Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Fools On The Hill.

All day long, yesterday, I kept thinking, "Hmm. I should fill up the gas tank. It's getting pretty low."

Just as we were leaving for our secret destination last night, I said to Jim, "We're low on gas. We might want to fill up."

But we both looked at the gauge and it didn't look totally and completely empty. Plus, the little "empty gas" icon warning light didn't flash. So, given the fact that we were only going over the hill -- not a long trip -- we thought it would be fine.

The secret destination turned out to be the Magic Castle. We would celebrate the two birthday boys' special day with a nice dinner and a magic show.

The Magic Castle is a very special place in Hollywood. First, you have to know someone who's a member to ever get in. (Thanks to magician Rich Bloch for arranging it). Secondly, the place is full of mysterious pictures on the wall, secret corners, magicians prowling around, and little booby traps -- like the secret bar stool that slowly lowers itself when you trick someone to sit on it.

Linda and Rob rode with us in our car. We arrived at the Magic Castle without incident and proceeded to the little piano bar where "Erma" the ghost pianist plays. In the corner of the room, roped off with red ropes, is a grand piano. When Erma comes in, the piano keys start playing all by themselves. You can talk to Erma and she responds by playing your request or by making little musical jokes. (For instance, if you put a dollar in her empty bird cage, the ghost bird will tweet and Erma will play, "We're In The Money."


We were joined by our friends, Kristin, Jay & Joan, and Heidi & Tom. I was very good, keeping to my newly restricted diet by having a skinless broiled chicken breast, rice and steamed asparagus. Jim got several very nice presents, including a DVD set that included every MGM musical. Mrs. Harry Blackstone came over and welcomed us, giving Jim a hat from the club.

After our dinner, we moved down to the main showroom and saw two terrific magic acts. One was a married couple who were both quick change artists and who did lots of magic with scarves and tubes.

The second guy, though, knocked me out. His was a bird act, pulling doves out of this air. HOW DO THEY DO THAT??? He also had this lit-up box where he put a doll inside, which turned into a beautiful girl.

So, we were having a wonderful time, but needed to get home because Linda and Rob were flying back home to NY the next morning very early. We made the decision to drive over Laurel Canyon rather than trying to fight the traffic where the Hollywood Bowl would be letting out.

We got about one-third the way up the hill when the car suddenly went dead.

Jim said, "Oh, no. I think we're out of gas." He started pulling over to the right. The street is rather narrow and we just just beyond a blind turn, but he got halfway out of the lane, switched on his warning lights and we were stuck.

There were strange lights on the instrument panel we had never seen before. One looked like a bright yellow gear with an exclamation point. Another was a red thingy. So, we called for help and asked them to bring us some gas.

I went down the road a few car-lengths to start warning approaching cars coming around the turn that there was a car there. I had this nightmare of us getting slammed from behind. It took about an hour for a two truck to arrive with fuel. He empied his container.

The car still wouldn't start.

He said, "You're facing uphill. I think you're gonna need more gas than that."

So, hoping beyond all hope that this really was just a gas situation, he took off and came back a half hour after that. Put the gas in. And the car started!

From now on, when I hear myself saying, "You should fill up the tank," I'm going to fill up the tank.

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The Steve Show #screamcry

My first show since my surgery. With Blake Zolfo.