10. Games of E and A
I considered waiting for the 8 pm meeting to start, but a long bus ride afterwards would mean returning very late to Santa Monica. I walked back down to Hollywood Blvd. That’s where I stumbled across the star of Australian star Nicole Kidman, which had the letters NI slightly out of alignment. I took a photo ( pictured in chapter 40 of Book 3).
Outside the Chinese Theatre was a rather lively group promoting a play. Marilyn Monroe was handing out invitation cards. (Photo previous chapter).
It was just before dark, when I walked back down La Brea Avenue and caught the 304 bus back to Santa Monica, where I was staying at the backpacker’s hostel.
Please note: Univ. of Calif. at LA, just beside Beverley Hills. During my final hours of this trip something magic took place there. (Next chapter, God willing).
Traveling on buses and trains for hours I saw many interesting things in passing, such as a single pallet leaning against a long, bare brick wall of a 'Smart and Final' store in Costa Mesa. (Now I get it - it was to compliment the 5 & 3 pallets in the lane off Montana Ave.) The address was No. 701 ... I felt I was walking down memory lane - on a bus!
One afternoon traveling north on the Pacific Coast Highway I spotted a huge number on the side of a hill, much like the huge C two years earlier, which I saw in the distance from a bus outside Riverside. This digit was not quite as large. It was number was 5. The nearest crossroad, I took note, was called Calle Mayor.
When it came to promoting our road safety game in LA, I felt a bit like those adventurers, who arrived at this big city with nothing in their pockets, but the ambition to become a film star. I had no illusion that it would take more than simply knocking on the door of a games company and demonstrating our product. I never even got that far. The closest I came to this was the parking lot of a huge Games Producer. The way I found the place was by accident. Here is the story that goes with it:
Traveling north on the coastal bus from Long Beach toward Santa Monica, I spotted the letters EA GAMES on a large office building. I knew immediately it was the same company I had had emails from in the past. I made a mental note of the location – Jefferson Pde, planning to catch a bus back to visit there the next morning, which I did.
The attendant at the car park reception was not very helpful. He asked if I had an appointment. I said: "No, I come from Australia and just want to show somebody our road safety game and receive some advice". The man in uniform at the reception would not let me go further or phone somebody inside the building, who would spare a few minutes with me. He gave me a phone number to ring and sent me away.
I should have realized there and then that I was on the wrong track. Wearing my 'Messenger' cap, as I had done two years earlier, may not have been a good idea either. I walked out and back along Jefferson Parade to find a public phone. There were some road workers nearby, who told me there was a shopping centre further on.
On the corner to Alla Ave I started to wonder..."Alla, Aha?! The name of the shopping complex The HOME Depot, made me question even more, was there a message in all this? If yes, what message was the message? It can't be ...?
The Home Depot was a large store selling hardware and building supplies. I found a public phone and rang the EA Games contact I had been given. Even after explaining that I had come from Australia and just wanted to show them a game and receive some advice - the door stayed shut. That day I found out - USA and Australia - it's no different, it matters not what you have of offer or what you know, it matters who you know. And all I knew was – you know who!
Or was a giant named EA Goliath playing games with a red Dwarf, named David, who was still green behind the ears? Judge for yourself:
Only a few weeks before my USA trip a strange co-incident occurred, involving EA Games plus another company. The Electronic Games producer had been sending me e-newsletters over a period of months. I didn’t mind and wrote back, asking if they were interested in a road safety game, which could be played online, teaching children road safety and road rules in a fun way? (I never received a reply; this was the reason I dropped in while passing by near Santa Monica).
One day one of their emails arrived. In a strange twist of timing I received another one from a travel agent, only a few minutes later. The travel agent's newsletter got me thinking. This newsletter, ever since I started receiving it, had my name misspelled Dietar. It didn't worry me at first, but eventually I emailed back and told them to please correct the spelling.
Nothing changed for months afterwards, until that morning, when I received the email from EA Games, plus that from the Travel company minutes later – my name had been corrected. I finally was correctly addressed - with an e not an a! EA games might have done justice to their name - played games with my name - by using theirs.
Tue 19/4/05: Somewhere I picked up this (expired) Disneyland ticket. I liked the numbers.
An Albertson Shopping Centre had played a role in my previous US trip. While I shopped in the one at Seacliff, near Huntington Beach, I overheard an announcement over the loudspeakers: Code 501. (I may have preferred a discount at the checkout?)
