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March 25, 2008


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What an interesting trip you had! I'm envious about the weather, since it's been snowing and hailing where I am.

You seem to have hit one of the things that I like least about Southern California - the impulse to fake everything up. Taking a genuine Victorian hotel, moving it, adding period details like the picture ribbons, and getting them wrong. Sigh.

Even the wooden roses are an example of that, no matter how delightful. And the fake lava lamp (though a really real lava lamp would use real lava, of course) is just excruciating.

On the other hand, the faked-up landscapes of the zoo gave the real animals a good showcase, and the reconstructed costumes on the ship were good.

Maybe I'm just being harsh because I'm from Northern California, and we aren't generally charitable to our near neighbors.

What? Not only was the Gaslamp District fake, but so were the lava lamps? That's terrible. It sounds like DisneyLand without the fun rides. (Yes, I love DisneyLand because that's where Sue and I basically courted each other while attending the 1984 worldcon down the street.) On the other hand, the idea of buildings that move around reminds of Miyazaki's animation films.

Yes, the fakeness was a real problem for me. It really turned me off the downtown. The idea that the whole Gaslamp District is a complete fiction just astounds me. Why not go with the city's (interesting) actual history? Serge's right about it being like Disneyland. But the roses solve a real problem for me, and I deliberately got the blue ones because they looked more fake than the various pink and red ones. I will put them in a vase with colored stones or something.

The lava lamps shouldn't be blamed on southern California - they were brought in by the representatives from a national organization that probably buys them in bulk and takes them everywhere.

Somewhere in my two disks full of pictures from Japan, I have a picture of the building used as the model for one of the builings in Spirited Away. It's in Kyoto. Eventually I will get around to sorting and editing and posting all of those pictures. Someday.

It's been a year or two since I saw Spirited Away, but do show us the Kyoto pictures when it's convenient. Then I'll watch the film again. (I wonder if I should do that with my 6-year-old nephew. It might scare him though. Well, we'll see how things go.)

The red-headed lizard is almost not-real.

(Picture 35: an agave of some kind. And that is bird of paradise. There's also giant bird of paradise, where the flowers are black and white instead of red and orange. About six feet off the ground, minimum, and scaled to match.)

Birds of paradise? Well named indeed. We've got lots of those in our backyard. In the photo I link to below, it's the big red & orange plant to the right.


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