On Saturday, aaronjv ran his time-travelling road rally thingy. [and ladyeuthanasia celebrated her birthday - sorry I missed it] The set-up was that the world was coming to an end, and we time-travelling agents were sent to capture images of important landmarks of Los Angeles, so that this information would not be lost forever to the history books. Taking pictures certainly beats popping a spider into you mouth, like in 12 Monkeys. Anyway, I had a blast. Thanks, Aaron for putting it together. This entry will serve as a history of my ChronoAgent team, the Paradoxical Patricides: me, Jason, Lesley & Ken. This may also serve as a game autopsy for Aaron, showing what we did, when and why and how the clues worked.
Traffic snarls kept two of our teammates from being on time, so we got off to a late start. We popped the game CD into the car and blasted the Mission Impossible theme as I roared through the temporal vortex. Vital information about our mission, should we choose to accept it, was delivered and we examined our list of targets.
All of the targets were identified by clues.
The first one, Alpha Assignment, was to take a photo of the oldest house in LA. Providentially, I had printed out some helpful websites and brought along some reference books, so I knew I had the answer to this one: the Avila Adobe on Olvera Street.
Rather than just rip down there, I wanted some time to think, so before getting on the 10, we stopped and looked over the other clues for a bit. The second clue, Bravo Assignment, mentioned a building inspired by an 1880's Science Fiction story, designed by an occultist for a mining millionaire. That didn't ring any bells, but my brain works in weird ways. Alpha was the Avila Adobe. Could Bravo be the Bradbury Building? One of my books confirmed that Bradbury made his money in mining.
Charlie Assignment mentioned redwoods and a restaurant. Since I was still thinking alphabetically, I think it was the AAA Guide that mentioned that Clifton's had several restaurants in LA with natural themes. Sounded promising. Delta and Echo were completely mystifying and Foxtrot looked like it would be amenable to Googling.
The next set of clues were all Hollywoodish. Madonna's underwear I figgered would be in the Frederick's of Hollywood Museum. The 'club with disappeating members' had to be the Magic Castle. The biggest mansion in Beverly Hills made me think first of Aaron Spelling's monstrosity, but of course it was really Greystone Mansion. And the hotel where you can check out any time you like, but never leave was the Hotel California. But where the hell is it? There were a couple other clues that didn't make much sense, but hopefully the gods of Google would help.
So having done a bit of research in the car, we headed for downtown. We hit the Bradbury Building first, and when we pulled up, members of Karen's team were standing on the sidewalk. I shouted abuse at them, but I felt good that despite our late start, we were actually still in the running.
Then off to the Adobe. As I idled in a towaway zone, again I saw a couple members of Karen's team ambling along in the neighborhood.
In order to find out the other downtown locations and fill in some gaps in the next set of clues, we decided to add another downtown location to our trip: the LA Central Library. It may not have been a destination for the ChronoAgents, but it is a cool building. The computer stations are on a lower level and there's a huge gallery with escalators that descend down into the depths. We got off on the level of the Librarian Inferno where Googlers are consigned to eternity. We split up assignments and went to work on finding the other locations and the trivia questions (which could be used for 'money' to help buy hints to the other locations)
We spent a lot of time there (probably too much) and got answers to almost all the clues. When we got back to the car, our first order of business was to answer enough trivia question to buy some exceedingly obvious hints to the two remaining locations. Then off we went.
We went to the right Clifton's Cafe. And then to Seventh and Figueroa to get a picture of Corporate Head. At that time, while Jason hopped out to get the photo, Ken hopped out to get a Metro ticket. It was at that point that I inadvertently ran over the back of Ken's shoe with the car. Not my best moment, but no crippling damage was done.
After that, to the Metro Station at 1st and Hill (so Ken's shoe sacrifice was pretty needless, wasn't it?) for the flying people statues. Lastly, the Four-Level, which stands on the site of LA's first gallows, where weekly executions took place.
We started heading for Hollywood for the next group of things, but traffic turned ugly as we went down Sunset. When we got to the sign that read "Road Closed, Detour Ahead" we said screw it and headed back to ChronoCentral for the BBQ. As we drove back, Lesley called in a metric tonne of trivia answers until we were up to 120-something ChronoDollars. We were the first to arrive for the food. We downloaded photos and ate and drank funky sodas. I had some Moxie, which, despite the medicinal aftertaste, is perfectly palatable, although it will never be my drink of choice.
The halftime scores came in, and I was happy to see that we weren't dead last, even though we had blown off half the sites. We knew we'd make up some in the night half of the game, since we already knew exactly where to go, while other teams would have more clue-unravelling to do.
So we got the new clues and the Night-time CD and headed off. The Night Clues were much easier, in my opinion, and we only spent 1 point on a hint for one of them as we sped off to do the Hollywood stuff, which we did in the opposite order since they had been arranged from city center back to home base.
First off was the Beverly Hills Hotel, which was pictured on the Hotel California album cover.
From there to Greystone Mansion, which of course was closed, but we got a picture of the gate. On to the Magic Castle. From the Magic Castle, you can see the Roosevelt Hotel, where the first Oscars were held. We were supposed to take a picture of one of use with "The Tramp" and evidently there was a bench with a Charlie Chaplin statue sitting in it. My agents didn't find that, but they did find a plaque inside with Chaplin on it.
The Frederick's Museum was closed, so we didn't get a picture of Madonna's underwear, but we got the place, anyway. Last up, the Cineramadome.
We'd finally caught up with the day's locations. Now it was on to the night.
First was Mike Assignment. Sure Mike is the letter 'M' in the phonetic alphabet, but I like to think I had something to do with the location clue: "When this 'fast star' is right, the Sleeper in the Deep arrives for a cup o' joe. Take a picture of him." The first time that was read to me, I said, "What the fuck?" The second time, I blurted the answer -- Nova Express. I actually got to go inside this time, as we used the WiFi to do some last minute googling and checking. Ken finally got his cookie, too, in addition to a Cthulhu smoothie, which was a pleasant shade of green. As we took our ease at the cafe, a member of Team Unpronounceable dashed in to take a picture of Great Cthulhu. She had the temerity to ask me to hand over my plush Cthulhu for use in the photo. Thinking back, maybe I should have said she could take a picture of both of us. Do you get bonus points for being in another team's photo?
Anyway, we again spent too much time there, which kept us from hitting the last two assignments, but I think we did a great job to do the second half of the day assignments and all but two of the night assignments after dinner.
Next was the La Brea Tar Pits. Virtually across the street from it was a Space Invader Graffito. I wish I had been more sure about my guess on that one, because there's one of those things on Sunset bordering UCLA, and we drove just past it on our way to the Beverly Hills Hotel. As it turned out, it was pretty easy to get one by the Tar Pits.
Time was running short, so we did a drive-by of the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier from Ocean Ave.
Swing down Main Street for the giant binoculars.
A quick pic of a bit of a canal on Venice Blvd, and we raced back to ChronoAgents Central, where we came in with a few minutes to spare before the Temporal Vortex closed.
My driving done, I could focus on drinking beer while the points were tallied. Due to clerical error, for a moment it looked like we had a ridiculous lead, but a correction sent us plummeting back into the pack. The final results for us were a tie for 3rd place with Team Unpronounceable. 2nd went to the Dopetastic something or other and 1st went to Team Rizwan. Four teams finished below us in the standings.
Plenty of crazy fun. I've purposely left out a litany of illegal U-turns and illegal parking that went into making this all possible. I also made my entire team scream with fright as I sped toward a slow car ahead of us and made a rapid lane change into the parking lane after passing the last parked car.