It wasn’t really bogus; I had fun. It’s just that, you know, the title, I had to.
Just like last time, Santa Monica was a lot of fun. We liked it so much, we decided to stay there for the week.
I want to call attention to a hidden treasure I found in the Third Street Promenade. It’s towards the end of the street nearest to the Santa Monica Place mall and the ocean. You’ll see a sign at the entrance that says “Vintage Animation”. The gallery is way at the back, in the middle is an incongruous soap factory/store, and at the entrance is something to make a struggling illustrator’s knees buckle. Here’s an example:
They’ve got the handprints of over a dozen artists here. It’s unadvertised and it is unreal. And the soap store has no idea what they’re sharing their building with. I found Jones’ prints under a stack of handbaskets.
(UPDATE: On a later trip to Santa Monica, Vintage Animation was gone and Lush bath products had taken over the whole store — but they still had the handprints. I do not know if they are still there or if they have been moved to someplace more appropriate like the ASIFA animated art gallery.)
Another good place to go if you’re a total geek and you want to totally geek out and swipe some “snow” from the exterior set of “E.R.” or get as close as the security guard will let you to the piano from “Casablanca” is the Warner Bros. Studio V.I.P. Tour. Less gimmicky and more spontaneous than the Universal tour, I’d say take this one on your second trip and the Universal one on your first trip. They’re anticlimactic the other way around. WB will actually let you get out during some points in the tour and take closer looks at things.
Now they always have pleasant weather in Santa Monica. There’s always people walking around in Palisades Park and on the pier. Culture is centered around the beach and the warm sunny weather.
On the day we left for Las Vegas, it rained.
Imagine the nicest summer shower you’ve ever walked around in. It was like that. And I swear to you, it was like time stopped.
Nobody was in the park. The pier had completely shut down. People were dashing from store to store. As for me, I was dancing around like an idiot singing the “We Love Rain!” song from “Invader Zim”. The rain followed us from Santa Monica across the Mojave Desert, and I’m really bummed that none of my little low-res Jpegs really capture the alien beauty of the rain in the desert. This here’s the best one I have:
Wow. Just… I… I…
I wanna RUN!!! I want to hide!!! (Dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga) I wanna tear down th…
(Incidentally, you can listen to “The Joshua Tree” at least five times on the way to Las Vegas from southern California.)
My impression of Las Vegas was that it’s kind of like visiting another alternate dimension. And in this other alternate dimension, everything that is happening in all the other dimensions, everywhere, is happening around you as you’re walking around. I had fun, but it was very overwhelming.
Things I Wish I’d Known Before Going to Las Vegas!
* – As soon as you know you’re going to Vegas, get yourself a guidebook and force everyone in your party to read it. That way, you’ll know what there is to see, and you’ll all be able to decide what you should make a point of going to.
* – Secure tickets to the “O” show at the Bellagio as soon as you can. Seriously. It’s pretty evident that “O” is Vegas’ best stage show. It was sold out during our stay. Oh well, next time.
* – The casinos are HUGE. Some are just absolutely “your head a-splode” huge. Looking for a restroom can quickly turn into a Tolkein-esque epic quest.
* – There’s plenty of No-Money Fun to be had in Vegas. For example: You can see the mascot lions and Siberian tigers at the MGM Grand and Mirage respectively. There are free shows at the Tropicana, the Rio, and the Treasure Island. There’s a menagerie in the Flamingo, botanical displays in the Bellagio and the Mirage, and veritable mini-theme parks in Caesar’s Palace and Circus Circus.
* – They feed you very, very well in Las Vegas. You are going to walk it off very quickly. Furthermore, they serve some really strange food. Salads tend to look like flower arrangements. I got to add Ostrich to my list of Animals I Have Eaten (tasted curiously like beef, with a hint of duck). And if you want proof that you are in another dimension, ask your server what “Kobe Style Beef” is (remember the Dish of the Day scene in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?)
* – Entering a casino is like voluntarily entering the Matrix. And the casinos never want you to leave. Keep this in mind when you go.
POV Online – There is a very informative Las Vegas related website within a website that is run by a writer of cartoons and comic books (he has information about the legendary final episode of “Dungeons and Dragons”).