October 22nd, 2005



The trip to Los Angeles was productive and enjoyable, if tiring. On Thursday Dorothy and I dropped our things at the hotel, irritated but accepting of the change in accommodation - of which more later - and went to the Mayfair market on Franklin to pick up a few goodies. Such a world of deliciousness! We picked out what would get us through lunch of that day, Thursday, and snacks and breakfast the following morning, and returned to the hotel.

The hotel is the Westside Rentals Hotel. An unfortunate name. But a good place to know about, in spite of the room change fiasco.

After we ate, I got my laptop and printer set up, designed name badges and printed them out. Dorothy separated them and put them into the plastic carriers and organized them on cardboard strips. Amazingly, I had no trouble with the program or with the printer. And I was able to get online through the cable - thank heaven I managed to download and install the correct drivers for my ethernet connector just that morning.

I snacked on cheesecake as the day went on. Karol came back from her excursions - to Barnsdall Park, for one - and we chatted, and eventually she left to rest a bit before the event. We reconvened to go to the event.

I printed out directions to the Harvey House and even showed Karol and Dorothy the trip by way of Google Earth - had it do a "tour" so we could see ourselves driving the route past buildings and landmarks. We took the directions with us and Dorothy and I scouted for the right streets while Karol drove her rented Focus. It was really close to the hotel and we were there in no time. A good thing, too. We weren't as prepared as we might have been.

There was no card table or chair available for our little set of badges and for us to sign in new people who had not registered. We hunted around and asked questions and finally the organizer of the event, from the conservancy, got the caterer to agree to give us one of the tall tables they had set out for people to use. The food was what they call "heavy hors d'oeuvres" and the accommodation was several tall small tables with long white tablecloths so people could stand at the tables and drink and eat and talk. Not my favorite way but I understand it as a way to accommodate a lot of people.

Then we couldn't find a pen or pencil. We had left our belongings in the car, which had been whisked away by a valet parker. Then Dorothy remembered the little marker pen (sharpie) I had on my keychain the last time we traveled. And lo! I still had it! It was perfect for writing on the blank name tags and filling in the form.

We put out our registration forms, JLF membership forms and foundation flyers I had created that Chris had printed up for this event, as well as the event mailers that were left over.

The hardest part was the standing. I got to go inside and sit on one of the few seats a couple of times. The rest of the time we were standing outside talking to people, handing out badges, taking in new registrations (not many of those). A great many of the conservancy group took our information, which was great because many of them were not aware of the foundation before that night. There were over 150 people there, including the proud and generous owners, Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer. Both of them spoke of the restoration and their pleasure in being able to help in any way possible. They are the best possible owners, genuinely interested in the architecture and understanding it and doing the right things with it. They also share the house constantly, hosting many different types of events.

We got back to the hotel at a bit past ten, after overstaying at the house. They practically had to kick us out.

Friday, first thing

The room Dorothy and I shared is on the first floor (we needed that for our knees) and next to the street (we didn't need that). In the middle of the night we heard loud music from various sources out in the street. One piece of music was a "R&B" tune that included a distinctive beat - bu-bum pause bu-bum pause bu-bum, each bu-bum progressively lower on the scale, so one would feel that song more than hear it. I glanced out the window while this one was going on and saw a young man being fondled by his apparent gf on the sidewalk immediately outside.

I was already awake when the street took on this new life because I had awoken needing to go to the bathroom. I was sleeping - a relative term - on an air mattress on the floor. Imagine a large woman with bad knees getting up from an air mattress on the floor. On my first attempt I did not make it. My knee was particularly stiff and painful from lying in bed for a while. So I crawled into the bathroom, also a bit of a mistake. The hard floor is really hurtful on these knees. I managed to pull myself up using the toilet and get back into the bed after I discovered that it was only about 1:45 a.m. It was at about two when the street woke up.

Dorothy and I discovered that we were both awake by then and we laughed about the entertainment and the many sounds throughout the night. One night we knew we could handle, but never would we have put up with that room for a second.

We slept somewhat fitfully and awoke when the radio alarm turned on with obnoxious music. Dorothy, being on a real bed, was better able to fly from the bed (again a relative term) and turn the damned thing off.

We were up early because we were going to take the bus to the LA County Museum of Art.

King Tut

We got to the bus stop easily, got on the bus, made it to the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire. We were not clear on whether the exhibt was in the main building or elsewhere, so went to the main entrance, a longish block from the bus stop, and discovered that we had passed the entrance to the exhibit. It is actually a stone's throw away from the bus stop, a good thing for the return trip.

We got in line with our tickets and were in the second small group to be ushered into the exhibit, which starts with a little film. We all chose to have headsets with the audio tour guide, a really good investment.

The exhibit was incredible. OUr timing was perfect. There were times we were alone in a room with these amazing pieces of tomb art. There is an exhibit that shows how the tomb boxes were nested - I had no idea - and a little film illustrating it graphically. There was also an exhibit of the forensic finds of 2005. Of course I was really fascinated by this, forensic science being my passion (at least on television!).

All of us came out of it with one overarching reaction: it was so beautiful! There is no way pictures of even the best quality can convey the intricate beauty of this work. It is just stunning. We also learned a bit of the history, of course, and the religions. We all got caught up to lesser or greater degrees in the gift shop afterwards. So many things made specifically for this exhibit, and I wanted a whole lot of them. I managed to escape for about $75 from here - T-shirt, cards, magnet, several little books for Joey...well, shoot... And then Karol got me the mug I also wanted. Lovely loot. And now I have gifts for my trip to LV next week.

This exhibit leaves LA on November 15. It then moves east. No other west coast exhibits. Just four other cities in the U.S. It is so worth seeing. And it is clearly incredibly popular. After we got out we saw that the crowds had increased significantly. The experience after the 8:00 am time has got to be a lot different than it was for us. Lucky lucky lucky!!

