Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Steel Efing Panther!

I got so excited about the magic that is Universal Studios that I forgot to talk about last night. Was just planning on having a quiet night at home but was reading through twitter feeds and saw something that caught my eye. Someone who I was desperate to meet was going to see Steel Panther at House of Blues. I had such a rad time there last week that M convinced me to go again. I jumped in a cab at around 9:30 and headed out to get my metal on. Horns up!

Saw a couple of support bands and met a bunch of Aussies from a band called Atlantis Awaits who are recording in LA at the moment. They were a bunch of nice dudes (and chick) and I had a cool chat. And then the mighty Steel Panther came. And destroyed. And who was just behind me for most of the show. Kat Von D. Got to say hi and get a quick photo. Absolutely stunning in real life.
Mad night. I heart LA.

It's just a ride

Finally. The part of the trip that we have all been waiting for. The festival of theme parks. We picked up our SoCal Citypass today which means that we have two weeks to hit 5 different theme parks.

Started off with Universal Studios today. As soon as I walked through the gates I couldn't stop smiling. Probably a theme park designed more for adults but the kids had a great time too. Except for Z who got a bit freaked out on the first ride of the day which really messed him up and he was scared of just about everything for the rest of the day. But back to the first ride. Easily my favourite of the day. The Simpsons Ride. Words can not describe just how awesome this ride is. Neither can I. It just is. Next we hit the Mummy Ride (badass), Jurassic Park (moderately badass) and a series of different shows.

Z was actually one of the stars of the first show called Animal Actors. The name is fairly self explanatory. It featured a bunch of animals from different movies and TV shows. Z's segment was with the dog from Lassie, Marley and Me and a few others. Was hilarious and he had a blast. We also saw special effects show, Terminator 2 show, Shrek show and Waterworld. And we did a tour of the Studios. So cool. The tour included a stop with the largest 3D screen in the world that completely surrounded the bus. Insanely realistic. Also got to see how they do a couple of different flood scenes. Although it took up a fair bit of time, I would highly recommend the tour for anyone interested in movies or TV. One thing I would not recommend if you are squeamish is the Horror House. L and B lasted two minutes before bursting into tears and having to make an emergency exit. I lasted about three minutes. I am kidding but it was a seriously spooky place. Luckily I live for that kind of stuff so I enjoyed being on edge for about twenty minutes. Took a lot longer than that for he heart to stop thumping though.

All in all, one of the best days so far. Bring on the next one. And we saw a giant EVH guitar.

Currently listening to: Rush - Time (live)
Currently drinking: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Monday, 28 November 2011

Merry Hollywood and we be cruisin' down to Santa Monica

Last night was the Xmas parade down on Hollywood Blvd. They closed off a few streets and had a bunch of tweeny Disney minor celebs drive around as well as a bunch of giant inflatable character floats sponsored by the Sci-tos (my new nick name for the scientologists). Our kids went crazy over all these "stars". We did see La Toya Jackson, Vivica A. Fox and Montel Williams though. And the actual DeLorian from Back to the Future, KIT, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van and a heap of other rad cars. I also got given a million dollar bill from some right wingers. I only found this out later after I turned the bill over, and was surprised to read that I am, and I quote "a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer-at-heart". Cool. They were giving these out to kids at well. Judgy much.

Yesterday was some kind of record breaking heat day so this called for some ingenuity in regards to the long pants situation we had in preparation for the winter months here. The warden cut the legs off all the kids jeans. With our new summer threads we headed out to Santa Monica for the day. After a few wrong exits courtesy of me being in the wrong lanes, we eventually made it out there. We did a spot of shopping (I bought another pair of Levis 501s for $20 and guess what Z bought?), got a few books to read and got some lunch.  Upsized of course. Then went and walked the pier and watched the sun coming down over the ocean at the end of Route 66. Pretty awesome feeling. M drove home and cooked up a mad steak feed (and escargot for those that wanted to partake), while I did the washing and lost at Battleship to L. Sucks to be me.

Sorry about the extra pictures but some people have been asking.

Currently listening to: TMS (That Metal Show) with special guest Brian Johnson
Currently drinking: Stone Levitation Ale. Tasty.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Black Friday was the Pits, and our little yank tank

The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. Haven't looked into why that is but it is like the American equivalent of boxing day sales in Australia. Except that shit gets rough. I saw on the news that some lady capsicum sprayed another lady to grab a bargain. I managed to pick up a GPS for less than half price, but I had to wait in line for about 45 mins.

We spent the  afternoon going through the La Brea Tar Pits and museum. Awesome. Hundreds of thousands of fossils have been found here and are still being found all the time. There is currently one open pit that is being excavated but another 40 possible sites to start digging. We saw dire wolves, mammoths, mastodons and sabre tooth tigers amongst other things. There was even a few parts where the tar was still seeping through the ground. It only needs to be a couple of inches deep before it can stop a giant mammoth in its tracks. Pretty amazing to see it all.

