Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Playing Detective

About four years ago, our friend Sandy decided that we all had enough "stuff," so instead of stuff for Christmas and Channukkah, he was going to give us "experiences." By us, I don't just mean my husband, son, and self. No, Sandy extended this to all of the people with whom he exchanged gifts each year.

The first year, we went to Descanso Gardens, to see their famous gardenias. This was followed by a picnic lunch and then a trek to a small bowling alley in nearby Montrose. Quite a full day and everybody had a good time, especially since the weather was very nice (I think it was February when we did this.)

I passed on the second year's event going to a go-cart type place east of Los Angeles, but Len and Michael had a great time.

Last year, the crowd of what looked like 50 or 60 people went to the Pirate Adventure near Disneyland. It was, unfortunately, a little too loud for my taste. But it was a fun show and the children, particularly, had a fabulous time.

On Saturday night, we did the most recently planned event. Sandy appears to be doing this in conjunction with some other folks, which is good. I'd hate to think he's frittering away his retirement money this way. We were treated to "Mysteries en Brochette" a murder-mystery dinner theater production at the Marina del Rey Hotel. No small children for this one.

With a theme of "Hollywood's Fatal Premier," folks did have an opportunity to get dressed up. There were about 40 people in our party plus another 40 or so people in attendance with other groups. The food was uneven, as hotel food can be, and so was the acting. The character who functioned as the emcee, however, more than made up for any other short comings. He was just great. He also wrote the production and he was a whiz at the ad lib.

The way these things go, the story is presented and some one or several ones are murdered. At the end, it is up to the audience to come up with a solution. Prizes were given to the individual who correctly solved the mystery and the one who came up with the funniest solution.

It's a tough room when two famous comic book writers and best selling novelist Larry Niven are working out endings. Len won the funniest solution--with the emcee/writer saying it was such a good solution they should incorporate it into the show--and the wife of the other comic book writer was the first to turn in the actual solution. That writer got an honorable mention for funny.

One of the people not with out party posited that one of the characters was a superhero like an X-man and one of our party ratted out Len to him. So Len got his picture taken with this stranger who was an X-men fan. It always gives me the giggles.

Me, I just sit back and watch. Len loves these kinds of things (he won the solution to the last party like this we went to, which is why we have TWO replicas of the Maltese Falcon in our house), but I know my limitations. I'm happy when I've got the solution to Law & Order.

As for that other famous detective I'm watching these days, I can't figure out why New Amsterdam isn't doing better in the ratings. The stories are very good and it really helps that the show is actually filmed on location in New York. I got a little bent out of shape about a rape victim's name and picture being spread across the Internet in last night's episode, but I did figure it to be a so-called honor killing as soon as I saw the body, beating Len to that one. However, I suspected the unseen brothers, not the father.

Last night also marked the return of Big Bang Theory. I think it's gotten a bit edgier than it was before the strike. We laughed a lot, particularly as the boys did the ape victory dance from 2001 and when Sheldon tried to psychically cause Leonard's head to explode. I was also anxious to see Chuck Lorre's latest end credit card. The one that was up when the strike hit said "United we stand." Last night's was a meditation about going up against Marlee Matlin on Dancing with the Stars. (It's not available on Chuck Lorre's website yet, but he refers to the "deaf chick dancing her ass off.")

The wind was up again yesterday, so my lesson on Ace was a bit cautious. Since the wind wasn't a constant, we decided to go on with it. We had to share the arena with a horse which was jumping (and whose rider couldn't control him in a turn), but we managed. It wasn't as good a ride as Saturday, but tomorrow is bound to be better.

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