John (James' brother) "tebowing" in Hollywood:
John and James drove up close to the Hollywood sign:
John got to see the craziness of LA,
...followed by some simplicity and beauty...
Then we splurged on a Universal Studios rendezvous...
The brothers got very creative with the Jurassic Park ride props...methinks I see a resemblance?
All of the rides were entertaining, but the coolest part of the day was the Hollywood studio tour, where we rode a trolley through movie sets and got a first-hand look at movie effects. The whole tour was a little over an hour and was totally worth it.
We passed numerous stages, including the two below. Stage 25 was where the T-Rex scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed, as well as a few other movies like Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, and War of the Worlds. And Stage 28 housed the set for Phantom of the Opera.
As we drove through the sets, we were struck by how similar they appeared to the streets, businesses, and homes of real cities - from the cookie cutter neighborhoods of soap operas, to the dirty derelict towns of the Old West, to the big city sky scrapers, to the mom-and-pop shops in small towns, etc.
The clock tower from Back to the Future!
The Old West (John Wayne has been in movies here):
Wisteria Lane from the show "Desperate Housewives." I have never seen this show, but it looks like the neighborhood is preeeettty nice. It's crazy to think these are not actually homes, just facades:
Whoville from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." There were actors on set that sang to us:
The Bates Hotel from "Psycho"
War of the Worlds crash scene:
At one point, we drove by a collection of famous cars from movies:
We also got to see how flash flooding was done in movies:
One of the best parts of the tour was one we did not get pictures of unfortunately. The tram drove into one of the studios that was built to look like a subway station. We experienced a simulated 8.3 Richter scale earthquake which shook the tram and caused a whole sequence of events. A burning gasoline truck collapsed through the roof with sparks and flames, a subway train derailed, and right when it seemed like it was over, water began to flood down the steps toward the tram. The whole thing reset within 15 seconds for the next tram. Here is a video I found on youtube of the simulation in Orlando; it is pretty similar to what ours was like:
The Simpsons Ride was actually a lot of fun, although it might not be obvious from the boys' faces ;) That camera at the end sure took them by surprise!
We finished off the night with a Grinch Christmas show with acting, singing, and tree lighting!
Two of our good friends from Albuquerque, Danny and Mike, came this past weekend. Although they were only able to hang for a couple of days, we squeezed in a beach day and some yummy food.
We took the boys to a German restaurant called Wurstkuche that serves gourmet sausages and imported beer. Danny and Mike got the rattlesnake and rabbit sausage, while James and I stuck to the more traditional bratwursts and sausages.
Despite the somewhat windy, chilly weather on Saturday, the boys (ie. those three small figures) decided to get in the water. They actually got pretty far out there, but came back tired and freezing!
That night, we went to dinner at C&O, an Italian restaurant with the most amazing garlic cheese balls EVER; not to mention they are unlimited.
And before they left town, we introduced them to the deliciousness of fruit stands!
Throughout LA, there are roadside stands that sell bags of yummy fruit for $3-$5. The fruit is cold, juicy, fresh, and cut right in front of you (already skinned). You can pick and choose what you want in your bag - watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, papaya, pineapple, jicama, mango, and cucumber. Then, they add chili powder and lime...I know it sounds odd, but it is amazing! It is something everyone should experience at least once if they come to LA.
Whew, that's enough blogging for awhile. I really should keep on top of this!
Time to get back to my desk tomorrow at work. This is what it looked like on Friday...