. . . and I did manage to leave California! (Insert guitar riff here.)
Some things I rode on my recent vacation, more or less in order:
- A JetBlue plane to Oakland
- A hotel shuttle van
- The BART train
- The Caltrain to San Jose
- A rental car
- A Southwest flight to Orange County
- Many private cars of James's family and friends
- A boogie board in the ocean off San Clemente -- the first time I've swum in the Pacific
- The L.A. Metrolink commuter train
- The L.A. Metro subway -- so much cleaner and better at station (and Internet) communication than our New York subway system
- Many L.A. Metro buses -- ditto
- The Getty Center tramway
- The L.A. Metro light rail
- A taxi
- A Warner Bros. tram for the studio tour
- A JetBlue plane to New York
- And the Airtrain and the A and F subway trains to JFK and back -- not clean or communicative, but mine and therefore home.
N.B.: I saw it in IMAX, and if it's at all possible for you to see it in IMAX, I strongly recommend you expend the extra effort and money for the aerial shots of Gotham City and Hong Kong alone. Other reviews: Scott Foundas in L.A. Weekly; Todd Alcott; Reverse Shot, which disliked it.
And the Warner Bros. studio tour was great fun -- I saw the exterior of the orphanage from "Annie" (my favorite movie when I was six); looked in the windows of Luke's diner from "Gilmore Girls" and walked around the Star's Hollow town square; at a distance, caught a little bit of a taping of "Pushing Daisies" (the great spoiler I can reveal exclusively here: Anna Friel will wear a yellow dress and step out of a door in a future episode); sat on the couch from "Friends"; and, most excitingly for me, found an entire floor of Harry Potter memorabilia in the studio museum. A model Acromantula! The flying Ford Anglia! Hermione's Yule Ball gown! The Sorting Hat (or whoever was running it) mistakenly named me a Hufflepuff (I'm straight-up Ravenclaw, baby), but it correctly identified James as a long-lost Weasley cousin and assigned him to Gryffindor.
Finally, on the reading/work front, I finished Away, which I very much admired, and A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer, a most unusual romance novel, and I'm about two-thirds of the way through Brideshead Revisited, which I don't especially like but seem compelled to go forward with (much the same way the protagonist relates to the Brideshead family, actually). And I wrote the illustration notes and a solid first draft of my Terminus speech, and bought two excellent pairs of Clarks sandals on sale. So, altogether, a successful vacation.