In 2013, I traveled to Los Angeles for DASH, the multi-city puzzlehunt. I'd used this as an excuse to travel to NYC and STL in past years. Once again, this was also an excuse to visit an interesting place. I spent a few days before and after just being a tourist. I was now a tourist with a secret agenda, however. I was seeking puzzly locations for the not-yet-opened Order of the Octothorpe online puzzlehunt.
Thus, my notes from this time are somewhat sketchy and not that interesting. There's a theme of "Visited interesting-in-general place X. Saw the interesting part in half an hour. Spent the next hour-and-a-half snapping photos of one part that wasn't so interesting but seemed like someone could turn it into a puzzle."
I got there by Megabus, which was fine. It took a little longer than flying. (I hoped it might take less time, since I wouldn't need to allow time for TSA security theater and airport-civilization transport time; but the bus ride was probably still an hour longer.)
I stayed at the Bevonshire Lodge, a fine establishment across the street from Pan Pacific Park, where DASH started. I ate most meals in the Third and Fairfax Farmer's Market, a nearby food court. (DASH ended around here, and thus from my fellow GC folks I heard about the best food stall therein: Banana Leaf Singapore Malaysian.) Once I had breakfast in Du-Par's, the 24-hour diner next to the Market area; one quick trip to the bathroom later, I made a note to never go back. One of the DASH puzzle sites was at Du-Par's; I let someone else monitor that site. (Just as well, since that site monitor got asked to leave.)
I visited CalTech, [redacted], UCLA, and [redacted]. Myles Nye had donated a location-based puzzle to the Octothorpean game based on some observations he'd made in the [redacted] neighborhood a few years before. I went there to see which of those observations still held true; the answer: about half. Cities change.
I went to LACMA just to see art, not for puzzles. Thus, I got to see "Levitated Mass," LACMA's new big rock. I got to walk under it, something like entering the LA MTA Red Line's Vermont/Beverly station. I guess Levitated Mass' rock is bigger than the Vermont/Beverly rock, but both rocks were big enough such that my sense of scale couldn't take them in. Fortunately, the rest of LACMA was more fun.
DASH LA 2013 was a lot of fun!
I got to hang out with GC Corrine(sp? Corin? I dunno.) at one puzzle site. She's Jonathan McCue's cousin, and was figuring out what to do about school and getting started with life-after-school and all that. She'd lived in Santa Rosa for a while, going to college there, thus giving more of a hint as to Smoking GNU connections.
I talked with Dan Webster at another site. He's a computer programmer, over at LiveNation. LiveNation used to be a web company that could interface with TicketMaster. And since everybody wants to buy their tickets via the web, LiveNation eventually grew and acquired TicketMaster. But TicketMaster has been around a long time. Back in the 90s, it made sense to use a PDP-11 machine for computer-y stuff; nowadays, PDP-11 programmers aren't so thick on the ground. So the new company finds itself working in a sort of timeline of technologies, convincing new-style systems and old-school systems to talk to each other.
After these visits, I site-monitored Clue 6 (the cubical crossword) for a while in a parking garage at The Grove, a fancy shopping mall. A security guard noticed us, and after some polite back-and-forth, asked me to leave. (Dan, negotiating with the garage concierge (yes, garage concierge), found out that "scavenger hunt" was not a good phrase to use when explaining puzzlehunts at The Grove parking garage. Once the concierge heard that, we were definitely on our way out.)
But site-monitoring outside the garage was nice and shady.
I visited the Hotel Bonaventure. It's a site in the not-so-great puzzlehunt movie "Midnight Madness." I hadn't planned to visit it—in the movie, it just seems like some generic hotel. But going from point A to point B, I realized I was standing right next to it, and poked my head in. It's actually pretty architecturally interesting on the inside. I bet the movie folks wanted to include more interesting curving-elevated-passage vistas but couldn't bring it off for whatever reason. So I was glad I poked my head in, to see what I'd missed in the movie.
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