Got game? And tours?

Our day started off early, with breakfast, as we headed to our 9:30 a.m. appointment at the Los Angeles Times, the largest city daily in the country, positioned in a renovated historic building at First and Spring streets in downtown. We arrived in the bustling city at 8:30 a.m., making the early-bird parking four stories underground, a whopping $12.50, much cheaper than if we had arrived after 9 o’clock.

We began our walking tour, ogling at the skyscrapers towering overhead. Absolutely awesome! The streets were clean and packed with people in comfortable shoes rushing off to work. Instead of taking the suggested downtown walking tour, we made a more direct route toward the Times building, cutting down Broadway, which was a stark difference from the previous streets. The sites became more rundown, with stores spouting cheap clothing, toys and any other item you may want.

With just two minutes to spare, we walked in the entrance to the LA Times on First Street and were greeted with a large globe in the middle of the entryway, with a security guard to the right, a mini-museum to the left, and murals depicting newspapers through the years. After a short wait a man from public affairs, Darrell, I couldn’t see his last name, arrived to lead us on our tour. He started with the museum, with a page completed in hot type and an old Linotype machine. Afterward, we went through the security turnstile to elevators, which took us to the newsroom of the editorial department, which, as far as I could tell, took up two floors of the building. At the entrance of the newsroom was a glass wall with color printouts of many different newspaper front pages from the same day, one of which was the Herald-Times in Bloomington. I thought that was pretty neat. The newsroom wasn’t really busy, because their deadlines are late afternoon, but the guide said about dinnertime, the room would be bustling. That packed room was just for news, and he led us on to the photo department, the sports department, features, research, archiving, employment, all connected by halls sporting Pulitzer Prize winners and outstanding photography. I think the boys were fascinated by the tour, as were Rodney and I, as we learned that the Times has about 400 reporters scattered across the globe. One of the Pulitzer winners was a writer who does a column on cars – that’s all he does, and the boys were extremely impressed with that! He gets to drive hot sports cars for several weeks and write about them. He studied literature in college and writes some exquisite sentences.

After we left the Times, we continued on the walking tour, making our way to Little Tokyo where we stopped and bought drinks, and sat outside at a little cafe table, watching people. Zachary continued to be very disturbed by the homeless people that were frequent observances. We walked through the plaza in Little Tokyo, and were disappointed that the Geffen exhibit at MOCA – the Museum of Contemporary Art – was closed. We continued on our journey, headed toward Union Station, through the Mexican history area of downtown where an outdoor concert was taking place. Union Station was a gorgeous historic building, which is the epicenter for the city’s metro bus and subway lines. We made our way to the lower levels of the station and waited on the subway. Onboard, the boys again were thrilled and wanted desperately to belt out at the top of their lungs the words from Rent’s “Santa Fe,” a song the characters sing on a New York subway. The train was much nicer and cleaner than I expected, and the trip across downtown was quicker than expected – just three stops away from our starting point.

We continued to drive downtown, through Chinatown, and into the parking lot for a sports mecca of sorts, for Rodney, the Dodgers stadium, which we were able to go in and look around as the staff prepared for the evening’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Some players were stretching, running, working out, and we got a birds-eye view of the entire stadium, as well as the city it overlooks. It was absolutely awesome!

Then, we headed back to get souvenirs in Hollywood, got shirts and other stuff from a shop on Hollywood Boulevard, traveled down Sunset Boulevard, stopped and got gasoline, ate at Jack in the Box in Century City, continued on Santa Monica Boulevard, and headed to Venice Beach. Once there, the weather was stirring up a bit, very windy, overcast, chilly. At Venice, the waves were powerful and wicked, so Zachary couldn’t swim, but Tyler got to shoot hoops. Although the other players on the courts weren’t begging to play with Tyler, Rodney took the initiative and played with him, and then Zachary did, followed by – yep – me. I goofed around a lot and fouled Tyler miserably and blatantly. We played until dark, when most of the other ballers went home, except for some younger homeless people, who shot hoops and then rolled a joint, passed some cash. One of them kept walking by me and staring. We held out as long as we could and then made our way back to the motel, where we rented “Date Movie,” a parody, which I saw about 20 minutes of before falling fast asleep.

We had a blast today, which we needed, after the first part of the week. It was a day of seeing where dreams could take us, from the dream journalism job, to the Major Leagues. We’re all enjoying this coast. For what it is, and for possibilities.