Does drinking coffee, doing crossword puzzles, watching Six Feet Under, listening to Red Sox games on the radio, and translating Gabriel García Márquez qualify as being a productive member of society? I think not, but it sure is a great way to spend the fall.
By the way, my trip to L.A. was sweet. In addition to taking me on a tour of Paramount, Erik brought me to this creepy restaurant in the middle of downtown in an old converted dining car. It's a throwback, but not a self-conscious one. It genuinely seems to have no idea that the world has moved on since the 1950s. The waiters wear jackets and ties, the menu is meat and potatoes and creamed spinach, the decor is green velvet and yellow light and dark wood paneling, and the bartender has been working there for like 40 years. Not the best place for vegetarians (or cheapskates), but highly recommended for nostalgics.
We went to Six Flags too, and rode, like, six roller coasters.