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Sunday, June 23, 2002

Change Of Venue, Two Degrees North

Had a great L.A. day yesterday, hanging out here, here and here with old friends from college (gals' day!!!). The latter spot, Beverly Hot Springs, has a deceptive name. People always assume it's some chi-chi Beverly Hills spot where lab-coated raptor-ladies whisk you through delicately scented, deadly soothing surroundings, but they're way off base. This place is near downtown, off Western (on Beverly drive, hence the name), in the Korea Town district. It's a legitimate Korean bath house with hot and cold mineral pools fed by a natural spring, steam, sauna - a primal fount of moisture and heat. It's a fantastic enough experience just to go there for the pools. The hot-cold switch my drug of choice, agony at first, then pure bliss as the body lets go of the difference and you yearn to sit for hours with a stone dragon dripping water between your eyebrows, so chilly you're stunned it takes liquid form. But they also offer "treatments," which must be the English translation of "back alley mugging" in Korean. I desperately need to learn "GENTLY!" in the mother tongue of the round, laughing-eyed, bikini-clad, able-to-take-down-oxen-with-three-well-placed-blows denizens of the back room before our next trip (though I doubt it will help). Stavros?? After the pummelling, back to one of the gal-pals' houses in The Valley. There, someone is always the celebrity up the street, and in this urban-forested but nondescript neighborhood it's Kim Basinger. Twighlight swimming with the three, four and six year olds my buddies have been busy turning into little people, followed by a movie so good if you haven't seen it run out and get it NOW: O Brother, Where Art Thou? How did I miss this the first time around? My goal is to watch it enough times to commit the dialogue to memory. (Earlier in the week, at my husband's urging I also watched Imagine: John Lennon. Powerful stuff.) Finally, a trend spotted: These Italian charm bracelets are on wrists all over Southern California - is this a regional, national or international phenomenon? In any event, it's the gift of the moment. Customize one for your honey and score big points. Nor is this purely the realm of the soccer mom - geekdom is not utterly neglected (see here; I've also seen emoticons and 1's and 0's would work well too ;->).

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