We finally decided to get our own little yank tank, even though I have found the buses and cabs to be fine it will make travel quicker and easier. First impressions of driving... sweet merciful crap. Right turns are so good, but the left ones are a killer. You can turn right any time even through a red light. Doesn't help that it felt like our car was the size of a tank. After a few trips now though, starting to feel more confident. Just wish that you could request a route on the GPS to bypass the ghettos and/or projects.

The things I hate about LA - Haven't been invited to a party at the playboy mansion, haven't seen either of the Veronica's and I had the rest of my cupcake and still feel sick.

The things I love - Everything else. Reminds me of the southside of Brisbane. Hard core.

Currently listening to: Metallica - Behind the music special on Vh1
Currently drinking: Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Birthday Goose and Happy Turkey Day

What an amazing day to be in America. I had heard that they celebrate Thanksgiving more than xmas and now I would be inclined to agree. Started the day with a small birthday spread for the Goose (Happy Birthday L), followed by a bunch of select cupcakes from Crumbs Bakery. Badass. I had half a chocolate brownie cupcake and almost threw up from the insane awesomeness of it. I have been to scared to finish the rest of it. Maybe tomorrow. If I grow a pair.

We booked a lunch at a little place in LA called Henry's Hat for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Was a really cool and casual atmosphere with a rad meal. An abundance of turkey and baked ham, amongst other vegetable delights almost brought me to tears. Not even joking (See picture below). The only thing worse than regular meat sweats, is Thanksgiving meat sweats. One of the things I will really miss about America is all the Turkey. Such an amazing meat and not very popular in Australia. I can't understand why. With white gravy, possibly the best thing ever. Apart from the Arrogant Bastard Ale I washed it down with. I have had this 3 times now (its actually pretty rare here but I have been lucky) and I can't get enough of it. This has definitely been my favourite L's birthday ever, and even she agrees.

Going to try and hit up the La Brea Tar Pits tomorrow as well as a few black Friday sales. See what happens.

Turkey rules! Also, enjoy a picture of some meat we cooked the other night. Looks familiar but I just can't put my finger on it...

Currently listening to: Flicking between a bunch of different TV marathons including The Office, Man vs Food, Star Trek and Friends. God bless America and God bless cable TV.
Currently drinking: Stone IPA (still deciding what the best beer I have had so far is. Toss up between Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Dogfishhead 90 minute IPA)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Balls Out, LAPD take down and the star homes "tour"

What a way to start the week. A couple of beers at Rainbow Bar and Grill where I sat in Lemmy's chair. He had the highest scores on the electronic quiz game. Hilarious. Then off to see Steel Panther live at the Hollywood House of Blues. Met a super cool dude named Eddy who knew a lot of people, who knew a lot of people if you know what I mean. Private Booth in the Dan Acroyd room upstairs and free drinks all night. Played a kickass show with songs from their new album Balls Out but also classics like Community Property and Girl From Oklahoma and ended up meeting some rad people. Top night.

Another quiet day today, apart from a small incident where I was almost knocked over by some cops jumping on and taking down a dude I was standing next to. There was yelling and fighting and the cops had on bullet proof vests. Not sure what was going on but there were about 8 cops there and 4 of them had him pinned. He didn't appear to be overly pleased about it either.

This afternoon we did a bus "tour" of stars homes. More like their giant gates and high hedges tour to stop people like us indulging in voyeurism . Was cool to drive around and see the suburbs but most of the houses were hidden from view. Highlights included Al Pacino's house and Quentin Tarantino's house. Quick stop for lunch on Wingsday at Hooters in Hollywood. 10 wings and fries for $6. Get on it. Will be going back next week fo shizzle. Finished off the day with a walk through Madame Toussaud's wax museum and dinner at Johnny Rockets. Difficult as it is to believe but I am all meated out. Craving some veggies. I can't remember this ever happening before but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Currently listening to: Arch Enemy - Kaos Legions
Currently drinking: Simple Times Lager

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hollywood Babylon and the Goose is Loose

Hollywood LA. What a grimy, seedy, dirty place. I love it. Even the shop mannequins have fake boobs. Have been here a few days and have spent most of it cruising Hollywood Blvd looking at shops, and just catching our breath back. The kids have been loud and argumentative. Particularly L has been giving us some grief. Hopefully she snaps out of it because its starting to put a downer on the whole thing.

