Category Archives: pictures

“How Did This Get Made?” and More

Another week goes by and I’m still employed (yay) and the week goes by quick enough for me not to be too dragged down by it all.  Yay, again.  I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life, and yes, I recognize I am 40 and should have figured that out a while ago.  So while I recognize that the career side of things is basically just me finding a niche where I can get stuff done and get paid while doing it, as being a true “professional” in some career has long ago stopped being an option for me, I do think I can figure out hobbies and such that will bring me personal satisfaction.

Writing is certainly up there, and if I can get the discipline to write on a regular basis and also figure out things to write about passionately, that would be a good first step.  Musical instruments are also an interesting thought, but man, you need to take lessons and get the time commitment figured out, and that’s freakin’ tough right now.  But I have this new guitar and I want to get back to it, so we’ll have to make that work out.   Stupid video games are also a bane to my productivity, to be honest.  So many good ones out there.  Anyway, just some random notes from me to you.

How about some pictures?

Barb and I had a nice after-work catch-up at Traxx earlier this week and it was wonderful.  Sometimes, you gotta get a drink at the Art Deco Union Station in your city, amirite?

Larry and I got dinner at a great new restaurant called The Tsujita in the Americana, where the specialty is a weird twist on ramen:  the noodles and pork are served cold and separate from the broth, which is really hot and delicious.  You then dip the noodles/pork into it….and it’s fucking wonderful.  A great addition to the restaurant selection here.

Yesterday was the main event for us though, as Larry had been able to secure tickets to an event called “How Did This Get Made?”  What it is is 3 hilarious people (Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael (who we feel in love with from her role in Grace & Frankie), and Jason Mantzoukas) + a hilarious guest talking about various terrible movies and all the wondrous ways it is terrible.  It’s a podcast you can listen to via iTunes or Earwolf podcast website and you definitely should.  The first one I ever listened to was recommended by Larry and it was all about A View to a Kill, yes, the awesome 80s James Bond movie.  Both Larry & I grew up on it so we’re blinded to its failings, but man, this really long podcast just does a number on it and it is epically hilarious.  Well worth the nearly 2 hours to listen to it if you have time, as they point out so many of the ludicrous plot points and characters.  So funny.  Anyway, Larry’s been addicted to the show ever since, and finally scored tickets to it for this past weekend!  He’s been super excited although I think we all were kind of worried once we learned about the movie that was going to be the topic of our show yesterday:  Chopping Mall…..yes, it’s a craptastic 80’s “horror” movie about “teens” trapped in a high-tech mall with 3 malfunctioning murderous robots.  Holy shit this thing is bad….but don’t take my word for it, here’s the awful trailer for this awful movie:

I can’t be sure this is the real trailer as the description kind of indicates it’s not?  But it captures the sheer cheese of it all.  Anyway, Larry & I ventured over to where Nicki lives in LA to watch the movie on Amazon Video with her as she and Austin were going to go with us for this fun.  The three of us watched it in wonder as the movie truly is just terrible terrible terrible.  And the performances are ridiculous and there’s lots of boobs for no reason and it begs the question, HOW DID THIS GET MADE???  Full circle, people, that’s what just happened.  It’s a truly perfect movie for this show (and podcast).

Anyway, having done our research for the night’s entertainment, we then went over to the Largo Theater, which is on La Cienega Blvd just a block north of the Beverly Center, which hilariously is the exterior for the Chopping Mall.  So of course, after we got our tickets for the show (not too bad of seats – it’s a random draw and we ended up getting 5th row), the three of us went down to the Beverly Center.  Apparently it’s not the interior that was used for the movie as another mall had that distinction, but it was still fun to think about it anyway.  There is a main foyer in the Beverly Center that looks a LOT like the movie though.  It’s still weird to be back in that neighborhood and see the Beverly Connection across the street and consider I spent 5 years working there at the Bookstar which is now gone….like truly gone.  It’s been remodeled into an Old Navy.  🙁

We then met up with Austin at the Largo’s bar once that opened up and we had a few drinks to get into the spirit of things.  Anyway…the show was amazing.  Larry had been bracing for the possibility of June not being there, but as it was the 8pm show, the likelihood is higher that she was going to be present and happily she was.  They of course loved tearing this movie apart as it certainly deserves to be.  I’m looking forward to hearing the podcast once they release it, which we think is going to be in a week or so.  Highly recommended once it is!

