weird al yankovic

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I think I’m going to include a gratuitous Amazon link this time. If you buy Mandatory Fun by Weird Al Yankovic from that link, both Pharrell and I will make some money because this album includes both Word Crimes, hia parody of Blurred Lines, and Tacky, his parody of Happy.

4:00 So far I’ve had no luck figuring out where we are. It looks like a mausoleum but most of the mausoleums I’ve found just have skylights and this one looks to have fluorescent lighting or something. I did take a side trip because I saw that Jimmy Durante’s gravestone looked like it was designed for a husband and wife, but the photo I saw only showed him on it. I figured that his wife remarried and was buried with that husband or something, but when I looked up Margaret Little Durante’s grave, it shows the same gravestone with her information on it. That made me feel better.

Now, back to figuring out where we are. There’s a rose window up there. That should help.

Yep. It looks like we’re in the Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena. Only it doesn’t look like the same mausoleum. Now I’m confused.

Wait. Is that the same waiting area that our 3:52 dancer passed through? It’s the same lamp, certainly. French doors? Check. Column, lamp, water coolers? Check, check, check. So I guess we’ve been in Altadena this whole time.

I also wonder if, instead of the mausoleum having fluorescent lighting, I haven’t been seeing that one fluorescent light this whole time. Nope. I definitely see two fluorescent lights at the same time now.

4:08 Are we going to spend this whole hour in this mausoleum? Also, this next guy has a man bun. Or is he a Sikh? He’s got a bracelet on his right wrist. Is it a kara?

I wonder if anyone famous is buried here. Findagrave says that there are 61 famous burials. I guess for a certain value of “famous.” Oh, my God. This is where Octavia E. Butler is buried. Oh, crap. I don’t know if Alex is going to be enthusiastic about adding another cemetery to our next California trip. Well, she’s not in the mausoleum at least. He’ll be happy about that.

4:12 We’ve left the mausoleum and are watching a small child and her smaller sister dancing around in the cemetery outside the mausoleum. Well, the older child is dancing. The younger is just exploring.

4:16 We’re still outside the mausoleum and our 4:16 dancer is a comedian named Gian Molina, who died in 2016.

We finally leave the cemetery grounds at around 4:22 and it looks like we’re on Sacramento, maybe?

Yes. We are definitely on Sacramento. We first head southeast and then it looks like we’ll make a left at Santa Anita, but instead we turn around, heading northwest up Sacramento again.

4:32 We’re somewhere else again, I think*. Let’s find out. This little kid sure is cute, though.

4:36 Well, maybe we aren’t somewhere else because I see a building that looks not entirely unlike the mausoleum there in the distant background. I wish I could see a street name or something. Okay, we have a big building or a mural or a big building with a mural on it on our right here. And the big building is really big.

4:40 We’re somewhere else now watching Stuart (?) dancing through a residential neighborhood. I’m also trapped because it’s midnight and my 16-year-old arthritic dog is having trouble settling down. She’s finally lying down and if I get up, that’ll make her get up and she’ll be forever trying to settle down again.

Some guy came out of one of the houses to take a picture of Stuart (and, presumably, his entourage).

We keep seeing signs that have the names of the streets on them, but the signs are all blurry and I can’t read them.

I’m so desperate to figure out where we are that I’ve locked onto a tall palm tree in the distance and am trying to locate that palm tree on Google Image Search.

We turn a corner and not only is the street name blurry, but there’s a tree in front of it.

4:52 We’re passing a restaurant or something but I’ve lost track because this dancer’s dress is just so cute!

I’ve found a phone number. Or most of one at any rate. What’s that last digit?

It may be the phone number for Occidental Entertainment Group Holdings, but their address isn’t the right place. Let’s try Google Maps, maybe?

I’ve got it.

Okay, so Stuart starts out at Willoughby and Sycamore and dances down the block to the corner of Sycamore and Waring. Our next dancer starts out headed west on Waring (and she really does pick up where Stuart left off – you can see him behind her. In fact, the guy who crosses the street before she starts must be part of the behind-the-scenes entourage or something; you can see him and Stuart walking off together). She dances down Waring to the block between Orange and Mansfield. Our next dancer picks up there and takes us to the block between Willoughby and Romaine (hey! It’s Romaine again!). And our final dancer (*such* a cute dress!) leaves us on the block between Romaine and Santa Monica.

Now what’s that big building I see in the distance on Google Street View? Before we go on to 4:56, let’s explore. Guess what? It’s the Hollywood Storage Building from 12:43 pm. Wow. It is big.

4:56 I got nothing. Lots of buildings. Lots of signs. A light rail station. I can’t read a single word.

4:59 I guess I just needed to be patient? Because we’re in a bus parking lot and the buses say “Atlantic Express.” I looked that up at Google Maps and one of the pins is just outside of Chinatown. And I could see at least one pagoda-looking building in the distance. Or, well, maybe not.

And what the heck is this big pinkish/white stripe across the middle of the damn map? The Los Angeles Marathon is today, I guess (now you’ll be able to figure out how far ahead I wrote this. I have no idea exactly when I will post this, but it looks like it should be at least two months from now; I can’t wait to find out exactly what the turnaround time will be).

