Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cousins trip to Hollywood


Rocky, Xoe, Eliza, Max, Xanthe & Ollie



So, if you remember from my previous post, all the older cousins were dying to see more of Hollywood when we went for the Muppets show.  I promised them I would take them the next week.  

I was actually excited!  I love my nieces and nephews and without Spencer, I can focus a lot on them.  And plus, Hollywood was like my old home so I was super comfortable there.  I LOVE the crossstreets of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. with it's new shopping center/Kodak Theatre and upscale hotel.  Melrose Ave. and Normandie Ave. are awesome too for shopping, but I spent more time on this corner than those other places (wait, that didn't come out right. :) ).  I took the girls touring a lot, saw shows at the venues, had networking meetings up in the hightop restaurants and went on a few dates (when I was single) down to that area. :)  It was a good time of my life so I was excited to share that with these kids too.

Beware, there are lots of pictures that might seem meaningless, but they are solely there for the kids who went. Their parents check this blog and I think it would be fun for Max, Ollie, Rocky and Eliza to see the pictures we took!  Some great memories.

Do also remember when the girls had to write a story about their trip for their Language Arts class? Well this is what Xanthe wrote on so I asked her permission to use this for my blog post.  She graciously said yes. :)  If I add my own commentary, I'll put it in parentheses and italics.  (And P.S. I didn't go back and edit this post.  I just couldn't. :) It's taking too long as it is so I'm sorry if there are bad errors)  Here goes:

Going to Hollywood
Guest Blogger: Xanthe Villa

While we were in California, my mom took our cousins to Hollywood. The cousins we took were Eliza, Ollie, Max and Rocky. One of the main reasons we went to Hollywood was because there was this place called Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum.

(Back-Max & Xanthe, Middle-Ollie, Eliza & Rocky, Front-Xoe)... P.S. Eliza is not asleep. 
(Okay so Xanthe threw away her rough draft because the details made her paper longer, but I'm going to add them back in.  Kids, do you all remember we loaded up into Grandpa's truck and I realized we didn't have enough seatbelts? I was super nervous about that so we got a hold of Grammy and had to drive all the way up to Azusa, a little bit out of the way, and she traded cars with us. You guys didn't care. You were switching around the iPad, reading the Ripley's book Max had brought and reading books.  It was a pretty fun car ride.  You also were all intrigued about my story about the clockmaker in Prague who had his eyes cut out so he wouldn't make another. :)


Eliza & Rocky
We had to unload everything out of Grammy's car and into Grandpa's car. You all had to go to the bathroom, but not disturb Grammy in her appointment, so you ran in but there was a bee or a wasp or a spider or something, right?  And too scared to go in the boys' bathroom, so you all went into the girls', which meant you must have really been scared.  And Max, you left your jacket there, remember? (Ruth, you may want to follow up on that. I just remembered.  Haha.)


This is us after parking and going into the big "Hollywood & Highland" Shopping Center (hereinafter referred to as "HHSC").  I was like their tour guide and they were super intrigued. It was really fun.

One fun thing that they loved about that place was that the Kodak Theatre is part of the HHSC, especially when I told them this is where American Idol films the last 10 or so big shows and where the Academy Awards take place.

In front of the Kodak Theatre.  Cirque du Soleil was being performed here.  Do you love how we ignored the "no camera" sign? We just figured that was for people ENTERING the theater.

Trying to get a glimpse. Unfortunately it was just the lobby area.

The theater is located at the top of a grand staircase that the front of is made of red mosaics, so when you are standing at the bottom, it looks like a red carpet (because of the Oscars/Academy Awards).  I've included an online picture below cuz I failed to get a picture on my own. You can also see on the right and left of the picture there are columns that have lighted squares on them.  You can't see very well in this picture but on them there are the names of the pictures from years' past and the year they won.  There are also blank spots going up to I think the year 2068, but don't quote me on that. I can't remember.  Ollie and Rocky had a good time finding their names for Oliver (Best picture in 1969) and Rocky (in 1976). I couldn't get a good picture.


