Saturday, January 10, 2009

An artist, some shrimp, and a bad parking lot

First, a little bit about our motel, the Sea Shore Motel on Main St in Santa Monica. Other than not actually being on the shore (it's about two blocks away), this is an interesting place to stay. It's an older place in an area where they no longer allow motels.

That white Lexus belongs to Michael Keaton who is getting something healthy to eat at the deli behind the No Vacancy sign. (I never actually saw him, but then I'm not good at recognizing stars out in public. Now if he had been dressed as Batman...)

The cool thing about staying here is that we were upgraded to a mini-suite since they were out of standard rooms, but we still only paid the standard price. In any case, for this area, this is a pretty good value as long as you can handle a lack of glitz and pampering.

We headed out to the Santa Monica Pier, which was pretty empty. The Boy needed a pair of sunglasses.

His handicap placard got us free parking at the pier (should have cost $6). It wasn't the easiest for him to get around on the rough pier, but at least he ended up with some nifty shades.

Mrs Notthat and I posed for a caricature artist. I love these things and, if I had an ounce of artistic talent, I would learn how to do this.

Admittedly, the final result does not really look like us (what's with all the gray in my beard?), but it's still going to get framed and hung somewhere in our house. (I'm not sure why he told me to put my hat on - maybe the glare from my bald spot was distracting him.) The Boy was not even vaguely interested in getting his caricature done though.

After that we had lunch at the Bubba Gump Restaurant. I was curious about the place and liked the Forrest Gump movie it is based on. They seemed to have a lot of dishes that included shrimp. The one sort of fun thing were these license plate sort of things.

If you are fine, leave the Run Forrest Run showing. If you need something (more water, napkins, or beer), flip it so the Stop Forrest Stop plate shows. The food was fine (if a bit overpriced, which is to be expected in a place like this) and we left full and ready to go to the movies.

The front desk person told us about a new movie theater on Pico that has assigned seating and allows alchohol. So off we went.

First, a word about their parking lot/garage. I have a theory that most parking lots are designed by an architect's 3-year-old using a Big Chief tablet and a number two pencil. This one was worse - the archtect didn't have a kid so he let his fluffy little yapping dog do the work. Look at this picture.

What can this possibly mean? Even Mrs Notthat, who thinks I overreact about when it comes to parking lots, had to agree this one was particularly bad.

It is extremely hard to find a movie that we all agree on. This particular theater seemes to specialize in depressing dramas and heavy things - not in my wheelhouse at all. In the end we settled on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (An OK movie that is almost three hours long, the highlight of which is watching a guy get struck by lightning six times. I hope I didn't give too much away.)

The theater uses assigned seating. I can see how this would be useful for shows that are sold out or nearly sold out, but it was kind of dumb for this showing since the place wasn't even half full. (We were at the 4:50 showing. Curiously, the show before ours - the last bargain matinee, and the show after ours were both sold out.) There were four Seating Assistants to help your find your seats, one of which gave an odd standup sort of routine before the movie started (EVERYONE in LA wants to be a star - EVERYONE). Buying tickets took a lot longer than normal since you had to look at a seating chart and choose your seats. And you had to pull out $12 per seat.

The coolest thing about the movie was that it was the first one I've seen that did not use film - they projected 4K digital video at the screen. This means there was no dust, hairs, or scratches - the picture was fantastic. This really made the intentionally bad film parts of the movie, mostly involving getting hit by lightning, stand out.

In any case, we managed to make it through the movie. For dinner, we stopped at a Trader Joes and then ate our salads while watching a Jim Carrey movie in the motel room.

Today we start towards home. Maybe Solvang (Dutch for "Tourists Rock!").

That's it - move along...


DAK said...

I'm a sucker for caricature artists too and I love yours. Please remind me to tell you about Big Fat Louie when you get back. But...what else could the arrow mean? Go THIS way. Or, do you mean it in a metaphysical sense, as in Go No Way to Achieve the Tao?
OH! PLEASE avoid the Pea Soup if you go to Solvang. You will thank me, thank me, thank me.

mary ann said...

I love your motel and it is always so nice to have a suite. And I agree with DAK about the pea soup stop ~ cute town but some lousy food.