So Brian had been talking about something called the Mystery Trip. Groups of people get on a bus and some dude drives you to various places around L.A. Where? That, my friends, is the mystery.

Alex met me at my house and I drove out to the meeting place.

We also picked up Brian.

Angela and Giancarlo were on board for the adventure.

Brian brought dice.

But not just any dice.

Mike and AK also rolled up. The whole gang was here!

One of the requirements of the trip was to wear a funny hat; Alex chose a $4 kid's bike helmet he scored from Good Will.

The Mystery bus.

DJ Brian Rock and the dude from Benchwarmers.

Mike and Raggedy AK.

Giancarlo literally got off a plane from Korea and Angela drove him straight from the airport.

The rest of the participants.

We had to sign a waiver? The mystery deepens.

Brian wasn't much help to Alex.

Meet Mystery Dave, the guy who runs the Mystery Trip.

We were also required to bring a beach towel and a belt.

Our first stop...

...was Laurel and Hardy Park in the Silver Lake district (more on the name soon).

Mystery Dave gave us the run-down of this stop.

AK chose something.

Then we each signed up for a team.

Teams were assigned.

Alex, Giancarlo, me and some lady were Team Buzz Lightyear.

The first event included the Music Box Steps.

These stairs starred prominently in Laurel and Hardy's 1932 Academy Award-winning short, The Music Box.

This is the one where they attempt to deliver a piano to a house at the top of these steps, which also explains the park's name.

More on the short film can be found here.

The game: Each team would race up the stairs...

...wearing their team mask...

...balancing a ping pong ball on a plastic spoon. Team Spongebob Squarepants took the early lead.

But Team Buzz was ready to challenge.

To infinity...

...and beyond!

I smoked this lady like a Colorado legalized pot user.

We should have emerged victorious but the crybabies on the other team argued that Alex's ping pong ball grip was illegal. I explained that this was how Alex always held his balls, but to no avail.

The next game included hula-hoops.

Angela showed some of her girlhood skills,

I told her I would take a picture but made a video instead. I was just curious how long she would spin the hoop before catching on. Nine seconds.

Then the hoop game.

My favorite part was Mike throwing the ball to Brian, Brian missing it and having to chase the ball down the hill. Good times.

Dinner time!

Taco truck, mijo! I ordered a carne asada burrito.

Mike and Alex devoured their food in record time.

The best part of a taco truck? The MexiCoke, of course. The difference? Mexican Coke is sweetened using cane sugar as opposed to the U.S. choice of high-fructose corn syrup.

Making friends.

"Making friends."

Then it was time to team up again.

"Hey, check out our big balls!"

Beach ball race time!

Brian was doing so well until Alex put the kibosh on that.

Then we had to spin with a golf club to our forehead and run. White people.

Go home, Giancarlo, you're drunk.

The funniest part of all? Not only did the taco truck guys forget AK's carne asada burrito order, but when he finally got it, it was only contained beans and cheese. Pobre cito.

The final game was Cracker Whistle.

Stuff as many saltines in your mouth as you can fit and whistle.

Alex failed.

Giancarlo for the win! (Although, truth be told, he's accustomed to having thick, salty stuff in his mouth.)

Back on the bus someone passed around cookies.

We headed down Sunset into Echo Park.

At the Sock Puppet Sitcom Theater Brian found his ride. He soon broke into the Tequila dance.

The Echo is not a large venue.

It was standing room only for a while.

Until we made it sitting room only.

The warm-up act.

Giancarlo started drawing on his knuckles.

Then on the knuckles of others. More on this later.

The best part of the show was AK chatting up folks while still wearing his wig.

This dude played a medley of '90s hits while the crowd sang along.

The sock puppet performance this night was the pilot for Friends.

It was mildly entertaining.


Due to his Korea flight Giancarlo kept dozing off. He didn't notice the papers piling up on his shoulder for a while.

The curtain is pulled away.

The wizards inside the socks.

Back to Giancarlo's knuckle art: Angel Aviles was on the Mystery Trip with us. You might remember her as Sad Girl from 1993's Mi Vida Loca.

Horale, vata.

After the show we had an ice cream truck waiting to serve us.

Angel chatted up Giancarlo and Angela while we waited in line.

It's safe to say Alex and Brian enjoyed their tasty treat.

Our next stop was Blipsy Bar.

Really? A bar?

More like a Barcade!

Aww yeah!

Arcade games, baby!

Once the amateurs were finished failing at Galaga...

...I took over.

Galaga is my speciality.

High score, bitches!

"MYS" for Mystery Trip.

The restroom door.

Double Dragon.

Giancarlo and Brian played a little Joust.

Gangsta Joust.

Alex tried his fists at Punch Out.

He got knocked the fuck out!

It was time to take the top score on Asteroids Deluxe.

I was suddenly in the mood for some pinball.

I wasn't the only one.

This quickly became the highlight of the trip.

I think Brian and Giancarlo would concur.

Sweet neon sign.

Arcade games bring out the sexy in Giancarlo.

With our quarters used up it was time to head back to the bus.

The bus.

We had to wait a few minutes because this guy stopped at KFC and picked up a bucket of fried chicken.

Which he then proceeded to pass around the bus.

Another requirement for the trip was to bring a DVD, which we gave to Mystery Dave early on. On the drive back a bag was passed around and everybody got to blindly pick one of the DVDs for themselves. Some kid left Norbit in my classroom a few years ago so I figured it was a great choice for this game. And look at the lucky bastard who got to take it home.

Giancarlo and his chicken bone, Angela and her DVDs.

There was no place to put the bones so Giancarlo just held on to it for the remainder of the drive.

Alex had a roll of toilet paper to hold his chicken bones.

Final shot with our head gear.

Alex tried (and failed) to make a turban. He is an embarrassment to his people.