On the way I had passed a Real Estate office. It flew three flags, my colours. Then I saw it - the address, number 701 ... Of course, I emailed. I love Real Estate Agents, they sell homes.
Another lead for a possible contact to show our road safety game started very promising. On my first Sunday at the Crystal Cathedral I heard about a regular meeting of businessmen at the Cathedral. The next one was scheduled for the following Sunday before church. I made a point of attending. The presenter’s name was Hall; all letters, except the H, raised my hopes a few notches.
After the meeting I met a gentleman, who was dressed like an eccentric, successful entrepneur. He talked like a fine gentleman and showed some interest in what I had to say. He gave me his business card and I was to contact him during the week.
When I finally caught up with him later in the week, after a number of tries and dimes, he remembered me.
His name had me slightly puzzled – ‘Be Rich’ is a simple reconstruction of the letters of his surname. The gentleman's Christian name Thos only needed 'am' to become Thomas. I was becoming a doubting Thomas, doubting that I was going to get anywhere with Traffic Jam, our road safety game, two twin boys and I took two years to create.
Mr. Thomas Be Rich indicated that there was not much he could do for me. He gave me another name to contact, who may be interested. I smiled to myself after I translated the name he gave me: 'Schaum'. Schaum is the German word for 'froth, foam'. I forgot to ask, if Mr. Froth was an employee of the EA Games company. It would not have surprised me.
At one stage I considered showing our invention to a politician. I forgot how I came across her name. But I liked it and more so the address: Senator Dianne Feinstein, 11 111 Santa Monica Boulevard. Wouldn’t her staff have received a mild shock, had I walked in, told them I was from Australia and I had in my bag a road safety game, which would solve all problems on America's roads through educating children in road safety the fun way?
"The reason I am calling in here is the great name of the Senator, a real gem, and even more so her unique address. Five one’s in a street address must be some kind of world record. Mr. Da Ninci would give you first prize for sure. Never mind who Mr. Da Ninci is..."
No, I didn’t do this, thank God. They would have thought I was a 51/50 and probably called the police. I would not blame anybody questioning my sanity - Flying halfway across the world for no real reason; then picking up bits and pieces off the pavement and writing about it on the internet. Is there a support group for people like that? (Imagine me on a holiday in Singapore? The spotlessly, clean streets would drive me nuts).
Some more finds:
Just outside the Lewis Street entrance to the Crystal Cathedral I picked up this silver box, which turned out to be an air-freshener - On the top it reads Cyber Gallet. On the front - CARALL.
Nearby, at 'The Block' Shopping Mall, I found above MasterCard, issued by the Orchard Bank. It had long expired. The surname especially pointed to a very specific meaning: L- AO. The message the world must accept - better sooner than later.
On the advise from a bus driver I changed my plans. Instead of visiting Newport Beach I headed for another seaside town, Huntington Beach. This suburb has a quaint, provincial character, no high-rise development and less tourists. I had walked for an hour almost, trying to find affordable accommodation. I finally booked 2 nights at the Sun n’ Sand Motel, a short walk from town, opposite the beach.
During my 40 hours or so in this peaceful, neat seaside neighbourhood I found myself discovering things to such a degree, I felt in a constant state of being tested. Finding business cards, leaflets, car registration plates etc etc became a permanent occupation. I certainly never became bored while in the US.
Looking at the bigger picture, I believe these discoveries, miles from my home, were not for my benefit, but for others to believe that HE sees, HE knows.
The next morning, 19/4/05, I decided to walk to the Laundromat to catch up with my washing; smelly undies, you know! While I waited I saw a truck pulling up outside, then reverse a little. The driver got out of his cabin and walked into the store next door. He wore a red cap. The truck was sign-written BNB Engineering Inc. On the tray I counted exactly 10 traffic cones.
On the way back I went to a corner store. I bought Salami, Fish and Chocolate Milk. My purchase came to exactly $ 5.03. On leaving I saw that the street number of the shop was 301. My diary questions, how does all this just happen? I certainly did not contribute anything to it, such as calculating my purchase before I got to the check-out, or looking through the phone book and shopping by street address. That would have been stupid.
In nearby Olive Street five workmen were repairing overhead wires. Their vehicles indicated they were from the Time Warner Co. This goes well together with the car I spotted outside house number 1302 in another street - “WA PTH”.