The kids at the bottom looking up the staircase
We didn't look around too much more of HHSC, but I would have loved to have shown them Babylon Square, some of the fun restaurants and shops, seen a movie in the great theater, and found all the mosaics of "The Road to Hollywood", stories of famous stars and how they got there.  Again, the next two pictures are just online pictures so you could see what I was talking about.





  Xanthe: We walked down Hollywood Boulevard and went to the Kodak Theatre where they have American Idol and the Academy Awards.  (I'm cutting out the part about the Muppets, but so you know her paper wasn't as choppy as I'm making it seem right now.)  Then we went over to the Graumann's Chinese Theater and looked at the handprints and  walked down the sidewalks to look at Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

(Christy: So when we got out of HHSC, it was more crowded than I thought. They must have had a show going on soon because a couple of hours later it was sparse, which was usually opposite than normal. Usually it's more crowded at nighttime. I got a little stressed, just a little people, and made sure everyone had a buddy and stayed next to each other.  The kids were all amazed at the people dressed up in costume that is a common site every hour of the day. They started snapping pictures of them when I kindly and quietly schooled them that they will demand tips, especially those that you actually stand in the pictures with.  So, I told them they could but we had to be selective but everyone only had a certain amount of money with them.  Again, I'm sorry for the amount of pictures, I swear I deleted like 200 of their pictures, they were all taking them with their iphones/ipods, and these were the ones left that I thought the kids would have fun reminiscing about. )






This one's for you Scott (Max & Ollie's dad).

Crowded.









This one killed me.




This one was for Myles (Rocky's dad), I think.


This spiderman kept stalking us.   A little creepy but pretty harmless. He kept following us, I'm sure to get tips. I just had to do the "ignore and look away and hopefully he'll leave," which he eventually did, but it was pretty obnoxious. Check out Green Lantern.  Whaaaat?  Obviously, a professional, am I right? :)
Jimi Hendrix and....??? They gave us dirty looks for even staring.











This one was for me, my brothers and sisters and parents. :)  You know you all love 'em.

This was for X&X's dad.

Makin our way to the Chinese Theater.

In front of Mann's Chinese Theater. For those of you that don't know, this theater is where many movie premieres are held with a red carpet, limousines and the whole works. This is also where the stars put their handprints and footprints in the cement. It was odd though because we couldn't find the more recent stars.  I wasn't sure where they were and didn't want to go looking for them around the back.  When I asked, the guy said we had to take the tour to find out.  Sheesh.  What a ploy.  Whatever, the kids were fine with the ones we found.

















In front of the museum... this was the main reason for coming. They were mesmerized last week with what was only in the lobby.  And it was so cheap that all the parents were totally on board with me taking them.



Xanthe: Ripley's Believe It or Not  is a crazy museum which is based off of the Ripley's Believe It or Not book (and the tv show and the man named Ripley's travels around the world). It has sort of wacky things a;nd htey take those things and put it into a museum. A couple of things I really liked were the Shadow Wall where you stand in front of a dark wall and a flash goes off and leaves your shadow on the wall, the tallest man (Robert Wadlow, 8'11" that had a life sized replica and had the statue stand up from a sitting position to show how tall he really was.), the crazy effect dancing room, and the Focus Picture.


Again, sorry for the obscene amount of pictures, but I really did weed out a lot.  This is mainly for the kids to see.


This was some sort of crawling contraption they had to get into. Not sure how it was part of an "unbelievable" item, but they had fun in it.








Games and interactive screens were all over.


There were lots of these types of things.  This was Brad Pitt carved out of pieces of paper.

