First things first on Thursday – an audition at 10am for Raider Nation. I’m auditioning for field reporter or anchor person – someone to interview fans at Raider tailgates. They’re looking for someone with a sports background and hosting experience, preferably someone who is actually a Raider fan. I’m not a Raiders’ fan, but maybe I can be! It’s hard to try and prepare for this because there are no sides, so I’m walking in blind. Last night, the Manfre men try to give me some facts about the Raiders. I wrote them all down in my phone and keep saying them over and over on my drive to West Hollywood.
After waiting a while, I’m finally called in. One big black guy in a Raiders’ jersey greets me with a smile – Craig. A young woman sits beside him at a small white table. He puts me in front of the camera and I wait for instruction. “I just want you to say your name and what your auditioning for, then tell us about yourself: sports background, hosting experience, why you want this, and anything else you’d like us to know.” That seems like a loaded question, but this is easy! Sports background, check; hosting experience, check. I start with high school and work my way up through college and the paper and coaching. I was excited for this audition because it’s the two things I love: acting and sports. “Why do you love having them together?” Because I’m confident with both, and even though I don’t know everything about the Raiders, I’ll be passionate about learning about the team. They put me in different situations where I’d have to approach a fan or a celebrity or a player. “How would you get a celebrity to interview with us, and what if they told you no?” Umm, well hopefully I know something about the celebrity so I can bring something up about his work. I’d probably try to make a joke to make him laugh to get him to come over. They ask me a bunch of questions like this, and each time I have to think for a while and hope I’m giving responses they want to hear.
I leave, feeling good about the audition. I was the first one here, and don’t see anyone waiting, so I don’t get to see the competition. Oh well, time to get this day started with all the Manfre’s. Mike finally has off so we get to spend the whole day together. Mr. decided to rent a car this morning, and they all show up in a big armada so we can all fit. The complaining begins. I hate air conditioning, and I’m sitting in the middle, so it’s right on me. John puts his window down, and Maria is yelling at him because it’s too much wind. Mandy announces that she’s NOT complaining, and makes fun of me for saying I hate air. Mr. threatens to turn the car around.
Mike rides shotgun and directs Mr. through California traffic until we’re finally driving around Hollywood. Mandy can’t believe she’s actually here. “It feels like a make-believe land.” We stop for lunch at In-N-Out Burger, the best and only fast food worth eating. It’s slammed, but service is efficient. We all order animal-style burgers – which just means a burger topped with extra pickles, extra sauce, and grilled onions all mashed up together. I don’t even need to put ketchup on it. As always when eating In-N-Out, no one talks very much, except for the occasional, “This is so good.”
Back in the car, we make the short drive to Hollywood Blvd. I’m not a big fan of the crowds, but I ‘ve never really walked around like this before, so it’s fun. We walk into a Hollywood store and all buy warm apparel. Sure it’s cold out and I want a hoodie, but now I’m really acting like a tourist. (John is the only one not to buy anything.)
After a few pictures in front of the Hollywood sign, we pass a brew pub and I immediately think John would like to go in here. Whenever he’s around I find myself looking for places with good beer.
John, as always it seems, orders a flight of beer, passing them around for everyone to taste. One is very…different. Mrs. announces that it smells like socks gone bad, as if socks do, in fact, go bad. She says it with such certainty, making us all laugh hysterically. It becomes the joke of the week.
Next stop, City Walk, which is another strip of shops and stores next to Universal Studios. Again, I haven’t been here yet, so I’m learning as I go. This is good practice for whoever visits next!
Later that night, everyone comes to the apartment, this time including Troy. “Troyyyyyy!” Everyone is excited to see him. Troy actually lived with the Manfre’s for a year or so, so he’s really close with the family. It’s great we can all be together as we make the short walk to James Beach for dinner.
Dinner is fun and James Beach is a cool place – I love all the Christmas-ish lights, but honestly, I’m extremely disappointed by the food. I order the salmon with spinach and risotto. The salmon is dry and without flavor and the risotto tastes more like rice and corn mixed together. I already had the fish tacos the first time I was here and wasn’t really impressed by those either (Mike disagrees).
Back at the apartment Mike can’t resist putting on “I Love You, Man.” We’ve been quoting it all night and Mr. has never seen it, so we want him to experience the hilarious-ness. We only watch some clips here and there, and then head to Townhouse, a local bar. Sheesh, I’m tired. Again, I think everyone is, but Mike is trying to get in as much fun family time as he can. Can’t say I blame him.
I’ve never been here but Mike has with Steve Perrong. I almost met up with them that night after work, but when I rode up on my bike and saw a long line I went home. I don’t do lines; it’s never worth it. It’s a Thursday night so it’s not too crazy and we get in right away. It’s dark, it’s loud. John is not into it. “I don’t like it. It’s dark; I can’t see anything. It’s too loud and I can’t even hear what’s playing.” He is such an old man. But I do agree with him.