.Jeopardy and the Superbloom

One week in California and I came back slightly more freckled, a bit more blonde, and thrilled more than ever for the 4th of July. ‘What, already?’ you’re wondering. Yes. Because this 4th of July, one of the episodes of Jeopardy I was at the taping for will air, and my lifelong dream of making it onto the big screen may come true.

One of our family friends works at Sony Studios and got us Production Guest passes for Jeopardy!, America’s favourite game show. We watched from the audience and only expected to take pictures of the set but our friend welcomed us on stage and we were lucky enough to take the picture you’ll see below. My inner Science Olympiad/ Mathlete nerd was so psyched but after watching the show I was very glad to seclude myself to pub trivia now. This game moves FAST. Before the answer is finished being read (3 seconds or so), the contestants must not only know the answer but be ready to be first to the buzzer. And these contestants were GOOD. The amount of information that is packed tight into those brains is incredible and after watching two tapings, I gained a new level respect for the process.

We spent some time checking out mom and dads old haunts, at the beach and around CSULB. I saw JD, a great friend I made during a Mortuary Archaeology Field School in Poland, and enjoyed the artwork at the Broad museum in downtown. Kusama has a permanent exhibition there but other famous artists like Koons made an appearance and the overall museum is small but packed with amazing work.

After our city time was done, Dad drove our rented car out to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s an old haunt of his and it was fun to see him light up and get excited telling us stories from when he used to be there. We were so incredibly lucky with the weather and spent our time climbing up rocky outcrops, bouldering, looking at cacti and admiring the blooming ocotillo trees.

Stephen even made it to the top of this rocky outcrop that Dad used to climb up called ‘Cap Rock’. Only one route up and not only did Steve find it, but he made the ascent look easy.

Scaling the middle of cap rock-I only made it about 20 feet higher before I had to turn around

Speaking of blooming ocotillo trees… we made it to California in time to see the Superbloom! This phenomenon happens when a lot of different types of dormant seeds with different gestation periods get enough rain water to bloom at the same time. Within Joshua Tree we saw yellow’s, pinks, purples and oranges, and as we drove back to L.A. at the end of our National Park time, we saw bright green hillsides with huge patches of orange and red poppies. Truly a lovely thing to see when usually the hillsides are brown and the state is suffering through drought. The rain made California colourful!

We spent time with family and friends, took a drive down memory lane with my parents who grew up there, ate Mexican food and Date shakes, and even got kicked out of a Chinese restaurant for staying too long. It was sunny and successful and I loved this little family roadtrip.

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