If there’s one thing Karen and I learned from the international leg of our trip, it’s that we can’t spend every waking hour together, day after day. Sometimes we need a break. So while Karen drove over to Death Valley, I booked a flight to Los Angeles to visit my college friend, David.

David and I go way back to 1992, when we both took a summer film class at the University of Southern California. I had just finished film school, while he was still trying get into film school. Apparently, there’s not quite as much demand in Iowa as in Hollywood.

As we strolled onto USC’s gated campus, I was looking forward to a walk down Memory Lane, until I discovered that it’s not there anymore. Buildings that were landmarks to me back then have been bulldozed and replaced by gleaming new structures, like the towering George Lucas and Steven Spielberg Buildings.

Back at my alma mater in Iowa City, there’s a Chipotle in the mall now. That’s cool.

Not only did David successfully complete USC film school, he also played in the famous Trojan Marching Band.

Today’s focus was not nostalgia but football, and so I found myself in the historic L.A. Coliseum, watching the Trojans get crushed- not just beaten, but crushed– by the Oregon Ducks. (That’s really the team name, the Ducks?)

The final 62-51 score hints at a competitive matchup, but it didn’t seem that way to us in the stands, cringing at Oregon’s seemingly effortless plays.

While the action on the field was uninspiring, the action in our section was straight out of, well, Hollywood. A disruptive Oregon fan caught the attention of an LAPD officer, and before you could say “Rodney King,” there were no fewer than four police officers and two security guards patrolling our aisle. Now we’re in L.A., baby!

And the band played on.

And the band played on