Anyway – pictures!

Saturday, Mar 11, 2017: How Did This Get Made @ The Largo

It was just a great night and a fun way to spend most of a Saturday.   Of course, Daylight Savings Time coming around this morning to steal some of our precious sleep time is the worst.  Anyway, we eventually got our act together, watched last night’s SNL (the Ivanka Trump “Complicit” ad was amazing), and then headed out to Target to restock the house supplies and then watch Logan.

Logan (2017) (saw this on Mar 12 @ the Pacific Theaters in Glendale)

Well, the reviews are in and it’s been getting across-the-board raves, and rightfully so.  It’s getting praised for very good things, such as a stripped down story, wonderful performances, and a more serious take on what usually isn’t.  And oh yeah, it’s R-rated and it takes full advantage of that, as Logan is fucking violent as hell.  I mean, it’s REALLY violent.  But I have to say that while I did enjoy the ride, the movie feels too long and I think it needed to have an explanation for some things to help place you in the world.  I get it, you do get enough hints as to what’s happened in the time between the last X-Men movies and 2029, which is when this is set.  But I kind of still wanted to know more – what actually happened that Professor X and Logan keep referring to?  Obviously it resulted in the deaths of pretty much all the mutants, but what was it?  Maybe it doesn’t matter, but the ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake kind of turned me off.  And this movie is bleak, full stop.  There’s very good reasons for that but just know this is not the movie that ends with everyone hugging it out at the end.  Nope.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are of course fantastic, as is the young actress who played Laura / X23.  It’s interesting to think where the “modern” X-Men movies plan to go from here…do they tell the story I’m bitching about missing?  Or are they only going to do the “First Class” X-Men?  OR just reboot the whole damn thing?    Logan is certainly a better movie than the recent Apocalypse though, and for sophistication, it stands pretty much above most of the other recent X-Men movies too.  I guess I’m struggling with liking it but not loving it?  And wanting to have SOME exposition to fill in some of the blanks.

Movies Seen in 2017:

Fantastic / Rave-worthy:

Very Good:

Okay / Wait to See at Home:

Only if You’re Going to “How Did This Get Made?”

  • Chopping Mall (1986)

Downtown Day 2017: Skyspace, Central Library, and Bradbury Building

Larry and I have had a few previous downtown days, with some being harmless fun exploring the sights….

http://www.hobiebarnes.com/?p=3354

…in which we looked at some potential apartments as well as the MOCA and Union Station; and then a trip in which it was pretty much a pub crawl….

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….it did start out educational as we saw the Space Shuttle, but then it became pretty much an exercise in drinking around downtown LA.  It was awesome.

So today was a bit random, as I just proposed going downtown to the Skyspace experience on a whim.  I didn’t want to sit home and there were no good movies out, and after proposing it, Larry agreed, and off we went.

The OUE Skyspace LA attraction is basically the long-awaited Observation Deck that Downtown LA should have had since the U.S. Bank building was built in 1990.  But DTLA wasn’t really a tourist destination for the longest time, but now with the Staples Center, LA Live, and a whole host of people living down there now, DTLA is much different.  And I think finally it made sense to keep expanding what there was to do, so last year the top deck of the building was built to make this observation deck a reality.   Not content to be just a view, they also built a glass slide that drops you from the 69th floor to the 68th – outside of the building.  It’s a very short ride, but it is quite a thrill nonetheless.

