“Could I have some tissue,”the elderly lady asked the air hostess.  “There’s something on my seat.”  And then, almost hopefully: “I think it’s hand cream.”

And so kicked off our wacky L.A. adventure.  I’d brought along a book (actually two books and the third season of Louie) to while away the flight but actually ended up chatting with Paul for much of the two and half hours.  Given the fact that we’re writing partners, you’d think we’d have nothing more to say to each other, but the truth is Paul and I rarely socialize and most of our (cell phone) conversations tend to be work-related.  He’s busy with his wife and three kids; I’m busy with my girlfriend and three dogs, so there’s never much opportunity for downtime. Still, the hours we do spend together, beating out scripts and pitching ideas, is more than enough quality time.  I remember, back in our Stargate days, someone once asking Paul if we hung out together outside of work.  His response: “Are you kidding?  We spend enough time together working.  If we started hanging out as well, we’d probably kill each other.”


But, in this case, the flight allowed us the opportunity to catch up and reminisce. We weren’t quite ready to kill each other by the time plane landed but, in all fairness, we were only three hours into our four day journey.

Our accommodations in L.A. are, well, let’s just say far cry from their Tokyo counterparts.  Check out the decor – compliments of somebody’s aunt Eunice (?):


I knew I was in for a rough stay while I was checking in and the poor girl at the font desk had to shout to be heard over the piano player in the adjoining lounge.  On the bright side, the dozen or so pillows ensure I never wont for a “cool side”.

Three meetings on Monday had us driving from Beverly Hills to Burbank, back to West Hollywood, then over to Universal City before capping off the day with tequila and duck taquitos at a restaurant where the service was so bad we assumed our waiter was either drunk or high.  Then, today, two morning pitch meetings which went very well – insofar as we didn’t do any actual pitching.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Akemi and her sewing kit have been busy:


50 thoughts on “June 18, 2013: The L.A. Update!

  1. welcome to my playground!! 🙂

    and i take no responsibility for the weather or the fires or the earthquakes or the crazy people. 😮 😛

  2. Sounds like the trips off to a (kinda) good start! You truly never know what you’re going to get in LA. Such an exciting town. I’m actually leaving on Thursday (by car) to make a cross country trip to LA for the USC Summer Program (heading back to take an additional classes).

    Hope you enjoy your stay!

    Major D.

  3. I suppose it does seem weird to some people that I often travel with friends of mine from work. I actually went to the Grand Canyon just this past April with two friends of mine from work. And of course, my trip to Nepal a few years ago was also with two friends from work and we spent almost all our time together for three straight weeks. We got along fine. For the most part.

    I hope something comes of this Los Angeles trip, it seems like a lot of work.

    My Weird food non-purchase of the day. It’s called muktuk or whale blubber. It kind of tastes a little fishy.


  4. That flowered pattern on that fabric…oy! Love the denim outfit on Jelly (Bubba?), ADORABLE!

    Had a tough weekend, my lifelong friend (and ex riding instructor) passed away unexpectedly on Saturday in North Carolina. Her sister is not even having a memorial, let alone a funeral, for her, so that’s that and not even a chance to say goodbye. 🙁

    Now, off to make seafood soup. 🙂

  5. It’s only polite for your L.A. waiter to be at least drunk. Your service is going to be bad either way, but just think how much more personally you might take it if he was sober.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about more adventures. Aw, Jelly, Aw.

  6. My grandmother’s name was Eunice. Her mother’s name was Flossie. For whatever that’s worth.

  7. Sorry about your L.A. experiences so far. Maybe you should try comfort food? I’ve heard great things about In and Out Burgers. Love Jelly’s dress!

  8. @Joe:

    Cute doggie outfit…that’s Bubba, right? With the outfit on, I wasn’t quite sure.

    And we’ve swapped countries! I arrived in Vancouver today after an uneventful flight only to be grilled by an over-zealous customs lady who kept insisting I must be stealing Canadian jobs because I’ve visited Vancouver 5 times in the last year.

    I explained that I have a customer that I’m supporting in a GPS design, to which she replied “So, you’re working for them!” I explained that, no, I wasn’t working for them; I was supporting them because they are buying my company’s products (through distributors in Canada no less). In the end, she stated that next time I would need a letter from my customer testifying that I was not working for them to be admitted to the country.

    So, when did Canada become like China; requiring a “letter of invitation” to be admitted through customs?

