California and back again…

This is definitely not a picture of me. It’s Sarah VandenBerg of Briarwood Riding School riding her horse Pacific in the Prelim division at Galway Downs.  My trip luckily coincided with Galway’s April Horse Trials, so I got to hang out, help out, and try out taking pictures.  This one is one of my favourites, mostly because Pacific looks so chilled out; duck? no problem. water? no problem. jump about a foot over the log? no problem. What a great horse.

The rest of the holiday was equally fun.  The first week, we stayed up north in San Francisco and hung out with friends up there.  It included a memorable trip to Bodega Bay and Valley Ford, where it turns out there is a tiny bed and breakfast with an amazing bar/restaurant attached. The first night jet-lag sent us to bed around 8pm, but not until we had eaten some amazing food (most of which is lost to memory in a blur of exhaustion, but I think some of it involved oysters, fried chicken, and possibly amazing fish tacos). We spent the next two days eating and wandering about the area, mostly eating. We had originally planned to go to Yosemite that weekend, but a late snowstorm (that knocked out power and the roads in and out!), made this trip “plan b”.  It worked out extremely well, all things considered, *and* the keen-eyes of our driver spotted a great mexican restaurant on our way back into the City, which just made the weekend perfect, really. We finished up our time in San Francisco with dinner at a friend’s house and then headed down to LA for a filming of “The Big Bang Theory”. Which was awesome.

 

Awesome, amazing, and hilarious, I should say. We got in to Burbank around 4pm, plenty of time to get over to the studio for 5ish, unless you count the inadvertent 45 minute nap we took after checking into the hotel, which then made the time slightly tighter.  Luckily, we were on some sort of list and got bumped to the front of the line.  It was a vaguely surreal experience even just getting to the sound stage; you walk down the road between the sound stages and can see, around corners, the outdoor sets that have been used for everything from “ER” to “Gilmore Girls”. Squinting at a building that looks just-about-nearly-almost like something you’ve seen dozens of times with different names can start feeling strange. Nearly as weird as the number of people wandering around in thematically appropriate t-shirts (we saw a lot of “I (heart) Leonard” shirts while in line).  After standing around a bit and having our bag searched twice (once by security for the studio and once by security specific to the soundstage, where they took all cameras and camera-capable phones), we were informed that not only was there a DVD special being filmed that day but also that we might possibly appear in it. After that we did our best to be inconspicuous, but the filming was hilarious (and five hours long! The did some of the bits several times in a row (sometimes with minor changes)), and we got a tour afterwards and got to check out the set. I spent most of my time checking out the books in the background of Sheldon and Leonard’s flat.  There were a few Asimovs, but an equal number that had clearly been picked up because the colours matched or something. We were most impressed with the life-size Master Chief helmet (of Halo fame). I didn’t think I’d enjoy it all that much (not realllllly all that good at sitting still), but the whole experience was a blast and totally worth it.

The rest of the trip was slightly more mellow (and included Galway), and it was nice to come home with a tan. Mostly, though, it was just nice to come home!