For the 4th of July weekend (which seems so very long ago, now), my little brother Scott flew in from the Nutmeg State and friend-to-the-apartment Christinia flew in from the Beehive State. We made sure to hit up all the most important Los Angeles landmarks - Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign, Venice and Santa Monica Beaches, the Getty Center, the In-and-Out Burger, and Amoeba Records, among others. Because I don't know when the next time my brother will make it out to visit, I also wanted to make sure he'd see some things he'd never be able to see anywhere else - like the World's Largest Living Thing.
So for the 4th, instead of spending the day drinking beer and watching things blow up (which would have been fine, too, I'll admit), we instead packed up the trusty Accord and drove five hours to Sequoia National Park. Like all the National Parks out here so far, this place was incredible. We explored for a little bit and found this great, secluded mountain stream - the kind you never think exist anywhere outside of movies and postcards. We waded /swam / generally relaxed around the stream for a decent amount of time. Good, good stuff. And then, while we were leaving, we passed a fiesta! Lesson: Go places early, so other people aren't around.
Better Late Than Never:
After seeing Spiderman 2 at the Cinerama Dome (which is where I will see ALL my action movies from now on), we were all pretty pumped up and ready to nerd out. Good thing Free Comic Book Day was that weekend. We took a trip to the Golden Apple on Melrose and loaded up on some free comics, and I also bought a few - the first time in maybe five years. Christinia and I rationalized that, well, we were already huge nerds of several different varieties, so why not throw comic books into the mix, too?
I picked up a Maakies compilation (just 'cause I already love Tony Millionare), and also made room for some copies of Super Hero Happy Hour and Bone. Thankfully, the entire office I work in is stuffed full of nerds, and I was also able to snag the first issue of Kingdom Come. Awesome storyline and painted panels, man. Check it out. And if anyone has any other nerdy comic suggestions for me, please let me know.
Before my brother left, we also took a trip to the local Guitar Center to pick up a new acoustic guitar for myself - something I probably should have done ten years ago. I'm still going through the basics right now, and my fingers are killing me after every time I play, but it's something I enjoy. I'm going to have to stick with it, too, or my brother's going to show me up next time I go back home.
Again, if anyone knows of any good beginner guitar books or anything, give me a shout out. The internet's just not cutting it for me on this one.
And, Of Course, Music.
I didn't think I'd be able to enjoy the Getty Center any more than I already did, but they have proven me wrong with their Summer Concert Series. The first one took place last weekend, featuring a Latin-themed collection of bands, DJs, and alcoholic beverages.
The evening ended with a performance by one of my new favorite bands, Calexico. These guys are incredible on CD, but even better live. The band itself has six members, and partway through their concert they were joined onstage by the Mariachi Luz De Luna, a seven-piece mariachi band from their hometown in Arizona. They put on a raucous, energetic, and unbelievable show that you should use any avaliable means to see if they come near your town.
And go pick up "The Black Light" or "Across the Wire" to tide you over.