I should have just been hanging round

Fine, today I proved to myself why I dont bet, and its because I’m a lousy gambler. More on that shortly.

Yesterday, the first target was to turn my little phone into an active one, by getting its umpteenth new Sim card over the years. Basically, they last 90 days, and apart from 2 occasions, everytime I travel to the US, I need a new one. And so, choices, choices…

Because I wanted to go back to Pasadena at some point on the holiday, and there was an AT&T store near the metro station there, I went over there to do it. I could have done it locally, but it would have needed a fair walk, so fine, excuse made. Pasadena is a lovely place to visit, except for this weekend, when I gather it will be chaos there, with pop concerts, museum tours, and roadworks, all adding to the racing at Santa Anita, so yes, glad its done.

After finishing there, I did the opposite to the Pet Shop Boys, and went East. The line has been extended eastwards to Azusa, so I took a chance to travel on it. A bite of lunch, then back to Pasadena for the bus journey home. Apart from 4 people each travelling just one stop (one may have had health issues, the other 3 definitely didnt), it was a fairly dull affair.

This morning is when I gambled, and got it wrong. I walked down to the Metro station to get a train downtown, to find that an ‘every 10-12 minute service’ wouldnt be along for 21 minutes! So fine, I thought, I’ll walk down, get the bus to Santa Monica, and get the train back. Yes, another new line I wanted to go on. Oh fine, I picked the crazy bus, clearly! So yes, with all the delays with those folk, I could have waited over 20 minutes for the train downtown, gone back out to Santa Monica, and still have been quicker!

I did my stroll around town, stopping off for a coffee, before heading to the biggest Santa Monica landmark, the pier! Which supposedly is the end of Route 66, halfway down its length, according to the sign. I strolled to the bottom, said my close up farewell to the Pacific, in case I dont go down there at Pacific Palisades, though I will see it as I fly out, but thats not the same thing. Lunch on the pier, then finally I got that train I could not miss, back to LA.

In truth the most memorable bit of the journey was 2 teenagers being ‘tough’ until some guy actually stood up to them, and then they quietened down! They had reminded me why I’m not a fan of modern music at least!

Tomorrow evening, is dress up time, as I’m off to the movies at the Egyptian Theater. I know, I dont have to, especially nowadays, but it will be fun to put a dress on, so I will. Sunday afternoon, a Women in Media event, so a chance to try and sell my talents, maybe? Other than that, I’ll see what the morning brings!

I’ve given a couple of clues to the video, so hopefully you know what it is, without looking!

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Taking the teal train

Yes, fine, non Californians, humor me, but its ages since I did a LA related blog, and given whats happening next week, and the fact that I had no other bright ideas that Americans would get, I’m going with this! I am free to suggestions, if anyone wants to make any, mind.

Thats right, starting next Friday, the Metro system gets extended. And unlike the Gold line extension earlier this year, this one is a bit special to me! Why? Because of where this extension takes the train to, Santa Monica! Yes, I want to ride it, though at present, I have no idea when, or how thats going to happen. If any generous beneficiary wants to make that possible, please do!

Several times, I’ve experienced the ‘delight’ that is taking a bus to Santa Monica, from either LA, or Hollywood. Believe me, using Metro at least, its not fun! Lengthy, winding route, that seemingly takes forever. Well, well over an hour at least, even at good times, and when you approach, or get into rush hour, you really dont want to know! Even the Big Blue Bus (express, higher fare) which goes on the Interstate for most of the journey hits plenty of stationary traffic, especially at the wrong time of day!

But, from Friday onwards, you can catch the train! Well, the metro type trains, at least. Did you know, the last time there was a train service to Santa Monica? 1953! Only for a few more days though, and then…Yes, the Expo line extension, which is shown in a teal color on maps (hence the blog name) finally opens beyond Culver City, all the way to the sea! Well, almost all the way, a few hundred yards walk will still be needed, but besides that…

So yes, if and when I get back to LA, I wont have to battle my way to Santa Monica by a slow moving bus, I can go by train! And given I enjoy visiting Santa Monica, that will be a massive bonus for me. Hopefully, some day soon, I can get to make that trip, fingers crossed.

No, sadly, as far as I know, there are no plans to have a branch on the Red line up Beechwood Canyon, ah well…

There is talk of trying to get the Airport connected to the Metro in the next few years, that will certainly be a blessing when it happens, I must say. Fine, I might still get a shuttle to wherever I’m staying, but at least I could go and use a certain wonderfully designed restaurant area at the Airport, if it was easier to get there!

Right, the video. A jazz classic, with a modern twist, provided by Diana Krall. There is a slight clue in the blog title, but if you’ve got this far, you’ve seen what it is already, I guess?

Back in the 60’s, Downtown Burbank was supposedly beautiful

Title might give a clue as to where I went today, at least! Though it will mean more to those with long memories, I must admit. But lets catch up first…

The weekend was fairly quiet in terms of entertainment, mostly just relaxing watching various forms of gridiron football, though given that my college team (Kansas State) managed to conjure up defeat from the jaws of victory on Saturday, and the Bills were totally undisciplined in defeat on Sunday, I might not have been that calm and relaxed, but anyway… Fine, the college one was worse, given that it was Kate’s team, Oklahoma State that we managed to lose to. Irony, our QB got injured, and a Wide Receiver took over from him, and did a better job. Then he got injured, the now recovered QB came back, and conjured up defeat for us. Ah well…

The Bills were just shocking, giving away penalties, as Santa Claus gives away presents. Yes, awful stuff.