    Check out the decor – compliments of somebody’s aunt Eunice (?):

    At first glance I thought it was a poster bed, but then I realized the drapes don’t come out past the headboard. Weird. Have you looked behind the drapes yet? I’m wondering what they’re hiding…

    Three meetings on Monday had us driving from Beverly Hills to Burbank, back to West Hollywood, then over to Universal City before capping off the day with tequila and duck taquitos at a restaurant where the service was so bad we assumed our waiter was either drunk or high.

    On the waiter, I thought, “Well it is L.A.; why not both?”

  9. Hope your L.A trip is going well Joe 🙂

    @Akemi and her sewing kit have been busy

    Lol, that picture just screams ‘So, how do I look?’

  10. Yeesh! Who scheduled those meetings? Was it not possible to go BH to WH, and then over the hill for the other 2 meetings? That’s a fuck-load of needless driving. Please, for me, describe the lovely dry sunny weather, so I may experience it vicariously through your florid description. Sort of a weather erotica story, if you will.

  11. “Could I have some tissue,”the elderly lady asked the air hostess. ”There’s something on my seat.” And then, almost hopefully: “I think it’s hand cream.”
    eeewww! so much for the claim that the airlines clean between flights.

    We weren’t quite ready to kill each other by the time plane landed but, in all fairness, we were only three hours into our four day journey.
    that’s how it is when i travel with my brother.

    the hotel we stayed at for anime expo in LA, the los angeles marriott downtown (which is now the LA downtown, a hyatt regency), looked like the standard hotel room. the beds had about 8 pillows each, as did the westin in atlanta. i think that’s a rule for those type of hotels.

  12. @deni: So sorry to hear that.

    @JeffW: It’s probably best never to look behind the curtain.

    Also, as far as freezing my butt off here up north, the temperature today in Inuvik is 23°C at 8 PM. It’s warmer than home!

  13. What you save on your room cost you’ll spend on lovely dinners out. I like that Safari Inn in Burbank, the pillows are like marshallows and the diner is good, I don’t know if that comic book shop is still across the street. Be sure to check out Santee to see ladies selling their wares out of baby strollers, this left quite an impression on us; it would only be topped by selling wares out of a skateboard or a Segway. The one thing I always forget to do in LA is go to the Bradbury bldg., I could kick myself for missing out on seeing it in person.

  14. Joe, I think they gave you a girl’s room. It looks sorta like my bedspread and curtains. Pretty though. Is that Jelly in the cute jean jacket? She needs a little cowboy hat to go with it. Akemi is amazing! Tam Dixon we have some In and Out Burgers here in Texas now. The place is packed everytime I go, but I wonder what all the fuss is about. The burgers seem ordinary to me. Deni, sorry about your friend. She must have been young. Sad about no funeral but maybe that is what she wanted? Gforce that looks yukky! Maybe cook it with some beans…? Joe let us know if we can do anything for you while you are there. Call someone…, send an email letter of introduction…, clog up someones fax machine…, etc. You know we’re here for ya. Now go get ’em!! We! Want! Dark! Matter! The! Series!!!

  15. Let’s hope it was hand cream on the lady’s seat.

    @JeffW: One of Canada’s latest scandals involved outsourcing IT jobs to people from India who would come to Canada, spend a few weeks learning the ropes of the job in Canada, then going back to India and taking the job with them. Since the employer paid less for the out of country employee, it was quite the scandal. The border security person obviously had a personal axe to grind about it. Maybe her husband works in IT.

  16. I can’t believe you’re complaining about that hotel room. Whenever I travel, I always stay at Motel 6. In comparison, you’re room is awesome!

  17. Yikes! I hope all of your hill hopping finally gets you and Paul a deal before you leave, or opens some more doors for you. But at least the weather has been good. Gotta love June gloom.

    Looks like you have lots to do in just four days if you’re property shopping as well. If you move down here, would Paul still be staying in Vancouver?

  18. Joe, I feel your pain. I’ve driven in LA area, which is several degrees more inconvenient and scary than driving in Van metro area. Speaking of Vancouver, thank God for GPS and kindly local motorists. I did most of the driving this visit and, with help of both, managed to avoid serious issues.

    Jeff, our paths cross again! Husband & I fly home today (Wed.), though. If you happen to be staying at our hotel, give us a call. We plan to check out about 11 AM. Registered as Gilder McCarroll.

    We thought our inbound inspection as visitors was just a tad more detailed than last year’s. And when did Canada Border Service Agency inspectors start wearing body armor in the inspections hall?

    I plan to come up in July for a short course at UBC; I’ll be sure to have my tuition receipt and hotel confirmation at hand during CBSA inspection!

