Monday, March 20, 2006

wanna Hearst donut?

Amanda and I had a really nice weekend. As mentioned on Friday, we hopped in the car, headed south along CA-1 and made a beeline for San Simeon, CA. Why San Simeon? Because it's the home of Hearst Castle, or as we found out its official name is: Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument.

Catchy, no?

So, Hearst Castle (for those who don't know) was the weekend getaway built by 1920s gadillionaire William Randolf Hearst as a means of keeping all of the art he collected from Europe out of the rain. Despite my general disgust in gaudy, overly-ornate interior decorating (Trump, I'm looking in your direction), Hearst Castle was actually quite beautiful. Yes, it's full of more finery than you can shake a gold leafed Italian Renaissance stick at. Still, that said, it's largely done tastefully. There's a very successful mixture of American art deco and European everything else that came before. I think I also liked how much carved wooden detailing there was, as opposed to gold ugliness.

I tried to take a bunch of pictures. The problem is that they only allow you to take pictures with the available light (read: no flash photography) which didn't seem to work well with our night tour. Still, there are some nice shots and I thought I'd share:

This is one of the many exterior stairwells that leads all around the grounds. I love the art deco light columns.

Billy Hearst's outdoor pool. Pretty snazzy. Looks like a good place for a music video or a teen sex comedy party scene.

This is part of his large main living room. On the night tours, they have actors portraying visitors in 1930's garb. These were playing poker.

This is either part of the living room again or it's part of the sitting room. I can't remember.

This is a shot of the kind of woodworking found all throughout the castle's ceilings. They're really incredible and they change from room to room. Very impressive. It tends to feel like a gothic cathedral in miniature.

Old Bill's personal library. The lampshades on the lamps are made of sheets of vellum manuscripts, mostly old musical texts.

See? I wasn't lying.

This is maybe the prettiest desk clock I've ever seen. It's just an absolutely stunning piece of art deco design. Gorgeous. Sadly, the picture doesn't really do it justice.

And lastly, our cat Pipsqueak who has recently decided that she likes playing with toys. She now likes to roll around on the floor and mess with various cuddly things. It's pretty freakin' adorable.

So, that was our weekend. I had a great time. Definitely a nice way to get away and chill out before a big crazy week of GDC. I'll blog when I can this week, but I'll be at GDC from tomorrow and don't know what my availability will be like.

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