9/21 Saturday

My bag was not transferred from DFW to LAX so I would go the first 24 hours without my workout and swim clothes but at least I didn’t have to lug the bag around on the bus to the hotel. Normally I would take the Green line train shuttle bus to the train depot and then take the green line to the Manhattan Beach stop but it was under construction. The city was providing a free bus to the same destination to make up for it. I talked to a really nice girl on the way. She had found a random Disneyland balloon stuck in a bush at the airport and the experience was a fun segway into a longer discussion. We sat up front near the driver and involved her in a three way story telling.

When I arrived at the hotel I got my room key and then went to the room. Once in the room I got some notes from Vanessa and the car key. I then took the car to her current Extreme Makeover – Home Edition (EMHE) film set. It was move in day. This is when final construction touches are completed and the moving truck arrives to dress the sets. We move and assemble furniture and then decorate the rooms with all the small items. My task was to assemble a desk and move items around in the office space and then clean up any mess.

The studio and neighbors agree to a quiet hour of 10pm. This is when everyone has to stop and the set goes dark. So at 10pm we packed up and headed back to the room.

9/22 Sunday

Vanessa headed back to the set first thing in the morning for final touches while I did my morning workout. I had until 4pm to go back to the set for filming. The crew use the term, “Move the Bus”, because for EMHE the big kick off to the reveal segment is when they move the bus and the families get to see their new home for the first time.


From 11 to 3:30 I went to Manhattan Beach to watch the Vikings and do some writing. I walked around during the first half and then went to BrewCo bar for the second half. I paid $10 for a decent salad with Avacado so I could sit down by the TV. After the Vikings beat the Raiders 34-14 I went  to sit on a bench by the beach. While I was getting some writing done this gorgeous model sat beside me and struck up a conversation. We talked about our careers and what brought us to the area. She looked like you was raised in the Greek Islands but confessed that she was from Poland. I had never met someone with Olive skin from Poland before and it was a good reminder that physical appearances may not always be accurate.

Manahattan Pier Poland MonicaManhattan Pier

It was then time to head back to the set for the bus move. It is always fun to experience for the first time in a season. You never really get used to the organized chaos of filming. When I arrived everyone was getting in place and the bus was getting ready to come around the block. We sit behind the cameras and enjoy the public audience cheering as their big moment to be immortalized in film arrives. I like watching the lead actors go through their lines and do their thing. I like Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Modern family and it was exciting to walk around in his presence while he converses with everyone.


After the filming moves into a closed set, we get to go over to the monitors and watch the rest of the filming from the control station. Vanessa has to stay until the end in case there are any questions about her work. After filming was complete, we went back to the room for the night.

9/23 Monday

To start the day, we needed to go back to the set to put things back in their places for photography day. We de-wrinkle and fluff and clean and move curtains and then get to go have some more fun for the day.

We went to a nice vegan cafe for lunch. Everything is around $15 each but it was delicious and extra healthy. We then went to nap and read under the Manhattan Pier before stopping at the massive and wonderful Manhattan Antique Barn store. Vanessa fell in love with this camel tone leather jacket that fit me perfect so we bought it for only $70. It was well worth $400 but I have such a rare size that they had given up on selling it to all the buff body builders living in the area.

Manhattan Antique 1Manhattan Antique

We finished out the day by meeting several other crew members at the Redondo Pier. We had dinner and drinks at this fun crows nest bar called Tony’s. I discovered one of the crew went to college with me and we most likely were in each others presence many times over the years.

Redondo PierRedondo Tonys

9/24 Tuesday

I began the day with some writing and then hit the gym before going to the beach. I had to leave at 7:15 to make it to poker night at Sherman Oaks. I continued to have good fortune at the Oaks game, finishing up $140.

9/25 Wednesday

Same schedule as Tuesday except we went to the beach together for sunset and grocery shopping.

9/26 Thursday

Morning stretch and workout followed by breakfast and some writing at the hotel. Spent the rest of the day at the beach.

zen garden

9/27 Friday

After our morning yoga, we discussed our road trip plans over breakfast. Then hit the gym before heading for the beach.



9/28 Saturday

After our workout we went the Torrance Market. From there we drove around Palos Verdes and found the Botanical Garden.

Botanical sage

Botanical desert

We spent the afternoon there until it was time to go to a dinner party with our friends Sung and Lani. They set up a wonderful fajita bar and provided some fun drink options. Before we knew it, we were singing karaoke.


We finished the night by going to the next EMO-HE set. It is always exciting to see the different setup choices between each location. There are different team leaders in multiple locations but when it comes down to the final move in day, as many of the crew as possible get together to help each other out. In the final hours before filming and still shots, the main designer goes back over everything and makes their final touches.