    Patricia, thanks for the heads up about employment scandals that might relate to Jeff’s inspection. As a former US immigration inspector, I suspect CBSA inspectors are under pressure from highest levels to carefully interview all business travelers, thanks to the public outrage..

    Jeff, just curious; did this interview take place at the inspection booths, or did they pull you aside? Do you have a NEXUS card?

    Look what I just found online. Jeff, this might be of interest to your company’s or client’s immigration attorney.

    Good night, all.

  19. If you’re back over Burbank way you should check out House Of Secrets comic book store. It’s Wil Wheaton’s local haunt, apparently.

    You should totally pull down those bed curtains and take them home so Akemi can turn them into doggie clothes.

  20. Welcome to California. *waves hi to Paul* Fingers crossed for productive pitch meetings. 🙂

  21. Hmmm if that was my hotel room I would’ve already stubbed my toe at least three times on that table that extends into the walkway.

    I’m thinking that’s Jelly given the pink trim (I keep forgetting the forehead wrinkle trick) but the outfit sure is cute!!

    Glad the meetings are going well, better luck next time on the restaurant…


  22. am i ? or Jelly is a little sad (this wet eyes..) because her Dad is missing. 😆

  23. @Deni: I’m sorry for your loss. Maybe you could organize something locally if there are others in your area that knew your friend. Even if it is just an evening out to remember good times and raise a glass in her honor…

    @Joe: Duck taquitos sound really good. But duck anything sounds really good. Good luck with the meetings.

    @Akemi: That jean jacket is adorable! Have you considered taking some of your designs to a dog boutique? I’m guessing that is Jelly modelling the latest creation, since the trim is pink and that is a more feminine color.

  24. Sorry you’re so far unimpressed with L.A. In all fairness, your waiter was probably studying lines in between serving (or not serving) you, and smoking dope with the busboy.

    Nice work Akemi!

  25. @Joe:

    Then, today, two morning pitch meetings which went very well – insofar as we didn’t do any actual pitching.

    Sounds like some follow-up meetings are called for. My experience has been that up to 3 or 4 meetings are sometimes required to get the ball rolling with certain customers. Maybe the same applies here? Good luck on your meetings today!


    @JeffW: It’s probably best never to look behind the curtain.

    Isn’t that what all the wizards say? Still…curiosity is gnawing at me 😉


    It did have a personal grudge feel to it. It could also be lack of training, since Canada does require “letters of invitation” for some countries, but not (as far as I can tell) for U.S. citizens. I may ask my customer for an email that simply states the companies’ relationships and wait and see if it happens again; I’ll take it “up the chain” to the supervisors if so. However, bureaucracy tends to support their own. (Joe, if I get kicked out of Canada next time, now you’ll know why 😉 ) All in all, I think it was probably just an isolated incident.

    So there’s no doubts, I still enjoy my visits here, border crossings aside.

    Lastly, I’m so ‘wordy’ this morning due to jetlag. I woke up at 5:15am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Seeing as my first customer meeting is at 10:30am, I have plenty of time on my hands.

  26. Wait. What’s that vent thing above the door for? What do you need that for when all hotel rooms are heated and cooled by the big, noisy machine under the window?

  27. @ baterista9:

    I’m at the Sutton Place Hotel (downtown Vancouver), about a half-hour drive from your hotel in Richmond. Unfortunately, I don’t have a car and my local rep is picking me up in a little over an hour (for customer visits), so it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to meet up this trip. I should probably announce my trips a week or two in advance to try to coordinate better. Maybe next time? Vancouver is becoming one of Barbara’s favorite destinations, so I’m pretty sure there will be a next time.

    On my interview, it was at the booth. I kept expecting my answers would satisfy her question, and that she’d stamp my passport, but the questions and accusations kept coming. It was only stamped after I agreed to get a letter next time.

    On the Nexus program, I’m already enrolled in TSA Precheck and Global Entry, but I haven’t bothered with Nexus since my previous experiences with Canadian Customs have been “non-events”. I enrolled in Global Entry mostly because the wait times in Chicago Customs can sometimes be horrendous (my worst time was around 3 hours). Global Entry allows me to bypass that. I guess I should now enroll in Nexus too (another un-reimbursed travel expense for next year’s taxes).

    Thanks for the PDF link; I’ll take a look at it later today.

    1. Jeff, May I run your story, without names, by a USCBP /Inspections bureaucrat I know? Wondering what she would think. (Though Canada’s laws & policies differ from USA’s basic procedures don’t seem to.)