Thumb tacks

Lots of these too. You can't see it well in the Marilyn Monroe picture, but these were artworks made out of weird things... like all dots (Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt) or all puzzle pieces or all thumb tacks (George Clooney) or all guitar picks (Jimi Hendrix).  I can't remember what this one was made of, but they had signs next to them saying "take a picture so you can see the image!" so we couldn't capture what it was made out of because the pictures would focus everytime we tried to capture it. I think the only one we captured was the one above out of puzzle pieces.  It was pretty cool.

Lots of weird animals. Two headed cow, horse with a twin growing out of it's back, etc.

Lots of artwork made out of the script.  What you can't see is the colors are made out of someone's handwritten words of part of the main script.
Lots of clothing items made out of random things... this was all starburst wrappers carefully folded that a mom made for her daughter for prom (not sure why???) but you can see the girl and her date who wore it. The shoes, bracelet, earrings, purse, etc. were all made out of the wrappers.






Wedding Dress out of toilet paper for some challenge on one of the "design" reality tv shows.



Purse made out of aluminum cans.



Shadow Wall


Interactive Room-Lots of "Figure It Out". They stayed in this room for quite awhile.


Smallest Man.

Lots of statues of real people (so we think? Believe it or not?)
Skinniest Man


Lizard Man-this guy was real, so we think. There was a video of him.  Check out in the next picture the implants he had in his head and he really had surgery on his tongue to split it in two.



Biggest man (everyone insisted it was a woman until I took them back to read the info plate).

Some fun galleries... this was the Marilyn Monroe gallery. They had a few... Betty Boop, one for Rock and Roll, and others I can't remember.





 Movie Theater that showed some real life people who were pretty abnormal.


Part of the Berlin Wall.  Pretty close to home for us.
Star Wars made from car parts.

Xanthe: The other interesting thing was the Dancing Room. The Dancing Room has this camera and projector.  The camera tapes you dancing and there are all these crazy effects added.  The last one was the focus picture. The Focus Picture is a bulletin board that has all these facts that are in a weird order and it is made that when you take a picture, it focuses and makes another cool picture. (They loved this room. I literally had to pull them out of there after about a half an hour.  I've put videos at the end.)














Then of course souvenir shopping.  I didn't get any other pictures, but a few of them got gag gifts (Max got a buzzing pen) and t-shirts.  A few saved their money for souvenir shopping at the same place we found the Oscar statues in my Muppets post.  We were spending a lot of time shopping that a few of them had meltdowns (including me because Xoe wouldn't make a decision).  I could tell everyone was hungry so we headed to the little pizza joint we saw when walking over (no one wanted McDonald's. :) ).


Right outside of Ripley's about to walk down for food.

Seeing Gabba merchandise on the streets.

 
This pizza was amazingly good for the cheap price.  Kids, remember when the cleanup guy totally threw away my uneaten salad?  Good thing the kitchen made me another one.  We were all pretty shocked he did that.  And yes, another memory was everyone getting frustrated about the buzzing pen because some didn't want to try it and the others were forcing them to.  It was made worse because everyone was hungry.  The minute they put food in their mouths it was best friends all over again.  haha. I don't know why that made me laugh but it's something I am always pushing even when traveling in Europe, you HAVE to get to a food place BEFORE everyone gets hungry.  All hell breaks loose when you've got grouchies walking around trying to find a food place everyone likes...  Oh, and another fun memory was when Rocky and Eliza realized he could sleep over again since her mom was going out to his house in the morning. It was like you had handed him a Golden Ticket to Oz.  He was on cloud 9.  Everyone was!  It was such a fun night and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.  I think everyone pretty much passed out in the car on the way home. haha.  Love you all and hope you all had a great time!

3 comments:

Randi said...

Will you please be my aunt! That seems like such a great day. I bet the kids will all remember it forever!

Nan said...

Wowsers! That was SO AWESOME to read. I can't wait to show Rocky. Thanks for taking them and thanks for documenting all the fun. Best Auntie ever..

Heather said...

YOu win the award! How fun for all of them! They will all remember that. I love looking at Eliza in all the pics...make up and all! :) they are all so cute! It makes me miss them!