts's coffee when you really can't find DD out here. There could have been more of Will in, um, less. If you like him or Charlize Theron or superhero movies generally, go see it. I'd give it 3/5 stars - watchable, fun, enjoyable, wouldn't probably watch it again on purpose, but wouldn't leave the room if it came on. Avoid spoilers.

After the movie, my friend and I had a local lunch then decided to hit up IKEA. She's normally without wheels, and IKEA is less far from her place than it is from mine, and she wanted a chair that she'd been dithering over for 3 years. We had a good time together, both got a headache from the sheer overload that is IKEA, then came back and had "Red Mango" frozen yogurt. Much superior to the too-sharp pinkberry, IMHO.

We also passed some seriously heavy traffic on the 405N due to a small bit of hillside going up in flames. It was doused and just blackened char by the time we passed it but I didn't think the traffic would clear, even with the stop for frogurt, so I took the opportunity to see if there's another way through them thar hills. And there is. Beverly Glen is a lovely little meandering canyon road sporting very few places to fall to one's death. It goes a little slow because the single lane road is narrow, homes are built close to the edge, and the visibility isn't grand and you get stuck behind poky people in your one little lane. But if you know this stuff going in and think about how superior it is to be going poky there with a view (of homes, mostly) rather than being in stop and go traffic on the freeway, it's quite enjoyable. I'll have to remember it. And I need to remember to take my Mullholland Drive tour sometime. I hear it's a fun road too.


steve said...

Speaking of a "Total Hollywood mishmash of places," and coming from my perspective further North, there is a great Mashup for Bullit at

Dusty said...

Nice post. Homesick, a little. Yes, I used to take Beverly Glen from Ventura Blvd to Sunset on my way from home in Encino to school in Westwood. You should try Laurel Canyon, too. Called Crescent up on Sunset. Hate hearing about all the fires. May they settle down right away!

CrankyOtter said...

Steve, thanks for the link. It was weird watching Hancock and jumping from El Segundo to Hollywood to Westwood, to places I don't even know in the space of a few moments.

Dusty, I'll try Laurel Canyon. I've been learning more about LA from reading Robert Crais novels than from actually living here, I think, and this latest Novel "Chasing Darkness" starts out in Laurel Canyon. One of these days I need to take a "Crais Tour" of LA. See the sights I haven't yet seen and drive Laurel Canyon and such. Feel free to post more cool suggestions.