Experiential Birthday

“Do you want gifts or do you want experiences?”


This was the conversation that the Curmudgeonly Lion and I had several weeks ago on the subject of my upcoming birthday. I’m getting to the point in my life where the hardest part of any holiday is trying to give people gift ideas for things I want/like/need. I think this is a good thing: a sign that I live a pretty satisfactory life, but it does make it difficult to make an occasion such as a birthday festive.

So experiences it was.

Now that we live in Los Angeles we’ve fallen into the trap that everybody falls into of never doing the obvious, touristy things because we live in town and could pretty much do them whenever we wanted. For a long time the Curmudgeonly Lion and I joked about the idea of going on one of the myriad van tours of Hollywood. So today the Curmudgeonly Lion surprised me by getting tickets to the TMZ van tour.

For those who are not familiar with the TMZ television show, which is basically a vaudeville act of celebrity gossip, this is not Highbrow Entertainment, it is not Educational and it addresses nothing of Cultural Significance. But it is a lot of fun. The van tour includes clips of celebrity sightings from the show and encourages passengers to be on the lookout for favorite celebrities along the way.

As a birthday passenger I was invited to play a game called “Bird or Wave” in which I had to guess from a video clip whether a celebrity was going to flip the bird or give a wave to the camera. The celebrity was Keanu Reeves and I won a t-shirt for getting the answer right.

The tour was followed by dinner with friends and family at the Hard Rock Cafe (selected more for the fact that it was within walking distance of the tour station than because I felt a driving need to go to a Hard Rock Cafe- but it was appropriately touristy). The food was good. I ate about three times as much as I should have and felt guilty about it for exactly thirty seconds before reminding myself that it was my birthday and I could damn well indulge if I pleased.

And the day finished off with a movie: “How To Train Your Dragon 2” at the Chinese theatre- quickly becoming one of my favorite theatres for good audience experiences. I’d go into more detail but after that full day of fun I ought to wrap this up and get some sleep. A better birthday could not have been had.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 6, 2014.

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