We are staying about 5 mins from the centre of Hollywood so most things are in walking distance. However, yesterday we went to mass (say what) at a local catholic church and there was a massive storm where streets were flooding. We found out the hard way that you don't hail cabs in LA, you have to call and book them. Luckily a nice girl at the pharmacy called a cab for our little drowned rat looking family before we were mugged.

Managed to find some time to head out to High Voltage Tattoo and get a small piece to commemorate our recent special occasion. Kat Von D wasn't in but Khoi Boto hooked me up. Rad shop with a cool atmosphere. Was fun having a chat with some rad dudes while getting stabbed with a thousand needles.

Also, booze is so cheap. Have had a few six packs for $2.99. Not the best beer but certainly drinkable. Also found some vodka for $10 for a 1.75 litre bottle. Haven't tried this because you can get Grey Goose for $28. The Goose is loose.
Tonight I'm heading out to Sunset Strip to see Steel Panther play at the House of Blues. Might cop a feed at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, otherwise know as Whisky a Go Go. You know how it is.

Currently listening to: Steel Panther - Balls Out
Currently drinking: Grey Goose Vodka

Saturday, 19 November 2011

R.I.P. Ukki

Yesterday I found out that my grandfather died. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. He had been deteriorating for months and the last few times it's hard to say whether or not he knew we were even there. We stopped in to see him on the day before we left. We sat and talked with Mummi for a bit before saying our goodbyes. As we were leaving he mumbled to me to have a safe trip and somehow I knew that this would be the last time I saw him and I said so to M on the way home.

I haven't had the heart to tell the kids yet as I'm still working out what to say. In some ways it is hard to be away while all this is going on but in other ways it makes it a bit easier. I'm thinking about my family at home... Especially my mum and Mummi. Big hugs to everyone.

The things I remember the most about Ukki:

* The way he used to suck his tea or coffee through a sugar cube in his lips rather than putting sugar into his drink.
* Getting paid to walk on his back as a massage when we were kids.
* Lining up on the front porch on Sundays and all the boy cousins getting the same hair cut every month. Shaved.
* The way he would sit back on his rocking chair and watch the circus that is my family happen around him.
* The way he would laugh (he he he) when you knew he had no idea what you were talking about.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Double entendres, buffets, street drinking and Elvis

Vegas is such a rad place. So much to see and do and I'm sad that we are leaving tomorrow morning. I will also miss street drinking. Combined my two loves of drinking, while doing anything else. So many free shows and spectacles to see including the lions at MGM (briefly), the water fountains at Bellagio, the Atlantis show at Caesar's Palace and my personal favourite, the sirens song at Treasure Island. Talk about I wanna sex you up. Full of hilarious double entendres. The best one I can remember... "My names Cinnamon but all the salty sea men that have made it into my cove... call me sin". So good. The show was full of them. Just wish I could remember more. Seafood and sushi buffet for lunch before heading back to the hotel for an early(ish) night to prepare for the big day.

We renewed our vows today at a little chapel in Vegas. A limo picked us up from out hotel which the kids thought was hilarious. Elvis was the minister and walked Mikarla down the isle. As you do. He also sung a couple of numbers for us including love me tender as they walked down the isle. Have a bunch of pictures and video that I will try and find some way to upload when I get a chance in an internet cafe. Finished of with our third and last buffet in Vegas. Probably the best. The Luxor. Do it.

One thing I will say is that so far, I have found Americans to be super helpful and nice. Most of the time without even asking for help. Also customer service in the shops is alive and well. It really feels like they want to help you, even when there is no tipping involved. Also, tipping is hard.

Currently listening to: Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas
Currently drinking: Hopefully my last Budweiser of the trip. No taste at all but not much choice in Vegas.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I Heart Vegas

Las Vegas rules. Hard. Started off the day with a meal that I have been salivating over for months. The Grand Slamwich from Denny's ( When they brought it out I must admit that I was a little underwhelmed but after the first bite I knew that this is what I have been looking for my whole life. Was deceptively filling and I nearly threw up twice towards the end. Only in America baby. 

We then spent the rest of the day cruising the strip. Highlights included m&m world, coke museum, water fountains at Bellagio and the amount of people street drinking. My kind of place. Not even just beers. Saw a dude this morning pouring whiskey into a McDonalds cup at around 10:30. Go hard or go home.

Whilst I would have preferred to go and see Peepshow with Holly Madison, we decided it would be more family friendly to go and see the Beatles show at Planet Hollywood tonight instead. Kick. Ass. Actually put on a great show although they missed a few songs I would have liked to hear. The kids loved it though, and pretty amazing to remember how many awesome songs they have.

Still working out what to do tomorrow but I'm thinking neon, trashy and boozy. Also, five people in one room is as squishy as it sounds.

Currently listening to: The Beatles - Revolver
Currently drinking: $4 litre cans of Asahi.