  28. @Deni so sorry to hear about your loss and how terrible to not have a way to say goodbye.

    @Joe Those curtains over your bed are just bizarre although the decor resembles that in many of the nicer hotels in this area. Yuck – but hopefully your meetings will continue to go well! Good Luck!

  29. How do you get to everything Mr. M? Traveling, writing, reading, eating great foods all the time and finding time to do this blog? You must have very high energy levels. I hope your projects get some interest today!

    Ponytail: Oh no! I’ve been watching Leno and all the stars mention In and Out. They go on and on about it. I’ll check that one off my list. Loved you last post, btw.

    Deni: So sorry Deni. You need an Anakin hug.

    Das: Thank you for the Inspector Lewis stations. Can’t wait to catch up!

  30. @gforce, Ponytail, Sparrow, thanks kids, it’s been a tough week. On a much lighter note, little Michael is starting swimming (self-rescue) lessons, he can now wave goodbye and is a total charmer! xo

  31. @Deni: I’m sorry for your loss. She must have been a special person.

    @JeffW: Sorry I missed your call. We can virtually meet up on Facebook (also “Gilder McCarroll”) to compare July & August travel schedules. Husband &/or I may visit twice more before end of Texas summer.

    I suggest you take time to report the CBSA incident; she may be treating others the same way. Unprofessional behavior can and should be corrected, but that can’t happen if management is not informed. They probably can ID her by the stamp in your passport.

    (Remembering not only my own goofs but also egregious incidents involving colleagues. Break-room opinions do NOT need to be aired to inspectees /clients /customers.)

  32. I opened my tiny TSA approved lotion twenty minutes into a flight and the tiny lotion bottle exploded like Kane’s belly, spraying myself and everyone else in my row, mortifiying. I’m wondering what Jelly keeps in that pocket; her plastic chew keys? Or her squeaky iPhone?

    Just opened my Yoplain mini cup and it too exploded on my desk and keyboard. Maybe my superhero skill is pressuring tiny containers.

    What did you think of Wool? I’ve been reading a lot about it as a digital publishing phenom but wasn’t sure it was worth reading or if I should wait for the movie.

  33. I know you are busy so, I’ll keep my post short.

    JeffW: I’ve heard my hubby’s co-workers talk about entering Canada. They said if they enter to teach a class the agents get very picky. The worst story was when an agent asked for a college transcripts.

  34. Love that jean jacket. It looks like Akemi has a “calling” for all things doggie.

    Good luck in LA. After all the good restaurants in Vancouver, I hope that LA doesn’t disappoint you too much.

  35. OH…Fat Burger used to be a “must have.”
    Their double chili one…yummm.

    Yep…I do like In & Out as well.

  36. @Deni:

    I so sorry about the loss of your friend, and I’m sorry I haven’t offered my condolences earlier…I’ve been a little preoccupied.

    @Tam Dixon:

    Yep, I’m thinking that enrolling in Nexus and keeping a letter of invitation in my bag is the way forward. In counterpoint, my Canadian rep told me he had a similar experience going into the U.S. for a trade show, so I guess I should be surprised that it took this long to happen to me. Makes me wonder if Joe’s ever had any Customs problems going to L.A..


    I passed a Fat Burger in Burnaby today! We had Sushi instead…


    I tried a search for "Gilder McCarroll" on Facebook, but no luck. Barb is on Facebook much more than I am, so I'll ask her if there is an art to it when she arrives tomorrow. You can also leave an email address as a comment on my blog.

    1. @JeffW: *facepalm* Sorry, I forgot that my FB privacy settings are high. Just got back to SAT, will get back to you.

      Joe, thanks for your patience with communication among posters. 🙂

  37. @ JeffW: Hey Jeff, when are you in town until? I’ll be at the YMCA downtown tomorrow, which is practically next-door to Sutton Place. I volunteer from 5:30 to 7:00, but I’m free before and after. Lemme know if you want to hang.

  38. Joe: I just noticed that the timestamps for when comments were left are all off by one hour. Do you control whether your blog comments section “Springs forward” for daylight savings, or are you just stuck with that?

  39. Awwww. @Deni. So sorry for your loss. I am sorry there was not a service so you could say goodbye but don’t let that stop you. If you know the larger circle of friends you could hold a memorial on-line somehow, or if you are local, invite people to dinner to help remember the blessing she was in your lives.

    @akemi. Adorable outfit. I’m waiting for the leather line.

    @joe sounds like a very long day.

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