Sunday, December 5, 2010
Christmas in La La Land
Sunday 11/28/10 I spent the first day of Advent in church(of course)praising and worshiping the Lord. Pastor Joseph had a lovely take on the scriptures (as usual) and the band was on point. The entire church was decked out for Christmas and the first Advent candle was lit and stood in the center of the church. There was even a little drummer boy playing on stage(priceless)! Shop! I headed to CVS to start my thrifty Christmas shopping. The store was decked out in all the usual materialistic merchandising and for a while I was dazed by all the blinking lights and glitzy chauchkies. I really only wanted to pick up candy canes to decorate my tree with but I searched and searched but I couldn't find the traditional red and white striped mint variety. Instead there was a striped green, red and white mint flavored one, fruity flavored ones and even one tasting like cherry coke. I got the first one then walked along Hollywood Blvd. as they were setting up for their annual Christmas parade.
Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade:
I've been in L.A. 3.5 years and had not heard of this parade until last year (that's keeping up with things, eh?) but it looked like fun online so I was debating whether to stay 4 more hours for it or head to old Towne Pasadena for their event. I hadn't made up my mind when I walked by a young guy (mid 20's) wearing the official Christmas parade volunteer t-shirt. He was hard at work setting up a viewing station along the sidewalk so he didn't see me watching him. He looked to be an enthusiastic and diligent volunteer but so handsome that a line of women were gravitating towards him under the pretense of learning more about the parade. I watched as he politely answered their questions then immediately got back to his task, oblivious to their eye fluttering and swooning.
I myself asked him a few questions about the Christmas parade(which he answered politely) then I asked permission to take a few pics of him for my blog as he set up("but no face shots", I insisted). Dude was so upbeat about volunteering for Christmas that it was contagious and he continued setting up methodically, fully absorbed in his task. As I took my pics I noticed 2 men behind us wearing sort of military short-sleeved uniforms watching him and nodding with satisfaction almost as if supervising his work and his interactions. Then I looked up from the doorway of a building behind them and I realize that the building they were standing under was one of the many scientology buildings along Hollywood Blvd. To confirm my fears, I turned to volunteer guy and asked, "so, what made you want to serve for Christmas in the Christmas Parade anyway? He nods towards the building behind us and said ,"I'm a scientologist--We do it every year".
Be wiser than a serpent:
As you can imagine our conversation skree-e-e-eeched immediately to a halt and I back peddled my way out of there before the cult of crazy and confusion had me jumping on couches. Unfortunately scientologist do a good job of the ole bait and switch cause I can yell you none of the girls who spoke to fair, handsome and helpful volunteer dude even realized that he was a non-Christian or worse.
Keep Christ in Christmas! It reminded me of my first Christmas in L.A. There was a large Christmas tree set up on Hollywood Blvd with beautiful ornaments, blinking lights, Santa's workshop with fake snow, elves etc. I was missing the east coast style of Christmas and this just fit the bill for me so I gleefully hustled towards this welcomed sight. As I was about to walk inside the gate, I realized a banner over head spewing some crap from L. Ron Hubbard and I nearly fell out. See I had been in a constant battle with scientologist along Hollywood Blvd. about their street recruitment practices (i.e them constantly trying to touch or grab me as I walked by or them offering to "test or audit" me)and here I was walking into their lair. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Fool me 3 times? Never gonna happen. The take away message?
Matthew 10:16 Be wiser than a serpent.
The website Bible-knowledge.com has a nice article on this and a nice list, too. http://www.bible-knowledge.com/wise-as-serpents/
Home Sweet Home:
While I was caught up in that scary memory, throngs of people were lining up along the parade route and the jostling for the best viewing spot. I had not made up my mind about staying yet but, as the recent interaction had left a bad taste in my mouth, my enthusiasm for the parade had certainly dimmed. I had other concerns, too. They had already closed off entire streets to traffic and the traffic re-route schedule was crazy. Worse, the temperature dropped another 10 degrees and an icy wind started to blow. Instantly, my mind was made up. I hopped on the metro and decided to skip Hollywood AND Pasadena and head straight home altogether. It was a good choice, too because I got some nice interior shots of the Red Line metro station at Vine.
My commute was fraught with delays but I finally made it home about 1 hour later. I then spent a lovely afternoon reading parts of the Christmas story from the Bible. Then I decorated my tree, listened to Christmas carols and drank hot cocoa stirred to perfection with a candy cane swizzle. About a week later, I was flipping through the channels and caught the broadcast of the Hollywood Christmas Parade just as the scientology float entry made its way down the red-carpeted boulevard. Needless to say, I quickly turned the channel.
Update: Area Holiday Events Here's what I've been up to-
Wed 12/8 Hanukkah began and I had my first ever go at making potato latkes. They came out rather nice, I must say.
Thur 12/10 Due to water main repairs, the Griffith Park Christmas Lights are set up at the near by Mulholland Fountain.
Sat 12/11/10 Sunshine Kids Christmas Party at Raleigh Studios(see separate post)
Sun 12/12/10 Second week of Advent The week began at Ecclesia Church with a day full of Christ, the best kind of shopping at the Alternative Christmas Market and happy carolers(see separate post).
1Thur 2/16 Beverly Center Christmas Chronicles of Narnia: Ice Palace is a hit with all! They had "snow" and Santa! I even got to get a picture of the old bearded guy before security got to me-lol.
The Farmer's Market looked quite festive from the outside but had no time to go inside. I had to leave the Grove for another day too ... hopefully I'll get to them before New Years.