So Brian scored six tickets to The Matrix: Reloaded at Grauman's Chinese.... for the 10:00 p.m. showing....on May 14th.... the night before the opening date. Booyaa baby! Accompanying Brian and me were his brother Chris, his cousin-in-law Gian Carlo (who met us there later), his friend Corey and our bud Michael Villasenor.

With Corey's expert driving we arrived in Hollywood at 6:00 p.m. and made our way up the escalator of the Kodak Theater's underground parking structure. Brian, of course, started off the night's festivities with his perfect imitation of Lizzie McGuire.

As we made our way onto Hollywood Boulevard the first thing we did was scope out our dining destination: the Hamburger Hamlet. directly across the street from the theater. After turning our attention to the task at hand of procuring out tickets, we were immediately taken aback by the deluge of Matrix advertising around the Chinese. Whether in front or on the side of the theater it was clear what movie was playing. There was even a display of a sweet Ducati motorcycle similar to the one Trinity rides in the freeway scene. Vroom.

As we made our way to the end of the line to set up what would be out camp for the next four hours, we ran into Conan O'Brien. I haven't seen the dude since the Star Wars: Episode II opening. His hair has grown a bit, but it's the same old Conan.

After hanging out for a few minutes in line the guy in front of us agreed to hold our places while we went to eat. When Brian asked him if we could bring him anything back, he responded simple, "A crack pipe and hooker." Suffice it to say that we opted for a burger, fries, and coke.

Once seated in the restaurant we quickly noticed a strangely familiar motif in the decor. The only noteworthy detail concerning our meal was Corey's burger: he had the "Morgan" that, according to the Hamburger Hamlet menu description, came with "lots of special mayonnaise." It was this sauce that Brian would later dip his brother's straw in and put it back in his drink while Chris was in the bar watching a couple minutes of the Pistons/76ers playoff game, (which, by the way, had a great ending). Chris never had a clue that there was something rotten in his coke.

Gian Carlo finally arrived
45 minutes late but he had a good excuse: he spent the day at E3. Lucky duck. It should be noted that Gian Carlo is currently an animator for King of the Hill so he had the hook-up with an access pass to preview the new video game releases. Sensing that a drawing from him may be valuable I asked Gian Carlo to draw a picture of Lu Ann's boobs from King of the Hill and he graciously acquiesced. Unfortunately for him, two seconds after this picture a waitress came behind him with his drink, and Brian was kind enough to point out the ta tas that GC had just inked. She scolded him with a smiling "Shame on you" that left the table in hysterics. BTW, Michael later pointed out that Gian Carlo looks like the rapper rapper Sean Paul and I have to agree.

During the laughter I quietly slipped away and informed our waiter that it was Brian's birthday (actual date: November 7th) and he said he would take care of it. Well, Brian got his birthday hot fudge sundae but I felt ripped off because the workers didn't sing Happy Birthday to him because the joint was too busy, so they just handed him his dessert. So much for the best laid pranks of mice and men.

Before we left the restaurant Mike took a picture with Trinity and Neo.  In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves: "Whoa!"

Mike desperately needed to use the restroom so we found one. 20 seconds after he went in Brian and I bum-rushed the restroom and wreaked havoc on his stall door with our fists and feet. He insisted we didn't scare him, but come on now, if you were whizzing in a strange restroom in Hollywood and suddenly the walls sounded as if they were about to fall in, wouldn't you squirt yourself just a little? Mike's message that we were number one in his book told the whole story.

We decided to wander about the boulevard when we came up on a sheriff's deputy sitting in his squad car. I convinced Brian to ask the officer to let me take a picture of Brian in the back seat looking sad, as if he had been arrested. Not only did the cop let us do it, but he even suggested Brian be cuffed. The dude even handed me his freakin' handcuffs to put on Brian. picture 1, picture 2, and picture 3. Chris, evidently, was amused by this.

We made a stop at Mel's Diner and Brian saw a young Richard Dreyfus. We continued on and made a stop at what Brian called "our store" (see "Stalking Shatner" for our previous endeavors there). Now I don't know what it is about the Day family but Chris seemed to take a liking to a couple of "toys" and showed them off for all to see. On a more serious note, though, what in the name of Ron Jeremy is hanging high on the wall in that first picture of Chris? I'm both repulsed and intrigued (and not necessarily in that order....)

As we were heading back to the theater I ran into billionaire supernerd Bill Gates. Suddenly celebs were coming out of the proverbial woodwork. As we were making our way through the crowd I leaned in as ABC's Chuck Henry was interviewing those at the front of the line. Soon I spied Chris Penn from his Footloose days. Standing next to him mede me feel one degree closer to Kevin Bacon.

At about 9:00 Hollywood Boulevard was blocked off in front of the Chinese and four stuntmen prepared to do some tricks on Ducati motorcycles. Unfortunately, there were two problems. First, there was a tree blocking part of my view. Second, the riders sucked for the most part. The most prominent tricks were a bunch of wheelies, clouds of asphyxiating burnouts, and some guy who kept nearly wiping out. Yeah, all in all it was weak. I should have pedaled out on my GT Pro Performer and busted out my 80's BMX tricks.

By 9:30 we headed back to the line in preparation for entering the theater. With a few minutes to kill Mike and I headed for the end of the line but there were too many people so I just snapped a pic of him in the Kodak Theatre service entrance and then one of both of us as the line began to move. As we were headed in I jumped out of line for a quick snap with David Sheehan of CBS.

Once inside we had a few minutes to kill and had to hurry two quick pix of us from the left and then from the right before theater security had the chance to hassle us.

My review of The Matrix: Reloaded? It freakin' ruled. These were the greatest special effects and fights scenes I have ever experienced. The meshing of philosophy needs a bit of work but maybe that's just because it was midnight when Neo made it to the source and had his conversation with the Architect and my brain needed to be reloaded. Whatever. The movie rocked.

Undoubtedly, though, the best part was at the end of the sex scene between Neo and Trinity, as the camera panned away from their naked and sweaty intertwined bodies, Chris let out a groan. We learned after that Chris was enjoying the close-up view of Trinity's nicely shaped ass only to discover as we pulled back that it was Neo's! Whoa! We all laughed at him but Chris got his revenge not long after when we leaving Corey's house heading home. The sonuvabitch ripped one of the stankest farts in the existence of flatulence. Talk about a glitch in the matrix. Without personal experience or scratch 'n' sniff, the only way to describe it is with a picture.