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New Years Day

Pasadena & Hollywood
Jan. 1, 2004

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Out on the back patio, hovering not too far from the table where orange juice & champagne were available, I struck up conversation with a fellow dad sporting a fancy digital camera rig, which featured a bounce flash. "I just got tired of the washed out faces," he said. I could sympathize, but I have no intention of going there: the flash attachment wouldn't slip so easily into the side pocket of my Carhartt's.

"Look over there," he said, pointing to a brick mansion perched across the arroyo. "Wayne Manor," I said, stealing his thunder. "I grew up just over that hill, and an old girlfriend lived..." well, the trees obscured my view of that ancient manor where years ago I sat among hulking Chinese antiques making awkward conversation with her parents, not sure if I was in love with her or her house.

Later, we made our way out to Hollywood to rendezvous with the Germans. I parked the Eurovan just off Melrose near Fairfax, and led the ladies into Urban Outfitters, where Ellie surprised me by falling in love with a pink Valley Girl dress that I could swear Jen had finally given to Salvation Army last year. "It's beautiful," I said -- actually meaning it, since unlike contemporaries who see it as ironic, I once actually fell in love with someone wearing something rather like it.

Later, I met up with Claudia & Oliver at the Chinese Theater.

"So. What is there to see here?" Claudia asked.

"Well, here are the footprints in cement, and it's kind of fun to look around to see-- "

"Yes, we've seen that. We've been here 20 minutes. What else?"

"Well, I know you like 'Gone With the Wind.' Maybe we could try to find Rhett Butler and Scarlett's prints--


"Well, it's kind of fun to see how your hands and feet match up with theirs, and--"

"Yes, we've seen that. Look, there are all these people around here, so I'm sure there must be something to see, if you could just show me what it is."

And so on.