Saturday in SoCal

Moar travel/photo blogging!

Saturday was another travel-packed day. We drove back into LA to hit the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum. The drive out from Brea – north on 57 to Hwy 60 – was really quite pretty in the daytime with the mountains visible in the distance.

When we arrived at the tar pits we accidentally walked over to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – we thought we were heading toward the building that housed the Page Museum. LACMA had a number of outdoor interactive exhibitions, so we played for a while.

Jesús Rafael Soto’s Penetrable in Neon Lime

Funny story: Carrie and I “stepped inside” this installation, and while we were there we heard a little boy who appeared to be around 5-6 years old exclaim, “Daddy’s in the Spaghetti Monster!” Wheee! We had fun with that.

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Carrie safe within His Noodly Appendages

Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass

From the LACMA websiteLevitated Mass by artist Michael Heizer is composed of a 456-foot-long slot constructed on LACMA’s campus, over which is placed a 340-ton granite megalith. The slot gradually descends to fifteen feet in depth, running underneath the boulder.

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Carrie cowers underneath the levitated mass.

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The obligatory touristy forced perspective photo. Carrie holds the 340-ton rock up with one finger, some rockin’ leg muscles, and a smug smirk.

Chris Burden’s Urban Light is made up of two hundred restored cast iron street lamps and runs on solar power.

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Me among the streetlamp forest.

La Brea Tar Pits

After we were done playing at LACMA we walked out into Hancock Park where the tar pits are located. There are several fenced-off pits that visitors can view, but Pit 23 is part of a current excavation and that’s where all the action was.

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This sign explains a little about Pit 23 and the work being done at this site. 

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Kitteh supervisor makes sure grad student labor force is on task.

And finally – the crème de la crème – the Lake Pit, the largest open expanse of tar in the park. The oil slicks are asphalt and you can see methane gas bubbling up to the surface in this video clip.

The elephant family sculpture is fairly tramatic in my opinion.

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 As I was walking by I overheard a little boy asking his dad, “Why don’t they help the Mommy elephant? She looks scared.” 

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Of course, death by tar pit really was horrendous. We learned that tar pits aren’t like quicksand – you don’t get sucked under and die from asphyxiation. Nope, nothing so pleasant. After getting stuck in tar an animal dies excruciatingly slowly of exposure – starvation, dehydration and/or predation.

Inside the Page Museum we viewed some of the reconstructed fossil specimens that have been unearthed at the La Brea Tar Pits.

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Exterior of the George C. Page Museum

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This was a neat but gruesome exhibit that showed how hard it is to extract a weight from a tar mass.

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My, mastodon, what big tusks you have.

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I really enjoyed the bird displays. Each reconstructed skeleton was shadowed by an artist’s rendition of the animal. This is Coragyps occidentalis – a Pleistocene Black Vulture.

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An entire wall of dire wolf skulls.

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Reconstructed dire wolves within a diorama.

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The Paleontology Lab – a half-circle, soundproof, glass-enclosed lab called “The Fishbowl”. There was nobody working inside at the time we visited, but plenty of their efforts were on display.

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An on-going reconstruction. See – you knew those Elmer’s glue kindergarden classes would come in handy someday!

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Some of the tools used in the paleontology lab.

After we left the museum we headed over to Universal CityWalk for lunch and silly touristy times. CityWalk – it’s an outdoor shopping mall/walkway that funnels you into Universal Studios. That’s what it is. Don’t expect more than that and you’ll have a good time. We ate at Panda Inn, took some photos with iconic architecture and bought a crapload of sugar from a candy store along the way.

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A parking ramp with a view. The overlook and distant mountains were gorgeous. There was a cheerleading championship going on behind the general parking ramp.

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CityWalk King Kong

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Me in front of the Universal Studios globe fountain.

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Carrie glams it up on the red carpet in front of Universal Studios.

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The most awesomest collect of “energy” drinks you’ll ever see. – Super Mario Bros, Pac-Man, Duff, Zombie Survival, Moustache Elixer, and Happy Bunny Spaz Juice.

It was getting late in the day, but we decided to try to jam in a visit to the Griffith Observatory. Yeah. On a Saturday afternoon we tried that jazz. The parking lot was full and people were parking down the hill and hiking a half-mile back up to get in. We snapped a picture of the observatory from the road and headed on our way back to Brea.

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Griffith Observatory – we almost knew ye!

Back at home we sat down for about five minutes and then got up to change for the evening’s festivities. We had purchased tickets for a show at the Brea Improv theater. Maz Jobrani was headlining. It was a good show – three comics, some rum and many laughs were had.

I got up early on Sunday morning and packed up to come home. The drive back to John Wayne airport was uneventful and I almost – almost! – scored a $400 voucher from Delta as a volunteer to take a later flight. They got everything sorted out though, so I departed at 1pm as scheduled.

And then I get to Minneapolis and you guys greet me with this. Nice.

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Snow-covered Minnesota, seen from the airplane.

Is it too soon to go back to California? I could meet back up with y’all in May.

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Saturday in SoCal
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343 thoughts on “Saturday in SoCal

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    I was skeptical of the 340 tons at first, until I did the calculations. That’s impressive. I’d be interesting in how they managed to move such a stone. A standard crane would, to my understanding, have trouble w. such a weight.

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