The squirrels: part 1 - the prequel

I managed to pull together a plan to get some slides and photographs to a guy who is doing a PhD thesis on my father - his thesis has to do with how people view things, and represents my father as the architect best able to represent a way of viewing in a different way - I can't explain it, but it is something like using his buildings as movie cameras because of the way they shape the view and affect people's views.

On Thursday night I had talked to Nicholas, the co-curator of the 2008 Hammer exhibit on my father, and knew that he has been wanting to see these slides as well, for the same purpose: to see how my father saw things. So I asked if he would want to join us at UCLA to view the boxes I had brought with me. Absolutely he did. He wrote his cell phone number on a napkin for me so I could leave him a message when we had the time and place defined.

Some time later that night I was feeling in my pocket and felt that napkin. "Trash," I thought, and threw it away.

So when I awoke that night, a bit alarmed by the activity in the street, I suddenly realized I had thrown that napkin away. I thought about how I would get the phone number again, and I realized too that I did not have Jon's phone number, and would be at the museum exhibit, far from my laptop, in the morning, so could not call to arrange the details of our visit.

I turned on the computer at three in the morning and wrote to Jon, asking him for his phone number and telling him of the exhibit plans. I hoped I would have a reply when we returned from the exhibit and had solved the missing phone number problem as well.

And it did in fact come to pass. While I was waiting on a bench outside the exhibit, after having seen it, I called Steve L, who had also been at the event and had also gotten Nicholas' phone number on a napkin. I asked if he still had the napkin. He hunted around, could not find it, figured that he too had tossed his, and said he'd call his cohort back at the Lautner motel  and ask him if he had it. Subsequently he called back with the number.

Whew. When I got back to our hotel I found Jon's phone numbers in an email. We were able to make the arrrangements. We settled on 12:30 as our arrival time at UCLA, after consulting maps and having conversations about routes. And Nicholas confirmed, said he would meet us there.

Squirrels: the film

It took much longer to get to UCLA than anyone had predicted. First, it's Los Angeles. Times are never predictable and traffic is always ready to be a problem. Second, Bush was visiting and Sunset Blvd was CLOSED to traffic in the vicinity of UCLA and therefore not a good option for travel. Finally, some people and map directions are too optimistic. Therefore, we arrived, at last, at Perloff Hall, more than an hour after we had agreed to be there. Nicholas and Jon met us outside.

We went through an exhibit of presumably student models - some quite interesting - and into a room that held many magazines, a large table, and chairs. Jon had added a projector screen and two carousel projectors. He inserted slides into a tray, one batch at a time, and we viewed them. They were from all over and of many subjects, from homes under construction to the redwoods in Sequoia to a picture of a large rock ("the roof", Nicholas proclaimed, meaning it must have seemed an interesting shape to my father, one he might want to use) to pictures of Hawaii taken from a plane. Both Nicholas and Jon saw the value and locked into the viewpoints. Nicholas said he thought he might like to use some of these actual photographs in the exhibit rather than hire a new photographer, as they are authentic. The construction photographs were especially valued, showing aspects of these buildings that perhaps are not apparent later. I thought about it then, that maybe finishing a building sometimes makes it less beautiful from a structural standpoint.

As time went on and the possible uses of these pictures started to become apparent, we talked of what next. Jon said that he, as a PhD candidate at UCLA, has access to the tools that he needs to complete his thesis, and among those tools is a mass scanner. He can scan many slides at once. He said he could scan all of them and transfer them to CD for all of us. At no cost, because that's what he does, that's part of his work.

We delved into the box of photographs as well and discovered hidden treasure: photographs of his family when he was young. There are so few of these! So Jon said yes yes he can scan those too.

At this time all of these photographs are the property of us, the descendents, essentially in the care of Karol as executor of her father's will. So I wrote up a short simple "loan agreement" that simply specifies that Jon is borrowing the slides and photographs and will return them. He and Karol signed it. I don't know where it went then! I think Jon copied it and so both he and Karol have copies. After we get CDs we can give the slides to the foundation and Karol can keep the original special photographs.

We spent quite a bit of time on this. Eventually Nicholas had to leave to catch a plane and get out of town. Couldn't wait. We chatted more and finally went to a nearby cafeteria and had a late lunch-early dinner together.

On the way to the cafeteria I noticed the size of the squirrels. They are massive! As big as cats! So well fed and so adjusted to people that they are everywhere and hilarious to watch. I thought about coming back with my camcorder to catch them in their various activities and then later edit those together into a story. Something goofy, depending on what they actually do. I had a hard time getting those squirrels out of my mind later, when we were heading home.  But we weren't done yet. There was still one more "activity" before we were released.

Over and Out

The final activity for Friday was a visit to the Garcia house. This is the house that was "blown up" in Lethal Weapon 2". I got cute with the pic I took last night:

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It was getting dark and it was foggy, so the pix were not wonderful. It doesn't matter; there will be other times. It looks great - light, airy, constantly changing with the light, alive. We spent about forty-five minutes there, seeing the changes since the last visit and taking a few photos. The owner, John, offered wine but I declined. I had a drive ahead.

I am working on changes to the web page on this house so that I can get it up to date. But like so many others it's not getting done. Not going to get done today either.

After that visit, Dorothy and I bowed out, leaving Karol, Chris, and Louis chatting with John. Karol said that she, Chris and Louis left about a half-hour later. Dorothy and I headed north on 101. I was fine most of the way. It was only as I approached SLO that I started getting quite fuzzy. I made it home all right, though, and fell into bed. Today I am simply recovering. That's the thing: I feel good about accomplishing so much in two days but then it takes me another day to get over it.