Sunday, June 5, 2011

Los Angeles, Trip the Third (Day Two: Staying Occupied)

I woke up yesterday morning (at six, thank you for that time zones), and began to plot my day. I need to go get a hoodie because I neglected to pack one and It's kinda cold here right now and it's definitely cooler in Portland, Oregon, which is where I'll be heading after L.A.

But my surprise annual pass to Universal is calling me and they have hoodies there. But hoodies might be cheaper at the mall. Well, yeah, but THEME PARK. And what if I don't like any of Universal's hoodies? Well, strangely, the mall will still be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

Universal won.

It was actually a wise move because I'll be doing the public transport thing while I'm here fairly exclusively and the bus stops at Universal City Station, the subway stop for this area. (Yeah, they have subways in L.A. I seriously thought that was a plot convenience in Earthquake.)

Where there's a subway stop, there's a way to buy tokens or cards or whatever so I trek into the subway station and buy myself a week-long transit card for $22.00. So far so good! I used it twice yesterday, for the return trip to the hotel and for the trip to the meet and greet.

After I get my card, I trek back up the steps and head over to Universal Studios, making sure to note where the shuttles pick up and drop off for my return. I walk through Citywalk to see what was available that might have hoodies that I wouldn't mind wearing. Noting. But it's not a problem, there's still a whole park to go through! I head in and the first place I go is the Special Effects Stage show. I figured that it would be just like the Horror Make-Up Effects show in Orlando, just with a bigger budget. And I was right. They did blue screen and green screen alongside some matte painting and rear projection demonstrations. It made me dislike CGI even more, to be honest. So inorganic... Anyway, the show was good so I was happy with that. Then, I decided to go check out their Terminator 2 3D attraction. Last time I went to the one in Orlando, it was looking a bit rough.

Yeah, Hollywood's is no better.

There are three screens they use for the attraction: one center, one left and one right. The left and right ones aren't used until later in the show. All eyes are on the center one. The screen was dirty and possibly scratched, the left eye projector was slightly dimmer than the right and, most infuriatingly, the right eye was out of focus. Out of focus?! Really, Universal?!

I asked one person where I could lodge a technological complaint and she was confused. I decided to not bother after that.

Next up, I wanted to see the Revenge of the Mummy ride so I take the eighty or whatever feet worth of stairs down to the lower lot to check out the Mummy ride. I hate water rides or I would've done the Jurassic Park ride. The wait time for the Mummy here was only ten minutes! A good start!
The beginning of the ride is great and I'm thinking, "Alright! This is awesome!" The part where the car goes backwards is longer here, too. And then you're back at the station. What?! That's it? Oh my God, Universal, you have got to be kidding me. The ride is almost literally 15 seconds. No wonder the wait time was 10 minutes.

After that, I'd pretty much seen everything I wanted to see so I hopped on the bus with my shiny TAP card and came back to the hotel to start getting ready for the meet and greet at the Casting Office in Culver City. The area designations here are rather like the boroughs of New York. Culver City is literally right around the corner from Universal City which is next to Studio City which is right by one or two more boroughs which are by Sherman Oaks, where I am. All of this is on a 45 minute bus ride...

So, when I get off the bus and start making my way to Cahuenga Boulevard, I'm given the choice of a creepy ass, dark ass pedestrian tunnel or the sidewalk alongside Hollywood Boulevard. Even the big dude in front of me didn't take the creepy ass, dark ass pedestrian tunnel. Of the two, the sidewalk next to a bustling highway sounded safer. I am, after all, a horror writer. I know what goes on in creepy ass, dark ass pedestrian tunnels.

I make it to the meeting place about 15 minutes early and stake out some large tables because I figured that our group would be pretty large. And it was! Lis and Brenda brought their nieces and their friend and the crew of one short all showed up from the Bay area. The podcasters for Zombie vs. Shark showed up, too, and were kind enough to give me a lift back to the hotel at the end of the night! It was great night and a great way to kick off the festival!


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