31/10/13 – So no one told you life was gonna be this way

Early start and quick Skype with Mom so we could make our tour on time. Apparently Star had to have eight teeth out! Poor baby! We got two shuttles over to the Warner Bros. Studios and fangirled over the merchandise for a little while. Got two Central Perk magnets – one for home and one for Amy! We watched a short film first of great Warner Bros. TV and movie moments, then got in the little golf buggy thing to start the tour. First we drove round some outdoor sets that have been used for Shameless, Gilmore Girls and the old 60’s Batman, amongst others. There were a couple of park sections that were used in Friends too – where Ross played rugby and where Phoebe and Rachel went jogging. Too cool!

The corner of ‘Central Park’ where Rachel ran into the horse on Friends!

We saw the studio where they film Big Bang Theory, but couldn’t go in because they were rehearsing right then and there! Instead we got to see the inside of the Two and a Half Men studio. I’m not really a fan, but it was at least interesting to see how much smaller the scale really is in person. We went round a props room and also one with the genuine cars used in movie productions – including the Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and all the various Batmobiles! Then whilst we were driving between locations I spotted William H. Macy chilling in a buggy going the other way. How awesome?! I loved him in Sahara and Wild Hogs!

Just chilling with the bat tumbler. You know that’s right! (And ruining the cool image by holding my sunglasses like a weirdo to avoid fingerprints)

The last stop was a costume and prop museum. Sadly we weren’t allowed to take photos in there, which sucked because they had some really awesome stuff! There were costumes from Man of Steel, The Hangover, Harry Potter (which we’re an old hand with now but they had the twins’ Half-Blood Prince suits, wooo!) and the Big Bang Theory. We got to try on the Sorting Hat too, which actually spoke! I got Sorted into Hufflepuff… I’m doomed to be an idiot. There were also costumes from Friends, including Ross’s red sweater – which I just thought was awesome! Best of all were the Batman Nolan costumes. I totally could have stole the Scarecrow one. And to top all that off we even got to see the inside of the retired Central Perk set and get photos on the actual couch. Serious dream come true!

Not like we’ve waited fifteen years for this moment or anything…

We didn’t have time for eats before our next tour but I grabbed some Red Bull on the go instead (the real stuff, not the Zero crap). We got another shuttle and then got into a topless bus for our tour of the movie star homes. I also nearly wasted precious Red Bull by almost spitting in out in excitement when I saw a huge Justice League mural on the side of one of the buildings as we left the Warner Bros. Studios. We drove up into the mountains and round the famous provinces like Beverly Hills and Bel Air, spying on all the celebs’ houses. We saw both Robert Blake and Larry King out and about – neither of whom we knew who they were, but they were both nice enough to wave back.

A better daytime view from the Hollywood Hills!

We went back to Piper’s for food afterwards. I had more soup and some crazy loaded fries with cheese, chicken, BBQ sauce and ranch – a whole pound’s worth! (That is too many fries, Gaston!) And then we went for a wander down to Hollywood Boulevard for a few hours to nose on people’s Halloween costumes. On the way back we had a drink stop. I grabbed a ball of what I thought was some kind of alcopop, which then turned out to be 20% proof flavoured vodka. Gave my mouth a bit of a surprise! So I had fun mixing it with my Powerade whilst we watched bits of School of Rock and some Conan mash-ups (including him dubbing an anime, too funny!)

A pound of fries! If you want size context then look at how much the plate is bigger than me!

Also a fun fact that we learnt today: It only rains 25 days a year in L.A. Like I didn’t want to live here enough already!

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30/10/13 – When you wish upon a star

Skyped the oldies before leaving this morning. They said Star’s op went well but that Izzy was mopey without her, aww! We went down onto the main strip so that we could do the Hollywood walk of stars. We got pictures of some personal favourites including Walt Disney, Buddy Holly, Patrick Stewart, Drew Carey, Nathan Lane, Kenny Loggins, Adam West and Leonard Nimoy. I found a John Wells too. How funny, Johnny’s famous! He’d love that too. (Yes, I talk about my characters like real people). There was an area outside Grauman’s Theatre where celebs had left hand and feet prints, along with messages. We found the Harry Potter trio, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Chris Nolan, Michael Caine and Tom Hanks, amongst others. There were some cosplayers loitering around for paid photo ops, including the best Jack Sparrow I’ve ever seen – who gave me the creepiest/campest little wave – and an awesome Freddy.

Sorry Emma Watson, there were only two of us and you drew the short straw.

We grabbed lunch before heading back, then had a walk down to see the Paramount Studios. I started having qualms about my dress because several people beeped me on the way (I never know if that’s a good or bad sign). After that we went to a renowned shop called Whimsic Alley, which was full of Harry Potter stuff. They even had all the individual wands! They didn’t have the character names on them – to make it more fun they all had code names. Since I’m an uber geek I was able to pick out the twins’ wands without names or code names (though I appreciated that Fred’s was ‘joker’ and George’s was ‘skiver’). Of course I had to get them both. Fred’s for me to keep and George’s as one Christmas present down in the process! We then drove past the Disney concert hall on the way back.

We went to Piper’s restaurant for tea. I had beef vegetable soup (surprisingly good and easily the most veg I’ve eaten since Boxing Day’s bubble and squeak last year!) and chicken parmegian. Very good but again too much food, Gaston. After eating we went up to the Griffith Observatory. We looked through some of the super telescopes and saw part of the constellation Cygnus. It was really fascinating – just so unreal. Plus seeing all the city lit up was simply stunning.

We both wanted to shower and have an earlier night before our tour in the morning. We watched some Friends and a greatest movie villain countdown. I was kicking myself for not even thinking of Hannibal Lecter. I’d been forced to get Red Bull Zero earlier because Walgreens was out of the regular kind, and apparently Zero is always better than light… Heads up: it’s not. It is in no way an acceptable substitute. Give me the sugar and calories please!

The L.A. night-time view from Griffith Observatory!

29/10/13 – Over the hills and far away

Woke up fairly early to pack and try and miss the traffic on the way to Newport Beach. Skyped Mom first, since we had some credit card faff. We were a little early down to the dock, so we had an ice cream break first before getting on the boat. We spotted a sealion in the dock itself and then a bunch more out sunbathing on a buoy. Too cute! After the sealions we soon found a minke whale, which are apparently quite rare to get a good look at. They’re the smallest local whale, growing up to twenty-five feet. Wait, small? Yeah right. We saw a huge group of dolphins too, even more than on our last trip! Sadly no more whales though, other than the initial ‘baby’ one. Wouldn’t really recommend this trip to people.

Fighting to get the best sun! Some of them don’t look too happy about it…

We grabbed a quick lunch after the trip, before getting back out on the road, as we still had another hour before we got to our hotel. Our front desk guy Michael was lovely and funny and was talking to us about Friends as he booked us in for one of the Movie Star Homes and Warner Bros. Studios tours. He also suggested we stage a ruse against people and pretend that one of us is psychic. Now I wonder why I loved that idea? Also we can see the Hollywood sign from our room. Oh yeah.

Talk about a badass view!