Anyway, I get ahead of myself.  You first make your way into the lobby of the building, process through, and then go up to the 58th floor.  Up there are a few neat interactive exhibits like giant video screens showing various LA cityscapes at different times of day, a very cool peak down a very deep hole lit up like a disco, and some other random stuff.  I guess it’s to justify the cost of the ticket?

As you can see, the magic chasm was pretty fun to play around with in pictures.  After you walk through all this excitement, you take another elevator up to the observation deck on 69 – and it’s pretty damn awesome.  A nice job has been done making a very clean, open space with quite clean windows to look out and take pictures through.  I do hate when observation platforms don’t bother to keep the windows clean as you’re kind of beholden to them for pictures.  Anyway, I digress – we did take a lap around the enclosed 69th floor to get a sense of what the views were, but held off on taking too many pictures as I wanted to be outside to get those.

But you don’t take the stairs to go down to the level below…you take the SKYSLIDE.

Yeah, it’s kind of awesome.  Brief, but awesome.  Some more from the Skyslide experience:

Alright, the remaining pictures are a lot.   I couldn’t help myself though as there’s just so much to take in.

Initial Looks:

View of the Oviatt Penthouse!

Alright, a whole lot of pictures of DTLA:

Okay, I then tried to capture LAX in the distance…

And some last pics before we went back to the ground:

Alright, so that was quite a cool experience.  I’d like the opportunity to go up closer to a sunset and get those kinds of colors too, but that can be for another time.

Once we got on the ground, we were right outside the Central Library of Los Angeles, which is itself quite a stunning building.  So we went in to take a look, and also we both got a library card.  It’s my first one in what feels like forever.

Central Library, Inside and Out

We didn’t check out any books today, but maybe one day soon?   I was getting hangry, so we then started walking towards Bottega Louie but a block before getting there, we ran across Karl Strauss Brewery.  Love the place from its Citywalk location, and that felt a little more relaxed than going to Bottega Louie.  So that’s what we did – perfect fit, getting beer and grub.   After that, we then walked our way over to the Bradbury Building.  Why?   Well, Larry had figured out where it was while we were up top and we figured if we’re down here, let’s go take a look.  It’s well known for having quite the dramatic and unique interior and also for having quite iconic films set within it – notably Blade Runner.  My pictures here didn’t come out quite as clear as I’d hoped, but you get the gist.

Food, Broadway, and the Bradbury Building

Then it was a walk back to where we parked, and along the way, caught one last glimpse of the US Bank building and the Skyslide:

And now we’re back home after a  fun afternoon.  Still figuring out where to eat having had a fairly late lunch.

Touring the English Countryside (Stonehenge!)

Thursday, Sept 15, 2016 – Day 2 of London

<– Previously, we chunnel’d from Paris to jolly ol’ England

We had scheduled to go on a day-trip of visiting Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge. These aren’t near each other, so there’s a lot of driving between each location. The fun started immediately in just getting to the departure point. When I’d done this with Susan and Jeff before, we went over to a nearby hotel for a pickup and got dropped off at the Victoria Coach Station.  This time, we got our selves there, which involves going to Victoria Underground Station at Victoria Train Station, but then having to walk outside that Train Station in order to go to the Coach Station. And once you’re outside, the signs get a bit confusing. Anyway, we chose luckily and got to the Coach station in time….to see everyone and their mother was also going on tours. Whatever, we got there, got on a coach, and were on our way eventually.

Departure from Victoria Coach Station:

The first stop, after an hour or so of driving and listening to our charming English tour guide (who looked a little like David Attenborough) tell us about London and the upcoming Windsor Castle, was the city of Windsor. 

