If you trace back along the path of human evolution (the homo genus to be more specific) there’s a period where our species started to undergo rapid changes. The actual time varies wildly depending on the sources you read but the cause isn’t: it was when we learnt to control fire. Fire enabled our ancestors to do many things that simply weren’t possible before like cooking food (which provides easier access to calories and nutrition), doing activities at night as well as during the day and even protecting themselves from animals and insects. Indeed the species were are today, one that is well adapted for cooked food, is because of our beginnings as masters of fire.
I’m also somewhat fascinated with the creation of fire, possibly from a purely primal level, but also because there’s numerous different ways to do it and each of them exploit a physical principle. One of the most interesting ones I saw recently was someone using a hammer to light a cigarette:
At the highest level what is being done here is that kinetic energy, from the hammer falling on the piece of metal, is being translated into heat. This is accomplished by the bending and warping of the metal that occurs when its struck by the hammer which breaks down the bonds between the metal atoms causing them to release heat. The second part of the trick here is that they then utilize a highly flammable tinder, I.E. the cigarette, which has a flash point below that of the temperature of the metal. Drawing air over it provides more oxygen and with that you have all the ingredients you need for fire.
Of course it’s not the most practical way of creating fire given the materials required to do it. You’re much better off with a flint and steel as they produce sparks with temperatures that far exceed that of hammered metal. That is of course if you don’t have any matches, cigarette lighters or any number of modern fire making devices handy but for pure reliability you really can’t go past a good old fashioned piece of flint and steel.
10 hours of walking around Disneyland yesterday had not been without its consequences with my entire lower body rebelling against me, not wanting to be moved from the warm comfort of the bed I was lying in. It didn’t matter though as I really wasn’t planning on doing too much today, I mean I had been doing enough over the past month with only a couple days spent kicking back so I was willing to let my body win this round. Still just going through the morning ritual got us thinking about doing at least something today, even if it was a more subdued encounter.
We’d driven past the Hollywood sign on our way to Universal Studios so we thought we might as well go ahead and check out Hollywood Boulevard while we’re here. Shocked at the fact that it’s actually a street we just dialled it in to the GPS and drove over there. We followed it for a little while and whilst it wasn’t like the other neighbourhoods we’ve been lost in it was distinctly not what I had remembered from all the videos and pictures I had seen on the place. Pulling over we found that whilst we were in fact on the right road we were travelling in completely the wrong direction. Spinning ourselves around we got into an area that started to look more familiar and we found a place to park just near to the main street and we got out to have a look around.
We walked up and down the Walk of Fame noting all the celebrities along the way. We then came face to face with the hard sellers for the first time since landing in LA and boy were there a lot of them. Thankfully most of them were grouped around Grauman’s Chinese Theatre so once we were out of that area most of them left us alone, except for one intrepid fellow who was “just providing information”. It was around lunch time so we found ourselves a nice little burger joint called 25 Degrees that also had a great beer menu. I ordered up a smoked porter and one of their burgers with a side of sweet potato fries. It’s definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had whilst over here, although it’s still hard to beat a Brod Burger.
Afterwards we decided to try and head up to the Hollywood sign for some pictures. The GPS had a route up there and it quickly took us into the hilly heights surrounding Hollywood but it became quickly obvious that these roads weren’t really friendly to high traffic, or any for that matter. Most of them were extremely narrow and half of that space was usually taken up by parked cars on either side. It was so bad I couldn’t tell if some roads were actually one way or just too narrow. We spent a good 15 minutes winding our way up only to have the GPS keep sending us in circles so we decided that it wasn’t worth it, especially considering that there’s a good hour or so walk up to the sign afterwards (I’ve seen a couple videos of people doing it).
Defeated we made our way back to the hotel and spent the next couple hours lying on the bed watching bad TV. I got restless and went down to the gym for a workout before coming back down and flopping on the bed, the hours flying by before we realised it was almost 8pm and we hadn’t had any dinner. I convinced Rebecca to go and find me something to eat whilst I wallowed around on the bed and she returned with some tasty sandwiches not too long later.
Tomorrow we’ll be making the drive down to San Diego for Legoland and possibly hitting up some of the attractions we bought into with the CityPass. It’s a bit of a drive so this day of rest will be well used to get us up nice and early so we can make the most of being down there. We’ll probably spend our last few days here being a little more active than we were today, but we definitely needed this break before doing so.