So let’s try the other address. No good, either.

Of course, Atlantic Express rents buses so maybe these buses are rentals, which means that they could, once again, be anywhere.

Great. Let’s assume that the pagoda-looking building is, in fact, in Chinatown and look for a Metro station near Chinatown. That looks very familiar. We never saw the station very clearly, but that kind of looks like what we sort of saw. Let’s hit Street View and see what we see.

Oh, this is looking really likely. Metro station. Bus parking lot. Building with three triangular green awnings in front. I like this a lot.

So let’s start from 4:56. We start out in a parking lot just off Spring Street and under the Metro line. We come out from under the Metro line onto Alameda and then go north on Alameda to College. Then we go southeast on College until we get to the entrance to the parking lot. It sure looks to me like the buses say “Atlantic Express,” but I’m finding articles saying that they closed down at the end of 2013.

*Spoiler Alert: I never do figure out where we are during this part. I’m going to have to actually research it once I’m done editing and revising these posts to see if this fits in our polygon or not.

So. Word just came down that Tom Petty died today (well, yesterday Central Daylight Time, but it’s still October 2 in California as I write this). Petty was one of the celebrities I always kind of hoped I’d bump into on one of our trips to California, but we never did. I don’t think. I generally have to have people point celebrities out to me, so for all I know, I walked right past him and just didn’t notice.

I first became aware of his music in 1979. I was in eighth grade and my English teacher wanted us to write the lyrics for our favorite song down as part of his poetry unit. My two favorite songs were Rock Lobster by the B-52s and Refugee. We didn’t have the Internet in our homes at the time, and so I had to try to puzzle out the lyrics by myself. I didn’t even try with Rock Lobster, so I dedicated myself to figuring out the lyrics to Refugee. I didn’t do too badly, but the bridge tripped me up. Finally I had to call my mom in for assistance. She had some really creative interpretations of song lyrics (one of my favorites was the Beach Boys asking Rhonda to “skate around in (his) heart”), but when she was actually paying attention, she was better at it than I was. At least when I was 13, she was. She threw up her hands in despair pretty quickly, so I ended up using Cliff Richard’s We Don’t Talk Anymore, which I liked okay, but, most importantly, Richard enunciated fairly clearly.

I have always been terrible about keeping up with musicians, so I generally was an album or two behind in my collection (which are pretty much all on cassette tapes; I really should start collecting them on CD (I will buy individual songs as MP3s, but for stuff that I want to keep long-term, I still like to buy CDs because I don’t have to rely on the continued existence of the server that I got the song from if I want to listen to it later)).

In 1991, Thomas and I went to see Petty’s stop at Poplar Creek for his Into the Great Wide Open tour and I had a blast. Thomas was not so much of a fan, but he was good company anyhow. I remember that concert with great fondness. About a month later, my folks and I were at the mall and I was wearing the T-shirt I got at that concert and some guy stopped me because he hadn’t known that Petty was on tour. He was very disappointed when I told him how long ago the concert had been.

Over the years, I discovered new musicians and new genres (and started listening to music in foreign languages once I got the Internet and such a thing became easier than it had been in the 1980s). I still loved Tom Petty, but loved other musicians, as well.

Then, this past year, I started thinking about him again. While training a Pandora station, it started to serve up Petty’s songs, and I remembered how much I loved them. I began to read things about his life and found out about his struggle with his ex-wife Jane’s mental illness and his own attempt to cope which ended with him becoming addicted to heroin. I read about the home in Encino where he and Jane raised their children and how it burned down. While they were having it rebuilt, they lived in the house that Xavier Cugat had built for Charo while they were married, which was apparently not a good fit, to hear Petty tell it.

And this led me, during our recent California trip, to telling Alex to keep his eyes open for a gaunt blond guy (though he was less gaunt towards the end) as we went through Encino on our way to Malibu (little did I know that after his divorce from Jane, Petty moved to Malibu). When we got home, I looked up what he was doing and discovered that when we were in Encino, Petty was on tour and that on my birthday, he’d be playing the Hollywood Bowl. Of course, by then I was back in Texas, but . . . it’s the thought that counts?

I also found that the Petty family’s home in Encino (the one that they’d built after the other had burned  down) had been for sale until just before our California trip. Not that we could have afforded it even in my wildest dreams, but I had fun looking at the pictures and imagining what I would do with that house (after I brought in a priest or a shaman or something (or both!) in to dispel the negative vibes left over from the whole end-of-the-Pettys’-marriage era).

Alex and I are still planning on taking another California trip relatively soon (like a long weekend in 2019) and a part of me wondered if he would tour and I could take Alex to see him. And that’s never going to happen now.

This has reinforced for me, though, how important it is to do the things you want to do while you can. Like taking Alex to see Weird Al Yankovic during his 2018 tour. I don’t know where, if anywhere, he’s going to be in Texas. He announces the stops on the tour, by my estimate, on Friday, October 13. So just over a week away. Let’s hope I don’t forget to check it out when he does announce it and maybe Alex and I can turn it into a travel destination as well as a concert.