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OMG!! A Comic-con story!

You can read about my finally getting to meet Henry Ian Cusick here:


This is not my photo, but it shows you how awesome he looked that day!

7 20 13

I geek-out again in Hollywood

7 30 12
First of all, I want to say that whoever photoshopped this did a great job--it has just the right amount of the quality of a vintage photograph, which is more appropriate for this scene than you can know.  Well, actually you probably do know!  It has been said by more than one fan that Tom Hiddleston has the essence of a timeless Hollywood star, a Clark Gable or Leslie Howard.  So....

...this:   My kids and I have been several times to see movies at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., a bit of an adventure to begin with because we don't live in LA.  Disney owns the El Capitan, an old stately cinema, and they put on all their big premieres there.  But they also have first runs of their movies in the El Capitan just like any other theatre, open to the public.  Yesterday we went to see 'Brave' there.  It was basically the same movie, albeit with a state-of-the-art sound system, that we could see in the cinema down the street in San Diego.  But there is something magical about that place that makes it worth the [grueling] drive.

We always sit in the center of the balcony.  I always spend part of the pre-show admiring the elaborate gilded molding that criss-crosses the walls and ceiling like a celestial net.  I always get completely lost in the movie and forget where I am anyway.

When you walk out of the El Capitan and turn left, you see Graumann's Chinese and Madame Tussauds across the street and the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Drive just beyond.  I see a picture like the one above [I just happened upon it last night, erm, just happened upon it whilst I was scrolling through pictures of Tom Hiddleston on Tumblr...] and I'm reminded that you never know whose steps you are walking in, and you never know whose butt has been in your theatre seat before yours.

When we leave, we always go over to Graumann's and look at the footprints.  I see Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper.  We see the cast of 'Harry Potter', and cap it off with Roy Rogers and Trigger.  I don't know how they do it, but in the forecourt of Graumann's Chinese Theatre, there always seems to be room for more.

[reposted post] Cats in Chicago Need Help - Please Boost Signal


The owner of these cats died unexpectantly and there isn't any family to take them. Some friends are taking care of the cats, but this is a temporary fix at best.

They are around 10 years old, and don't have any health problems. They are good natured and friendly. Please boost the signal and if anyone is interested they are welcome to PM me or contact me at avivabarucha@gmail.com.

Here are some pictures, I know they aren't the greatest but you can see they are pretty chill cats:

Freddie & Eloise






This Side of Paradise

I'm currently reading 'This Side of Paradise' [1920] by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and here is my visualization of Amory Blaine [actually Tom Hiddleston in 'The Gathering Storm'; the image is not my edit and I appreciate the effort that went into it]--

amory blaine this side of paradise

“I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” 
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

I saw 'War Horse' on stage!

Yep, it was the highlight of my recent trip to LA, and that is saying a lot, because it was quite a trip.  All the usual color and whimsy and stellar Japanese animation of Anime Expo intertwined with the X Games [which the good city of Los Angeles decided to cram into the Staples Center, Figuero Street and every parking lot just outside of the Convention Center on the same weekend as AX.]  A day at LA County Museum of Art that revealed my daughter India to be an Early European Art enthusiast.  More adventures in driving in the world's most automobile-rabid city than I care to enumerate.  But finally, 'War Horse.'  It was just as amazing as you would imagine a production with life-size anatomical puppets of horses to be.  And given all that, it is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Go if you ever get the chance.

I watched the Coen brothers' 2010 'True Grit' today, and I know that Jeff Bridges can always, always bring it.  But this little girl, Hailee Steinfeld.....she really was only 13 or 14 when she made this movie.  She is incredible and thoroughly deserved her Academy Award nomination.  This is a really good film.  I never saw the original, and the Coens based their screenplay on the book, not the John Wayne movie.  So don't be prejudiced into thinking that this is just some remake.  You gotta see it.  Oh, and don't get too attached to any of the horses.

I wish I could remember where I got this picture; I'd love to give credit for it.

My memories of my visit to the Cold War-divided Berlin of 1980 get muddled sometimes by all the John Le Carre novels I have read, but one thing had stuck in my mind as truth. I was pretty sure I had been forbidden to take pictures of the Brandenburg Gate by my German tour guide.

Thirty-plus years have gone by, and I find it ironically difficult to attach clear memories to an incident I have no pictures of. My husband was recently sent to Berlin on a work assignment--Berlin free of The Wall, not approached by The Corridor, not half an island of freedom in an ocean of fear. I told him my story but also found plenty of pictures online taken by tourists of the Gate in the 1980's. The ugly Berlin Wall actually made a deviation from its straight-line course to allow a niche for the beautiful gate in those days. Why did everyone else who visited Berlin have pictures of the Brandenburg Gate but me?

Slowly it dawned on me. Their pictures were taken from the west side facing east. The Gate was physically on the east side of the Berlin Wall, so all pictures taken from West Berlin had included the wall in the foreground. No one on the west side could get closer than that. I had had the bizarre experience of only seeing the Brandenburg Gate while I was in East Berlin. Nothing was between the gate and me there except heaps of barbed wire and the knowledge that I was clearly not free to exit the bus. God, I wish I had a picture of that.

While my husband was in Berlin, he went to the gate. He took pictures with his phone over the course of several blocks as he approached it and emailed them to me as he walked. With one of them he wrote, "I'm approaching the Brandenburg Gate from the East, and no one is stopping me!"