I have a new definition of "AWESOME FRIENDS." Awesome friends are so kind and thoughtful and brave as to PURPOSEFULLY invite MissSeven and Mr11 to their home for a sleepover, thereby doubling their child population AND THEN arranging a lovely sitter to watch all four kids so the growns could have an L.A. NIGHT OUT. WOW. COOL. The kids were all besides themselves about this adventure, to visit their home up a winding road and high on a hill, with a treehouse in the backyard and this view.

So after getting the kids pizza'd and the beds made up and cell phone numbers written down, out we went for a delicious Italian dinner. Time flew by as we talked about music, the music business, the kids, Wisconsin, Brooklyn, hipsters, hepsters, no-sters, mechanical licenses, traveling, and more. I had squid ink pasta with shrimp, a glass of wine, and the giggles. After, we walked over to go to Wacko's again for a book event for "I Slept With Joey Ramone," but we yapped too long and it was CLOSED. I was indignant that Wacko's would not be open all night on a Saturday. So instead we walked over to the Dresden, which was a total time warp and packed with everyone from indie ironites to chubby Mexican dudes with their chubby glammed up gals to 40-something ladies having intense gf conversations, all over the sounds of L.A. legends Marty and Elayne.

The Dresden was a total hoot (which you may have seen in the movies "Swingers" and "That Thing You Do") -- incomparable over-the-top 60s decor, Marty and Elayne doing their thing. I hope I can come back in ten years and everything is exactly the same, still.

A try for a drink at a new hot bar in a "transitional" neighborhood proved slightly too transitional, so we went back to my friends' house for a beer and more chat. The baby of the kid group, just turned three, was up and feverish, but fell asleep quietly in her mother's arms after the babysitter was thanked, paid, and excused from further wonderful service.

The next morning (although I should say afternoon because I was slow to get up and get going, WHAT A SHOCK) we all met up again and decided to spend our last full day in L.A. taking the two families to the famous Griffith Observatory. This was another place that I had never been to -- a vast park in the middle of the city, even larger than Manhattan's Central Park. Everyone else seemed to think Sunday was the best day to do this as well. We had to park more than a mile down the hill, but the walk up wasn't heinous. I thank the treadmill for this completely. A few years ago I would've been wheezing and dizzy and whiny over such a thing.

After a long and costly renovation, the Griffith reopened to the public in 2007. It's beautiful, with views to rival the Getty Center.




Of course, the famous knife fight scene from Rebel Without A Cause was filmed here.

Not that I was thrilled to see clouds, but they made for nice photos.

We popped inside to see some of the exhibits. Here's me taking a picture of me on an infrared camera. Ooh.

Tesla coil and a camera obscura view of L.A.


Do you know what a Foucault Pendulum is? I do now, and you can if you click that linky thar.

Then we went downstairs for more hands-on planetary goodness. The kids liked the scales telling them how much they would weigh on all the different planets. I liked the one that said I weighed 98 pounds.



After a snacky at the cafe, outside again.


Should we go look at a telescope? Yes, we should.


One last look around before we head down and say goodbye.

Bye bye, my friends, we love you all. Bye bye, Griffith Obs, you are super-sweet, too.

And that's that for the vacay. This morning, pack, breakfast, and a quick swim, courtesy a warm sunny day and a 1PM check-out time.
Off to the airport down Fairfax.

A balloon at the airport that looked from a distance to be a white rat with red bloody eyes and mouth, but was in fact a Disney thing. I don't feel that was a coincidence.
A nice flight back to Seattle, and a reminder at the baggage carousel to talk to Piece Of Shit if you have any problems.

And the sexiest photo of the whole trip, right before I get on the elevator to the parking garage.

That's all, folks.