9/29 Sunday

Normal workout morning during the NFL and then we headed out to Venice for the Abbott Kinney festival while I followed the Viking game on my phone. The Vikings couldn’t find a way to break through the Bears defense so I was having a hard time enjoying the day. After the Cubs choked in the final week of the season and my Huskers got destroyed at home by Ohio State and I lost at poker, I was in a poor mood. Venice Abbott Kinney

After the festival we walked the canals and took some great pictures. I can always count on the beach to lift up my spirits.

We finished the day by going to a wrap party with all of the EM-HE crew.

EMHE Crew party

9/30 Monday

Basic day of working out and tanning at the beach. I like going to Santa Monica Bhakti Yoga Ashram for Monday night Kirtan’s but tonight I wanted to stay in and do some more writing to make up for being out most of last night.

10/1 Tuesday

Straight to the beach to get a good outdoor workout. V went to do errands at the North Hollywood office and then picked me up at the beach. Spent the night at poker. My luck didn’t change from Friday.

10/2 Wednesday 

We spent the day getting ready for our location change. We did some returns and exchanges in the area and then did some more packing and writing at the hotel. I went to a dart tournament in Lakeside to finish the night. I threw well and played the top local player 9 games in the finals. He won the first set with 6.5mpr cricket leg but I rebounded by winning the next three diddles, a near perfect 501 game and mid 5mpr cricket games on the way to 1st place.

10/3 Thursday

We loaded up and moved to the Azusa area for our final 3 days. For the evening I went back down to Lakeside/Cypress for the largest soft tip tournament in L.A. I shot really well but had a lower level partner and three teams had master players partnered. I averaged 5+ marks per round and 40+ points per dart but as a team we were only 6 marks per 6 darts and around 30ppd while barely losing our tie breaker legs to teams averaging 8.5 marks per 6 darts and 35ppd. It was fun and I had my chances to get by them but came up just short.

10/4 Friday

V went to do some errands so I hitch hiked up to the mountain trails. I walked about 30 minutes before being picked up by a real nice man. He was going to the same area so we got a brief conversation in while driving the final 10 minutes to the trail head. The trail I had him drop me off at ended up being closed due to last season’s fires. It was only about 20 blocks over to the next trail head in Azusa so I headed over there. The path was bordered with Lavender, purple Sage and Juniper so the fragrant aroma was delightful. I found a nice park to take my lunch break in the shade and then continued on. I stopped at a small taco shack and got a quesadilla to take along. A few blocks further I found two white Sage bushes growing in an empty lot. They are very rare to find away from a canyon.

A few blocks further I found a Buddhist Monastery with an amazing meditation garden.

There were lovely rock arrangements and sculptures. I decided to sit down and do some writing instead of going hiking. By the time I got this far, I only had 2 more hours until V would be back to pick me up.

V came and joined me to enjoy the quiet surrounding of the avacado forest. Then around 5 we started heading back to work on the next set location.

The final location for this first season was one of the largest so there was more for me to do. I helped put a bed together and arrange things in a toddler room and then we spent the rest of the evening organizing a craft room together until midnight.

10/5 Saturday

We did another workout and then ate breakfast at the hotel before heading out to explore the mountains. We drove an hour up and down the Mt. Baldy pass and found a field of white Sage then went over to the Azusa pass. We found their little community park which offered some lovely trails. We hiked to a stream bed and climbed on a giant boulder to relax for lunch. I did some writing and then we went to socialize with other friends of the EMHE crew at the hotel bar.

10/6 Sunday

It was our final day in sunny California. After breakfast we said our good byes and hit the road for the Grand Canyon. We had a nice glamping location just south of the Grand Canyon park. It was dark when we pulled in but we could hear chickens clucking around. We settled in to the yurt like structure and then went back out to collect some fire wood for the wood stove.

10/7 Monday

We loaded up went to a cafe for breakfast before heading into the Grand Canyon south rim. After some exploring of the Supai native reservation and picture taking on the south rim we took the road east. We went up to the north rim and then headed north to Zion national park. Our glamping location for the night was in another large tent structure at a resort on the southern boarder Zion.

It was dark when we arrived so it was a bit of a challenge finding our spot. Once we got settled in we went back outside to enjoy the stars for awhile before crashing.

10/8 Tuesday

When the sun came up I went outside to stretch and take some pictures on the way to the lodge for breakfast.

After breakfast we went exploring around Zion until noon and then headed southeast towards our evening reservation in Truth or Consequences New Mexico.

We got to Truth or Consequences about 11pm so it was too dark to see much of our destinations features. We found our way to a fancy adobe dome structure framed with metal and papercrete walls. The interior was laid out in a very pleasing way with a shower/bath area walled off from the rest of the dome.

10/9 Wednesday

Shortly after sun rise we headed out to the hot spring







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