A good friend from Seattle came to town on a weekend pass and stayed with me for a few days. Although I was hosting a guest at my home, I felt like I was on vacation too. Being that I recently spent a week in the Bahamas and Fort Lauderdale, then stole away to Palm Desert the weekend after I got back, I probably didn't deserve or need another vacation. Yet, I treated myself to one.
My good friend from Seattle is actually one of my ex-girlfriend's best friends from college. Luckily, my ex-girlfriend and I are much better as friends than we were as a couple, because I spent the majority of the weekend with her, her phenomenal husband, her incredibly cute baby, her ridiculously amazing dogs (one of which I sired during our relationship), and our common friend from Seattle.
It was all great fun and hilarious, I assure you, but I will generously spare you the intimate details of the general hanging out, cooing at and dancing with the baby, watching Survivor: Fiji, playing a homemade version of Celebrity: The Game, and squaring off in a no-holds-barred game of Texas Hold 'Em. I'm just going to hit the highlights.
Friday afternoon, we went on a little adventure to Universal CityWalk to take in 300 on the IMAX. On our way into the parking lot, we encountered perhaps the greatest parking attendant in the history of theme park parking. It wasn't that he was the friendliest by any stretch, just extremely knowledgeable and efficient. He gently persuaded us to buy preferred parking (first class) for $20 instead of the general parking (coach) for $10, by pointing out the logic in getting a $10 rebate from the movie theater and a book of coupons. It would be trite and tedious to riff on the utter absurdity of CityWalk itself, so suffice it say, we eventually made our way into the IMAX and took in the grandeur of 300. Blessed with a lack of connoisseur geekiness for all things associated with comics and graphic novels, I managed to sufficiently lower my expectations as I sat down to watch the flick. And I was rewarded for it. The movie was superficial fun, exciting at times and surprisingly sexy. You can't take it all too seriously, I mean, it doesn't even take itself that seriously. No one is proclaiming this to be a film of substance. But it won me over by not trying to be. It's high style without slipping into the realm of camp. Sure, I can pick the movie apart bit by bit, limb by limb, but the three of us who saw it that day didn't feel the need to do it then nor do I feel the need to do it now. If you do decide to see it, and I recommend you do, look for my friend friend Peter Mensah early on the film as the emissary of Xerxes, and make absolutely sure you watch it on an IMAX screen. I doubt I would've enjoyed 300 sets of six-pack abs half as much in one of those regular-sized theaters.
Saturday afternoon, my Seattle friend and I booked massages at Burke Williams. We met my ex and her brood for a scrumptious brunch at the Black Cow Cafe in Montrose, a true LA treasure, then headed into West Hollywood for some man pampering. We got there just in time and they ushered us into the spa immediately to change. The only problem was, we both desperately needed to empty our bowels before the rubdowns. Apparently, my friend took care of things rather quickly and went right into the private room to begin his session. I, on the other hand, had a little trouble performing under pressure. As I sat in the private bathroom, I heard my named being called in the spa. I had two options: Answer back and risk the embarrassment of everyone in the spa knowing my bidness, or keep quiet and ride it out, knowing they'll still come get me and take me to the room when I'm finally done. I chose to hush up. And sure enough the spa attendant greeted me as soon as I stepped out and took me in for my massage. But because I started a little late, my lady massage therapist kept asking if I wanted to cut it to a half hour session or go the full hour. She said she was scared of getting in trouble if I complained that I didn't get the full hour. I told her to keep going. What I learned later from a massage therapist friend of mine was that she was trying to get more money out of me. Thus, my naivety paid off and I got a good forty-five minutes of pure relaxation massage out of it. Little did the woman know I was paying with a gift certificate I got two years ago while working on Will & Grace. As if I could actually afford to pay for a massage out of pocket...