March 23, 2006
AEJ and I had my college friend, Wataru Hokoyama, over for dinner last night. It was a lot of fun. I knew Wataru back at CIM — he was a composition major as well, but a few years younger than I — and after CIM, he attended the USC Film Scoring program. He has written several band pieces, too — and they’re unlike anything I’ve heard for band. Imagine the score for an unmade Batman movie — played entirely by winds, brass, and percussion. Wataru studied with Danny Elfman’s orchestrator, and holy crap, you can tell. It’s amazing. I stole several of his orchestration techniques when I was orchestrating “Turbine.” I’m a little scared to send you to his site — for fear that I’ll never get any work again once people in the US discover Wataru — but check this stuff out — especially “Spiritual Planet.”
It was a beautiful day in LA today. The temperature hadn’t reached 70 since February, and it’s been in the upper 50’s for most of the past month. Today, though, was crystal-clear, smog-free, 74 degrees, no humidity — perfect. AEJ and I started the day with brunch at one of our favorite places, Alcove, then headed out on a little excursion to Mount Wilson. We’ve never been there, but our friend Nag told us about it. He said that 30 minutes from us, there was a huge mountain. Seemed hard to believe, but I Googlemap’d it, and we headed out.
Mount Wilson isn’t 30 minutes from our house — it’s more like 15. Within 20 minutes of our place, this was the view. (Those tiny buildings in the distance in the right-center part of the picture — that’s downtown LA.)
We drove up the mountain for about 20 more minutes, and we found SNOW! Okay, this won’t seem weird to a lot of you, but this is LOS ANGELES! Mount Wilson is actually in Los Angeles County — and there was real snow. Not movie snow — but real snow! We thought that was very fun. AEJ made the tiniest snowman you’ve ever seen.
Hey, what was she writing in the snow in that last picture? Ahh…
A bit more driving up the mountain, and we reached this fun place. AEJ is tall.
We’re not sure what the snow-capped mountain range is off in the distance, but wow — we want to go there next. Is that Big Bear? Anybody know?
Here’s the view in the other direction — towards the city. I’d love to see this view after dark.
Here I am, next to a big rock.
And while we’re posing, here’s a picture of our car — complete with snow-capped mountain background. If Volkswagen would like to use this in an ad, please contact me.
Here’s a cool shot of the distant mountain range as seen through the rear-view mirror.
We drove up a little higher, parked again, and went on a trail walk.
Here is a mountain bee. (I don’t know that it’s any different than a regular bee. Well, except it gets a better view.)
Along the mountain path, there was this crazy tunnel drilled through the rock.
Fortunately, it did have an opening at the end.
Here’s some crazy metal post, used, we think, for the railway that used to go up the mountain.
This tree looks pissed somehow.
And finally, here is the lovely AEJ, enjoying the view of LA waaaay in the distance.