Thankfully, after that, things improved dramatically. Yesterday I headed back to Santa Monica, and reminded myself just how ‘entertaining’ bus services can be over here. Aided by not enough knee room, and very hard seats, I wasnt sorry to arrive. Then I did something I didnt get to last time around, I went out on the pier. And yes, when I saw the rides, and the arcade, I realised how old I was, but anyway…The bus journey back was less entertaining, but a combination of a broken down vehicle in front of us at one point, and general traffic, it was very slow, and pretty painful on my knees too.

A brief dash home, which may, or may not have been a good idea, as I was going out again, but there was really just too much gap between, to just stay in town, so…Oh, and a remarkable thing around here, it rained! Not for long, but it rained, wow!

The evening was spent interestingly, talking with, and listening to people who know a lot more about the movie industry than me. But I learnt things, they learnt a few things about me, so all well and good. Only down point, the buses up here stop about 7.30. I got out at 9.15. So I went on a taxi hunt. Not as easy as I thought it would be. When I did eventually bag one, he made it pretty clear (in less than tactful terms) that he wasnt interested in fares that took him out of the main part of Hollywood, even if it was for less than a mile and a half each way. When I got home, I found out that the Checker Cab company have an awful reputation on reviews, and I can see why! I did send a message of complaint, but no surprise, I’ve heard nothing.

OK, finally, to today. Yes, when I was a child, once a week at the turn of the 60’s, into the 70’s, there was a crazy program on TV, which had a punchline that it was coming from beautiful downtown Burbank. Now as a 10 year old, I had no idea where that was, it was just somewhere in America. Yes, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, of course. Given the nature of the show, I never knew if the beautiful bit was true, or sarcasm, but anyway…

So today, I took the chance to visit Burbank. Nowadays I wouldnt say it was beautiful, but I’ve seen a lot uglier too. Of course, the studio where it was filmed, and all the stars are now long gone, most of them literally, sadly. But hey, I didnt see any ghosts there, but at least I now know what downtown Burbank looks like.

Oh, and a quick snippet of that legendary series

Fine, a pre thing. Tomorrow, in case you’d forgotten, I’m getting interviewed, which should be interesting. A chance to talk about me, LGBT issues (especially T, I suspect), and a few other things. A chance to sell myself around here? Just maybe, we will see. 11.30 am PST, work out your own time zone from there, though for Brits, like me, its 7.30 in the evening. The link to that https://sqeeqee.com/streaming/event/105

You’ll hear how it goes, for sure, but you could always watch it anyway, just saying…

A lot of Jean, a little bit of Clara, and Santa Monica

But before you under think this through, that isnt the video! 😛 The video, well, thats for today, so…lets take one step back, for now.

I’d read online, that getting much joy out of a visit to Forest Lawn, at Glendale, was a rare thing. So, when I set out yesterday morning to head there, I was sort of saying to myself, I’ll get as close to Jean as I can, and pay my respects from that point.

The moment I enter the grounds, I start to wonder how recent that bad posting was? Because the Great Mausoleum was decently signposted, and to be honest, beyond one sign respectfully saying not to take photos, I was welcomed in with a smile. Inside, there were no clues as to who was where, but I’d checked a map beforehand (on this less than cheery report), so I had a rough idea which direction to turn. Lo, and behold, the right aisle, and the gate is open, I can walk down it. And yes, there she was, more or less at the far end, resting peacefully (well I assume so) lay Jean Harlow, hidden from view, in an impressive casket, with the words ‘Our Baby’ written on it, and I was stood about 10 feet away. And yes, I stayed there for about 30 minutes or so, ‘talking’ to her, and security walked by, and were fine!

So alright, I thought this was the highlight of my day, my holiday, and everything else, and then I came back into town. The chance to look at historical censuses of Los Angeles, the sign said. I went for 1930, because I had this feeling that ‘someone’ would be there, and I was right. Yes, of course Jean Harlow was there, I’m sure, but thats not who I was looking for.

And with a computer search engine, there she was. Clara E Johnson, born in Texas in 1906, moved to LA in 1925, profession, actress! Yes, my previous life! The only other member of the family with her seemed to be a younger brother, Frank, born in 1912. What happened to her parents, no idea. Might still have been in Texas, might have been dead, it didnt say.

No, I couldnt find her in a check on the 1940 one, but according to my regression, she was married by then, so would have a different surname, of course. So I still dont know a lot more about her, but my knowledge has grown. Clearly I cant track her actual death date, for the same reason.

If the Harlow moment was wow, then this was Wow!

After that, today was a gentle breeze, took a trip down to Santa Monica by bus, saw the beach, and the ocean. A lovely day, slightly cooler (not complaining), but still pleasantly warm.

Tomorrow, the plan is to go down to Beverly Hills for a while. No, I’m not planning on seeing any of Jean’s former homes, though 2 of them are not that far off the bus route, so that plan might change. Unfortunately the one I’d really love to see, the home she shared with Paul Bern, is 3.5 miles from the nearest bus stop, and I’m not doing a 7 mile round walk, just to see it from the outside!

As I said, the video, well it mentions Santa Monica (Boulevard) in the song, so…