Hollywood with Douglas from Ask A Ninja

By: leelefever on December 10, 2006 - 8:17am

Man, talk about serendipity. I first heard about Ask A Ninja from Robert Scales who runs Rain City Studios, the company who designed the Ninja web site (and our site too) . He told me about it when we met in Thailand, and I quicky became a fan from abroad. Ask a Ninja has since become super-popular, and rightfully so in my opinion. The videos of a white guy in a Ninja suit answering reader questions makes me laugh every time.

I was so interested, in fact, that I did a bit of research about the guys behind it. I soon discovered that one guy of the two-man team, Douglas Sarine, is the very same Doug Sarine that was one of my best friends in college. The guy who lived beside me my freshman year is producing Ask A Ninja. Crazy.

So of course I emailed Robert who emailed Douglas and the reconnection began. Today we spent a few hours with Doug on a personal tour of Hollywood, including the taco restaurant where he once broke up with a girlfriend. Doug is still the hilarious, antsy, talented and incredibly good person that I remember from college. It was so great to reconnect, especially while he is in the midst of trying to disrupt the Hollywood status quo. Two guys and a video camera can do so much these days.

Oh, and this is not to mention the experience we had with Doug's brother Bill, who is an operations manager at Disney Pictures. Bill gave us a personal tour of the Disney sound stages, including the set of Pirates of the Caribbean III. We got to walk right through a scene from the movie that takes place at "Pirate's Cove" in an upside down ship hull. It felt like we had an exclusive look behind the movie making curtain at Disney. A true highlight.

We owe the Sarine brothers a huge thanks for a Hollywood experience we'll never forget.

Why Los Angeles?

By: leelefever on December 9, 2006 - 12:02pm

Why Los Angeles?, originally uploaded by LeeLeFever_TwinF.

We've heard interesting responses when I tell people that I'm excited about my first visit to Los Angeles. Among them: "Eh, its not that great", "don't bother", and simply "why?"

While LA has problems, I think residents and former residents just like to pick on the city in a self depricating sort of fashion. I am excited to have the LA experience, freeways and all. Even Sachi thinks that is a little weird.

I'm not interested in LA because of the celebrities, movie studios, the Sunset Strip or the Mann's Chinese Theater. I want to see those things, but what draws me to LA is the fame (or infamy) of the city itself. On a worldwide scale, Los Angeles is very well known and to many foreigners we met, one of the most coveted destinations in the US. We were both surprised to hear this as Americans would likely suggest alternatives to LA for a visit. Like me, they are interested in LA because it's famous more than beautiful, interesting or atmospheric. It is famously American.

I've run into this feeling many times on the trip - I want to see a city, a building, a sculpture not because I value it, or can even appreciate it, but because it is so famous. An example is Michaelangelo's "David", which is an amazing work of art, but one whose world wide fame supercedes its workmanship in my eyes. If you strip away all the fame, the experience of seeing the David is less exciting. In this way, fame is not a factor of quality, but quantity. I want to experience it because I've heard about it so many times.

And so it is for LA and me. The fame of the place itself, its problems, its beauty, its freeways, materialism and culture - it's interesting to me not because of its quality, but how much a part of the American experience it represents. Good or bad, LA is an experience I want to have.

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