Captured where we were on Google Maps

There was a nice walk from the bus parking to the gates of the castle, after which we were on our own.  Alas, they ran out of audio guides a few people before us, so we were on our own for that, which was okay.  We did first wander around and then caught the Changing of the Guard, which is a lot like the big one by Buckingham.  Although that’s quite a bit bigger methinks.  After some time in the sun, and listening to the band play some of Adele’s greatest hits (no joke), we walked into the St. George Chapel, which has a couple of cool burials within, including Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, along with Queen Elizabeth II’s mother and father.  

Taking in Windsor Castle

Before we left, we managed to find the State Apartments and went into the special Shakespeare exhibit, which included actual copies from the 1600s of Shakespeare’s Continue reading Touring the English Countryside (Stonehenge!)

Google Street View made it to the Azores

Jason Rubi sent me a text with the picture from Google Street Maps as seen below of the house I lived in shown above, and it’s like, holy shit, that’s where I lived, first with Angelo, then with Jason, while stationed and living in the Azores, specifically the island of Terceira.  I’ve periodically reminisced here about the wonder of living there – it feels like a dream, honestly.  This house, a former church, was where I lived – it was perched on a cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  The views were amazing, and it was almost distractingly remote from a lot.  There was one other house across the street, and then a little cafe at the base of the Sao Sebastiao Bay Baia da Salga (how did I not write that at all in this post originally??).  At night, it could be really quiet and eerie.  When it rained, I sometimes braced for the house to collapse down the cliffside.  We once climbed down the cliff to the shore and the way the cliffside was hollowed out was almost frightening.  But guess what?  The place is still there, and looks almost exactly the same.  I’m surprised – the owner/landlord had said he was going to sell the pastures in front and develop them with more apartments….but I guess gentrification decided not to come to the Azores.  I’m glad, to be honest.  I love that it’s still the same.

Terceira, Google Map – with where my house was on the south side of the island pointed out, as well as Lajes AB, where I worked:

The next thing to see is a zoom in of where we lived in ol’ Sao Sebastiao (pronounced San Sebastian, but it’s Portuguese, so everything ends in an “o”) / Baia da Salga.

It’s awesome to see that Google points out one of the restaurants I absolutely loved going to, A Ilha.  SO GOOD.  I had my going away there when I left.  But they served some very good Beef or Chicken Alcatra, which is like the best pot roast you’ve ever had.  There were better places to get Alcatra on the island, but having one so damn close was the best.

And then here’s the Street View of the ol Home on the Cliff:

Man, the MEMORIES while living there!  The drinking, the dancing, the eating, the laughs, the music….the croquet playing, the drinking, the passing out, the rain, the running out of hot water due to the gas tanks emptying, geez, it was a whirlwind.  But those days when the weather was perfect, and the sun was shining, and the ocean was beautifully blue….

Yeah, just amazing.  Loads of pictures can be found on my old site here (but my entire collection is larger, that’s for sure) and one day I’ll eventually get to converting those too into my WordPress site.  I met the greatest set of people there during those 15 months, and that was lucky, as it could have been a very lonely place to end up.  But yeah, I got lucky, and have nothing but fond memories there.

Fun Times in Vegas

This past weekend was a wonderful getaway.  Larry & I flew up on Thursday night to Las Vegas to meet up with Fran and Joel.  They were in this neck of the woods because they were headed to a conference in Phoenix this week, so why not meet up in a fun middle ground?  So of course, we were in for that!

We all stayed at the Palazzo, which was unsurprisingly fantastic.  It’s a huge hotel and has a smallish casino, to be honest.  But it was good enough as I ended up having quite a bit of luck playing there.  Well, the first night, not so much:  I decided to try Blackjack that Thursday night before going to bed and immediately lost $100.  ROUGH.  But it was on Friday when I played some craps and holy shit, I had a fantastic roll.  I was at the table by myself, which is usually a risky move, but it was $10 and sometimes it’s nice to not have the pressure of others betting on you and your roll. But that morning?  I was on fire.  I kept hitting the points and rolling 6s and 8s like crazy.  Started with $100 and walked away with $450.  That’s a nice session.    Our first activity that day was walking around the Strip in that area, as Fran hadn’t been in Vegas for over 40 years so it was worth walking her through a lot of it.   We walked south from the Palazzo, past the Venetian, Harrah’s, through Flamingo, then past Bally’s and into Paris.  We finally took a drink break at Paris and enjoyed the ambience.

After that respite, we crossed the street over to Caesars Palace as that is definitely something that can’t be missed when looking at over-the-top splendor.  The Forum Shoppes suitably impressed them, as did the curvy escalators!  After that, it was time to walk on back to the Palazzo and past the Mirage, which we’d return to on Saturday night.

Another drink stop back at the Palazzo casino bar area, and then it was finally time to get some Roulette in!  I don’t usually play, but it was the game that Fran was up for as Jon had asked her to play some #s.  Well, crazily enough, she was able to get some wins in – hell, so did I!  The best one was 33 hit, which I had bet on, and on the next spin, it came up again.  Sweet, and I had put another dollar on there.  35-1 odds, buddy!

That evening we had dinner at the Lavo Italian restaurant in the Palazzo, which was pretty great.  Joel’s boss and wife were also meeting us there for dinner.  The food was great, but I ended up unable to finish off my veal parmesan as it was ginormous.  But very good!

On Saturday morning, we awoke and instead of having breakfast again at the Grand Lux Cafe, we found Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro – quite a trek to find, but sooo damn good.  It’s a French restaurant and oh man, their weekend menu is delicious.  I ended up getting one of the specials, chicken with waffles, and it was fantastic.  Perfectly cooked chicken…bacon in the waffles….delicious.

After breakfast, that day’s walking adventure was to take the Monorail down to the MGM Grand so we could then not only see that but also see the New York New York casino.  We had to show them the fun theming there, even if it is kind of lame.  We then walked through the Excalibur and into the Luxor, where we had another drink break.  It was a lot of fun to stop there as they were playing music videos and all of them were just a blast to watch.  Larry & I could have probably hung out there, drank, and watched videos all afternoon!  We did then check out Mandalay Bay before catching a cab back to the hotel in order to get some rest.

We still had a fun night ahead, as we had gotten tickets to see the Beatles’ LOVE show at the Mirage!  Yay!  Michancy also joined us, so it was a blast.  I was excited to see it again (yes, again, I know) as for its 10th anniversary, they changed it up a little.  After having seen it, I think I preferred the original version to the tweaks that were implemented.  It’s not a giant overhaul by any means, but there did seem to be additions and removals that changed the overall excitement, maybe?  Regardless, still a great show and the newbies all loved it.  After the show, we then headed back to the Canal Shoppes and got dinner at Sushi Samba, which is quite an experience.  Really good food in a fun atmosphere.  Michancy suggested keeping going, but both Larry & I were done at that point, so we walked her to her car and then headed back to the hotel.

And then it was Sunday and time to go home.  We actually did have a good bit of fun in the morning, as we had breakfast at the Grand Lux again (their beignets were so good and their French Toast is insanely thick) and then after getting packed, we killed some more time at the casino, with Fran able to play roulette for a while longer and I went over and played craps again.  It was great as I was able to win some money – although not as much as some guys who were playing one of the particular-table bets I’d not seen before – Repeater bets, in which if you roll two 2s or three 3s or four 4s etc before 7-ing out, you get insane paydays.  It’s of course bigger at the 6 and 8 (120-1), but the 2/12 is still 50-1 I think, and it just goes up.  For those rolls in which craps numbers get rolled a lot, which sometimes happen, these bets are ridiculous.  One of the guys at the table literally won $1000 on those bets alone.  But I know full well that those are sucker bets too, as those great rolls don’t come all that often!

Anyway, it was wonderful to see Fran and Joel even if for a little while.  They drove off to Phoenix while Larry & I took our brief Southwest flight home.  I freakin’ love flying to Vegas now – so much less stressful.